Body Piercing Health Risks – Always Put Safety First!

Body Piercing Health Risks

One of my readers has requested that I write a post outlining the risks associated with body piercing.

I also feel this a very important topic which needs to be covered, particularly with the popularity of piercings growing so rapidly in teenagers.

For many people, including my younger self, getting piercing is a spur of the moment decision with very little thought put into it. This needs to change because at the end of the day a piercing is a wound!

Please, anyone who is thinking of getting pierced or know someone who is, read this article first so you know the body piercing health risks. You need to know what you are getting your self into.

Getting a body piercing treated as a big decision!

What Are the Risks of Body Piercing?

There are certain risks you put your body through when you get any piercing done. This is even more true when you self-pierce or get pierced by a non-professional piercer.

The health risks of piercings are as follows:

Infection at site of piercing

H2Ocean Aftercare Spray
Keep your piercing clean whilst it is healing

The main risk of body piercing is getting a bacterial infection on the skin around the piercing. If left untreated, the infection could spread and turn into an abscess – a build of puss underneath the skin.

This could potentially lead to septicaemia (blood poisoning) which can be fatal. Even if there is no visible abscess, blood poisoning can still occur. This can be fatal!

These risks are slightly higher in oral piercings such as tongue or lip piercings. Make sure to practice good oral hygiene in order to prevent this from happening.

Severe bleeding

Whenever you get a needle poked through your skin there is always a risk that you strike a blood vessel.

This particularly applies to the tongue. Another good reason to get your piercing done by a certified piercer.


All piercings are going to leave a small mark if you remove them. Although if your piercing gets infected you will be left with a much worse scar than if you look after your piercing and it heals smoothly.

Certain people are prone to getting keloid scars. These people are more likely to get scarring at the site of the piercing. If your skin has a tendency to form keloids, you should be sure to tell your piercer before they perform the piercing.

Hepatitis C or B or HIV

Professional Piercing Kit
All your equipment needs to be sterilized before the piercing is done

If you are pierced with unclean equipment, you are at risk of contracting a bloodborne virus such as Hepatitis C or B or even HIV.

Even if you are pierced by a professional, you should make sure they autoclave (a form of sterilization) all of their equipment before they pierce you.

Allergic reaction to jewelry

Some people get allergic reactions to certain types of jewelry, usually the lower quality materials.

Steel, including top quality stainless steel, jewelry has been found to contain trace amounts of nickel, a type of metal that many people are sensitive to.

To lower your risk of having an allergic reaction to your jewelry, you should wear titanium, BioPlast/BioFlex, silver or gold jewelry and always avoid steel if you have sensitive skin or are at risk of reacting to nickel for any other reason.

Nerve damage

Professional Piercer
Get pierced by a certified piercer who knows what they are doing

You may have heard the rumour that certain piercings can result in paralysis.

Well, this is partly true in the sense that nerves can get damaged and result in loss of feeling and movement (yes, paralysis) in the respective part of the body which has been pierced.

Again, avoid this problem by making sure your piercer really knows what they are doing!


Another problem which is usually a result of using unsterilised equipment.

Avoid this problem altogether by making sure your piercer sterilizes all their equipment before using it, even if it is fresh out of the pack!

Risks of Specific Piercings

Oral Piercings

Piercings in or around the mouth are at higher risk of infection than some other piercings as the mouth is a breeding ground for bacteria.

There is also a risk of damage to the teeth, particularly if you wear ill-fitted jewelry.

Tongue piercings may also affect your speech.

Genital Piercings

Nerves around the genital area can be damaged when pierce, resulting in loss of sexual feeling  or pain during sex. You may also experience difficulty and/or pain when urinating.


As you can see, body piercings are risky business which should be taken very seriously.

You can prevent the majority of these problems by simply getting your piercing done by a professional who absolutely knows what they are doing!

You should also follow a strict aftercare routine during the healing period of your piercing.

Be safe and clean about your piercings and you should experience no such problems!

Spread the word on this important topic and share this article with your friends and family!

26 Comments on Body Piercing Health Risks – Always Put Safety First!

  1. I didn’t used to care about safety. I pierced my own nose with an earring and a needle. I also pierced my own 2nd holes in my ears. It seems crazy to me now that I would do those things. Safety is very important to me. I wish I would’ve came across something like this years and years ago!

    • Hi Gina

      I guess most of us just didn’t think about safety when we were younger – we just assume nothing will go wrong! Unfortunately not everyone gets so lucky that the self-done piercings actually go right.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Hello, excellent source of information you have because my 16 year old daughter wants to get her tongue pierced and I’m honestly not all for it but if I do decide to let her I want to make sure its done right and safe, like you described here. Thank you keep up the good work

    • Hi Jesse.

      I’m real glad you found the information on my site helpful. As long as your daughter gets her piercing done safely and looks after it there should be no problems.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. I would hope the safest way for people to pierce their genital area would be to visit a professional. Safety first are words to live by especially for this most delicate of procedures. Another great write-up. Well done Hannah!

    • I agree with you 100% – genital piercings should never be done at home! People are still stupid enough to actually do that though believe it or not. Thhat’s a line I personally would never cross.

      Thanks for your input.

  4. Wow What an extensive article on piercing health risks and always putting safety first. I never thought of any of that when I was young. I pierced my own ears after my mother denied me to do so at the mall. I think I was 13. Not very bright apparently either. LOL

    I’m glad you did post this article. It should be made into a hand out to all middle and high school kids, as they are the ones prone to doing the piercing on their own, and have no idea what they should be concerned about.

