Migration and rejection are probably the most common problems you can encounter with body piercings. It sucks when it happens, so you need to recognize their signs and understand why they are happening.
Treating migration and rejection is not easy and it doesn’t always work. Sometimes, your body will react in a way you can’t predict. This is why it’s important to know that piercings are always under a certain risk of migration and rejection (particularly rejection). This risk is never 0%, but it can be minimized.
Read the following tips to learn how to minimize this risk.
Know the Difference
The first thing you need to know is the difference between migration and rejection. Many people seem to confuse the two or assume they are basically the same. They aren’t, but they can be closely linked (a migrated piercing is more likely to be rejected).
- Migration - The movement of the piercing from its initial placement. After the move, the piercing settles and heals in this new location.
- Rejection – The body rejects the piercing by slowly pushing it out of the body. A rejected piercing is a lost piercing.
Why Does Migration Happen?
Migration can happen for several reasons. Most commonly, migration happens because you weren’t pierced correctly. A piercing has to be deep enough and made on a suitable place so it won’t migrate. This is why it’s important to hire an experienced piercer who will know how to minimize the risk of migration. If insufficient amount of tissue is pierced, or if unsuitable tissue is pierced, migration can happen at any time.
Another cause of migration is a bad aftercare practice. You need to follow the aftercare instructions carefully during the healing process. Migration can be caused by harsh products or lack of hygiene.
Also, keep in mind that migration sometimes happens even when you’re pierced correctly and you follow aftercare instructions. This is the risk you need to make when getting a new piercing.
Why Does Rejection Happen?
Rejection mainly happens because your body recognizes a piercing as a wound and jewelry as a foreign object. Therefore, it will try to heal this wound and close it. It will also try to get rid of the foreign object by slowly pushing it out, like a splinter.
This is why one of the first signs of rejection is piercing getting shallow and jewelry being able to be seen under the skin.
There is no way to eliminate the risk of rejection completely, but there are some things that can be done to minimize it. Again, proper piercing technique should be used. This is why it’s important to hire an experienced piercer. Your piercing needs to be deep enough to minimize the risk of rejection.
Also, you need to follow the aftercare instructions carefully. Resist the urge to touch your piercing or to twist it and move it. It’s also important not to change your jewelry too soon: make sure that your piercing is healed before you do that.
- For the best results and a long-lasting piercing, it’s important to make sure that there’s at least 5/16 inches of tissue between the entrance and exit holes. If the piercing is narrower than this, you are risking migration and rejection.
- Never allow jewelry to come all the way through to the surface. If you experience rejection, it’s best to retire a piercing and then wait to get a new one. If you allow your body to reject a piercing it will leave a split scar. The scar will likely remain and it will make further piercing on the same spot more difficult.
- In case you notice some changes, it’s important to keep an eye on them.
- Some warning signs: you have less than 1/4 inch of tissue between the openings, you can see the jewelry through the skin, or the skin between the openings is flaking or inflamed.
- Any of the described issues can happen long after the piercing is healed. There is always a risk, but healed piercings have a lower risk of migration and rejection.
- Always use high-quality body jewelry made of body-safe materials. This is the best way to minimize the risk of migration and rejection.