There are very few things in the world of piercing that constitute a genuine piercing emergency, but plenty of things that can happen that might be a touch stressful! In this blog we will be going over the most common ‘urgent’ issues that you might have, and what to do whilst waiting for your appointment at a trusted piercing studio.
Piercing Emergency: Losing Jewellery
Our jewellery is high quality, implant-grade, and very secure! However, the universe leans towards entropy wherever possible, and so your jewellery may loosen over time. Picture it: You wake up in the morning, reach up and feel an empty space where your jewellery used to be. You wash your face and hear that classic tink-tink-tink of a metal ball hitting the floor. Dang! What do you do?
- Don’t panic! Losing jewellery happens to everyone, even piercers. What matters most is what you do in the next ten minutes once you notice your jewellery is gone.
- Check your body. Take a look at your piercing – Is the post still in place? If so, excellent!
- Find it! Body jewellery is tiny, so grab your phone torch and have a really good hunt around. The phone torch will be super helpful as quality jewellery is super shiny! If you can’t find it by hand, don’t stress. Grab a pair of tights or a sock and place them over the neck of your vacuum cleaner. Run your vacuum over the room where your jewellery has gone, and you should pick it up!
- Clean it. Obviously, you cannot sterilise jewellery at home, but you also cannot reinstall jewellery that’s got floor on it! If possible, clean your jewellery with an alcohol wipe before putting it back in. If you don’t have anything else to hand, wash with antibacterial soap and water.
- Reinsert it as best you can. If you feel confident, you can put the jewellery back in! Screw the ball on, or push in the threadless end, and you’re all put back together. If you struggle to reinsert the jewellery, then sometimes the easiest thing to do is to just put the post in backwards so you can see what you are doing.
- Come and see us. If you don’t feel confident getting it back in perfectly, don’t stress. The most important thing to do is keep the piercing channel open. If you find it easier to put the labret post in from the front, then do that. Pop a little piece of micropore tape over it to keep it in, and pop in and see your piercer as soon as you can so that we can reinstall your jewellery perfectly!
It happens! Quality piercers will assess your anatomy and estimate how much extra length your new piercing will need to swell, but bodies can be unpredictable. Here’s what to do if you notice you are experiencing an overswelling piercing emergency.
- Don’t panic! See a theme here? It’s most important that you remain relaxed – Every piercing problem can be fixed easily.
- Assess what happened. Is your piercing fresh? Is it healed? Has it been downsized? What caused the swell?
- Assess your jewellery. Does it still have space on it? Is it sinking in at all? If there is still space on the bar, then fear not. You still have room to swell, and swelling doesn’t last forever. If you notice the jewellery is sinking in at all, then keep reading.
- Cool it down. A cold-pack wrapped in clean, disposable paper towels can be applied near to the piercing. We don’t recommend smushing the piercing directly, but applying a cool pack to your temple or neck can really soothe any ear piercings and diminish your swelling. If you know that you are safe to do so, now might be a good time to consider an anti-inflammatory such as Ibuprofen. Always speak to your primary care doctor before taking medications if you are unsure.
- Stay hydrated. Dehydration can cause you to retain water, making swelling prolonged and excessive. Keep your fluid intake up!
- Avoid alcohol. Alcohol makes you swell more – Don’t drink if you are swollen!
- See your piercer. If your jewellery is too tight, this can cause more swelling and serious discomfort. The best thing to do is book a checkup with your piercer as soon as you can, so that they can install longer jewellery that allows breathing room for your swelling.
- Take it back to basics. In short, keep your piercing clean, keep it dry, and leave it alone!
- Get a downsize. Once your swelling has come back down, please come back and have your jewellery downsized again! Wearing oversized jewellery is a common cause of… you guessed it… swelling. Don’t get caught in that wicked cycle!
If you have removed your jewellery for a period of time, then there is a chance that your body will have begun the process of shrinking down the piercing channel and healing it up. Our bodies are incredible healing machines! We are often asked, ‘How long before I can take my piercings out and they won’t heal up?’ This is an excellent question. The answer is… Never!
A good analogy is this. Imagine you wear braces. You look after your teeth, your teeth shift into a perfect position, and then you take your braces off. When do you stop wearing your retainer? Never! That is because your retainer is the only thing keeping your teeth in alignment. And it is the same for piercings. Your jewellery is your braces – Without them, your body will always try and heal your piercings.
However, for whatever reason, you have taken your jewellery out and now you can’t get it back in! What do you do to solve this piercing emergency?
- Don’t panic! We should definitely make t-shirts with this written on them! Stay calm, and don’t google it…
- Don’t force it. The most common cause of issues we see is when people panic, and force their jewellery back into a closed piercing without taking their time. If your piercing cannot be reopened with minimal pressure, then do not keep pushing.
