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Repiercing 101

We are often asked if it is possible to pierce in the same spot as an old piercing. There seems to be some misinformation floating around that says that if you have had a piercing in X location, you can never have a repiercing in the same place! This is not the case and we will explain why, but also talk about which conditions need to be met in order for your repierce to go smoothly.

What Is Scar Tissue?

Your piercing scar is made of scar tissue. Scars are a natural and unavoidable product of your wound healing response – There is little you can do to prevent the growth of scar tissue! Healing a piercing is a careful balance of healing a scar in a certain way to support jewellery. A piercing is a wound, after all. That scar tissue is avascular (has no blood vessels) and is made mostly of collagen. The collagen is not assembled into the organised layers that undamaged skin is, but is quite jumbled and rigid. This is why you might feel a little solid ‘lump’ where your old piercing used to be – That is the scar tissue that formed the piercing channel of your old piercing. As your scar matures, the amount of collagen drops by as much as 20% and you can feel the scar get softer and softer, until you might barely even notice it. This is what we are waiting for when we ask you to remove your jewellery and wait for a re-piercing!

Everyone heals at a different rate. There is no set time frame for when your old piercing has settled enough to repierce. Interestingly, it may take longer for young people to be ready for a repierce as our immune systems are too good at healing! The re-epithelialisation stage of wound healing is when the collagen for the scar tissue is produced. The younger you are, the more energetic this response is and the more collagen you produce. The more collagen you produce, the heavier the scar tissue will be and the longer it will take to settle and be ready to repierce. People over the age of 50 tend to scar less, as their immune response is lower and they do not undergo such an overproduction of collagen. You can read more about the healing process here!

When Am I Ready To Repierce?

This is different for everybody. The best way to know if you are ready to be pierced in the same spot is to head to your piercer and allow them to assess the area. We know what to look for in a scar! Is it hard and granular still, or has it softened enough to repierce?

Repiercing before you are ready can cause issues. Like I mentioned earlier, scar tissue is avascular. This means that if we repierce before the scar tissue has diminished, then there will likely be less blood flow and nutrients to the area which can significantly extend the healing time of your repiercing. Not only would your healing time be extended, but piercing through hard scar tissue is not fun! If the old piercing fistula is still open, you can also have issues where the new and old piercing channels interact and cause issues with draining of fluids.

As a general rule, we recommend waiting:

  • At least 8 weeks to repierce soft tissue like a lobe or navel piercing.
  • At least 12 weeks before repiercing ‘soft cartilage’ like a nose or septum piercing.
  • At least 6 months before repiercing hard cartilage, such as daith, helix or conch piercings.

This is not a hard and fast rule though. Everyone is different! Check in with your piercer if you are unsure, and always wait longer than you think you need to. There is no rush to repierce! A good piercer will produce a great piercing that will last you the rest of your life.

A beautifully settled and repierced second lobe piercing. When done well, you wouldn’t even know that this has been pierced before!

Taking Care of Your Piercing Scar

After removing your old piercing, you shouldn’t need to do anything special to it. No special cleaning, no lotions and potions. The piercing itself will shrink down and seal over fairly quickly, and needs no special care even if the piercing was very new when you removed it.

If your scarring is particularly obtrusive, we recommend that after you remove your jewellery you begin a daily routine of very gentle massage. Use a non-scented natural oil such as Jojoba oil to lubricate the skin, and gently massage the scarring between thumb and forefinger. This can effect how the scar remodels over time, and can break up the scar into softer, more pliable, tissue. There is not a huge amount of evidence (besides anecdotal evidence, which should always be taken with a grain of salt!) that scar massage is super effective, but keeping the area moisturised and stimulating blood flow will not hurt you either. If you have excessive scarring, like in keloid formation or large hypertrophic scarring, then a trip to the dermatologist wouldn’t go amiss. There are lots of things modern medicine has to offer such as laser, silicone patching, corticosteroid injections, and lots of other treatments that can soften and minimise scarring. A standard repiercing shouldn’t need all this special attention though! Time is the greatest healer of all.

As a side note, there is no discount in piercing fee whether it be a new piercing or a repierce. We use exactly the same tools and it takes exactly the same amount of time as a fresh piercing!

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch via our instagram or email!

Citations

Bond, J.S., Duncan, J.A.L., Sattar, A., Boanas, A., Mason, T., OʼKane, S. and Ferguson, M.W.J. (2008). Maturation of the Human Scar: An Observational Study. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, [online] 121(5), pp.1650–1658. Available at: https://journals.lww.com/plasreconsurg/Abstract/2008/05000/Maturation_of_the_Human_Scar__An_Observational.19.aspx [Accessed 11 Nov. 2021].

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