Piercing Troubleshooter

We are here to help you!

1068 Granville Street
Vancouver BC
604-684-6398
www.nextbody.com

Guaranteed Quality

As professionals interested in the good health of people, we take care of the piercings we do.  We have both researched and seen many of the complications that can arise.

By following our suggestions, your piercing(s) should heal in the time estimated by your piercer on the day you got it done.

If your piercing doesn’t seem to be healing properly or something doesn’t feel or look right, contact us immediately.  We can usually calm your worries by talking to you and possibly changing your routine slightly.

Remember-We are here to help you!

This booklet should be kept as a reference during your healing period.  If you have any additional questions or concerns, come by and see us at NEXT!, visit our web site at www.nextbody.com, email us at info@nextbody.com (we WILL answer your email!) or call us at 604-684-6398.

 

Inflammatory Response

This is what’s supposed to happen!

When you first get a piercing, your body does not realize that you have paid for it so your body treats the piercing like a sliver.  This process is called inflammatory response.  You can expect the piercing to be a little red and a little swollen as blood rushes to the site of the wound to help it heal, it may also be a little sore and produce pus during the healing process. Pus is made up of dead white blood cells which form a barrier between you and the jewellery, and lymph that flushes out the wound and helps to keep it clean.  This is normal!  Please remember that pus is not a sign of infection, it is a sign of normal healing.

Eventually your body will replace the lymph and white blood cells with scar tissue.  This cylinder or tube of scar tissue that forms around the jewellery is called a fistula and creates a permanent barrier between your blood and the jewellery.  Once a fistula has formed, your piercing is healed and you will normally no longer see or feel any of the signs of inflammatory response. 

Infection

This you want to avoid!

Your body treats a fresh piercing as though it were a sliver.  Your body’s reaction to a sliver is called inflammatory response.  Some pus and a little redness are normal. Most people think pus is a sign of infection. Most people think their piercing is either “healed” or “still infected” and nothing in between. After more than a decade of proper piercing at NEXT! we have seen about one infection per piercer; they are extremely rare. If you think you are getting more than an inflammatory response, come in to NEXT!  and talk to us.  We are here to help you!

Infections are the result of bacteria being introduced into the piercing by dirt, sweat or excessive handling and not being immediately cleaned out. You should always clean a piercing that is dirty or has been

touched after dancing, exercise or work.  Touching your piercing is the most common cause of infectionAlways wash your hands thoroughly before and after touching your piercing.  If you have access to soap and water, clean hands, basic hygiene and common sense, there is no reason to get an infected piercing.

To determine if the piercing is actually infected, check for the four signs of infection: heat, swelling, redness and sensitivity.  If you have an infection, you will have all four signs.  If there are only two or three signs, then you do not have an infection.  You can check for these signs of infection yourself:

Heat
To check for heat, place the back of the middle joint of your middle finger above the area for about two heartbeats.  Check the surrounding area using the same method.  An infection will be noticeably hotter than the surrounding area.  If you had an infection, the temperature difference would be 10-15 degrees and the area would be radiating heat.
Swelling
It is normal for a piercing to exhibit some swelling during and after healing. Your body is creating scar tissue around the jewellery and that is going to create mass. Not a lot, but more than you had before, and it’s a good thing. Swelling from an infection is quite different.  A lump beneath your skin develops that varies in size from a chick pea to a walnut and is the result of excess pus trapped in the piercing. This lump is called an abscess.  It has one main cause: not cleaning it properly.  Depending on the severity of the abscess, a couple of options are available none of which involve removing the jewellery. The jewellery is not the problem. Taking it out can cause the holes to seal and block drainage…so don’t take it out!
Redness
A little redness around the entry and exit of your piercing is normal. That is blood flowing to the area to promote healing. If it is infected an area at least the size of a Loonie will be very red and angry looking. 
Sensitivity
Infected piercings will be quite painful.  If you can pinch behind the piercing and it doesn’t really hurt (Kill!), then it is not infected. Infections are incapacitatingly painful; you’ll know it’s there every time you move. If you think you have an infection, the first thing you should do is come into NEXT!. We can probably help you out by determining if you really have an infection or if your piercing is just irritated.  The next thing you should do is relax.  Getting upset about a piercing can only make it worse.  Any energy that you put into stress will not go into healing.  A long, hot Sea Salt bath will help to reduce stress and to draw out the infection.  Be patient and clean the piercing extra carefully and be sure not to handle it with dirty hands. People tend to want to touch their piercing if it is bothering them or is sore or even if it isn’t.  Your hands touch everything in your environment and are crawling with bacteria.  Resist the urge to touch. 

