Once the piercing has finished the first stage of healing and is no longer an open wound, you can change the jewelry. Even at that point you only want to taking the jewelry only out to be replaced intermediately.
The second stage of healing where the body produces layer upon layer of additional skin and may in some case, take up to 3-4 years to complete. Removing the jewelry for long periods of time during this phase of healing can cause the piercing to close or shirk. Shrinking of the piercing hole will not only make replacing the jewelry difficult but if the jewelry is forced back into the piercing can tear the piercing tunnel. If the tunnel is torn or dislodged then the piercing will have to be healed all over again. Forcing the jewelry back in can also create thin areas or stretch marks in the piercing tunnel. Even in a well healed piercing, if you remove the jewelry for long periods of time you can loses the piercing. This is especially true in fast healing areas of the body like the mouth.
If you feel that your employer is going to ask you to remove the jewelry during work hours, are involved with an organized sport or some other activity where you are not allowed to have a visible piercing then you should consider getting a piercing that is less visible or consider delaying getting the piercing until you have a piercing friendly job or are done with the activity.
Well, first off, the jewelry should not be removed during the first stage of healing unless the jewelry is of the incorrect size or shape and even then only under the guidance of a piercer. Piercing heals by producing tissue starting at each piercing hole and then growing toward the center. The only thing keeping it in line is the jewelry during the healing period. Think of it like to teams tunneling through a mountain with piece of wire to guide them. If you take away the guide than often it is hard to match the jewelry with the other hole.
Even after the piercing is healed, removing the jewelry for any extended period of time may cause the tissue in the center of the piercing to begin to shrink or reconnect regardless of how long you have had the piercing. Both piercing hole may look open but chances are there is tissue blocking the center of the piercing. The time it takes for a piercing to close depends on the person's health and the piercing location. It is best to remove the jewelry only to replace it.
I do not charge to change or sterilize jewelry. Whenever you are nervous or unsure, see your piercer. Often times, even with well healed piercings it can be difficult to change jewelry, Especially if the jewelry is of a different type or size. Since it doesn't cost anything to have an expert do it, why take chances?
The biggest thing is that if you can't get the jewelry back in, don't panic or try to force the jewelry in because that may cause damage to the piercing. Some times even when the jewelry has been removed for a couple of days it can be reinserted using a taper pin.
It's seems over the last few years more and more high school and college athletic organizations have banned piercings. This is especially true of competitive cheer leading. I'm not going to get into a debate of whether these regulations are factually based decisions to protect the health and safety of those involve or just a desire to oppress individuality and focus on uniformity. The fact is that you will be required to remove jewelry for events. Depending on how healed the piercing is or the type of piercing it is, even removing the jewelry for a few hours may lead to damage to the piercing when the jewelry is reinserted or the piercing closing.
If you are involved in sports or some other organized activity, I highly suggest that you speak to your coach or the person in charge before getting a piercing. If possible get something in writing to that states that the piercing will not affect your ability to take part in that activity. If the answer is a flat no you can't have that piercing, do not just assume that if you get the piercing they will just let it slide because it is my experience they will not. I've even talked with coaches and school administrators that had no issue with the piercing, who have had referees and other officials over ride their decision.
It comes down to this, which is more important having the piercing or taking part in the sport or other activity. You may very well have to chose between the two.
This is a tricky question and it is one of those that the only correct answer is, it depends. To understand this I think it would be important to point out that the piercing goes through two stages of healing:
The first Stage of healing: During the first stage your body produces a tunnel of tissue around the piercing and the jewelry. It is during this stage that the piercing is in fact an open wound and more prone to infections and growing shut. Due to the fact that everyone heals at different paces ,the healing time could be shorter or longer then the average minimum healing time.
The Second Stage of healing:The second stage is called the seasoning or toughening period. during this stage your body adds layer upon layer of tissue to the tunnel to make the piercing permanent. This stage can take from 1 year to 3 years to complete and removing the jewelry for long periods of time can resulting the loss or closing of the piercing. A good rule is if you like the piercing leave something in it.
