Bodycings are a stylish expression of individuality but come with risks and complications. Discover the facts before indulging in earlobe, nose, or belly button piercings.
You can get scarring and keloids from piercing. Contamination of piercing equipment can lead to bloodborne diseases like hepatitis B, hepatitis C, tetanus, and HIV. Tearing or trauma are additional concerns.
In this blog post, we'll take an in-depth look at the various complications associated with body piercing and offer some tips for how to avoid them and stay safe.
What are Risks to Getting a Body Piercing: 12 Major Facts with Safety
It's important to remember that body piercing is not a risk-free procedure. While many people may enjoy the aesthetic appeal of piercings, they should also be aware of the risks and take the necessary precautions to minimize them. We'll cover some of the most common risks associated with body piercing, as well as some tips for how to stay safe and healthy.
An allergic reaction is one of the most dreaded risks of getting a body piercing. It occurs when the body's immune system overreacts to a foreign substance, which may be the metal used for the piercing.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction include:
- Swelling, redness, and tenderness around the pierced area.
- Flu-like symptoms, such as fever and fatigue.
Ways to avoid allergic reactions to body piercing:
- Research the materials used for piercing beforehand. Titanium, niobium, and 14K gold are commonly recommended materials for shooting.
- Test for allergies beforehand by having a small patch of piercing material taped to your skin for 24 hours.
- Regularly clean your piercing spot with saline solution to avoid infections.
Body piercings near the oral cavity (lips, tongue, cheek) have unique risks. The pierced jewelry can cause damage to the teeth and gums and may even cause infection and inflammation.
Damage to Teeth and Gums can occur due to multiple reasons:
- Rubbing of the jewelry against the gums and teeth.
- Neglecting dental hygiene.
- Choosing jewelry with edges that can damage the teeth.
To avoid these complications:
- Opt for non-metal jewelry or jewelry that won't come in contact with your teeth and gums.
- Avoid playing with your piercing with your tongue or teeth.
- Not taking medication for pre-existing health conditions, such as diabetes.
- Avoid smoking, as it can delay the healing of the piercing.
Depending on the piercing site, different skin infections may occur. Common skin infections associated with body piercing include bacterial, viral, and fungal infections.
Signs and Symptoms of skin infections include:
- Excessive swelling and redness.
- Yellow or green oozing around the piercing site.
- Developing a fever.
To prevent skin infections:
- Choose reputable piercing shops that follow hygienic procedures.
- Clean your piercing site with saline solution and avoid touching the site.
- Don't swim in dirty or chlorinated waters.
- Dress yours appropriately and avoid tight clothing.
When you get a body piercing, you open up a pathway for potential infection and disease transmission. The risk of contracting a bloodborne disease through piercing largely depends on the following factors:
- The piercing location: Certain body areas, such as the tongue and genitalia, are at a higher risk of infection due to bacteria and other microorganisms.
- The piercer's hygiene practices: It is essential to ensure that the piercer uses sterile equipment and follows proper cleaning procedures.
- Your body's immune system: Individuals with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to infections.
Common Bloodborne Diseases
Some of the common bloodborne diseases that can be transmitted through body piercing include:
- Hepatitis B and C: These infections affect the liver and can cause chronic illness and even liver failure.
- HIV: This virus attacks the immune system, causing AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
To minimize bloodborne disease risks from body piercing, it is vital to take the following prevention measures:
- Choose a reputable and experienced piercer: Ensure the piercer uses sterilized tools and cleans properly.
- Be aware of any medical conditions: If you have a weakened immune system or diabetes or take medications that affect your immune system, it is best to avoid getting a piercing.
- Avoid piercings in high-risk areas: Consider its location and potential for infection. For instance, tongue piercings have a higher risk of disease due to bacteria in the mouth.
Tearing or Trauma
Another risk associated with body piercing is the potential for tearing or trauma. The following factors can increase the risk of tearing or trauma:
- Poor piercing placement: Incorrect piercing placement can result in tearing or trauma.
- Wearing improper jewelry: Tight or incorrectly sized jewelry can cause tears or trauma.
The Healing Process
Tearing or trauma can delay the healing process of your piercing and increase your risk of infection. It is essential to monitor your piercing's healing progress and seek medical attention if it shows signs of infection, such as:
- Redness, swelling, or pain in the pierced area.
- Discharge or pus.
- Fever or chills.
To prevent tearing or trauma, take the following prevention measures:
- Choose a reputable piercer: A skilled and experienced piercer will ensure the piercing is placed correctly and with the right jewelry.
- Wear proper jewelry: Choose jewelry that is the correct size and material. Avoid jewelry that is too tight or puts pressure on the piercing.
- Avoid activities that pressure the piercing: Sleeping on your piercing, wearing tight clothing, and participating in contact sports.
Specific piercing locations, such as lips or tongues, can increase the risk of dental trauma. The jewelry can damage and even fracture your teeth, potentially leading to tooth loss. Other dangers to dental health include gum injury, oral infections, and damage to orthodontic devices like braces or retainers.
Risks to Braces or Retainers
If you wear braces or retainers, getting a piercing near them can cause the following risks:
- Damage to the orthodontic device: The jewelry can get caught and damage your braces or retainer, leading to expensive and time-consuming repairs.