Remember, infections are very rare.  If we determine that you really do have an infection, we will most likely advise you to see a doctor.  A doctor nowadays is likely to prescribe a course of antibiotics or lance it. Yes, that’s just like it sounds.  If you take antibiotics, make sure that you take the entire course of medication, even it appears healed, or you run the risk of creating a bacteria that is immune to the antibiotic.
Best not to get one don’t you think?  Soap and water are your friends!


Allergic Reactions

We already took care of this for you (read it anyway).
Most problems with a new piercing will not be infection related.  Many people have allergies and in piercing we have to take that into consideration.  The metals and products we recommend are chosen for their low rate of reaction, based on both experience and medical information.  If you were pierced at NEXT!, you will be wearing jewellery made of 316LVM Implant Grade Stainless Steel, the same metal used in dental surgery and pins in your knee after a bad day on the ski hill.

In the 1950’s, cutlery manufacturers coined the phrase “Surgical Stainless Steel” to make their kitchen knives sound like real tools. The term has no metallurgical or legal definition.  It just helped them sell cutlery! Just before the millennium, Body Circle Design initiated the use of 316lvm stainless steel for body jewellery and they can back that claim up with a certificate from the steel mill. Legions of jewellery manufacturers now make this claim for whatever bit of unpolished metal they use to produce body jewellery out of. Emails for proof will go unanswered. If something sounds too good to be true it probably is. Good body jewellery takes money to make and you should expect to pay good money for it.

Allergic reactions do sometimes occur and can be caused by several things.  One allergic reaction, a metal reaction, is to the jewellery.  It will appear as if the skin around the entrance of your piercing is pulling away from the jewellery creating a larger hole.  This is corrected simply be replacing the jewellery.

Most allergic reactions are caused by cleaning solutions.  If you are sensitive to the cleaning solutions you are using, this is usually indicated by itching and burning upon application of the product and even the appearance of a rash of small bumps around the piercing.  A 30 minute Sea Salt soak and a 15 minute chamomile tea soak should provide immediate relief and an alternative cleaning solution should be chosen.  Regardless of the aftercare product you are using, it is important to rinse the piercing thoroughly with clean water after each cleaning.  Allowing soap to remain on the piercing will inevitably cause irritation.  Remember you are cleaning the jewellery and the surface around it. All cleaning solutions are topical and should never be left in the piercing.

If skin irritation problems persist any longer than a few days to a week, come in and we will suggest something else for you or refer you to a doctor or clinic.

Migration and Rejection

While uncommon, a piercing may migrate or reject. Let’s define the terms first.  Rejection is indicated by the two entrances to the piercing moving together.  The piercing will become shallower over a period of time and a line of scar tissue will extend from the sites of the original piercing.  If the jewellery is not removed, the piercing may reject entirely.  While there are many causes of rejection it is usually the result of shallow piercing for the usual piercing or attempting a piercing that is a little too unusual. There is simply not enough room between the jewellery and the surface of the skin to form a fistula so scar tissue only forms underneath it. The top layer dries up and flakes off.

Migration is apparent when the jewellery moves from where it was pierced without necessarily coming closer to the surface, This can be caused by gravity, high metabolism, hormonal changes, friction or pressure on the piercing, injury to the piercing, inappropriate jewellery placement, inappropriate jewellery, or any combination of these factors.  Pay attention to your piercing.  If it appears as though the jewellery is moving from its original position, come by and see us and we’ll determine if the piercing should be re-done.  We will remove the jewellery and schedule an appointment to re-pierce.  Re-piercings due to rejection are free because NEXT! guarantees you a healed piercing.

