How to Stop a Piercing From Rejecting – Prevention is Better Than Cure!

How to Stop a Piercing From Rejecting

One of the problems which occurs with piercings from time to time is piercing rejection.

Piercing rejection is caused by the body perceiving the jewelry in your piercing as a foreign object and a possible threat to your health.

As a result this causes your skin to kill the tissue on top of the piercing in an effort to push the perceived thread out, this is known as piercing migration.

If this happens to you, it may cause pain and discomfort around the piercing area and in the long run you will be left with an unsightly scar.

The good news: it is possible to prevent piercing rejection!

Here’s some tips:

How to stop a piercing from rejecting

Prevention is better than cure

The same rule applies when it comes to preventing piercing rejection.

Here are some steps you can take to prevent your piercings from rejecting:

Choose your piercer wisely

When you get a piercing done you should make sure you go to a piercer you can trust to do a good job.

Ask them about their qualifications and experience.

Check their portfolio. Be sure to look at how successfully they can do piercing which are prone to rejection such as dermal, belly button and eyebrow piercings. Old piercings and fresh piercings – how did they turn out?

Assess the piercing you want for risk of rejection

Anti eyebrow piercingCertain types of piercing are more likely to reject than others.

The piercings with the highest rate of rejection are the ones which are only held in by a thin layer of skin. Such as microdermal piercings and surface piercings, including the belly button and eyebrow.

If you do happen to get a high risk piercing done, you should opt for the largest possible gauge size. The average size a professional will use is 14G or 16G.

You should also get the piercer to check the piercing is at a sufficient depth in your skin.

Tell your piercer you are worried about your piercing rejecting. Any good piercer should know what to do to help prevent it!

Wear the right jewelry

Titanium BarbellOne common cause of rejection is wearing the wrong type of jewelry.

For example wearing heavy jewelry with a small gauge size is more likely to cause migration than higher quality body jewelry which is specially designed so that the size and weight balance out.

You should also choose titanium over steel as the body is more likely to accept titanium as safe. Glass is also a good option.

Cleanse frequently

If your piercing is freshly done, you should be cleansing twice a day!

You can either use saline solution or anti-bacterial soap. If you really want to be sure your piercing is getting a good cleansing, you should purchase yourself a piercing aftercare product or kit.

Even if you’ve had your piercing for a while, it is still good practice to cleanse it once a week. You should also clean your jewelry each time you clean your piercing.

Know the piercing rejection symptoms

How to stop a piercing from rejectionTo know for sure if your piercing is rejecting, you should keep your eyes peeled for the following symptoms:

  • Sore, red and sensitive
  • The hole appears bigger
  • Skin on top of piercing is looking thinner than usual
  • jewelry hanging differently in the hole

If you spot any of these symptoms, keep an eye on in for a few days. If the symptoms persist or worsen you should go and see your piercer so they can tell you what is going on and what can be done.

What to do if your piercing is rejecting

Once your body has started to reject a piercing, there is not really much you can do to reverse or even stop it.

If you have a piercing which has already started rejecting what you should go and see your piercer.

They will remove the jewelry in order to prevent scarring and other complications you could experience. You should not try to remove the jewelry yourself as it could cause the infection to get sealed inside the skin and turn into a cyst.


Nape piercingMany people fear that if one piecing rejects then that means that all of the future piercing they get will reject too.

Well, you’ll be glad to hear that this is not the case.

Follow the above steps next time you get a piercing to be sure that your piercing does not reject.

If you are considering getting a piercing on a part of your body where you’ve experienced rejection before, you should take extra care to take all the precautions.

You might be better off just getting a lower risk piercing, such as some form of cartilage piercing.


It’s not only fresh piercings that can start rejecting. I know people who have had piercings which are well healed and over a year old start rejecting on them!

Some people’s immune systems are just naturally more sensitive so they are more prone to piercing rejection.

If you carefully select your piercer, your jewelry and the actual piercing you get, you will drastically lower the chance of your piercing getting rejected by your body!