- Increased risk of gum damage: Piercings can injure your gums and cause a recession, compromising the attachment of your braces.
Prevention and Treatment
To protect your dental health during body piercing, take the following prevention measures:
- Consider the location of the piercing: Avoid areas near your braces or retainer.
- Discuss the piercing with your orthodontist: They may recommend alternatives to reduce the risks of damage.
- Monitor any changes to your dental health: If you notice pain, sensitivity, or damage to your braces, contact your orthodontist immediately.
Keloids are raised, fibrous growths that form around a wound or injury. While keloids are not medically harmful, they can be unsightly and sometimes cause discomfort or itchiness.
Symptoms of keloids may include:
- Raised, bumpy skin around the piercing site.
- Redness or discoloration.
- Itchiness or discomfort in the area.
Keloids are more likely to form in specific individuals. Some of the risk factors for keloid formation after a body piercing include:
- Previous history of keloids or hypertrophic scars.
- Family history of keloids.
- Darker skin tone.
- Piercing in a high-tension area, such as the ears or nipple.
If you develop a keloid after a body piercing, treatment options may include:
- Corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation and shrink the keloid.
- Surgical removal of the keloid.
- Cryotherapy, which freezes the keloid tissue to remove it.
- Laser treatment can flatten and reduce the appearance of the keloid.
Scarring is a natural part of the healing process after a body piercing. Several factors can contribute to scarring, including:
- Trauma or injury to the piercing site.
- Infection or delayed healing.
- Poor aftercare, including improper cleaning or removal of the jewelry.
- Genetic factors, including keloid-prone skin.
Taking proper care of the piercing site is essential to minimize the risk of scarring after a body piercing. Some prevention measures may include:
- Avoid touching or twisting the jewelry.
- Using only high-quality, hypoallergenic jewelry.
- Cleaning the piercing site regularly with saline solution or antimicrobial soap.
- Avoiding swimming or submerging the piercing in water for extended periods.
If scarring does occur after a body piercing, there are several treatment options to consider. These may include:
- Applying silicone scar sheets or gels to the affected area.
- Laser treatment to reduce the appearance of the scar tissue.
- Surgical removal of the scar tissue.
- Injectable fillers to smooth out the scar tissue.
Abscesses are a common and painful complication associated with body piercings. They occur when bacteria enter the skin through the piercing and multiply, producing pus. The following are some common symptoms of abscesses:
- An abscess is a localized buildup of pus surrounded by inflamed tissue.
- It typically presents as a swollen, painful lump that may feel warm.
- Other symptoms can include fever, chills, and general malaise.
Causes and Risk Factors
- Abscesses can form in response to an infection, injury, or foreign material (like a piercing).
- Individuals with compromised immune systems, such as those with diabetes or HIV, may be at higher risk for developing abscesses.
- Improper piercing technique or jewelry selection can also increase the risk of abscess formation.
Treatment and Prevention
- If you suspect you have an abscess, it's essential to seek medical assistance promptly.
- Treatment may involve draining the pus with a needle or performing an incision and drainage procedure.
- Antibiotics may also be prescribed to help prevent the spread of infection.
- Prevention strategies include practicing good hygiene, using proper piercing techniques and materials, and seeking treatment promptly in case of infection.
Sepsis is a severe and potentially life-threatening complication associated with body piercings. It occurs when an infection spreads throughout the body, leading to organ failure. Below are some symptoms of sepsis:
- High fever.
- Rapid heartbeat.
- Rapid breathing.
- Confusion or disorientation.
- Individuals with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or cancer, are at greater risk of sepsis.
- Uncontrolled infections, like those that can occur with improper wound care or piercing aftercare, can also lead to sepsis.
- Poor immune function or recent surgery or hospitalization can also lead to sepsis.
- Treatment for sepsis typically involves hospitalization and administration of IV fluids and antibiotics.
- Mechanical ventilation or blood transfusions may be necessary.
- Prevention strategies include promptly treating infections, practicing good hygiene, and seeking medical assistance for any signs of infection or inflammation.
Nerve damage is another potential complication associated with body piercings. It occurs when the piercing punctures or damages a nerve, leading to discomfort. The following are some common causes and symptoms of nerve damage:
- The piercing is not placed correctly, leading to nerve damage.
- Pain, numbness, or weakness in the affected area.
- A burning or tingling sensation around the piercing.
- Prevention strategies include choosing an experienced piercer with proper technique and sterile equipment.
- Avoiding piercings where nerves are close to the surface, such as the tongue or nipples, can also help reduce the risk of nerve damage.
- Treatment for nerve damage can vary depending on the extent and location of the injury.
- Mild cases may resolve independently over time, while more severe or persistent cases may require medication, physical therapy, or surgery.
- It's essential to seek medical assistance promptly if you suspect you have nerve damage due to a body piercing.
Body piercing comes with many risks and potential complications. From allergic reactions to skin infections and nerve damage, there are a multitude of factors that can impact your health and well-being. By taking the time to research your piercer, choose safe and professional equipment, and assess the cleanliness and sterility of piercing studios, you can minimize these risks during the procedure.
It's essential to prioritize your health and well-being, even concerning something as seemingly harmless as body piercing. So, whether you're considering getting your first piercing or adding to your collection, remember these potential risks and ensure a safe and successful experience.