Piercing is a medical manipulation, a form of body modification, a procedure for creating a puncture on the face or body in which jewelry is worn. The term «piercing» itself can refer both to the process of piercing and to the holes made by piercing.
The most popular area for piercings is the earlobe, other popular areas are the ear cartilage, eyebrow, nose, tongue, lips, navel, nipples and genitals. Piercing is one of the most fashionable trends in facial and body jewelry today. This phenomenon has existed throughout the history of mankind. The history of piercing began with the rituals of tribal peoples. For example, even the American Indians pierced the nasal septum, and in Africa, the pierced tongue meant belonging to a particular tribe; in ancient Egypt, body jewelry was considered the privilege of the upper class and priests.
How the procedure goes?
Most basic piercing options use special sterile piercing tools and needles. A piercing gun with sterile nozzles is used today only occasionally and exclusively for earlobe piercing.
Before the piercing procedure, a consultation is always held, it is necessary to determine the location of the piercing, assess the anatomical features of the chosen area and decide on the possibility of the piercing in the chosen place. Contraindications for the procedure are identified.
Before the procedure, the practitioner should find out the following risk factors:
- The presence of chronic skin diseases,
- decompensated heart failure;
- any stages of kidney disease;
- oncological diseases,
- allergic diseases, bronchial asthma;
- age less than 18 years,
- infectious diseases (acute and chronic),
- diabetes, other endocrine diseases
- tendency to keloid and hypertrophic scars formation
- what medications are you taking or planning to take;
- do you smoke;
- do you sunbathe often;
- how active you are in sports.
Depending on the area of the piercing, is also important to choose the right shape, size, diameter and weight of the jewelry. All threaded or pressed jewelry should have internal threads (there should be no threads on the posts). The most often «rods», «labrets», «rings», «circulars», «micro bananas», «plugs», «nostrils», «spirals», and «clusters» are installed.
A wide selection of jewelry allows a patient to choose the right option. There are both simple jewelry and jewelry with windups in the form of all kinds of figures. Often the jewelry can be inlaid with semi-precious and precious stones.
Types of piercing:
Piercing procedure – stages of puncture healing
The most important stage is coming. The piercer marks the point at the chosen piercing point and once again clarifies with the patient the correctness of its location. Then the piercing area is processed. The procedure is performed with sterile, disposable needles and instruments. The jewelry is placed immediately after the puncture. The time of puncture and installation of the jewelry usually takes no more than a minute.
Each puncture goes through three stages of healing.
The first stage is inflammatory, it is characterized by such processes as slight bleeding, bruising, swelling, and secretion of body fluids. This phenomenon is observed in the first few days after the puncture.
The second stage is growth or active wound healing; the duration of the stage depends on the nature of the puncture. At this time, new cells begin to grow from the edges of the wound to the center. The cells fuse until they completely cover the wound. At this stage, the new skin is still very tender and can be easily injured. Therefore, at this stage, it is recommended to avoid touching the piercing, scrolling the jewelry in the channel, pulling and changing to a new piece of jewelry. It is recommended to replace the primary product only after complete healing and by your piercer.
The third stage is maturation or recovery. It lasts from several months to several years. The puncture is lined with cells from the inside. With proper care, the right channel is formed. This is the final phase, after which any impact on the puncture will no longer be unpleasant.
The piercer gives recommendations on how to take care of the piercing. Depending on the location of the piercing, the frequency of treatment, the period of healing and the specifics of care are determined.
The healing time of the piercing significantly depends on its location. The reason for this is that the type of tissue in each area is different, and the degree of pressure exerted on the place of the piercing is also different. Thus, the healing of genital piercing can take months, and the complete healing of the navel piercing in some cases takes 6 months to a year, earlobe piercing — 8 weeks, ear cartilage piercing — 6 months to a year, nose wings piercing — 2 to 4 months, tongue piercing — 4 to 6 weeks, lip piercing — 2 to 6 months.
Piercing Aftercare Advice Sheet
How to take care of a new piercing?
To prevent infection, follow these steps:
- Clean the piercing twice a day in accordance with the piercer recommendations and also wear a bandage when prescribed.
- Avoid touching the piercing with dirty hands, wash your hands with antibacterial soap before treatment.
- Do not injure the piercing site, do not touch, scroll, move or remove the jewelry.
- Refrain from visiting saunas, baths, swimming pools, bathing in reservoirs, as well as sun beds and excessive exposure to the sun.
- Avoid prolonged presence of the piercing in water. During the first 2-3 days, exclude contact with water, with oral piercings when brushing teeth, use clean boiled water at room temperature.
- DO NOT use antibacterial ointments, as they do not let the air and trap bacteria.
- DO NOT use hydrogen peroxide, Betadine®, Hibiclens®, Bactine® (or other products containing benzalkonium chloride or BZK), medical alcohol or strong antibacterial soaps as they can irritate the skin around the piercing and prevent tissue healing.
Preventing infection is easy. It doesn’t take long to keep your piercing clean, and if you keep it clean, you’re less likely to get complications. The following guidelines are especially important during the healing process. However, you can also follow these safety precautions even after the piercing is fully healed.
- Rinse the punctured skin after exercise, as sweat can irritate the piercing.
- Do not allow the piercing site to come in contact with other people’s body fluids, such as saliva and sweat. Do not have oral sex for 4-6 weeks if you have a tongue, lip or genital piercing.
- DO NOT allow anyone to touch, kiss or lick the piercing (for example, the earlobe) while it is still healing.
How to take care of In-Mouth Piercing?
- Rinse the tongue or lip piercing after every meal, snack and before going to bed (4-5 times a day) throughout the healing period. Rinse for 30-60 seconds after meals with an alcohol-free antibacterial mouthwash or warm salt water. Use a new toothbrush with soft bristles.
- During healing, avoid kissing and contact with other body fluids, such as saliva or semen.
- Avoid sharing cups, plates and utensils (forks, knives, spoons, etc.).
- Eat healthy foods in small pieces. Do not eat spicy, salty or acidic foods or liquids during the healing process.
- Avoid hot drinks such as hot chocolate, coffee and tea.
- Eat cold food and drinks as they reduce swelling. Be especially careful when eating crunchy food.
- Watch for signs of infection, which may include one or more of the following: redness, swelling, discharge, unpleasant odor, a rash in or around the puncture site, or fever. If you think you have an infection, DO NOT try to treat it yourself. Make an appointment with your doctor.
- Continue to see your dentist for regular check-ups and when problems arise. Studies have shown that people who have in-mouth piercing are much more likely to have injuries to their teeth and gums.
Piercing is an important decision. We hope this Advice Sheet answers your questions and helps you understand all the possible risks so you can make the best decision. If you do decide to have a piercing, we hope that you will follow the safety aftercare guidelines.
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