How to Diagnose a Rejecting Piercing

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The human body has a natural tendency to reject foreign objects, including purposeful piercings. Sometimes piercings might become obviously infected, but sometimes the body might simply reject the piercing, forcing it out slowly and quietly with limited irritation. It is important, however, to diagnose a rejecting piercing as soon as possible, because rejecting piercings can lead to a build-up of scar tissue.

  • Monitor the size of the piercing hole. If the hole appears to be getting larger, this may be a sign that your body is forcing it out.

  • Note the location of the piercing. If it appears that the piercing has moved from its original location, your body is probably trying to get rid of it.

  • Look at the condition of your skin. Redness or the appearance of a rash is a common sign of rejection. The skin might also look like it is being pulled or stretched tightly over the piercing.

  • Watch for clear fluid discharge. An infection usually results in puss and foul-smelling discharge, but clear discharge suggests rejection.

  • Pay attention to how the piercing feels. Rejecting piercings are rarely painful and inflamed, but they will commonly itch.

  • Visit a licensed piercing artist or piercing-knowledgeable health care professional if you think your piercing might be rejecting. A professional will be able to confirm a diagnosis and help you proceed accordingly.

Tips & Warnings

  • All piercings can reject, but surface piercings, like naval and eyebrow piercings, typically have a higher tendency to do so.
  • Don't discount the possibility of a rejecting piercing just because you have had it for some time. Piercings do not have to be new to for your body to reject them. In some cases, rejecting piercings have been diagnosed months and even years following the piercing.
  • Avoid cheap jewelry, as it is more likely to be rejected.
  • A rejecting piercing may need to be removed, or you may be able to simply swap your jewelry for something better. See a piercing professional for their opinion before removing your piercing.

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