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Piercings: Health Risks And Aftercare

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By Rukweve Ochuko

21 November 2021   |  
11:00 am

Piercing is one of the earliest and popular forms of body modification in human history. This physical alteration has served as a mirror of representation, reflecting one’s religion, self-identity, and culture.  Today, this has transitioned into a fashion trend. Many around the globe are setting new fashion trends with it. People get piercings on their…

Piercing is one of the earliest and popular forms of body modification in human history. This physical alteration has served as a mirror of representation, reflecting one’s religion, self-identity, and culture. 

Today, this has transitioned into a fashion trend. Many around the globe are setting new fashion trends with it. People get piercings on their tongues, lips, belly buttons, and even on their genitals. 

As trendy and beautiful as piercings are, they can develop injuries detrimental to the body’s health without proper care.

Health Risks

People get pierced alterations to their bodies for different reasons but mostly for pure aesthetics. Getting pierced comes with pain, whether it’s a minor or extreme piercing on any part of the body. Although, the pain threshold varies according to the type and place of piercing. 

Every piercing carries the risk of having an infection because a piercing is an open wound. Wounds on the body easily develop infections when exposed to germs and not properly cleaned. The same happens to piercings when exposed to germs and not carefully treated. 

Infections to a piercing can develop pus, growing swellings, foul smell and constant bleeding. The Aftermath of piercing can also cause redness and severe pain to the surrounding areas of the pierced body part.

Skin conditions like keloid scars and itching can also occur as a result of a reaction to the type of earring or product used to clean the piercing. 

All of these causes great discomfort to the body and could leave a permanent scar on the pierced body area.

To avoid these risks, it is recommended to be properly informed about different types of piercing before deciding to get any. 

Types of piercings and healing time duration

There are different types of body piercings, each has similar health risks and different healing time duration. 

According to body modification professionals, the healing process of a piercing is faster when there is enough blood supply to the pierced area and more flesh than bone. These areas have more antigens that come together to heal wounds on the body when there is an opening.

In the first stage of healing, the area would feel tender and appear swollen, discharge is likely to emit from the piercing but over time, it reduces and dries up. Depending on the type of body and pierced area, the healing process has a varied time frame.

Nonetheless, extra patience and intense care are required to make a piercing healing process smooth.

The following is an average time duration of the healing process of different body piercings;

Ear Piercing    –     Healing duration 

  • Couch 6 – 12 months
  • Tash rook 6 -12 months
  • Tragus 6-12 months 
  • Antitragus 9 -12 months
  • Daith 9 -12 months
  • Orbital 6 -12 months
  • Helix 6 -12 months 
  • Forward helix 6 -12 months
  • Low helix 4 – 6 months
  • Industrial 9 -12 months
  • Lobe 2 – 3 months

Body Piercing    –     Healing duration 

  • Genital 4 – 6 months
  • Nipple 9 – 12 months
  • Navel 9-12 months
  • Dermal 4 – 6 months

Facial Piercing    –     Healing duration 

  • Tongue 4 – 6 months
  • Lip 4- 6 months
  • Nose 6- 12 months
  • Septum 4 – 6 months

Piercings Aftercare

  1. For piercings to stay clean and heal properly, it is recommended that you
  2. Wash regularly and gently with soap and water
  3. Wash the hands before tending to the pierced area to avoid depositing germs that the hands could be carrying
  4. Avoid using alcohol or any alcohol-based product to clean. This causes inflammation 
  5. Keep the earrings in for at least six weeks to prevent the hole from closing 
  6. Apply vaseline or any petroleum jelly to avoid scabs 
  7. Avoid leaving the pierced area open to harsh substances like perfumes, body spray, and body creams, amongst others
  8. Avoid peeling off the dried scabs because it can open up the healing wound
  9. Make use of warm water to massage gently and remove the scabs
  10. Avoid putting pressure on the piercing. For piercings on the body; avoid wearing tight clothes/ear piercing, avoid tying scarfs or wearing tight caps over the ear and sleeping on the pierced area
  11. If the discomfort is unbearable, it is paramount to visit an expert in piercing treatment. 

Source: The Guardian

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