What Are Piercing Retainers For?

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Piercing retainers help conceal facial piercings.
Piercing retainers help conceal facial piercings. (Image: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

You have an important interview and want to look professional. Your parents ask you to clean up your look for a family function. Your employer or school prohibits visible piercings. Maybe you just want the option of not wearing jewelry in your piercing every day. Piercing retainers may be the answer for you. Piercings can close quickly after you remove the jewelry. A piercing retainer will ensure the piercing stays open and will help minimize or conceal the piercing.

Piercing Retainer Styles

You can find a piercing retainer for almost any type of piercing. There are a myriad of barbell retainers, curved and straight, long and short, suitable for cartilage piercings, labret piercings, lip piercings, monroe piercings, medusa piercings and tragus piercings. Barbell retainers stay in place with flexible O-rings, a flat disc or a small ball at the ends. For nipple piercings, you can find horseshoe shaped retainers. There are retainers specifically designed for nose piercings, septum piercings and eyebrow piercings. Flesh-colored plugs are available for stretched earlobes.

Piercing Retainer Materials

Even if you are allergic to certain materials, you will be able to find a retainer that works for you. Commonly available materials are glass and clear acrylic. Retainers are also available in titanium, stainless steel and colored acrylic. If you are trying to hide your piercing, you will likely want a glass, clear acrylic or flesh-colored acrylic retainer. If you want to wear a retainer as an alternative to your normal jewelry or plan to wear the retainer under clothing, check out the colored and metal styles.

Buying Piercing Retainers

You can buy piercing retainers from your local professional piercer or from an online retailer. As of 2011, piercing retainers typically cost less than $10. Make sure you buy the correct gauge and style for your piercing. If you have a new piercing that is still healing, do not take out the piercing jewelry without the assistance and advice of a professional piercer. Putting a retainer in yourself may cause damage and scarring to your healing piercing.

Caring for Piercing Retainers

Care for your piercing retainer like you would for piercing jewelry. Use a diluted saltwater solution to clean your piercing and retainer when you are wearing it. Clean your retainer with warm water and liquid antibacterial soap periodically and before you insert it. Do not use scented or colored soaps. Wash your hands before you touch your piercing retainer. Store your retainer in a sterile environment. Replace your retainer if it becomes damaged or tarnished.

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