Body Piercing- Procedures, Risks, Precautions, and Aftercare Tips

Nowadays, body piercing is trendy. Piercings can be seen on practically every body part, including the brows, ears, nose, navel, chin, lips, and even the tongue. Some people even get their private parts pierced. Piercing is often safe when carried out in a sterile, professional setting. Even with attentive care, piercings take time to heal. Normal healing times may vary depending on the location of the piercing, and extra care is required.

Piercing procedure

Skin piercing often involves inserting a surgical needle into a body area to create a puncture. This can also be done with a scalpel or a dermal punch. Piercing guns are sometimes used to lower the amount of pain and discomfort.

Risks associated with piercing

To minimize the risk of exposure to blood-borne infections (HIV, tetanus, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C), body piercing should be performed only using fresh, sterilized needles. Even in a sterile (germ-free) environment, some common concerns of piercing include bacterial inflammation, allergies, abscesses (pus-filled, painful patches of skin), swelling or nerve damage, and persistent bleeding.

Piercing precautions

A variety of safety measures must be taken to ensure that the procedure of body piercing is safe and infection-free. In general, it’s best to consult a doctor before getting a piercing if the person has diabetes, a heart condition, a weak immune system, is pregnant, or takes herbal supplements.

Here are some important precautions to follow:

  •       A person must confirm before that if they have any allergic reaction to any particular metal. For example- Nickel can cause skin irritations in some people.
  •       The piercing wound must be cleaned following the appropriate directions, or it can lead to continuous pain, redness, itching, swelling, and bleeding.
  •       Special care must be taken to prevent accidental pulling out of jewelry from freshly pierced areas. Accidental tugging can lead to critical medical restoration or stitches.


Aftercare Prevention of Infection

All piercings need specific care, but some need more attention than others. To avoid infection and promote healing, several aftercare procedures should be done. The most crucial step in preventing infection is to keep the piercing area clean.

  •       Hands should be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized before touching the pierced region or any jewelry to prevent bacterial contamination.
  •       A suitable solution should be used to clean the pierced area for the full length of time needed for recovery.
  •       Application of chemicals and perfume must be avoided on the pierced parts. Proper cleaning is a must after applying shampoo or soap.
  •       The sleeping bed, pillows, and comforters must be kept clean.
  •       Jewelry must be taken off frequently and cleaned with a cotton pad or swabs to remove the crusts. Proper air contact is important for the pierced zone.

A piercing in the ear (helix) penetrates through cartilage and takes around 2-3 months to recover. During that time, it must be cleaned a minimum of twice a day. For six to eight weeks, tongue piercings must be cleaned at least a dozen times a day with antibacterial mouthwash. Navel piercings need to be cleaned twice a day for at least nine months, then every day in the shower after that.


Body piercing salons often offer clients cleansing solutions. These solutions often include benzalkonium chloride (an active element in Bactine) that needs to be diluted with three parts water to clean the pierced area. It is recommended to refrain from using alcohol since its strong acidic nature can harm newly formed healing tissue.

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