This undesirable process can have more than one cause. For instance, an earlobe piercing can migrate if the jewellery is too heavy or tongue jewellery can migrate when it is constantly played with. If a healed piercing is re-damaged, the process might cause some piercing migration. In addition, the body may reject the material that the body jewellery is made of and try to push it out of the body.
Proper body jewellery should be made of surgical-grade materials to prevent piercing migration from occurring.
It is more likely that piercing migration will occur with surface piercings such as those in the navel, eyebrow and nape. Deeper piercings such as those in the ear, nose and tongue are less likely to be rejected by the body. With those on the surface, there is a lot less tissue keeping the body jewellery in place and it is easier for the body to get rid of the foreign substance.
Migration of surface piercings can actually push the jewellery out of the skin entirely. When this happens, the likelihood of scarring in the area is very high. Immune systems vary and some people are much more prone to rejecting body jewellery than others, although piercing migration can happen to anyone.
It may be difficult to determine if a piercing migration is occurring because it is a gradual process. If the piercing is constantly sore and it looks different than it used to, there is a chance it is migrating. New piercings are more likely to migrate but, in some people, established piercings start to be rejected after it has already healed.
Once the migration period has started, the only options are to leave it alone or remove the body jewellery. If the jewellery is removed, piercing migration has stopped and the hole is allowed to close up completely, there may be less scarring.
Some people wish to have another procedure after piercing migration has been stopped and the area has been healed. If this is the case, it is wise to try body jewellery made out of a different material or one that is smaller. The reason may have been that the body rejected the material the jewellery was made of or it could not cope with the size; smaller gauges are more likely to migrate than larger gauge jewellery.
Some people will have certain locations on the body where piercing migration occurs more than other locations; again, surface piercings are more likely to migrate. To guard against it, make sure that your piercing is done by a certified professional.