Allergic Reactions:

• Problem: Metal Allergy
• Cause: Inferior Jewelry used (contains too much nickel or other irritating alloy)
• Indications:
Tissue appears to “retreat” from the offending metal

Patient may present with complaints of itching, burning and/or tenderness

S/he may feel virtually no discomfort, even though the piercing seems highly inflamed

In addition to localized dermatitis, the opening to the piercing may appear significantly larger than the size of the jewelry

Redness where the jewelry rests on the surface of the skin

Granulation tissue will be visible

• Solution/Treatment: Change to an appropriate biocompatible jewelry such as Titanium; or a dense, low-porosity plastic such as Tygon or PTFE
• Problem: Product Sensitivity
• Cause: Aftercare products are inappropriate, or the piercee has a product allergy or sensitivity
• Indications:
Delayed healing, localized irritation

Tissue surrounding (up to several inches away) the piercing is red, seeping, or contact dermatitis is present

Expansion of the piercing channel

• Treatment: Discontinue current care regimen in favor of milder products and/or less care
Compounded problems: Any one of the above
problems can make additional or secondary problems more likely; i.e. an allergic reaction to an inappropriate metal can make a piercee more vulnerable to infection or a reaction to cleaning products. One should be aware when trying to evaluate a troubled piercing, that multiple causes may be affecting it. In addition, overall health and stress level can be crucial to the healing process and should be evaluated and treated as a potential cause for complications with a healing piercing.

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.

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