Keloid and Hypertrophic Scarring

The development of scar tissue through the length of the piercing is normal and must occur in order to successfully heal and maintain a piercing over the long term. This scarring is supposed to take place inside the piercing. When it gets aggressive and begins to form outside the piercing we have a case of either Keloid or Hypertrophic Scarring.

There is much debate in the medical community and in the professional piercing community regarding the cause and treatment of Keloid and Hypertrophic scarring and even the difference between the two.   The two types of scar tissue cannot be differentiated under a microscope.  Our efforts therefore tend to focus on helping the client to eliminate the scar tissue while maintaining the piercing rather than continuing the debate. Who cares what it’s called; you want it gone and we successfully help the majority of our clients to deal with this problem 

Keloid or Hypertrophic scars usually appear as a red bump or a “pimple” by the entrance to the piercing.  Individuals with more melanin in their skin are more susceptible, Blacks, Asians and Aboriginals.  Some piercings are also more prone to excessive scarring like cartilage piercings-because they involve multiple layers of tissue that heal at different rates and navel piercings because they are located in a area of the body which is often subjected to irritation.  The most common cause of scar tissue formation is irritation of the piercing; pushing, pulling, bumping, tearing, too much movement, playing with your piercing too much, sleeping on your piercing or changing your jewellery too often, prematurely or with unsuitable jewellery.

There are many things you can do to treat your scar tissue.  We always like to start with the mildest thing first and work your way up.  Please keep in mind that the bump usually forms in a day but takes several weeks to go away so you shouldn’t expect immediate results. 

 The first and most important thing you must do is to eliminate all sources of irritation.  Failure to do so will result in persistent scarring which may lead to permanent scarring.  If you think you have scarring on or near your piercing, please come into the studio for guidance.

Irritation

“You sleep on your stomach, don’t you?”

At least once a week someone comes in and says that their navel piercing is acting up. We go into a room, lift the shirt, take a look and say, “You sleep on your stomach, don’t you?”
“How did you know?”
The ring is lying on its side and there is an impression of it in the flesh.

Irritation is the most common problem we see with piercings and is usually the cause of excess scar tissue formation (See Keloid and Hypertrophic Scarring). 

Irritation is caused by friction and pressure on the piercing; things that will push or rub, clothes rubbing, sleeping on the piercing or by trauma to the piercing from pulling, bumping, tearing, catching the piercing on your clothing, changing jewellery too often or prematurely, pets or children kicking or grabbing the piercing, playing with the piercing, or too much movement.  Avoid all sources of irritation during the healing process.

If your piercing becomes irritated (Symptoms include redness, soreness, bleeding, excessive discharge or scar tissue formation) a 30 minute Sea Salt soak and a 15 minute chamomile tea soak will soothe the piercing.  Bear in mind that the problem will only worsen unless you eliminate the source of the irritation.  If the problem persists, please come into the studio for guidance.

Flare-ups                               

 

“Your boyfriend’s being a jerk, isn’t he?                                  

A piercing can exhibit certain symptoms of infection and not necessarily be infected. Stress is the most common cause of flare-ups. Your piercing is the most vulnerable area of your body to physically manifest life’s little ups and downs.  Be glad it’s not your brain that flares up. Your piercing will respond to a low immune system, sickness, poor diet, lack of sleep, stress, PMS, and hormonal changes, going on or off the pill, pregnancy, lactation, falling in love or breaking up. 

The area around the piercing may be a little sore and red.  These symptoms will go away after a few days.  You can speed up the healing process with a 30 minute Sea Salt soak and a 15 minute chamomile tea soak complete with candles and Enya, by eating a healthy diet to keep your immune system strong and by providing your body with a good night’s sleep.

Remember-We are here to help you!

If you have any questions or concerns whatsoever, please visit us in the studio, visit our website at www.nextbody.com, email us at info@nextbody.com or telephone us at 604-684-6398.

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