Skin repairs itself by stimulating cell division to cover the exposed area around a new injury such as a cut, puncture, bite or scrape. Usually a puncture wound, which is what a piercing is, will first fill up with white blood cells to destroy bacteria and to form a scab. Underneath the scab, new tissue will form to heal the wound.
Sterilised piercing jewellery acts as a plug, encouraging a scab to form as well as preventing the newly created hole from closing. As long as the scab remains undisturbed, the wound has very little opportunity to become infected with bacteria, virus, fungi or parasites. Once new tissue forms to completely cover the cut, the scab will fall off.
Blood, rushing to the site of the piercing, produces symptoms of inflammation i.e. swelling, redness and soreness. And although the side effects may not be pleasant, inflammation is a healthy response to an injury.
When getting a new body piercing, expect 25% – 60% swelling and use appropriately sized jewellery to accommodate it. Most of the swelling will occur within the first 72 hours. In areas where there is a good blood supply such as earlobes, lips, noses and even nipples, it would probably be better to be prepared for up to 60% swelling but note that no two areas of the same part will swell the same. However, going overboard with longer jewellery is inadvisable as they do tend to get caught in clothes, hair and what-not.
In summer, the heat encourages steady blood circulation to flush away toxins near the skin’s surface. Better blood circulation means a good supply of blood to form a scab thereby quickly promoting healing. It is important to remember not to keep reopening the puncture wound by tearing the scab away.
In colder winter weather, care needs to be taken to protect exposed skin, especially if it has a piece of metal jewellery which can intensify the cold. The areas that had a good supply of blood such as the ears, nose and other facial piercing areas tend to have reduced blood flow when the weather is cold. This is why your extremities will feel colder even though the rest of the body is warm.
By the same token, less blood flow may mean less swelling when getting a new piercing. But in all cases, it is important to remember to keep the piercing clean to prevent unnecessary infection.
So is there a better season to get a piercing? No not really! It depends on you and your lifestyle. Get in touch with your local salon today to discuss your piercing options. And as always – follow the body piercing aftercare advice provided.