With piercing becoming more and more popular, it’s as well to be prepared for any problems that might occur when you have part of your body pierced. The fact is that every piercing is the introduction of a foreign object into your body.
Sometimes your body doesn’t mind so much, but at other times, your body tries to get rid of the foreign object. Some of the more common piercing complications include infections, dermatitis, and keloids. Although piercing rejection isn’t as common as these other piercing complications, it is a problem that can cause discomfort and frustration.
Piercing rejection usually happens in the flatter areas of the body such as the eyebrow, hip, nape of the neck, belly button, and any surface piercing such as sternum piercing.
Causes of Piercing Rejection
There is no one particular cause of piercing rejection. It’s usually a combination of factors that might be to blame. Some of these factors are:
- Stress, either physical or emotional.
- The material the item is made from.
- Weight gain such as in pregnancy, which might put pressure on the piercing.
- The fit of the jewelry. If it doesn’t fit well, it might begin to migrate.
- The skin surface. Piercings in flat surfaces such as the chest or belly button are more susceptible to rejection.
- Genetics: people don’t all heal in the same way.
- The tightness of the skin: if the piercing is in tight skin areas like the chest or belly button, more pressure is exerted on the piercing.
Symptoms of Piercing Rejection
The skin is the body’s largest organ. Like the rest of the body, it protects us from myriad hazards, including germs like bacteria, viruses, and fungi. If you injure yourself, your body’s immune system is activated to heal you as fast as possible. The symptoms of piercing rejection are actually the body’s way of protecting itself against what it sees as an unwanted invader: your jewelry.
If you experience the following symptoms, you might be experiencing piercing rejection:
- Your jewelry has moved from its original site.
- Your jewelry is hanging or drooping in a way that it didn’t before.
- The holes at the entrance and exit to the piercing have increased in size.
- There is less tissue between the two holes.
- The skin around the entrance and exit holes is:
- Red or inflamed.
- Nearly translucent (you might be able to see your jewelry through your skin).
- Strangely hard or calloused-looking.
Although piercing rejection usually happens in the months after a new piercing, it can also happen many years afterward. Sometimes rejection takes place after a bump to an old piercing or an infection that causes the body’s immune system to rally to the body’s defense.
How to treat a piercing rejection
It’s disappointing if your body rejects a piercing, but the only real danger is scarring. The important thing is to stop the jewelry from pushing itself through the surface of the skin, which will cause cracking and more scar tissue. If there is a large amount of scar tissue at a piercing site, it will make re-piercing more challenging.
If you are experiencing a piercing rejection you could:
- Consult a qualified piercer for their advice.
- Take out your jewelry if you see that it is migrating towards the surface.
- Try inserting a plastic ring or bar instead.
- Try another piece of jewelry that is a different shape, size, gauge, or material.
- Try a bigger piece of jewelry if your ring doesn’t lie flat or your bar looks as if it’s disappearing.
- Wait a year before re-piercing.
- Apply vitamin E oil to the area to minimize scarring.
How to prevent piercing rejection
Prevention is always better than cure. Next time you have a piercing, make sure you see a qualified piercer who has experience in piercing the area you want pierced. Be aware, however, that any piercing has a chance of being rejected, and might result in scarring. Keep the piercing site clean according to the instructions given to you. Keep healthy and avoid stress. A larger gauge might reduce the chances of rejection.