Piercing Risks For the person being hit, wearing a piercing always means taking certain Piercing Risks. A sizeable English study with over 10,000 participants found that about one in three of all piercings had complications. According to the survey, around half of those affected sought advice or help from their piercer or a doctor Piercing Risks.
Since piercings are initially an open wound, the most common complications are bleeding, infection and swelling.
Every piercing carries the risk of infection, as germs can penetrate the open wound. Therefore, in addition to the suitability and working method of the piercer, hygiene and careful care play a unique role.
If a piercing becomes infected, this leads to typical signs at the pierced area:
- Strong warming of the skin/wound
- Skin hypersensitivity
- Possibly pus formation
Also, tissue can tear out if the piercing “gets stuck”, and the wearer can react allergic (for example, to the nickel contained in the jewellery). If a piercing festers, the infection can spread to other organs via the blood and lead to blood poisoning (sepsis) or inflammation of the heart valves ( endocarditis ).
Other possible complications from piercings are proliferating scars and nerve injuries. But there are not only complications arising directly from the piercing:
There is a real risk of infectious diseases such as hepatitis from improperly sterilised instruments(Inflammation of the liver) or contracting HIV. Clean disposable material and functional devices prevent this.
Piercings in the genital area can, depending on the type and location, injure the urethra ( Prince Albert piercing in men), larger blood vessels or nerves on the penis can be damaged. Infections can develop in both men and women in the genital area to the internal organs and trigger inflammation there, which can have serious consequences – up to infertility.
Other problems that can occur after a piercing: The wound heals poorly, scars form or – in the case of a tongue or lip piercing – damage to teeth and gums occurs.
How often complications arise with a piercing depends on several things:
- Where on the body do you wear the piercing?
- Is the piercing wearer healthy?
- What material is the piercing made of?
- How experienced is the piercer?
- What are the hygienic conditions when piercing?
- How good is the aftercare?
If you want to get pierced, you should consider the following: Tongue piercings, genital piercings and nipple piercings seem particularly often to bring complications with them. According to a study, piercings in the genital area are the most complicated in the age group from 16 to 24 years, followed by piercings on the nipples, tongue, navel, ear and nose.
Piercings through the cartilage of the ear are more prone to infection than piercings through the earlobe. This is because cartilage has a more deficient supply of blood. Treating disease in the ear cartilage is also tricky and sometimes has to be done surgically, i.e. with an operation. In extreme cases, the doctor will remove part of the ear, resulting in permanent deformation.
Another important aspect is the craftsmanship of the piercer. One study produced a clear result: Piercings done by a layperson are more likely to be associated with complications than professionally done ones.
Therefore, experts advise: do not get pierced by a friend, relative or non-specialized provider who does not have sufficient experience and appropriate equipment and hygiene. It would help if you didn’t shoot yourself either.
Visit several piercing studios and get detailed advice without obligation. Pay attention to hygiene when visiting and get an impression of the piercer. The chemistry between you and the person treating should be correct.
It would help if you asked the piercer a few questions to understand better what has happened. This is the only way to find out how the piercers work in the studio, how high the quality is and how professionally and sensibly the staff in the studio deal with problems.
To clarify these questions, a piercing should always be preceded by a consultation. This is also about protecting yourself from infection by informing yourself about the requirements.
It is essential to know
- how much experience the piercer has or where he learned to pierce,
- how the piercing instruments are cleaned, sterilised and stored,
- whether a suitable, functional sterilisation device (so-called autoclave) is available in a separate room,
- whether ear piercing guns are used (you should refuse this and ask for disposable material such as a sterile cannula),
- whether the piercer wears disposable gloves (possibly clean) and suitable work clothing when piercing,
- what material is used when the piercing is used for the first time (until the wound has healed),
- whether the piercer includes anatomy, age and ideas of the customer in the consultation,
- who to turn to in the event of a complication,
- whether a follow-up examination is part of the offer (highly recommended!),
- how to properly care for your piercing (preferably in the form of written instructions),
- how long it will take for the piercing to heal and
- where there is severe further information.
If your piercer explains all these points comprehensibly and comprehensively and documents the conversation in a declaration of consent, the chances are good that he is working professionally.