Risks and Side Effects
When it comes to risks and side effects you should consult your piercer
Is piercing dangerous?
YES. You are letting a stranger make a hole in your body with a needle and insert a piece of jewelry through it.
How would you react if a random person in the street stuck a needle in you? Would you be delighted and give him money for it?
In other words, YES, an intervention of this kind always presents a danger, be it deliberate or not.
NO, in my experience, piercing poses NO RISK, if it is done properly and hygienically, using sterilized jewelry, tools, disposable needles, gloves, compresses, etc.
Piercing done by a professional is not dangerous.
That said, it is my duty to explain to you the side effects that can arise as a result of a piercing procedure, even if it is done professionally:
Proud flesh, excessive granulation, or Caro Luxurians—aka the „piercing nightmare“
This is an issue that arises frequently in my professional life, and one that I would like address generally, medically, and as a piercer.
In brief, for those who don’t wish to read the full article:
- No, this skin condition does not happen to everyone or in every piercing procedure. In fact, it is a rare occurrence.
- No, it is not life-threatening. Rather, it is unpleasant and looks worse than it is.
- Yes, it can be treated without surgical interventions (that is, without cutting anything away or consulting a doctor). The best treatment for it is determined in our studio after inspecting it, since it is often confused with a very common piercing wound.
I. Put simply:
Proud flesh, or caro luxurians is an excessive growth of flesh and skin which can set in following a piercing, specifically during its healing phase.
Proud flesh tends to occur more frequently in ear cartilage or nostril piercings than in other parts of the body.
I have rarely seen it with piercings in the labia majora (outer lips), and occasionally I have seen it in other regions of the body.
The reason that proud flesh occurs more often in the ear and the nose is simply because it is cartilage tissue that is being penetrated. Proud flesh is a result of wounds, and in this case piercing wounds, and involves skin cells and capillaries (more on this later). The angle of the piercing canal and the technique employed in the procedure affect the formation of proud flesh. Therefore, depending on the piercer, it can arise more or less frequently.
This means that the piercer can have a direct influence on its formation, or at least what she does can facilitate or inhibit this process (that is also why you should never pierce yourself or use a piercing gun).
But even the best piercers cannot always control the outcome, and it often comes down to the follow-up care, the customer’s predisposition, the type of jewelry employed, and other factors of this kind.
In general, proud flesh does not become inflamed and doesn’t produce pus. It does frequently bleed, however, and ends up forming a yellow scab from the exudate. This makes it look as if the piercing is in danger of suppurating (producing pus).
There are no medical or health reasons to remove proud flesh. But because nobody likes it and it can be unsightly, patients wish to get rid of it as quickly as possible.
As mentioned above, proud flesh can be removed WITHOUT surgery. You have every right to consult a dermatologist if you wish of course, but as a piercer I would advise you against it. In my experience (what my customers tell me), most doctors fail to recognize proud flesh as such and do not know how to treat it. Their standard response is, “Remove the piercing”, and although this will solve the problem in the long run, it is not necessary. Others prescribe powerful antibiotics, which is hardly useful since it is not a bacterial infection. Some doctors try to burn it away chemically or cut it away, and it usually comes right back.
In my experience, proud flesh can generally be removed painlessly and without leaving scars, provided one administers the right treatment with the right means (sometimes changing the material of the jewel is necessary).
Under no circumstances should the customer try to squeeze it out, puncture it, burn it or treat with random products, but should consult a professional piercer, who can then decide whether to refer the person to a doctor or not.
It usually takes our customers 14 days to treat a case of proud flesh, so there is no cause for alarm.
II. A medical explanation:
In medical terms, proud flesh or caro luxurians is an excess of granulation tissue.
Granulation in dermatology is defined as the formation of connective tissue. Due to the healing of the wound after a piercing procedure, the connective tissue is well supplied with blood, that is, it contains a profusion of capillaries. Due to the abundance of capillaries, the surface appears raw and blistered, in other words, granulated. That is why proud flesh is also termed granulation tissue.
Piercing creates a wound; the edges of the wound split slightly (invisible to the eye, and the needle, angle of penetration and technique can have considerable influence here). It is during the wound-healing process (usually 10 days or more) that proud flesh can occur.
In many cases granulation can arise but clear up by itself without the person noticing it; it is when the granulation is excessive that one is dealing with proud flesh.
III. Information gained from piercing experience:
Proud flesh is a rare occurrence at our studio. It can happen a few days after the piercing, however, and with the proper treatment will heal within days and will not leave any permanent scars.
Proud flesh can also occur after a few months, that is, before or after switching the jewelry, even if the wound itself has healed correctly.
Why is that? Simply because, as described above, proud flesh can occur within the context of the healing process. Thus, if a healed piercing is wounded again, that wound needs to heal again in turn. If the edges of the wound begin to split, then it can lead to proud flesh.
A wound can be caused by a snag, a sudden tug at the jewel, a poorly executed switch of jewelry, etc. That is why it is even more important that you let the piercer change the piece of jewelry after the established time frame and do not try to do it yourself.
If you should have any questions on the topic of proud flesh, please come and speak with us in our studio.