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Body Piercing and Teens

Body piercing is a growing trend among teens. Done primarily as a statement of individuality, a piercing has become a rite of passage among some teens looking to set themselves apart in some small way from others. While body piercings are safe when done professionally, many teens may engage in unsafe piercing methods because of a lack of knowledge of what makes for a safe piercing or a lack of funds to have a professional perform the service. Unsafe piercings can lead to damage to one’s health; therefore, it’s important that as a teen you understand the risks of unsafe piercing practices and know how to keep your body piercings safe.

Risks of Body Piercing

The most common areas for teen body piercing are the ear and nose with the navel, tongue, nipples and female genital areas also serving as popular piercing choices. An especially hot fashion choice for teen girls is the belly button ring. Nipple and female genital piercing are high on the infection list with several possible medical risks and effects associated with them.

The primary risk associated with body piercing extends from cleanliness during the procedure, both in regard to the teen’s hygiene and the equipment being used for the procedure. If clean conditions aren’t maintained during the procedure, infections may occur. This is especially common with nose and tongue piercings where the humid environment of the body supports an increase in bacterial growth that leads to infections. After a piercing, it’s important to check the pierced area for signs of infection, such as redness of the pierced area or tenderness when touched. Prolonged bleeding, the formation of pus or discoloration of the skin at the piercing site are also signs of infection in the pierced area. Infections aren’t limited to the site of the piercing only, however, as a piercing in the tongue, lip or cheek can cause an infection to pass to the gums as well. According to WebMD, if you believe the piercing is infected, do not remove the jewelry as doing so may close the hole and trap the infection. You should see a doctor for treatment as soon as possible.

Medical Concerns

Infection is only one of the risks associated with body piercing. There are other medical concerns that should be considered before getting a piercing as well. The metal jewelry used in the piercing can cause an allergic reaction. Hepatitis B and C and tetanus are also possibilities when being pierced. Your condition prior to piercing can also be of concern. Skin disorders, pregnancy, heart disease or diabetes may cause potential complications. Scarring is also a possibility.

Tips for Safe Body Piercing

There are ways to get a body piercing that can withstand most of the risks involved simply by following a few piercing tips:

  • Make certain that you’ve had a tetanus and hepatitis vaccine before getting the piercing.
  • Look around the piercing shop. Check for cleanliness and make certain that the shop sanitizes its equipment after every use. According to WebMD, being pierced in a sterile environment is the best way to prevent piercing complications from arising.
  • Check the sterilization procedures of the shop. If the shop uses disposable equipment, make certain the equipment is tossed after each use. Throwing out disposable equipment prevents the spread of infections.
  • Watch the person performing the piercing procedures for proper hygienic practices. The piercer should wash his or her hands after each procedure with germicides and wear disposable gloves while performing the procedure.
  • Have yourself checked for allergies to the most common metals used in piercings. These metals are surgical steel, titanium, gold, platinum or niobium. Make certain the jewelry used for piercing by the shop is sterile.


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