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Always choose a reputable shop with sterile procedures when considering a new piercing or tattoo.

Always choose a reputable shop with sterile procedures when considering a new piercing or tattoo.
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Body piercing

Body piercing is traditionally done by pushing a needle through a body part and inserting a piece of jewellery. The ears are the most commonly pierced sites, but other sites include the eyebrows, nose, lips, tongue, nipples, navel and genitals.

A new body piercing may be sore, red and tender and it can take anything from a few days to a few weeks for this to go away.

Sometimes the area of skin around the piercing can change colour and appear red, brown, pink, or purple. This discolouration will eventually fade after a few weeks.

The healing times vary depending on which part of your body is pierced and how well you look after it.

Self care

A piercing in your genital area is more likely to get infected, so extra care is necessary until it has healed.

  • Keep the area clean at all times and follow the instructions given by the person who did the piercing.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water then dry thoroughly before touching or cleaning the area.
  • Don't pick or tug on the pierced area until it has completely healed.
  • Avoid unnecessary friction (or rubbing) to this area until it is completely healed.
  • Don't use alcohol on the pierced area.
  • When considering piercing or tattooing, make sure you choose a reputable shop which uses sterile procedures and equipment.
  • Don’t share your body piercing jewellery with others.

If you are in pain, get advice on medicines you can take.

See your doctor if you are concerned that your piercing has become infected.

Not sure what to do next?

If you are still concerned about your body piercing, check your symptoms with healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.

The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).

Last reviewed: July 2015

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