Infected piercings can be a painful and often horrible-looking side of getting any piercing. And even when people take relatively good care of their piercings, there is still a decent chance that the piercing may become infected. However, since the piercing may not look or feel good, you may be tempted to remove it, but is this something you should do? Should you take out an infected piercing?
Removing any piercing, especially a newly acquired and infected one, can result in the piercing closing causing more issues or the need to get the piercing redone. For this reason, it is inadvisable to remove an infected piercing unless a professional piercer or doctor tells you that you should.
Though you may think you know what an infected piercing will look like, it is possible that your piercing is irritated instead. Before you see a doctor, you should make sure that your piercing is, in fact, infected, and even then, there are some steps you can take that may help you sort out the problem. Though some infected piercings may need the help of a doctor, some may be easy to treat without professional help.
What To Do With An Infected Piercing
If you have a fresh piercing that has become infected, it is essential that you not remove it without the instruction getting given by a doctor or professional piercer. If you take out your piercing, there is a chance that your piercing may close and cause more severe issues if the infection is “trapped inside.”
However, since you are not supposed to remove an infected piercing, there has to be something you can do to take care of it or make sure it heals. Luckily, there are some easy steps you can take and things you can do to ensure your infected piercing will heal and may not even need the intervention of a doctor or professional piercer.
How To Take Care Of An Infected Piercing:
Though some more heavily infected piercings may result in needing professional help, there are some easy steps you can follow to take care of an infected piercing that isn’t too bad. However, it is essential that you leave the piercing as is and do not remove the jewelry. The steps and tips below can help you care for an infected piercing when done correctly.
- Clean Your Hands Before Touching Your Piercing – The first and possibly one of the most critical steps to help you take care of an infected piercing is keeping your hands clean. You must properly clean your hands before you touch your piercing; this is also advisable even if your piercing is not infected.
If you do not clean your hands before touching or working with your piercing, you may cause the infection to worsen or spread.
- Prepare A Sterile Saline Solution – Though some people say it is best to buy saline, most people recommend using warm water to dissolve salt to clean your infected piercings. However, if you choose to make your saltwater solution, it is essential not to use water that is too hot on your piercing. Instead, allow it some time to cool to a lukewarm temperature before applying it.
- Gently Clean The Infected Piercing – Now that you have your saltwater mixture, you should use a cotton ball or something soaked in the solution to clean the piercing gently. You should not remove the piercing while doing this; instead, move slowly around the piercing and over the jewelry that goes through the skin.
While cleaning the piercing, it is best to ensure you remove any dirt, debris, or crust forming around the site of the piercing.
- Dry The Piercing With A Paper Towel – Once the piercing site is clean, you can gently dry it using a paper towel. Though it may seem apparent, you should ensure that the paper towel you use is clean and unused to ensure that you are not causing the infection to worsen after washing it.
- Apply An Antibiotic Cream Or Other Ointment (Optional) – Depending on who you ask; you should now apply an antibiotic or other ointment to the infected area. However, some claim these ointments may worsen infection or slow healing and that you should not use them on your piercings.
The best way to ensure you are taking good care of your infected piercing is to ask your piercer or a doctor whether you should apply an ointment and which ointment they recommend.
- Move Your Piercing Around Gently (But Not Too Much) – Now that the piercing is taken care of, but before you touch anything else, you should gently move your piercing to ensure it does not stick to the healing skin. Most of the time, the easiest way to do this is to turn or rotate the piercing in the same place.
However, if you move the piercing too often, you may cause the area to heal slower or become agitated, so ensure that you do not treat it harshly or touch it too much.
- Seek Medical Help – If you have followed the steps above and listened to your piercer’s recommendation, but the infection is not improving, you may need to consult a doctor. It is essential not to wait too long before seeking medical help, as the more significant the infection becomes, the bigger the risk.
Why Do Piercings Become Infected?
Now that we have discussed what to do to ensure your piercing heals as it should, it is good to look at what causes piercing infections to help us avoid another infection. Piercings are naturally prone to infections, and there are many reasons you may develop one, even when you take relatively good care of your piercing; below are the most common reasons.
Unsterile Equipment Or Area
One of the most apparent reasons for infections is, unfortunately, because of the person doing the piercing. If the piercer you use does not clean their equipment, workspace, or make sure to use sterile tools or jewelry, this may cause your piercing to become infected. It is always best to discuss and ask questions before deciding on a piercer to ensure you can trust them.
You’re Not Cleaning Your Piercing Enough Or Correctly
Another reason you may develop an infection in your piercing area is because the site doesn’t get cleaned regularly, or you are using dirty tools or hands. You should clean your piercings twice to three times a day, never reuse something like cotton or gauze, and ensure your hands are washed and clean before touching the piercing. You should also not remove your piercing during this process.
When Should You Consult A Doctor?
If you have had a piercing infection for a while without noticing, or your condition continues to spread or worsen, you should consult a doctor to help you. It is also best to see a professional doctor if your infection is causing a lot of pus or swelling. In severe cases, infected piercings may even cause headaches or fever; for these, we recommend calling a doctor as soon as possible.
Though you may get tempted to remove a piercing if it becomes infected, you should only do so if you have a professional’s order. If you remove a piercing when it is infected, it may worsen. Luckily, there are easy-to-follow steps you can use that may help you resolve the problem before it requires medical intervention.
Some of my favorite designs, tattoo books, and aftercare products, selected for you
Thank you for reading my article, I hope that you have found it helpful. If you would have trouble finding ideas for your tattoo, wonder what is meaning of design that you have found or what to buy for aftercare, to make sure that your tattoo will be healing quickly and easily, here are some of my favorite products in one place, hope that this will also help.
Design and tattoo ideas
For some ideas you can have a look at those 3 books with hundreds of designs that I use with my clients, they are available on Amazon for Kindle or in classic, paper version (links below):
- Great Book of Tattoo Designs, Revised Edition: More than 500 Body Art Designs (Fox Chapel Publishing) Fantasy, Celtic, Floral, Wildlife, and Symbol Designs for the Skin by Lora Irish
- The Big Book of Small Tattoos – Vol.1: 400 small original tattoos for women and men by Roberto Gemori
- Tiny Tattoos: Over 1,000 Small Inspirational Artworks by Rebecca Vincent.
If you would like to read more about the meaning of different tattoo styles and designs before you will decide what you would like to have, I can recommend a book that was really useful for me when I was starting my tattoo adventure – it’s “Conscious Ink: The Hidden Meaning of Tattoos” by Lisa Barretta (through the link you can find it on Amazon for around $10).
The skin at the tattoo site often dries out. To prevent it and speed up healing for my clients, I usually recommend one of those tattoo aftercare balms (you can find them on Amazon):