- Take a warm shower. The first thing you need to do is soften and relax your skin. A hot, steamy shower is the best way to do this.
- Get lubed up. Apply a small amount of water-based lubricant to your jewellery – No lube, no love!
- Be gentle and consistent. Apply a gentle amount of pressure with your jewellery – Just enough to get things started. Be gentle and consistent, and your jewellery should slowly slide back into place.
- Know when to call it a day. If, after all of this, you still can’t get your piercing reopened, then do not spend the next 45 minutes getting into a flap and causing more damage. If you can’t get it back in after 10 minutes, then it is simply not going to happen. Take a break.
- Come and see your piercer. If you can’t get your jewellery back in, then the best thing you can do is book in to see your piercer! We can use tools and skill to gently taper your piercings back open. You would be surprised at how many piercings we have rescued that their owners thought were a lost cause!
Help – I can’t get my jewellery out!
Picture this – You have an MRI coming up, a surgery, school, or an important event. You need to take out your piercing! But you just can’t figure it out. What do you do in this piercing emergency?
The first thing to do is to understand your jewellery. If you are trying to unscrew a threadless end, you might be there for some time… Click HERE to find guides for all of the styles of jewellery that we offer.
Tips and Tricks for Threaded Jewellery
Threaded jewellery is the style that screws together. This can be a little fiddly to work with!
- Clean your hands and the jewellery. Removing any oils or buildup from your hands and the jewellery will increase your friction and help you to crack that initial unscrew!
- Righty-tighty, lefty-loosey. Your jewellery unscrews in the same orientation as any screw-top bottle. Imagine you are holding a milk bottle. Your jewellery unscrews the same way!
- Wear gloves. If you are seriously struggling, a set of nitrile or latex gloves will seriously increase the twisting power. And if you are really in trouble, wear two sets of gloves. Double gloving doubles your torque and can help you to crack even the most stubborn of balls.
Tips and Tricks for Threadless Jewellery
Push-fit jewellery is often seen as the easiest style to remove yourself at home. Still, it’s pretty fiddly stuff!
- Clean your hands and the jewellery. Like with threaded jewellery, clean hands and jewellery will improve your grip!
- Lose the nails. Long nails can make removing threadless jewellery a pain – Get some hands involved that have relatively normal nails. A little bit of nail can help grip snug-fitted jewellery though so there is a midground to be found.
- Grip both ends. Get a firm grip on both the labret disc and the threadless end. You can use a set of tweezers if the disc is in a tricky spot like a nostril or forward helix.
- Give a little wiggle. A gentle rocking wiggle can help crack that first little movement. It helps, we promise!
- Gentle pull apart. Once you have a little motion, then gently pull your threadless end off.
Tips and Tricks for Seam Rings and BCRs
How you remove BCRs and Seam Rings really depends on your end goal. Do you just want to swap the jewellery? Do you want to preserve the piece, or are you happy for it to go in the bin afterwards?
- Clean your hands and the jewellery. Again, we need this on a poster don’t we!
- Find the seam. This is easy on a BCR – The clip-in will be the seam point. It’s a little trickier on a seam ring, but find that tiny join.
- Bend into a spiral, not a pringle! If you can, just flex your BCR sideways until the ball pops out. For seam rings, open them out into a spiral if you can.
- If all else fails… You can use a set of nail scissors or jewellery pliers. Put the jaws of your tools into the middle of the ring and open them so that the jewellery folds open. This is a last-ditch move as you will irreperably damage the ring and need to throw it away.
Genuine Piercing Emergency
Although incredibly rare, there are some things that we would consider a genuine piercing emergency. The main things that we would consider an emergency are:
- An infection.
- Tongue piercing embedding.
Infections are incredibly rare. When following appropriate aftercare, and keeping yourself, your hands, and your piercing clean, then the chances of getting a bacterial infection are almost zilch! That being said, a genuine infection is a piercing emergency. Do not skip go, do not collect £200, go straight to urgent care for antibiotics. There is little your piercer can go to treat an infection – We are not doctors! The most important thing to do is assess if you have a true infection, which you can read a little more about here.
And finally, another true piercing emergency is any issues you may have with tongue piercings. Tongue piercings are generally super easy healers, with a full heal in just 4-6 weeks. However any issues you may have in the first week can very easily become more serious, so please keep an eye on your piercings! If you notice that your jewellery is too tight, please book an appointment with your piercer for longer jewellery. Do not put it off – This is an emergency that we would even recommend calling out of work for if necessary.
So there you have it! A plethora of information about the most common piercing emergencies and what you can do about them both at home and in the studio.
If you have any issues with your piercings, do not hesitate to get in touch. You can contact us over the phone, via instagram, via email, and you can always book in for an in-person consultation or checkup.
We will see you again next Friday for our next blog! Follow us on instagram to stay up to date with our latest work and announcements.