Are Body Piercings Good for You?

Throughout time people of all ages have had body piercings as a form of beauty. In 2020 scientists discovered a male mummy -from 12,000 years ago and the ancient African civilization – had custom lips and tongue piercings. 

Studies show that around 20% of people in the world experience some sort of infection from wearing piercings on their body. Some of the minor infections that can occur from not taking care of their piercings is bleeding, scarring, and the formation of keloids, which are thick overgrowths of scar tissue. Some other infections are nerve damage and sometimes they affect internal organs. Other infections or diseases that are less common are brain abscess and endocarditis, a heart inflammation that can be life-threatening. Scientists say it’s unclear on how these complications occur but their hypothesis is the use of unclean needles. Body piercing is also associated with transmission of hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Lots of teens are piercing their body themselves with unclean utensils such as needles, thumb tacks, and paper clips. 

Up to 30% of people who get body piercings are allergic to nickel, which is a common metal used in jewelry. If you have a nickel allergy, you can still wear jewelry, but just avoid nickel and wear platinum, stainless steel, or gold instead. But don’t wear white gold; it may contain nickel. 

Some of the most common spots on the body for piercings are the ears, mouth, nose, eyebrows, nipples, navel, and genitals. Lip and tongue piercings can be associated with gingivitis, teeth chips, cracks and fractures, and gum recession. These are caused by continuous traumatization of teeth and gums when the individual plays with the piercing.

Scientists say, “and a special word of warning for children who are undergoing a piercing: an experienced technician, nurse or doctor should perform the procedure. And because proper care is crucial to decrease the chances of infection, piercings should occur only once the child is mature enough to care for the area.”