For You and Your Healthcare Professional
The following information is based on a combination of vast professional experience, research, extensive clinical body piercing practice, and common sense. It has been compiled with the input and assistance of medical professionals who are trained, experienced piercers.
Medical personnel have tremendous knowledge and experience about issues relating to the human body, but may not have specific training about this unique
form of body art. ” Care, Maintenance, and Troubleshooting for Body Piercing” is not yet a course of study for most medical professionals. As a piercee, you may have more
specific information about piercing than they do. It is up to you to make certain that your chosen medical professional has access to accurate information that will assist them in treating you.
Ask these questions before settling on a doctor or other practitioner:
Do they approve or disapprove of body piercing?
Does this doctor have prior experience treating piercings?
Do they have a trusted expert body piercer to consult with, or other resources for facts and information about piercing?
If the doctor has any questions would they be willing to call your piercer to discuss it?
You can save yourself an unpleasant, unprodutive experience by avoiding a physician who is disapproving, unwilling to learn, or does not feel comfortable with body piercings.
The following are facts about body piercing and body jewelry to share with your doctor in order to make certain your physician is apprised of important data that can assist in decision making about your care and course of treatment.
For the Medical Professional
What is normal?
• Can be reddish, brownish, pinkish, or purplish
• Can remain for many months with certain piercings, such as navels
• May be significant with oral piercings such as the lip or tongue, and may last several days immediately following the initial piercing
• Exudate of plasma, dead cells, etc.
• Should not be copious in quantity, malodorous, or green
• Will form a small amount of crystalline-appearing crust on the jewelry at the openings of the piercing
Things to consider when treating a troubled
piercing or considering jewelry removal from
The majority of troublesome piercings can be resolved without the piercing being lost.
• Advice to simply “take it out” is likely to be met with resistance from the piercee, and if infected
can lead to the formation of an abscess (see below)
• Changes in aftercare and/or jewelry size, style or material may resolve the problems for the piercee/patient
• Inappropriate placement can also be the cause of problems. In this case removal is often required, and if done timely will prevent further problems
• Even momentary removal of jewelry from a healing piercing can result in amazingly rapid closure of the piercing, and make reinsertion difficult or impossible
Ointments used for topical treatment are not preferred for body piercings:
• They are occlusive and can limit oxygen circulation to the area, tending to delay healing of this type of wound
• They leave a sticky residue that makes cleaning the healing tissue more difficult
• If necessary, gels, creams, or other water soluble products are preferred for topical application
• Signs of accumulative allergic reaction to ointments are papules and redness of surrounding tissue
Inappropriate aftercare is one of the most common
causes of a distressed piercing:
• Alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, Betadine, Hibiclens and/or ointment(s) are all inappropriate products for body piercing aftercare
• Over-cleaning can irritate piercings and delay healing
• Daily mild, non-iodized sea-salt or normal saline soaks and/or cleaning with a liquid anti-microbial or germicidal soap once or twice a day is suggested for body piercings*
• Daily mild non-iodized sea-salt or normal saline rinses and/or antimicrobial or antibacterial alcoholfree mouth rinses, 4-5 times a day is suggested for oral piercings*
These guidelines are based on a combination of vast professional experience, common sense, research, and extensive clinical practice. This is not to be considered a substitute for medical advice from a doctor. Be aware, however, that many doctors have no specific training or experience regarding piercing and may not be educated on how to best assist you.
Copyright © 2000, by the Association of Professional Piercers, any changes or deletions are strictly prohibited and must be approved in writing by the APP.