The Effects of Stress and Health Habits on Piercings

Hi Elayne,

This is the second time I've noticed this.  I've had a few piercings since I was young.  I got a batch of piercings a while ago and the old, established piercings started to ache and ooze along with the new piercings.  All seemed to be better and I got a few more piercings recently.  Now all of my piercings, including the last batch are sore and crusting.  Can my new piercings cause my older piercings to be irritated? Thanks, S.

Hi S.,

Yes, your body is all connected and stress, whether in the form of emotional stress, or physical stress such as illness, surgery, or additional piercings, can cause your old piercings to flare up. Studies show that stress can cause wounds to take up to 40% longer to heal!

What this says to me is that you should be very careful about scheduling of any future piercings (maybe one at a time), and that you must take excellent care of your health, as well as provide routine care for the piercings. This includes getting enough rest, not abusing substances such as alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine, and eating a healthful diet. You may want to consider taking a multivitamin with zinc and Vitamin c if you are not eating optimally. It is important to stay hydrated, too. If you're feeling very stressed out, you may want to look into meditation, guided imagery, yoga, or other forms of stress-reduction. These factors impact everyone's healing, and they are often underestimated.

Is this the aftercare you follow?

I'd definitely suggest you do saline soaks on any healing piercing and also any that are acting up. There is very detailed information about them on that linked page. Also there's another page with info about emu oil. If you aren't vegan/vegetarian, I'd suggest you consider trying it. I'm truly impressed with the ability of this product to facilitate healing, and calm flare-ups.

Let me know if you have other questions.

Take care,


Hi Elayne, I was wondering if it is alright to get multiple piercings at a time? I noticed that I have quite a high tolerance towards pain, and after a piercing, I'd usually get a fever for a day(the day after getting the piercing), two days, at most, but that's about it. I am from Malaysia, and I go to a reputable piercer here in my country. And he does an excellent job, and I've never been infected, thankfully. But thing is, his piercing parlour is terribly far, really. It takes about two hours to get there, and since I do not drive, I usually go by cab, which is a very expensive trip for a student. My next plan is to get a tongue, a tragus, and an industrial piercing(both tragus and industrial on my right ear) altogether. Is this okay? 

Hi Hanna,

If you're talking about two cartilage piercings, plus your tongue, I think you should be okay. More than that in one session would not be advisable. It isn't just a matter of being able to tolerate the procedure but of also the strain on your body throughout healing. Cartilage is somewhat cranky and difdicult to heal, and can take many months. But tongue piercings tend to heal easily and quickly so that won't add too much challenge to your body's resources.