Body Piercing Infections

Getting one’s body pierced has become a fad among teenagers, young men and women. It is a type of body art that has been a part of many cultures since several centuries. Nevertheless, it was only in the recent past that it became popular worldwide, especially in the last few decades. The most commonly pierced parts include the ears, tongue, navel, and nose; whereas nipple and genitals are pierced the least.

Everyone has a different reason to pierce their body. Some do it for cultural significance, while others do it just to be accepted as a part of a particular group. Whatever might be the reason, one should not be oblivious to the possible infections that can be caused due to piercing.

Causes of Infection

☞ Improper Aftercare
Most infections occur because of improper aftercare. Each type of piercing has a set period of healing time. It is common to notice swelling or bleeding in the pierced area for a few days. However, if proper care is not taken, it is prone to get infected by some kind of bacterial infection. In such a case, the swelling or bleeding would persist for a longer time. Scarring may also occur on the tissue of the skin that has been pierced.

It is also important to wear proper clothing. Wearing tight-fitting clothing should be avoided for at least the first few months of the piercing.

☞ Improper Method
The way in which the piercing is done can also lead to infections. Many piercing artists use the gunshot method. This method is quite unhygienic, since the same instrument is used for everyone. It increases the risk of contracting diseases like hepatitis, HIV, tuberculosis, etc. One must make sure that the equipment that is used for piercing is sterilized before use.

☞ Improper Jewelry Used
The kind of jewelry worn after the piercing can also be the source of infection. Jewelry made of stainless steel, platinum, 14 or 18 carat gold, titanium, or niobium should be worn during the healing period. Wearing cheap jewelry or very tight jewelry could also lead to infections.

☞ Piercing Delicate Body Parts
Tongue piercing is riskier than nose and ear piercings, because it can cause oral and dental problems. Tongue piercing infections include gum problems, chipping of the teeth, difficulty in eating, etc. If the jewelry is not worn properly, there are chances of the person swallowing it.

Women who get their nipples pierced do not risk damaging their milk producing glands of the breasts. However, it would be safer to remove the piercing, as it may injure the baby’s mouth and tongue. Soft barbell piercings cause no harm to the mother or child.

Precautions to be Taken

Here are a few precautions to be taken to avoid infections.

☞ Proper aftercare has to be taken during the healing process. Don’t allow anyone to touch the piercing, as there is high risk of bacterial transmission. Wash your hands with an antibacterial soap before touching/cleaning the piercing.

☞ The piercing should be cleaned at least 2 – 3 times a day (as instructed by the piercer). However, don’t overdo this as it can cause damage to the piercing.

☞ Before getting the piercing, research thoroughly to find a piercing expert in their area. It is best to choose a reputed and experienced piercing artist. Visiting the studio to check the type of instruments and their hygienic conditions is also important.

There have been many cases of individuals getting infected when the piercing wasn’t done by a professional. One must remember that under no circumstances should a piercing be done at home. Only an expert should be trusted to do it, to prevent any type of complication.