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Piercing Rejection

Occasionally your body may reject your piercing as a foreign object. Learn how to identify piercing rejection and what to do.
Piercing Rejection occurs when a piercing is forced out of the body.  The body recognises the piercing jewellery as a foreign object embedded in it and so it will sometimes react to a piercing as it would to something like a splinter by pushing it towards the surface of the skin.

What piercings reject the most?

Surface piercings have the highest rejection rate. Surface piercings such as microdermals as well as eyebrow piercings and navel piercings reject the most because they are closest to the surface of the skin. Surface piercings tend to only go through a thin layer of skin so there is less of an anchor keeping it in place.

What does a rejecting piercing look like?

Piercing rejection signs include redness, swelling, itching, soreness, and shrinking of the piercing holes. If you notice any of these signs or think your piercing looks like it is rejecting, it's important to take immediate action. Contact your piercer or go back to the piercing studio and ask for advice on how to treat your rejecting piercing

Don't remove the jewellery if you believe the piercing to be infected; this will promote closure of the exit holes and leave the infection trapped under the skin. Avoid touching the area too much as this will increase irritation and can transfer dirt or bacteria from your hands. Gentle cleaning can be performed at home with diluted Tea Tree Oil or a saltwater solution. Be very gentle as too much rubbing or movement can increase piercing rejection complications. Keep an eye on the area and go to the doctor if the rejection or infection gets worse.

Can you stop a piercing from rejecting?

You cannot stop a piercing once it has started rejecting but you can take preventative measures to help stop it from rejecting in the first place. To lower the risk of piercing rejection, proper care must be taken. This starts when first considering the type and location of the piercing. Try not to pick an area that experiences a lot of movement or will likely be bumped if pierced. Excessive movement, friction, poor quality jewellery, improper piercing technique and even accidental bumping can increase the risk of piercing rejection in these instances. 

How do you treat a rejecting dermal?

If you think your dermal piercing is rejecting then it is best to let your piercer or Doctor treat it. Unlike other types of piercing, a microdermal is embedded in the skin so the anchor cannot simply be removed by you. Your piercer or Doctor will be able to remove the rejecting dermal and treat the wound to reduce scarring from your rejected piercing

Can you fix a rejecting dermal?

If your dermal piercing or any piercing starts to reject it is difficult to fix or stop it. If you have noticed microdermal rejection signs, the best course of action is to ask your piercer to remove the piercing to minimise scarring. During rejected piercing aftercare take care to keep the wound clean while it is healing to reduce the chances of infection and scarring. Once it has healed you may be able to get re-pierced or may like to choose a different piercing with a lower rejection rate.

Why do surface piercings reject?

Surface piercings are the most likely type of piercing to reject because they are placed just underneath the skin so can easily be pushed out by the body. Other types of piercings are inserted deeper through tissue, for example, ear piercings tend to go from the front of the ear through to the back making ear piercing rejection less likely. Some surface piercings start to reject during healing whereas some will have been healed for years and can unexpectedly start to reject.

Can a tragus piercing reject?

Tragus piercings have a low rate of rejection. However, surface tragus piercings are likely to reject. Most cartilage ear piercings, like the tragus piercing, are placed from the front of the ear through to the back which means it is harder for the body to push out the body jewellery because it is deep in the tissue. So a tragus piercing can reject but it is quite unlikely, especially if you avoid putting pressure on the piercing while it is healing. Tragus piercing rejection can also be avoided by choosing high-quality, lightweight jewellery.

How long does a bridge piercing last?

Bridge piercing rejection rate is high so a bridge piercing may not last very long. The bridge piercing should be fully healed after 12 weeks but sometimes the piercing will reject during healing. In other cases, a bridge piercing will unexpectedly reject after being healed for several years. It is important to see your piercer or Doctor to discuss removing your piercing jewellery in order to reduce the bridge piercing rejection scar.

As you can see your choice of piercing can influence how likely it is to reject. For example, there is less chance of a Daith piercing rejection or nose piercing rejection compared to an eyebrow piercing rejection or bridge piercing rejection.

Want to get a new piercing once your rejected piercing has healed? Check out our re-piercing guide, here.

Please Note: Blue Banana piercing information is based on knowledge from our experiences as one of the UK's top piercing studios. All details provided should be read alongside professional advice. Please see our full Piercing Articles Disclaimer, here.
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