Some of the most common questions I get asked about piercings are:
“Is my piercing infected?” and “What should I use to treat my infected piercing?”
Well, seeing as so many people experience the problem of an infected piercing, I figured I should write a post for you guys on how to care for an infected piercing.
Anyone who has piercings could benefit from knowing about infection.
That way, if you do ever happen to get an infection on any of your piercings (hopefully you won’t though), at least you will know what to do!
So, why do piercings get infected?
There are a few ways I could answer this question as there is more than one possible cause for an infected piercing.
Let’s go over some of the main ones.
The main causes for an infected piercing are:
Lack of aftercare in a new piercing. Not cleaning often enough or thoroughly enough
- Sensitive skin reacting to the jewelry you are wearing. For instance, many people are sensitive to jewelry which contains nickel. Nickel is often found in lower quality jewelry and also in steel.
- A bit of dirt may have got stuck in between the jewelry and the skin. For oral piercings this could be a bit of food.
- Getting pierced with a piercing gun.
- Over-cleaning of a piercing.
- Infection is more likely if you done the piercing yourself.
As you can see, most of these causes are due to not taking proper care of the piercing or wearing the wrong jewelry. Therefore, infection is easier to prevent than it is to cure.
Prevent piercing infection
It is always good practice to take the necessary steps in order to prevent piercing infection.
If your piercing was recently done you should be sure to cleanse it thoroughly twice a day. You could clean your piercing using saline solution (warm salty water) or you could purchase a professional cleansing solution here.
If your piercing is already healed up you should still be cleansing it fairly frequently, say once a week or more if you feel it needs it.
You should also be cleaning your body jewelry whenever you change it. This includes cleaning new jewelry before wearing it.
Another suggestion I would like to make is that you refrain from wearing cheap jewelry. If you have sensitive skin you may even want to avoid wearing stainless steel, as I said it has been known to contain traces of nickel which can cause irritation.
Get yourself some titanium, BioPlast, gold or silver jewelry. You can find a large variety in the jewelry pages on this site.
What are the symptoms of an infected piercing?
When a piercing is healing it is common to experience some soreness, redness and swelling.
If these symptoms do not get any better or worsen this may be a sign that your piercing is getting infected.
Symptoms may vary slightly between different piercings. Each person may also experience the symptoms differently.
Some of the symptoms you should look out for are:
- Severe swelling with soreness and redness
- Discharge with a foul smell and/or unusual colour such as grey, yellow, green or brown
- Fever like symptoms. Nausea and vomiting, chills, headache, dizziness.
- Piercing radiates heat.
- Sharp pains whilst touching the area.
- Excessive non-stop bleeding
If you notice one or more of these symptoms you probably have an infection and should take action immediately.
What to do if your piercing is infected
If you suspect that your piercing has gotten infected, you should not ignore it and expect it to go away. Infections can spread, make you very sick and do long-term damage to your health. They can even be fatal!
I must warn you that you must not remove the jewelry from the infected piercing. This would allow the piercing to close up and cause the skin to heal over the infection – so the infection would be growing under your skin, on the inside of your body. This could turn in to an abscess.
Cleanse your piercing
Continue dong what you’re doing, just take extra care doing it!
I would recommend you cleanse with saline solution or a professional piercing aftercare solution or spray.
Aftercare procedures vary slightly for different piercings, particularly whilst infected so you may want to look up the specific instructions for the piercing you’ve got. Just remember that what you read online is not medical advice.
Use a warm compress
A cotton pad soaked in warm salty water is your best bet.
Just hold it on the affected area with moderate pressure. This will encourage blood-flow and help fluids drain from the area.
See your piercer
Infection should be taken seriously so you should see your piercer as soon as possible.
If this is not possible or if you pierced yourself, book an appointment with your doctor.
For severe a infection you may be prescribed anti-biotics. For a mild infection you will be given specific instructions on what you should do in order to clear the infection.
You must not put this off – the longer you leave it the worse it could get. You could end up with a nasty scar and a myriad of other nasty side-effects.
If you have the slightest suspicion that your piercing is getting infected, you should be sure to take action straight away.
Assess your symptoms, keep it clean and most importantly go and see your piercer or doctor.
Better still, keep your piercing clean and wear quality jewelry and you may not have to go through any of this.
I hope you have learnt something from reading this article. Let me know your thoughts on this matter by leaving a comment.
Also, help spread the word and make your pierced friends aware of infection in piercings by sharing this post (the share buttons are at the top of the post).