Body piercings are becoming increasingly popular than before. But these practices, which cross the protective barrier of the skin, are not without risk. What are these health risks, and how can they be avoided?
Body Piercing is another wildly popular mode of body art. In this type of body alteration, a piercing artist uses a needle to pierce a hole in the body. They then fit a piece of jewelry into that hole.
As piercings have grown in popularity, these procedures have health risks. Before you decide to alter your body, it is important to understand these procedures’ unwanted side effects.
Types of body piercing
Health risks that involve in body piercing
Infection at the piercing site can occur in some cases. It is usually bacterial and due to unsanitary piercing practices or negligence in applying the necessary aftercare. Depending on where the infection occurs, a variety of problems maybe encounter. Common infection complications include:
Mouth infection: This can lead to difficulty speaking and eating. Swelling of the tongue can block the airway.
Nipple infection: This can cause scar tissue that, in women, can make it difficult to breastfeed in the future.
Systemic infection: An infection that begins at a piercing site can become blood-borne and systemic, spreading throughout the body.
In tongue piercings, the jewelry worn can chip and crack your teeth and damage your gums. Swelling of the tongue after a new puncturing can affect swallowing and chewing- and sometimes breathing.
If a body piercing has not been cared for properly, it can take much longer to heal if the proper equipment is not used during the procedure. Or worse, not heal at all. Delayed healing can also increase the risk of infection.
Placing a foreign metal object through your skin can lead to complications. Stainless steel is the commonly used metal, but options such as solid gold (unfilled or plated), titanium, and niobium can also decrease allergic reaction risk and should use in all first-time piercings.
Metals such as nickel often cause contact dermatitis. It is vital to discuss metal allergies and hypoallergenic metal options with your piercer before proceeding. It can lead to infection, a rash, and overall more pain than usual if you react.
If the piercing equipment infects the blood, you can contract various blood-borne diseases, including hepatitis B, hepatitis C, tetanus, and HIV.
Tissue swelling (edema)
These can often occur after piercing. Those who have tongue piercings are particularly at risk for developing edema. Because of the expected swelling, a more extended bar is placed through the tongue at first but will need to be replaced once the swelling heals. Although the swelling should decrease with proper care, there is a risk that excessive swelling of the tongue can block the airway, causing a medical emergency.
Tear or trauma
Jewelry can be accidentally caught and torn off, possibly requiring stitches or other repairs.
Any breaking or tearing of the skin that occurs during the piercing may cause scarring. In some cases, keloids (excessive, thick scars) may develop at the piercing site.
How to avoid the risks?
- Before getting pierced, it is essential to make sure you are serious about the professional; his activity as a piercing professional must declare to the Regional Health Agency. Make sure that he respects the necessary hygiene rules
- The area to be pierced should be cleaned with an antiseptic solution;
- The person performing the piercing must have washed their hands, wear disposable gloves and use a sterile disposable needle;
- The jewelry must be supplied sterile in airtight packaging. These must remain in place for at least six months.
Take good care of your piercing
- Wash your hands before handling the piercing;
- Clean the piercing using a mild antiseptic;
- Clean mouth piercings with a mouthwash
- Don’t play with your piercings
- Disinfect twice a day for about three weeks, then more frequently until complete healing;
- During the healing period, it is necessary to have rigorous hygiene, to avoid swimming and exposure to the sun.
- Keep the jewelry in place for about six months before you think of removing it.
- At the slightest sign of infection (redness, swelling, itching, etc.), consult a physician.