teen piercing

Piercing Risks to Teenagers

I was asked to provide some information about risks of piercings specifically as regards teenagers (14 and up). Below are the questions and answers:

 

Q: What are some associated health risks that teens may be more exposed to when their piercing is healing?

 

A: Some teens pierce themselves or have a friend do it, or go to a piercer who is unethical (piercing minors without parental consent). In all of these situations, the risk of infection is MUCH higher than if they go to a professional studio and get pierced by a qualified practitioner. Sterilization equipment is expensive, and it is required for safe piercing. The piercing "kits" that are advertised as sterile do NOT provide everything needed for a safe piercing. These situations are all recipes for disaster. One of the likely problems is that the piercing won't end up in the right spot. When this takes place, it doesn't look good, and it won't heal well. Piercings that are not placed properly to the individual anatomy have a tendency to become irritated or infected; the can migrate and reject, and cause tissue discoloration and/or excessive scarring. Poor quality jewelry can cause the same problems. And teens are frequently on a tight budget, which means they often buy jewelry that is poor in quality

Ear Stud Guns

There was an article on the ABC news website about what parents permit their kids to do. It discussed matters like staying out at night, using cell phones, surfing the web--and ear piercing. Interestingly, it said that parents would let their girls get ear piercings as young as 9, and  27 percent of parents said ear-piercing is OK for girls younger than 6 – no other item scored more than 1 percent in that category. Another 20 percent say ear-piercing is appropriate between ages 6 and 11.

Knowing exactly how and where much of this early piercing takes place, I left the following comment:

Parents should know that ear piercing (while quite socially acceptable for young girls these days) is not without its own risks. Especially if the piercing is done by a gun at a kiosk or mall. According to "The Piercing Bible--The Definitive Guide to Safe Body Piercing" (Random House, May 2009):

"These gadgets were originally invented for tagging cattle and other animals, and later adapted for use on humans. The gun forces a pointy earring through the skin, which causes more tissue trauma and discomfort than the razor-sharp needle used by body piercers. The one-size post length does not “fit all” and cannot accommodate a plump earlobe or any swelling; it is certainly not long enough to be worn in a body piercing. The stud earring typically employs a butterfly-style clasp that can inhibit the healing process and increase the risk of infection by compressing the tissue, limiting circulation, and trapping secretions and bacteria."

The book then goes on to describe how disease transmission can take place:

"What Parents Need to Know"

That's the title of an article I was interviewed for that provides important information for parents about piercings their teens might get or have. The Piercing Bible was quoted and credited.

It starts off:

When done properly, piercing is safe. Elayne Angel is the author of The Piercing Bible – The Definitive Guide to Safe Body Piercing and the Medical Liaison for the Association of Professional Piercers (APP) and recommends following standard safety precautions for a safe piercing experience:

• the piercing should be done in a hygienic facility by a trained, experienced worker
• sterile, disposable equipment should be used
• jewelry of the correct material, size, and style should be inserted
• proper aftercare instructions should be followed

Click here to read the rest of the article.

 

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