Also an understanding of what healing a piercing is in fact. In the piercing process the tissue is punctured(hypodermic needle aka piercing need punctures the skin) to create two wounds and then a foreign object(the jewelry) is placed through the two wounds. The body's reaction is first off to reject the foreign object and heal the wounds. This is why proper jewelry and placement is so very important. The more body friendly the jewelry is and the resistance there is to reject the jewelry, the more your body is going to accept the jewelry and settle down to the job of growing tissue around the jewelry to close the wound.
Also the less abusive the location of the piercing and the the more pronounced the rim or ridge of the piercing area, the less the body will find the piercing harmful and in need of rejection. There's an old say, "If it has two side pierce it. If it doesn't leave it alone."
Once the body has accepted the jewelry it will begin the process of new skin growth in the form of scar tissue. This begins at the inside edge of the two wounds and moves inward. Since production and protection is greater in certain areas of the body then others, the healing time is vastly different depending on the area and the depth or length of the piercing. Removing the jewelry during the first stage of healing is going to increase likelihood of the piercing closing or dislodging whatever skin growth has formed. In other words if you are thinking about getting a eyebrow piercing and you know or have a feeling that your employer is going ask you to remove the piercing during working hours. You should consider another less visible piercing or no piercing at all. Even remove the jewelry for even a few minutes during the first stage of healing is going to result in lose of the piercing, prolonged healing and an increase chance of infection or other problem.
At the end of the first stage of healing your body has created a thin layer of scar tissue around the jewelry in the form of a tunnel. In sealing the wound it is no longer as prone to closing and to infection. However since the tissue is very thin, it is prone to tearing and closing. If you remove the jewelry for long periods of time often the piercing will begin to close up and forcing the jewelry back in can reopening the wound and starting the whole, if not part of, the first stage of healing all over again.
What happens when you remove the jewelry during the second stage of healing, is the body goes "Hey the foreign object is gone, let's heal this thing up and get things back to my genetic code design." Which regardless of how much you wish upon a falling star, doesn't include a that really cool 10g hole through your left nipple.
Whenever the healthy body is left to it own devices it will work it's hardest to return to it's natural form. Skin is an organ that nature choice to not have holes in it or path ways that lead to no where. Skin has the job of protecting the body from the environment around as a barrier and sensor. This function does not involve having a tunnel through the upper rim of you navel. So the body will begin to reverse it's production of skin tissue from the middle of the piercing tunnel toward the surface of the skin. Kind of like filling in a hole.
OK, remember that neat thing that your body was doing? You know the thing we wanted it to do. It was adding layer upon layer of new scar tissue out ward away from the piercing. Well without the jewelry there to keep it from forming tissue on the inside of the piercing tunnel it begins to do just that. Throws the thing in reverse and begins to connect the tissue in the middle of the piercing tunnel. Then tissue once connected will begin to fill the tunnel with scar tissue. This is why often the piercing will appear to still be open and then the jewelry will be stopped half way through the insertion.
How quickly the piercing will close depends on a number of things. Including how well developed or thick the skin of the tunnel is, the rate of the production of skin cells in that area of the body and the gauge of the jewelry itself. At the end of the second stage of healing, enough skin cells should have been produced to generate the tissue into normal skin tissue. Even at this point, the body will slowly begin to reverse the process but it will be much slower. In most cases, if the area of the body is slow healing, it shouldn't be a problem to remove the jewelry for short periods of time. Since certain areas of the body especially with mucous membrane in the mouth, will heal a great deal faster, it is not uncommon for even will healed piercing to close even after being in for a number of years. A good rule is the faster the first stage of healing the faster it will close.
Lastly, the gauge of the jewelry will dictate how quickly the piercing will close completely. It's basic logic the bigger the tunnel the longer it takes to close. With large gauge piercing, even though the piercing may not close, a reduction in the gauge maybe need to reinsert jewelry.
