Why Won't My Piercing Heal (When Good Facial Piercings Go Bad)
If you’re reading this, that means that you’re a metal head, if only at heart. That means that, like us, there are few things you love more than the idea of a new facial piercing (or having as many as you can fit on your face). You also know, then, that for people like us, our worst nightmare is getting that oh-so-awesome new facial décor, only for our faces to commit first-degree piercing/jewelry rejectory, a.k.a. rejection.
For those who don’t know, piercing rejection refers to the ultimate result of a severe infection or allergic reaction in your new piercing. Your body reacts to the new holes in your body as though they are threats and treats them as such. This can happen even if it isn’t your first piercing, because our bodies treat every injury (which is what a piercing is) in a different way. While piercing rejection isn’t rare, we have many ways to prevent the issue, as well as ways to care for a rejected piercing. If, however, you cannot save your new piercing, we have a recommendation or two for that, as well!
This may seem like common sense, but some people don’t realize the true importance of cleanliness with piercings. Many of us feel that we know our bodies, healing rates, and germiness better than tattoo and piercing professionals and experts. That’s often true; however, one thing that doesn’t change is that clean, disinfected piercings and tats stay in the best shape. So, scrubbing your hands with plain, no-perfume antibacterial soap is ALWAYS the best first step to preventing infection.
Once your hands are clean (and before you touch anything from which you could transfer more germs), use the disinfectant recommended by your piercing specialist. Follow the specific directions (to the letter… yes, it does matter). Last, be SURE that you wash your hands after disinfecting, and before you touch your piercing again, for ANY reason. Even if it’s healing as expected now, any germ contact can change that in an instant.
Rotate, rotate, rotate! Remember the jewelry rotation schedule your piercing specialist recommended, and DO NOT DEVIATE! At least, do not do so without explicit permission.
Which brings us to our last point: if you experience any rejection issues, or if you even THINK that’s the problem, visit your specialist, and discuss your options with him or her before you make ANY deviations to the original after-care treatment plan and advice he or she gave you. Although you may know YOUR body better than him or her, he or she knows that specific piercing, and the many ways it can heal, behave or react, better than you. So, aside from keeping the piercing clean, and only touching it with clean hands, the best thing you can do for suspected first-degree rejectory is to speak to your pro.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do once rejection is in full swing. You cannot reverse it, not once it starts, and the other steps in this post may only slow or delay the process. What often happens, even in delayed rejection, is that the piercing, over time, stretches, or pushes the jewelry to the top layers of skin until it rips. This, of course, destroys the piercing altogether, along with any chance you ever had of getting a new piercing in the same spot. If you notice that none of your precautionary preventative methods work, go see your specialist at once. Only he or she can save the piercing, or at least the spot in which the piercing is located for future re-piercing.
Rejected, Despite Your Best Efforts
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, our bodies reject our piercing anyway. It doesn’t mean we failed, or that we don’t deserve to have new piercings. It also doesn’t mean the end for that specific piercing. However, it DOES mean:
- LET A PROFESSIONAL DO THE PIERCING! Do NOT attempt to re-pierce it yourself at home with a needle, safety pin, thumbtack, an old piece of jewelry, a new piece of jewelry, or any other object about which you may read on the internet or hear from a friend of a friend whose cousin knew someone with the same problem… Please, just go to a pro!
- Let the PRO advise YOU! Don’t beg and plead (or argue) with the piercing pro, trying to get a new piercing in the same spot if he or she says it is isn’t safe, practical or that the healing process won’t be smooth. He or she knows, believe us! Let him or her move the piercing, if that’s what he or she thinks is best. OR, if he or she CAN re-pierce in the same spot, but you need to allow more recovery time, WAIT! The only thing worse than a rejected piercing is a twice-rejected one. Not only will it feel worse, for a very long time, it will also heal to look much worse, maybe forever.
- Choose a different jewelry material. Even if you know for a fact you have no allergic reaction to the material with which you got your piercing the first time, change it up. For whatever reason, your body rejected THAT piercing once already. Remove all reasons for it to do so again, especially the jewelry style and material.
Do you have any relevant experiences with piercing rejecting you’d like to share? Please, let us know! We’re always looking for useful, updated tips and advice to help our fellow metal heads, and we loooooove feedback from our tribe!