If you have ever had a piercing reject on you or if you have any tips on how to stop a piercing from rejecting, let us know by leaving a comment.

12 Comments on How to Stop a Piercing From Rejecting – Prevention is Better Than Cure!

  1. hi Hannah
    wow that sounds a tad scary….That one could have a piercing for a while and then the body starts rejecting it. I would be scared to have a piercing on my face, and then be left with a scar. I have enough scars as it is from all my clumsiness! But it seems like with good care it is possible to somewhat prevent the rejection, even if all immune systems might be different.

    • Hey Emily.

      It is freaky when a piercing gets rejected, I had it happen to a surface piercing a couple of years ago. As long as you do not let the piercing migrate too far, the scar it leaves is not really too bad.

      Cheers for reading.

  2. Hi Hannah, thanks for this informative article. It is important to alert everyone with body piercing about the symptoms of piercing rejection. Prevention is really better than cure.

  3. I do not understand why you would want to use a bigger gauge, it seems like that would just leave a bigger hole. However, I do not know much about piercing, I have only pierced my ears, but I have not worn my fake diamonds, lol, in 10 plus years. (I still have a scar on my left ear!)

    Is our body more likely to reject the piercing if there is more skin in that area? If we notice that our body is rejecting the piercing and we take it out, how long do we have before it closes up and a possible cyst develops?

    • Hi Travis.

      The reason smaller gauges increase the chance of a piercing rejecting is because the thin jewelry creates a ‘cheese slicing’ effect, like cutting cheese with a thin piece of wire. The thinner the wire, the sharper it is for cutting. Same concept applies to piercings.

      More skin in the area is not really a cause of rejection, actually it is quite the opposite: the piercing being close to the skin’s surface with a thin layer of skin on top is more likely to be a cause.

      If you notice your body is rejecting a piercing, you should have it removed as soon as you are certain it is rejecting and there is nothing else you can do. The sooner the better. It is best to have a professional remove the jewelry for you, as they know how to do it without causing a cyst (there is no set amount of time for this happening).

      Thanks for reading, hope I have answered your questions.

  4. That’s really odd that existing/old piercings can also randomly reject! I’m guessing that the cause for this happening would have to be some kind of dirt or grime getting in under the piercing and irritating the hole?

    It seems a little strange that this could cause rejection if the wound is already healed up, but I guess it is one plausible explanation. In those people that you know who have had an old piercing reject, do you know if that was because they didn’t keep it clean?

    • Hey Jolie.

      Yes, it’s very odd when an old piercing starts rejecting. There’s a high chance that dirt or grime getting under the piercing was a cause, for sure. One of these people who had their piercing reject had redness and soreness in the piercing for weeks before they noticed it was migrating. It was definitely irritated and they should have been cleansing it a bit more often than they had been.

      So to answer your question, dirt or grime getting under the piercing could certainly trigger the piercing rejecting.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  5. It Alexey:)
    Very interesting post you have – I especially like the way you write freely about piercings in such places with a thin skin. Usually people get disgusted only thinking about it. I dont agree with them, and I kinda like your post 🙂
    My girfriend has some scars of those piercings from the past, so I am familiar with this “thing”.
    Nice alternatives on preventing them, very cool and unique post, keep on !!

    • Thanks very much Alexey!

      I’m so glad you enjoyed reading my post. These things need to be spoken about – otherwise infection can happen and that can be real nasty!

      Thanks again for your kind words!

  6. I had a daith piercing that rejected after only having it for less than 3 months. Nothing like this has ever happened as my other piercings have been fine, so it was quite scary and I was home alone for hours so couldn’t actually see what had happened! I’m gutted though coz I had it done for my migraines and it was actually helping keep them at bay!

    • Hey Geri. Sorry to hear about your daith piercing rejecting. It is a scary experience having a piercing reject. Do you know whether your jewelry was steel or titanium? Also, what gauge size was the piercing? If you decide to get the piercing redone, get it done in the next gauge size up and wear titanium jewelry. Although there is still risk of rejection.

      Thanks for reading.

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