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Piercings and Skin Conditions

Hello everyone! Today we’re taking a bit of a deep-dive into something that is very important to know about – How your skin impacts on your piercings, and how your piercings impact on your skin! We’re going to talk about eczema and psoriasis, and getting a piercing on Accutane.

The British Skin Foundation has found that 60% of Britons have a skin condition, or have experienced a skin condition in the past at some stage of their life. That is a lot of people! These skin conditions can range from mild to severe, but the most common are eczema, psoriasis, and cystic acne.


Eczema is an incredibly common skin condition, affecting up to 25% of the population. Most common in childhood, eczema can follow us into our adult life where it is more common to impact on your piercings.

Eczema can cause itching and flaky skin. It tends to go through phases of flare-ups, punctuated by periods of healing and normal skin. This can be really annoying!

This is a good example of what an eczema flare-up can look like on an ear. There are lots of things that can trigger a flare-up, but the most common causes are the introduction of new cleaning products and stress – Both of these things can be experienced after a piercing!

So how do you work with eczema? The most important thing to do is to wait until you are not in a flare-up before getting a piercing. Piercing irritated skin will only cause more irritation, and can make your flare-up more intense and last longer. We promise we will still be here when your skin is healthy.

Taking care of piercings when you have an eczema flare-up can be tricky. Depending on the treatment you choose, it can irritate your piercings whilst soothing your skin. Both emollients and steroid creams can be harmful to a piercing. Steroids especially can cause some grumpiness! We recommend avoiding putting any creams or lotions directly onto your piercings, and leaving a good 10mm gap around them. Topical steroids especially can have long-term impacts on the skin that they are applied to. Most commonly, skin can become thinner and more fragile. This can slow down the healing process quite significantly.

Cleaning your piercings is very important when you are having a flare-up. Excessive skin buildup is common, and this can cause irritation when it accumulates on and around your piercings. We recommend moving to a once-daily cleaning routine. Be mindful of sterile saline, as although it is isotonic and non-irritating, it may be an eczema trigger for some people. If you find that saline is a little too harsh, cleaning your piercings after you have had a warm shower to soften the buildup with plain water is perfectly acceptable.

We like to stay in contact with clients who have eczema and other skin conditions, so that we can monitor the progress of their piercings and give them advice if necessary.

Important Takeaways

  • Avoid getting piercings during a flareup.
  • Ensure you are removing any skin buildup with gentle cleaning.
  • Do not apply emollients or steroids near your piercings.

Piercing on Accutane

Acne is a very common skin condition! Approximately 85% of the population will experience acne at some stage of their lives, most commonly between the ages of 16 and 25. Of course, the severity can vary wildly! Acne is only a consideration if we are aiming to pierce the affected skin, or if you are taking acne medication. It is really important to let us know if you are taking any medications! So can you get a piercing on accutane?

Accutane is a very strong medication that works by affecting the cell cycle. Although its method of action is not precisely known, its anti-acne effects are achieved by the drug triggering apoptosis (cell death) of sebaceous oil gland cells. These mechanisms can slow down the blockage of pores, and makes the skin more inhospitable to acne-worsening bacteria. Sounds great, right?

Unfortunately, Accutane is also pretty terrible for your skin! It has a lot of side-effects, many of which affect wound healing. The most common side-effects are intensely dry and fragile skin, UV sensitivity, rashes, and slower healing of wounds. This is pretty nasty, and definitely will impact on your piercings!

Piercings are not the same as a standard wound – The introduction of jewellery means that your body is already dealing with something abnormal. Piercings take months, and sometimes up to a year or two to heal. Introducing Accutane to the picture means this healing process may fail entirely.

So how should you work around it? The bottom line is that you should not be getting a piercing on Accutane. The medical community even recommends avoiding being waxed, never mind being pierced! It is recommended to finish your Accutane course, and then wait a further six months to allow your skin to normalise again before getting a piercing.

Accutane can also impact on piercings that you may have had for a long time. As Accutane damages the cell cycle, you may notice that existing piercings may get irritated easily. It’s important to remember that this irritation will not go away until your treatment is finished – Talk to your piercer, and we can formulate a plan on how to move forward. Depending on the piercing, it may be best to retire severely irritated piercings and repierce them at a later date. In the meantime, go right back to basics with them – Cleaning once a day, ensuring your jewellery fits appropriately, and is of a suitable style.

Intensely dry skin can definitely cause discomfort – Keep your skin protected by applying an appropriately thick and luscious moisturiser. Invest in a good lip balm!

Important Takeaways

  • Do not get a piercing on Accutane, or for 6 months after your treatment is finished.
  • Be mindful that even healed piercings can get very irritated – Keep in contact with your piercer for personalised advice.
  • Go back to basics with caring for your piercings. Clean gently with warm warm water, keep your piercings dry, and do not touch them!

So in summary, we require a lot of communication between piercer and client. What may have worked for you in the past in terms of healing, may not work for you depending on your flare up and medication. We like to take a cautious approach, and start with one or two easier healing piercings before moving onto more complicated work, just so we can observe and discuss how healing impacts you.

If you have any questions, definitely drop us an email! Make sure to follow us on social media as well, to stay updated with all of our work.

See you next Friday for a new blog!