Infected vs. Irritated?

March 2023
You would’ve heard by now a lot about the latest piercing trends – if you’re part of the Covetear universe and an enthusiast – welcome. We’re happy to have you. One thing fashion editorials or albeit even your local chemist may fail to educate you on is the nitty-gritty details of piercing culture – like the healing process. A rite of passage in any piercing journey, we’re here to shed light on what to expect, and when to reach out to a Covetear piercing master for guidance on your new piercing.
INFECTED VS. IRRITATED?

Let’s start with perhaps the biggest question of all – is your piercing really infected, or just irritated? The latter is common, and although unwelcome – it’s not something to be overly concerned about. It is completely natural that even though we might try to take the absolute best care of our new baby (as we like to call it) – it might hit or snag something, or we might accidentally wake up sleeping on it (total bummer if you’ve been there). Unless you have the Sleeping Beauty pose down-packed (which, if you do – call us) – then you may have made a few mishaps along the way.

WHAT SIGNS TO LOOK OUT FOR

We’re here to put you at ease. According to our Covetear Master piercer Sebastian, there are some tell-tale signs to know if your new piercing is in fact infected. “If the area around the piercing is warm to the touch, you notice extreme redness or red streaks protruding from it, and it has discoloured pus, normally with a green or brown tint – then you are experiencing an infection,” Sebastian says.

“You might also notice swollen lymph nodes, which is your body trying to kill the infection.” If your piercing is severely infected, you’ll basically feel like you’re getting a cold, and, in some cases, you might even begin to run a fever. You might also experience some swelling, pain, tenderness of the area, burning, or itching.

THE 'PURE PIERCING METHOD'

Not to fear – this is where our adoption of the “Pure Piercing Method” and complimentary aftercare appointments come in handy. If you are new to the piercing game, or have frequented malls in the past – you do run the risk of infection due to low quality piercing devices such as guns over single-use needles – or cheap jewellery which is great for an event, but not for your everyday piercing, and especially not designed to be adorned throughout the healing journey.

As the acidity in your skin, water or chemicals break down the plating of your jewellery – your new piercing comes in contact with some nasty materials – none of which are designed to provide a proper healing environment. Cheap jewellery often contains allergens like nickel, but gold, titanium, and platinum are better bets because they’re hypoallergenic. If this is the case, then think about having the jewellery changed ASAP. The post length and backing also come into play. Cartilage piercings require some room for initial swelling and a flat back. A lot of earrings provided by cheaper piercing options feature short posts and butterfly backs – which only cause irritation, infection and sometimes even scarring.

Don’t fret if you can’t make it to our Flagship Studio. All of our Covetear piercing jewellery is shipped certified sterilised. Yep, that’s right. We’re making it possible for anyone to buy quality piercing jewellery, to use at their local studio.

WHEN IT COMES TO PUS, WHAT'S NORMAL & WHAT'S AN INFECTION?

When it’s discoloured, like green or brown, that’s serious and something to be addressed immediately,” Sebastian says. “This could likely be an infection that shouldn’t go untreated.” If it’s yellow or green around the opening, visit your piercing studio and follow up with a medical professional.

HOW DO YOU TREAT AN INFECTED PIERCING?

If the piercing is infected, don’t panic — just come in to see our trusted Covetear piercers. Your next plan of action is treatment: a minor infection can usually be treated at home by cleaning around the piercing with a saline solution three times daily and a topical antibiotic ointment. Look out for crust forming around the inflamed piercing hole — as it can trap bacteria and close the hole. We suggest cleaning the front and back of the piercing and drying with a lint-free sterile gauze or paper towel.

MY PIERCING IS RED, IRRITATED, AND A LITTLE SWOLLEN, BUT DOESN'T SEEM INFECTED - WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

“A lot of times people will come in thinking they have an infection when it’s really just physical irritation,” Sebastian explains. They’re likely hitting it or playing with it — both big no-no’s. Cartilage piercings experience this often because they’re in the line of fire for everyday activities. This can cause redness, swelling, and a little bit of pain. You might even see some white or clear fluid from the piercing — this is lymph fluid, not pus. This is normal and may be noticeable for several days after your piercing. If it persists past a few days, then it’s good to rule out an allergy to the jewellery.

 

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