Piercing Infections | How To Treat and Tell If Your Piercing Is Infected
Why they happen and how to recognize them...
There is a myriad of reasons to choose a body piercing. Personal expression, an appreciation of body art, potential health benefits, and aesthetics are only a few possible motivators. We personally believe any reason is a good reason and that it’s important to know the risks before you decide to get pierced.
Any time you modify your body, you are opening the door for infection. While not everyone develops an infection, the Mayo Clinic does estimate that approximately 30% of piercing leads to localized infections—don’t worry, though, as those infections tend to be benign!
To ensure you don’t develop a serious infection, you need to know why infections happen in the first place, how you can recognize them after receiving a piercing and how to treat them.
Read on to learn the basics of body piercing-related infections and how you can deal with them!
Why Infections Occur
When you were a kid, and you scraped up your knee, what would your parents tell you? Probably something like "don’t pick at that" and "let it breathe." Well, turns out they were right!
A healing piercing is a process that can take anywhere from a month to a year, depending on the location of the piercing—you should treat it like any other wound. That means leaving it alone, avoiding overly tight clothing, and correctly cleaning it.
Infections are primarily caused by bacteria and irritation, so eliminating both to the best of your ability is your optimal route to a quick and easy healing process!
Soaking your piercings sites with a saline solution can help cleanse the area and remove any buildup.
How to cleanse your piercing sites!
Saline baths are a great way to wash your piercing site from harmful bacteria and dead skin cells. When you do not cleanse your piercing sites, these things can lead to infections.
When you first get pierced, we recommend doing a saline/salt soak around twice a day. Saline soaks and washes are an all-natural way to relieve your piercing site of common irritations like swelling, bleeding, reduce scarring, dehydrate bumps, and encourage healthy skin.
Salt soak directions
- A salt soak comprises 1 cup of sterile or distilled water (warm).
- Mix 1/4 tsp. of sea salt into the water. You want the salt to dissolve, so the warmer the water, the better.
- (For extra power**) Add 2-3 drops of tea tree oil and stir well.
- Submerge your piercing site into the mix for 5-10 minutes.
** When you combine Tea Tree Oil with Saline Solution, it offers a hygienic healing process and gives your skin the treatment it craves.
How to Spot an InfectionNo matter what your experience or tolerance is, the healing process for a body piercing is probably going to hurt a bit. If that pain sticks around for an extended time, though—maybe over two days—you may have an infection. Also, if the pain seems unusual or is accompanied by swelling, you should keep a close eye on it.
Other, less subjective indicators of infection may be present, too. A dead giveaway is a foul-smelling discharge that is typically yellowish. Significant or prolonged bleeding is also a warning sign, as is excessive redness around the piercing site.
If you have any of these signs, it’s important that you be willing to go to a medical / piercing professional if necessary. The cleaning and care methods listed above are the most you can do on your own, so visiting your local piercing professional is the best route if you have taken thorough care of your new piercing and still develop an infection.
In conclusion we don’t wish to discourage anyone from expressing themselves and getting the body piercings they want. We do, however, want you to be informed of the risks and potential infections that can accompany such piercings. That way, you can not only enjoy your new piercing but do so in a healthy, safe way!