People get piercings for various reasons, from self-expression to cultural significance. As much as getting a piercing is exciting, removing it can be heart-wrenching. The question on many people’s minds is, do piercings close? We will delve into the science behind piercings and provide you with tips on how best to keep them open.
What Happens When You Get a Piercing?
When you get a piercing, a needle punctures your skin, and a small opening is created. The hole is known as the fistula, which is the body’s response to the foreign object. Your body reacts by forming a layer of connective tissues around the piercing known as the epithelium.
How Does Healing Work?
The piercing’s healing process involves three key stages: the inflammatory stage, the proliferative stage, and the maturation stage. During the inflammatory stage, your body’s immune system kicks in to fight against any potential infections. The proliferative stage involves the formation of new tissues and blood vessels to connect the fistula. Lastly, in the maturation stage, the connective tissues mature into the proper size and strength suitable for the piercing.
Do Piercings Close?
The question on whether piercings close is not straightforward. The likelihood of a piercing hole closing depends on multiple factors such as piercing site, age of the piercing, and how long the piercing has been healed. A piercing that is relatively new is at a higher risk of closing compared to an older piercing.
Factors That Determine How Quickly Piercings Close
The three major factors that determine how fast a piercing closes include:
- Piercing Site: The body’s skin and tissues are different in density, which affects how quickly the piercing hole will close. Piercings in thicker tissue such as the tongue last longer compared to piercings in thinner skin areas like the earlobe.
- Piercing Age: New piercings require consistent maintenance to prevent premature closing. Although piercings vary, a piercing can take between three weeks and one year to heal entirely. Once the piercing has fully healed, it is at a reduced risk of closing up.
- Piercing Size: Larger gauge piercings require more dedication and attention to maintain them. Piercings with a larger gauge are inevitably more prone to swelling and infections, which leads to increased chances of the piercing closing up.
What Can Cause a Piercing to Close?
Multiple factors can cause your piercing to close. These include:
- Infection: An infection leads to inflammation, which can cause your piercing to close up. If you notice any signs of infection such as redness, pus drainage, or fever, seek medical attention.
- Accidental Removal: If the jewelry in your piercing is removed accidentally, the hole can close up fast. In some cases, you may not be able to get the jewelry back in once the fistula has closed up.
- Dormant Piercings: If you leave your piercing without jewelry for too long, the hole may close up. Even healed piercings need routine maintenance to ensure the hole stays open.
How to Keep Your Piercing(s) Open
It is essential to take care of your piercing to ensure it lasts a lifetime. Here are some tips on how to keep your piercing open:
- Clean Your Piercing: After you get a piercing, it is essential to clean it using saline solutions. Saline has an antiseptic effect that helps fight off infection. It is advisable to clean your piercing at least twice a day. If you develop an infection, see your doctor.
- Choose The Right Jewelry: Ensure you choose high-quality jewelry, preferably surgical steel or titanium. Ensure the jewelry is the right size and avoid anything too tight or too loose.
- Be Gentle: Piercings are sensitive, avoid fiddling, and touching them too much. If you have to touch them, wash your hands before doing so.
Whether your piercing remains open or not depends on various factors, including piercing site, size, and your body’s reaction to it. Ensure you follow the aftercare instructions given to avoid complications. If you have to remove the jewelry for whatever reason, ensure you see a piercer immediately to help you reinsert the jewelry.
1. Karimkhani C, Boyers LN, Prescott L, Welch V, Delamere FM, Nasser M, et al. Global Skin Disease Morbidity and Mortality: An Update From the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013. JAMA Dermatol. 2017 Apr 01;153(4):406–12.
2. Hachach-Haram N, Bystrzonowski N, Ravsakar A, Harris P, Banerjee A. The challenges of body piercing and tattooing in patients with primary immunodeficiency: a review of the literature and two case reports. Br J Dermatol. 2017;177(1):31–32.
Common Questions and Answers
- Can I take out my piercing and put it back in? If you remove the jewelry immediately after piercing, the hole will likely close quickly. If you wish to put the jewelry back in, seek a professional piercer to help you avoid damage.
- Can I shower with new piercings? It’s essential to shower with new piercings to prevent infection. However, avoid submerging your piercing in water like baths, swimming pools, and hot tubs until the piercing has fully healed.
- What should I do if my piercing is infected? If you develop any signs of infection like redness, pus, or excessive bleeding, seek medical attention immediately. They might prescribe antibiotics to help clear the infection.