Piercing problems?

Many piercings have their ups and downs, resolving without assistance. Mostly caused by improper cleaning routines and minor daily bad habits. Over cleaning can irritate the wound and keep it open longer. Under cleaning can cause infection.Alcohol, Iodene, Surgical spirits, Dettol, TCP and Hydrogen peroxide are all considered to be too harsh to use on a small wound too regularly. Ointments tend to be sticky and attract dirt, also they can limit oxygen to the wound. We advise mild saline soaks for a cleaning method, preferably by submersing the whole piercing site.

Assuming the piercing was performed well, that the jewellery fits well and the patients health was not to blame: piercing wounds can become chronic for a number of reasons. Most commonly it is due to external pressure from clothing, navel piercings in particular suffer from this problem and commonly surface piercings, resulting in a pressure ulcer scenario. Most cases will involve jewellery removal for the tissue to heal with minimal scarring. Without need for further treatment other than normal wound care.

We urge you to call in for a consultation to overhaul all your aftercare routine, discuss your lifestyle and ensure your jewellery is fitting properly.

Most initial swelling can be explained by the trauma of the piercing, the piercer should have predicted it and allowed enough room on the jewellery to safely compensate. However if the jewellery is too small it is important to correct the problem by swapping the jewellery for something longer and more suitable. (normally a minimum of 2mm is allowed for initial swelling, possibly more for oral piercings) The jewellery should not need to be permanently removed if it can still be seen on both sides and the patient can attend a professional piercing studio immediately. A very effective method for controlling inflammation is by using the ice/cold compress and elevation technique. Also mild anti-inflammatories often provide very positive results.
Infected-Belly-Button-PiercingAs with anywhere else on the body puss, excessive redness and pain will most likely indicate infection. As a professional piercer I feel the healthcare institute and the body modification industry often clash over the best way to move forward on this subject. However with many cases I feel there is no need to remove the jewellery to treat the infection. Doing so may result in an abscess.
Jewellery often allows the infection site to drain, giving an exit for fluids. Unfortunately if the jewellery can be seen through the skin or nearly so, removal is a must. With correctly fitting jewellery and prompt proper wound care infections have been repeatedly dealt with for many years without the need to remove the piercing.
By far the most commonly misunderstood issue regarding piercings. What is often assumed to be an infection or heamatoma is most likely irritation. Although granulomas are a common problem in soft tissue piercings when they are associated with a cartilage piercing: irritation or scarring are much more likely. Firstly, there are different types of lump or bump. For this explination we will keep things simple and refer to them as either healed or unhealed.

Healed bumps have become scars, refered to as keloids. The best method of treatment appears to be compression and massage with a natural oil such as bio oil. However this does not require the permanent removal of the jewellery. Treatment can only begin if the wound itself is healed, in many cases this is months after the initial piercing (see healing times) and it therefore becomes a priority to heal the piercing before treating the scarring. The jewellery must Infected-cartilage-piercing-bumpagain be large enough to comfortably allow for the extra tissue growth associated with keloid scars so therefore may require changing at a piercing studio. Keloids are most commonly caused by excessive movement of the jewellery, for example: cleaning to vigorously or too often, touching the piercing during the initial healing, changing to soon or to ill fitting jewellery.

In cases where the growth tissue has an open wound top (hyper-granulation) it is considered still unhealed a substance to dry out the lymph can dramatically reduce the size and discomfort involved until further treatment can commence. (After wound clouser and full healing) Tea tree and witch hazel work well for some when applied 3 – 4 times a day for a week.

There is a lot of poor quality jewellery available to clientele/patients. Initial piercings must be completed with implant grade titanium, 24 ct gold or PVD coated titanium by U.K regulation. After healing other metals are available. Surgical steel, Niobium, Wood, Silicone, Teflon, Acrylic, Gold,  PTFE to name a few. Jewellery must never flake or scratch on impact, if a sensitivity develops changing the material should rectify the problem again without any need to permanently remove the jewellery. If the patient can attend a piercing clinic immediately the jewellery should be left in place for that short while.

Bleeding is completely normal within the initial few days for any piercing

Chemical burns

Upon occasion we see allergy’s to cleaning solutions. With the appearance of burnt/orange or weeping surrounding skin. We advise our clientele to clean when needed with a mild saline solution. When a stronger solution has burnt the skin switching to saline should rectify the problem. Jewellery removal should only be needed if the effected area has blistered or if the jewellery is visible through the skin.


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