Professional piercers know much more about body piercing than the average person, so this in mind, you have to pick a course of action. Start by seeing your piercer as soon as possible. Infections are easy to treat so long as they are handled quickly and properly. Remember removing the jewellery from and infected piercing is not going to make things any better as a matter of fact it can take a simple problem and compound it into an abscess. Your piercer will go through a checklist of things with you.
Questions you should be asked
- When did you clean your piercing last?
- What did you clean your piercing with?
- How often are you cleaning your piercing?
- How did you use the cleaning products?
- Did you put anything else on the piercing? (i.e.: Polysporin, Neosporin, baby oil etc.)
- What have you done in the last 3 days? (i.e.: go swimming, hot tub, tanning, etc.)
- Have you started any new medications lately?
Generally an infection can take 24 to 48 hour to develop in most cases it’s quicker than that, but usually a day or two has it humming pretty good. This in mind you should think about your aftercare and what you have done to cause the infection.
What do you mean, what I have done? Yes, You! Only you can prevent infections.
And it is true, none of the infected piercings I have seen in my experience as a body piercer, have ever just happened they were caused by the piercee and a lack of good judgment.
We are talking about professionally done piercings, by a qualified, trained and experienced body piercer who uses only the best materials and jewellery in a clean environment. We are not including screw ups like the so called "ear piercing specialists" and the countless other unlicensed idiots with piercing guns not to mention the do it yourself Bozos. For these cases, don’t waste a professional piercers time with stupidity, go see your doctor or the local walk-in clinic.
Once the piercer has determined the cause of the infection, usually one or two of the points above have tripped a few switches and it’s clear that Dave’s hot tub was not the cleanest place on earth last Saturday. The piercer will repeat the aftercare instruction for the piercing you have and send you on your way. Generally cleaning the piercing properly with a good cleaning agent (Soft Soap, anti-bacterial soap) and flushing the piercing with plenty of running water will usually turn an infection around within 24 hours.
However in the case of septum piercings, oral piercings and some exotic piercings this may not be the case and you may be sent to see your doctor with a list of instructions from your piercer. We have been talking about simple infections that you spot and jump on right away.
If you have neglected your piercing and you are to the point of fever and chills, you have waited too long. Go to the hospital without delay and I mean now! T.S.S. (Toxic Shock Syndrome) is not just limited to misuse of tampons, this can be applied to infections in piercings that have been ignored. This can be fatal and is imperative that you seek medical attention YESTERDAY!
If a piercing is discharging green puss and is distended, red and very sore to the touch, swelling of glands and muscle stiffness then medical attention is a priority.
Basic Common Sense
If you keep an eye on your piercings and be aware of what your body is telling you, your health and your piercings will be just fine. Clean your piercings when you bathe or shower. Use gentle cleaning products correctly and remember that more is not better. Shower after swimming or hot tubing. Don’t apply oils, salves, lotions or any other crud to your piercings if they are not over a year old. And if they are over a year old be sure to clean them in the bath or shower.
It’s all a matter of personal hygiene, if you keep clean and take care of yourself it follows suit that your piercing should also be happy and healthy. If you do have an infected piercing see your piercer without delay, if you can’t see your piercer then seek medical attention from a walk-in clinic or your family doctor. Do not remove the jewellery for any reason, unless told to do so by a medical professional.
Weird Bumps, Strange Lumps and things that grow out of the holes.
Lots of strange bumps and lumps are seen with piercings that have been mistreated and mislabeled. Often as not someone has called them Keloid scars. Well maybe and maybe not. Here’s a professional piercers test for you.
**Keloid scars are the formation of lumps present post surgically and usually in the area of and incision or puncture wound. In piercing this is sometimes cause by trauma to the piercing during it’s healing period. The lump or the Keloid is a build up of Collagen and will not dissipate over time but in fact grow in some cases. There is generally no discharge from a Keloid scar. Usually seen in dark skin people, African, Asian. This is not usually common in Caucasian people. However if a person has formed Keloids before they will stand chance of forming them again. Treatment for this condition should be referral to a doctor or medical treatment centre.
**Hypertrophic scars are the formation of a localized bump at one point or both points of a body piercing and a gooey discharge, but not puss. These are caused by repeated irritation of the tissue entering and exiting the piercing, usually due to the misuse of cleaning products, salts or antibiotic ointments. Treatment of these is simple - irrigation of the area with plenty of clear running water after bathing or showering. The use of cleaning products, ointments or lotions should be terminated during this time. This condition will dry up and improve over the next 3 or 4 days at which point a re-assessment of cleaning procedures, frequency of cleanings and aftercare products should be considered and applied in a conservative manner.
Now unless you have seen a keloid or a hypertrophic scar before, chances are you will have no idea what the difference is, but to a properly trained piercer the difference is obvious. Most inexperienced and un-researched piercers will call a hypertrophic scar a keloid; why, I am unsure but they do and most people believe them. Hypertrophic scars are the most common of the batch of lumps and bumps in body piercing, as outlined above it’s due to an irritant. These same piercers are the ones recommending contact lens solution for cleaning piercings, Bactine, Epsom Salts, Neosporin, Polysporin, Tea Tree Oil, Betadine and a few other goodies that I just won’t bother mentioning. If you remove the irritant the condition will disappear!
Gee, just like magic!
So to end the test did your piercer tell you to use any of the items listed in the Hypertrophic scar info? If so then you may want to take a look at this link to out aftercare section, find your piercing and try out a new routine for the care of your piercing. Then next time you want a piercing you may want to suggest they check out our web site and learn a little. I am done now, thanks for listening.