Body piercing is becoming increasingly common worldwide. Along with the growing popularity of the body piercing comes risks of morbidity. Furthermore, most body piercing is being performed by unlicensed, unregulated individuals. The piercing of various body sites has been practiced for thousands of years. Reasons for piercing have included adornment, rites of passage, religious purposes, and others. In Western society, the piercing of the earlobe for adornment has become common. Piercing other sites of the body has been considered nontraditional until recent years.

Why you shouldn’t use a piercing gun and use the needle instead?

Piercing guns have been used for years in malls and department stores for body piercing. However, today professional body piercers want to see the piercing gun banned. The first concern when it comes to piercing is sterilization. Any kind of procedure which involves contact with blood or bodily fluids requires strict adherence to cross-contamination prevention. Piercing guns are usually made out of plastic which cannot be sterilized in an autoclave. Sure, a technician wipes it with alcohol or antiseptic in between uses, but how sterile is that? It’s highly unlikely that mall piercers (some with little training) are sufficiently being taught about infection control and blood-borne pathogens. Consider this if you’re considering a mall gun piercing: a quick wipe with a sterile pad is not effective in removing disease-carrying blood.

What you should do when your piercing gets infected?

Wash your hands before touching the piercing. Always wash your hands well before touching a piercing, especially if it’s new or infected. Use antimicrobial soap and warm water. Avoid fiddling with the infected area and only touch them when you have to clean them.

Do not remove a new ear piercing. If your piercing is new, keep it in place for at least six weeks, even if it becomes infected. While you should rotate a new lobe piercing, stop rotating it if it becomes infected for one to two weeks.

If your infected piercing is permanent, or more than six months old, remove the earring while you deal with the infection.

Clean the piercing with a cotton ball dipped in saline or soap. Soak a cotton ball or swab in saline solution or a mild antimicrobial soap. Dab the soaked ball or swab around the infected area. Then dry the area with disposable paper towels.

Apply an antibiotic ointment. After cleaning and drying the piercing, you can apply an antibacterial ointment to encourage healing. Dab a small amount of the ointment onto a cotton swab and paint a thin coating over the infected area.

Avoid rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide. Rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide will dry out the infected area and kill cells that are needed for healing. Killing white blood cells around the infected site could make the infection even worse. Don’t apply alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to the infection, and make sure any cleaning products you use are alcohol-free.

Infected piercings are common, especially in new piercings. Most go away after one to two weeks, as long as you clean them twice a day. However, if it doesn’t improve within two days and the infection spreads, go and see your doctor otherwise it will develop a fever.