Risks in Piercing

  • Allergic reaction to ingredients in products used to clean the new piercing, or of ancillary products used in proximity to the piercing (e.g., soap, hydrogen peroxide, isopropyl alcohol, antibacterial products, antiseptic medicines, makeup, hairspray, swimming pool chlorine, etc.). This risk can be minimized by cleaning the piercing as recommended by a professional body piercer (different piercers will have differing recommendations), by not contaminating the fresh piercing with irritating products, and by not swimming in chlorinated water. Safe All Natural Piercing Aftercare
  • Allergic reaction to the metal in the piercing jewelry, particularly nickel. This risk can be minimized by using high quality jewelry manufactured from surgical stainless steel or similar inert metals.
  • Bacterial infection, particularly from Staphylococcus aureus. However, this risk is greatly reduced when the piercing is performed by a professional body piercer using best practice piercing techniques, and when appropriate steps are taken during the aftercare period to avoid infection. Blunt force piercing, such as that associated with the use of ear piercing instruments, increases the chance of a bacterial infections. For that reason, among others, piercing guns should never be used to pierce any part of the body other than earlobes.
  • Viral infection, particularly from hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. However, it is important to note that although hepatitis has been transmitted through the practices of ear piercing, body piercing, and tattooing, there has not yet been a case of HIV transmission associated with these procedures (see CDC Fact Sheet: HIV and Its Transmission). As with bacterial infections, the risk of viral infection is minimized when proper piercing techniques are used, particularly by the use of autoclaved disposable piercing needles and the autoclaving of jewelry prior to installation.
  • Keloid formation can sometimes occur, particularly among people who are pre-disposed to this condition through heredity.
  • Excess scar tissue, which can be caused by improper piercing, cleansing, and stretching. This may result in loss of sensation and difficulty piercing and stretching that area of skin in the future.

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