Rejection and Migration

Rejection and Migration



The body may reject a body piercing for several reasons, primarily related to its natural immune response to perceived foreign objects or irritation. Many factors can contribute to rejection, however. Essentially, rejection of a piercing is your body denying and trying rid itself of the foreign object (the body jewelry). The example I use often, is that it is similar to getting a silver. If you leave the sliver there, your body reacts to that and works to push the sliver out to protect itself. This is the purpose of your immune system. In body piercing, we are working against the immune system to a degree, in that we are trying to convince the body to heal a foreign object within itself. Typically, once the rejection process has started, there is no way to stop it. The best option at this point, is to remove the jewelry and abandon the piercing to eliminate the risk of excess scar tissue build up (which is permanent) and other complications that can arise. Some common factors that can contribute to piercing rejection include:


1. Low-Quality Jewelry: Poor-quality or incompatible jewelry materials can irritate the piercing site, leading to an immune response and rejection. Jewelry made from materials that an individual is sensitive/allergic to, such as nickel, can be especially problematic.


2. Improper Piercing Techniques: Piercing done by an inexperienced or untrained individual can result in placement issues, leading to increased irritation and a higher risk of rejection.


3. Excessive Movement or Friction: Frequent movement or friction of the jewelry, especially in body parts prone to motion, can lead to irritation and rejection. Do not touch, twist, push, or pull your jewelry.


4. Allergic Reactions: Allergic reactions to certain metals in the jewelry, especially nickel, can cause severe irritation and inflammation, potentially leading to rejection.


5. Poor Aftercare: Inadequate cleaning and care of the piercing site can lead to infection, which may contribute to rejection.


6. Jewelry Size and Shape: Jewelry that is too small or too large for the piercing can put undue pressure on the surrounding tissue, leading to irritation and rejection.


7. Repetitive Trauma: Trauma to the piercing from external forces, such as snagging the jewelry on clothing, towels, or anything else, can irritate the area and contribute to rejection.


8. Improper Piercing Angle: The angle at which the piercing is performed can affect the body's response. An angle that puts excess pressure on the surrounding tissue can lead to rejection.


9. Genetic Predisposition: Some individuals may be genetically predisposed to have a higher risk of piercing rejection, keloid formation, or other scar responses.


Piercing rejection is a gradual process, and it typically involves the body's attempt to push the jewelry out of the pierced area. It often manifests as redness, swelling, discomfort, thinning of the surrounding tissue, and migration of the jewelry away from the initial placement.


If you suspect that your piercing is undergoing rejection or experiencing complications, it's essential to consult a Professional Piercer or healthcare provider. Prompt action, including jewelry removal and appropriate wound care, can help minimize scarring and promote proper healing. To reduce the risk of piercing rejection, choose a reputable piercer, opt for high-quality jewelry, and follow recommended aftercare instructions.


1. Inflammation: In the early stages of piercing rejection, the body may exhibit signs of inflammation around the piercing site. This can include redness, swelling, pain, and warmth. However, these are also very normal symptoms for any new piercing during the first few weeks to months after having it done. So, it does not necessarily mean it is rejecting.


2. Thinning of Tissues: As the body perceives the piercing as a foreign object or an irritant, the tissue around the jewelry may start to thin as it works to push it out of the body. This makes the piercing site more vulnerable to rejection.


3. Jewelry Movement: The jewelry may begin to move on its own as the body's natural response tries to push it out. This movement can further irritate the piercing and contribute to the rejection process.


4. Visible Migration: You may notice that the jewelry appears to move away from its original placement. In some cases, it may even break through the skin's surface.


5. Scarring: In the final stages of rejection, the body forms scar tissue around the area where the jewelry was situated. This scar tissue can remain as a visible, permanent mark. In some cases, it can permanently distort the area.


If you suspect that your piercing is undergoing rejection, it's crucial to consult a Professional Piercer for an evaluation. They can determine whether the piercing is indeed rejecting and provide guidance on the next steps. In most cases, removing the jewelry is necessary to prevent further complications and minimize scarring. After the area has fully healed, you may consider re-piercing if desired, with the guidance of an experienced Piercer who will be able to determine whether or not that is a safe and viable option.


MIGRATION When a body piercing "migrates," it means that the piercing jewelry is slowly moving away from its initial placement within the pierced area. This can happen for several reasons, and it's typically considered a complication rather than a normal part of the healing process. Here are some common factors that can cause piercing migration:


1. Jewelry Irritation: One of the primary causes of piercing migration is irritation or inflammation around the piercing site. This irritation can result from the use of low-quality or incompatible jewelry materials, such as nickel or materials that an individual is allergic to. This can also be caused by not downsizing your initial jewelry at an appropriate time. Please read our article about “Downsizing” for further information on this important step in the healing process of a piercing.


2. Excessive Movement: Frequent movement or friction of the jewelry, especially in body parts prone to motion, can lead to irritation and cause the jewelry to shift.


3. Jewelry Size and Shape: Jewelry that is too small or too large for the piercing can put pressure on the surrounding tissue, contributing to migration.


4. Repetitive Trauma: External forces, such as snagging on clothing or jewelry, can cause repetitive trauma to the piercing, leading to irritation and migration.


5. Poor Piercing Angle: The angle at which the piercing was performed can impact the risk of migration. An improper angle can create tension and pressure on the surrounding tissue.


6. Body's Natural Response: The body may recognize the jewelry as a foreign object and try to push it out, resulting in migration.


Piercing migration is typically characterized by the gradual movement of the jewelry away from the original piercing site. It can manifest as changes in the piercing's appearance, including the visible movement (starting to heal crooked or on an angle) of the jewelry or changes in the shape of the piercing hole. Signs of irritation, such as redness, swelling, and discomfort, may also be present.


If you suspect that your piercing is migrating, it's important to take action to prevent further complications:


1. Consult with a professional piercer for an evaluation.


2. Remove the jewelry if advised to do so in order to minimize scarring and further complications.


3. Properly care for the area to promote healing and prevent infection.


4. If you wish to re-pierce the area, consult with an experienced Piercer who will be able to determine if this is a safe option.


Preventing piercing migration involves choosing high-quality jewelry, following recommended aftercare practices (like downsizing jewelry), and avoiding unnecessary movement, trauma, or irritation of the piercing. Migration of a piercing does not always mean that it will not heal- but ultimately it means the jewelry may not sit as nicely or appropriately in the area. Sleeping on a fresh/healing piercing will absolutely cause it to migrate and become angled/crooked. The consistent pressure from laying on it pushes the jewelry on an angle. For as long as possible during the healing period, it is very important to avoid sleeping/laying on it, and any consistent pressure being applied to the area/piercing site. Once a piercing begins to migrate, there is no way to reverse or rectify this.

Back to blog