1 Mar 2011

I received this message through my website:

Hi Elayne,

About five months ago I got my waist pierced. The piercer did not perform the piercing right neither did he use the PTFE in the piercing and it rejected within a matter of weeks and left a really unattractive scar that has slightly faded but is still there.

Three months ago I went to another piercer and I got my belly button pierced & also a surface piercing below my belly button. My piercing did not reject but I still had dark circles around the piercing and ended up taking it out.

attached are pictures of the scars.

hyperpigmentation of piercing scarsnavel piercing scar

I want to get rid of my current scars before I get any more surface piercings. I was wondering if there are any scar remedies (preferably natural) that would help me be able to have surface piercings without the dark discoloration around the area.
To remove the scars I have been using bio-oil. I haven't seen a difference at all. i'm thinking about trying ScarAway tape. I've read reviews and apparently it helps.

I've also read that tamanu oil & also turmeric spice with coconut oil improved discoloration. If I decided to re-pierce would any of these be safe to put on a new piercing to prevent my skin around the piercing to become dark?

Thanks so much,

My reply:

Hi Amber,

Hyperpigmentation (the darkening of your skin) is your body's natural response to the trauma of a piercing. There's nothing anyone could do to prevent it from happening. There's some chance you might be able to diminish the problems you currently have, but the only way to completely avoid this condition in the future is to avoid additional piercings. Even when done properly, on your skin, some darkening is to be expected. In my book, The Piercing Bible--The Definitive Guide to Safe Body Piercing, this is listed among the risks of body piercing:

Scarring and Permanent Physical Changes
A piercing has the potential to be a temporary adornment (especially when compared to a tattoo), because the jewelry can easily be removed. There is a risk, however, of irreversible changes to the body, including discoloration, a mark such as a scar, bump, or dimple, or a permanent hole.

Emu oil is a natural product (though not vegan/vegetarian friendly) and may help prevent excessive trauma during healing, which might minimize your problem. See the attachment from my book. Other than that, I'm not aware of anything you could put on a healing piercing to help this problem, with the exception, perhaps, of saline soaks. The aftercare I advocate can be found here.

I'm not familiar with the use of tamanu oil, turmeric spice and/or coconut oil for this purpose. If you try some or all of these and have success, please let me know!

Have you considered trying surface anchors ("microdermals") instead? They tend to be less invasive and therefore you may experience less discoloration. There's some chance, regardless of what you do, you may experience discoloration.


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