    • Hi Debra.

      This is just the problem – a lot of teens don’t think about danger and always assume that they are invincible. What they need is a reality check – I know I did when I was that age too!

      Thanks very much for reading.

  5. Great post, and certainly one that everyone considering getting a piercing should read. I had no idea how much could go so wrong. I hope those thinking about piercings will have read your very enlightening post, and hopefully reduce the associated risks.

    • Hey Hindy.

      It shocks me how little this topic is spoken about online and on TV. People will be able to enjoy their piercings much more if they do not get infected anyway!

      Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Great responsible article. Having pierced my own ears with a needle (!!) at 17 and been left with a scar on my belly from a piercing (done professionally that time!), which I removed when I was pregnant, the points you mention are really important things to consider. It’s much healthier to talk about these thing openly and make an informed decision based on the info, rather than jump into it because mum said ‘no’…:) Cheers

    • Hi Sarah.

      I’m with you 100% – there’s just too much risk involved to just stick a needle through the skin without knowing what you’re doing first. A lot of us have done it though – we learnt the hard way that it is a bad idea. Hopefully this generation of kids can learn from us and be a bit more responsible!

      Thanks for reading.

  7. It’ great that you really spelled out the possible health risks associated with body piercing. People need to be aware and make a well informed decision.

    I have my nose and belly button pierced (both by professionals). Fortunately I have never experienced any infections with the belly button piercing but I did with my nose and I can attest to how important after care of your piercing is – I was traveling in other countries at the time and wasn’t really prepared to take the best care of it.

    But it’s all good, and I still love them both, I’ve taken good care of them going forward and they really mean something to me as an avenue of self expression 🙂 Thanks for a great article!

    • Hey Jess.

      I’mm glad you posted this comment – you pointed out that if you’re travelling or have something else going on in life it can be difficult to care for your piercing properly. I think I will make a post on this topic.

      Glad to hear it all worked out in the end with your piercings anyway. Nice one.

      Thanks very much for your input.

  8. Hey Hannah,

    some really good info, thank you for that!

    I was thinking about getting a piercing a whle ago but to be honest I just could not find any that would look good on a man! Women are fine and some look really sexy on them, I especially like those bellybutton piercings! But men? Meh…

    I would love to have your opinion on that Hannah! What do you think makes a good/sexy piercing for a man?

    Best wishes,


    • Hi Philip.

      There are plenty of piercings that look great on men. Eyebrow piercings can be seen as a masculine piercing which can look very sexy. A nose ring is another classic piercing in men – wear a ring instead of a stud. Even certain ear piercings can look great on men (try a cartilage piercing at the top of your ear maybe).

      I hope this helps. If you want a piercing, go for it, don’t worry about what others think. Personally, I love guys with piercings though.


  9. Hi Hannah! Thank you for this informative post. I have two piercings on each ear, and that’s about as far as I would go. This article comes in handy as a mother to daughters who will inevitably express interest in piercings. (My first set was when I was eight years old; I was adamant it was what I wanted for my birthday.) How can you tell the piercer is a professional? Are there specific locations you would recommend or websites that list reputable places to try? Is this regulated the way tattoo parlors are?

    • Hey Carmen.

      To find a professional piercer, you first need to find a studio in your area which has high standards of hygiene. Ask to see their autoclave (for sterilization) and also have a look at their portfolio. You should ask to see the aftercare instructions before the piercing is done, if the aftercare sheet says to use alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, ointment or harsh soap/chemicals, they are not abiding by the health and safety guidelines and you should find a different piercing studio.

      In order to find out if a piercing studio is properly licensed you can phonee your local Health Department or city business license division.

      Read more about how to choose a piercer here.

      Thanks for stopping by. I hope this answers your question.

  10. Funny story, when I was 21 and ‘cool’ my friend and I decided to pierce our noses. (it was the 90s) So we bought a manual ‘punch’ loaded it up, I got drunk, we put the stud in the gun.

    I got set up with him hovering over me on a chair, with both were giggling and trying to be serious. We were ‘tough guys’ but I was scared.
    3…2…..and he punched it.

    I ran around the house like my face was on fire for 10 minutes. Worst pain ever.

    It got infected like…within hours.

    It’s good to educate people of this stuff, I’m not sure, but I have a feeling the way I did it was very wrong…lol

  11. While I have never been a fan of piercings, I am glad to see that you are pointing out the dangers inherent in doing them.

    There are some exceedingly nasty bacteria out there. MERSA and anti-biotic resistant bacteria are prevalent in many health facilities even though they are actively combatting them. It pays to do your due diligence when selecting a piercing provider and always pay attention to their cleanliness and sterile practices.

    Thanks for providing this education.

  12. Hi, I’m really glad I stumbled upon your post, i have a friend who want to get a piercing in her nose and I kept telling her that there are a lot of risks, but she would always ask me to show her something real. Now I can, and I will definitely show her your blog.
    HIV and Hepatitis seems the most scary things you can get, but infections aren’t something to neglect, so it’s important to think well before getting a piercing.

    • Hey Ashley. Piercings are relatively safe if done by a professional. It is imperative your friend goes to a reputable piercer who has has plenty of experience in nose piercing in particular. They should provide the client with a sheet of instructions and an aftercare solution. If not, everything is available on my website.

      As long as the piercing is looked after well, there should be no issues. The risk of HIV or hepatitis is low. As long as all the equipment used is brand new and completely sterile.

      Tell your friend to ask their piercer to see their autoclave when they are looking for a studio to get pierced in.

      Good luck to you and your friend. Thanks for stopping by.


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