by Derek Lowe
Disclaimer: We totally stole the title for this entry from our friend Shawn over at Scar Wars. We hope he will see our blatant theft as the flattery for which we intend it. Shawn’s blog is about the art of scarification (cutting designs in to the skin) and does contain some graphic images. While incredibly tastefully done, click the link at your own risk.
Over on our Facebook page, we recently asked for topics that folks would like us to write about. We received a few requests for information about piercing, or re-piercing rather, through scar tissue from previous piercings. This is a great topic, because many people end up having piercings re-done after they remove them for any number of reasons.
The good news is, redoing a piercing through scar tissue is a very viable option most of the time. We always need to see the area that will be re-pierced before we can tell you whether re-piercing is a good idea in your specific case, but most of the time, a little bit of scar tissue doesn’t tend to affect healing.
Now, before you decide to run out and redo your navel piercing that you took out a week ago, there are some things to keep in mind when it comes to piercing through scar tissue.
Time is your friend
In order for a re-piercing to be successful, the area being pierced should be stable. This means that there shouldn’t be any redness, discomfort or discharge. Any visible scarring in the area should be either white, the same color as the surrounding skin or perhaps slightly darker than the surrounding skin. In order to reduce the chances of problems with the re-piercing, it is best not to pierce through pink or red scars.
How long you will need to wait before having a piercing redone depends a bit on how long you had the piercing. In general though it is best to wait at least 2 months. In some cases where a piercing is very new (1 day up to 1 month), a couple of weeks may be long enough to wait. Your piercer can help you determine this.
Less is best
One of the reasons it is best to wait a while before having a piercing redone is that the less scar tissue there is in the area, the better. While it can be difficult for your body to absorb scar tissue, over time, scarring will tend to get less. Because scar tissue is not as soft/flexible as normal tissue, too much of it in the area can affect how jewelry fits in the piercing. If there is too much pulling, sticking or pressure from scar tissue, healing the piercing can become difficult.
If you have a piercing with a fair amount of scar tissue, one thing that may help reduce the amount of scarring is massage. Now, you probably don’t need to head to your local spa to get this done (although we do encourage you to treat yourself to a massage)…you should be able to handle it on your own. A few times per day, for 5-10 minutes, simply massage the scar tissue. You don’t need to use so much force you hurt yourself, but don’t be afraid to apply some pressure. Some people like to use a little vitamin E oil on their fingers as they do the massage. The massaging can help break up the scar tissue somewhat, making it easier for your body to absorb it.
Better piercing through modern chemistry
If you have a lot of scar tissue in an area, and time and massage just don’t seem to be doing the trick, you may want to consider seeking a more “advanced” solution. There are a number of products available over-the-counter these days that are specifically designed to reduce scarring. While we can’t tell you which one will work best for you, we do know several people who have had good luck with Mederma. As always, it’s a good idea to consult your doctor before trying out a new product intended to make changes to your skin.
One of these things is not like the other
It’s very possible to have the same piercing done, in the same location, at two different times in your life and have different healing experiences. As we’ve mentioned, having a little bit of scar tissue isn’t likely to affect the overall healing and success of a piercing. So, if you find that your re-piercing took a little longer to heal or gave you more problems while it was healing, chances are it wasn’t the scar tissue and it was simply different factors in your life the second time around.
…hurt more if you get it repieced? We get this question a lot. The answer, is: it might…or it might hurt less…or it might feel exactly the same. Just like your healing experience can be different at different times, how the piercing feels to get done will likely be different as well. This can be true even if the piercing is done by the exact some piercer. Some days piercings just hurt more than they do others…but they also hurt less some days.
Hopefully this sheds a little light on to the topic of piercings and scar tissue. If you have any other questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section.