All can be summed like this, if you like the piercing and want to keep it, then leave something in it.
The most common reason from removing jewelry are Medical, employment and prodding by a partner or parent. Often when the medical industry comes in contact with piercings, they're reaction is to insist that the jewelry be removed. In most cases this is due to the Doctor or other medical professional being uneducated in regards to piercing. Over the years I've heard everything from, "It will never heal." to "Ms. Jones the reason that you are have migraines is the jewelry is your ear." Keeping this in mind there are some situations where removing the jewelry is needed.
With surgery there is some risks and often if you push them hard enough they will tape up the jewelry during the surgery. Another option that is in more effect and less problematic is to replace the jewelry with Monfilament Nylon or Teflon. It will not react to medical procedures and medication, does not appear on x-rays and can be Autoclaved. The easiest form of Monfilament to find is fishing line or weed eater line. I've included a gauge vs.. mm and inches chart on my Jewelry Information page.
Everyone should understand that having a facial piercing is going to effect your chances of employment. Even though a number of employers have start to accept visible piercing, most of these seem to be in the service industry. So, if you want to work at Quicky Mart for the rest of your life, don't worry about it but do consider it before getting a visible piercing. Friends and family, Who's body is it anyway? I say this with a few exceptions, if you are in a committed relationship and the piercing is sexual or may effect your chances of employment, then you should discuss this with your partner. A piercing can be a life changing experience and you should consider the effects and keep your love ones in the loop. For more info on healing a piercing go to Aftercare Index.
Signs of infection are: Redness, discoloration, swelling, heat/fever, on or around the piercings, pain the is throbbing and/or shooting/travels, pus and/or discharge that is unnatural in color like grayish. yellowish and/or greenish.
Contact you piercer or a doctor as soon as you can. Do not put off getting the infection taken care of because it can only get worst and maybe spread and turn systematic. Yes, you can die from a piercing that is infected if it is not taken care of and the bacteria enters your blood stream and spreads.
When in doubt contact your doctor. I have over 23 years of experience solving problems with piercings but if it's beyond my help. I'll be the first one to tell you to seek professional medical help.
Do not remove the jewelry. In a healing piercing the jewelry is the only thing keeping the wound open. If you remove the jewelry the wound will close and possibly trap the infection and fluids inside you body. This can create a abscess or cyst that will require lancing. Leaving the jewelry in will allow a drainage point for the infection and in most cases make it more treatable.
Well for starters read the package the stuff came in, right off a box of Fougera Bacitracin Zinc Ointment USP,
"Warnings: for external use only. Do not use in eyes or apply over large areas of the body. In case of deep or puncture wounds, animal bites or serious burns consult a doctor. Stop use and consult a doctor if the condition persists or gets worse. do not use longer than 1 week unless directed by a doctor. Keep this and other drugs out of the reach of children. In case of accidental ingestion, seek professional assistance or contact a Poison Control Center immediately."
A piercing is a Deep Puncture Wound and the reason they want you to consult a doctor is that Bacitracin and other Anti-bacterial over the counter ointments are petrolatum based. This causes the follow problems:
- The petrolatum blocks the flow of oxygen to the wound slowing down the bodies ability to produce new tissue.
- It blocks the wounds ability to discharge waste and debris from the wound.
- Since the petrolatum creates a film around the wound area that doesn't wash away for a few day, dirt, debris and pathogens can collect in the wound area.
So, OTC ointments slow healing, impede your bodies ability to remove harmful elements from the wound and increase the likelihood of contamination.
There is a misconception when it comes to antibacterial ointment. It doesn't actually kill the bacteria like Triclosan and other products. What they do do is reduces the ability of the bacteria to reproduce to give your body's natural immune system time to fight off the infection before it spreads. So, what is the point of using OTCs when you are already cleaning the wound with an antiseptic twice daily. Not only is it over medicating but also introducing another element that is known to cause problems. For more info on healing a piercing go to Aftercare Index.