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Is body piercing safe?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

It wasn't long ago when earlobes were the only pierced body parts among people in the U.S. - and that was largely a female indulgence. Wow, have times changed? Today, we hardly blink when we see a young (or not so young) person with a nose ring, eyebrow piercing, lip ring, and possibly a tongue stud - all on the same face. And that's only the piercings we can see, from the neck up? If you want to add a little metallic adornment to your own body, give it a very good thinking over; as with tattoos, lot of people getting piercings actually have surgery later to close up the little holes they wish they had never introduced into their body. You still want one after that good, long think? Then be smart and safe about it, as infections and other problems can come free of charge after that initial poke. These tips will help.

Choose the right real estate. Where you get that piercing is a big decision, and not just for the purposes of making a societal statement. Certain body parts are more dangerous to pierce than others. Earlobes are a pretty safe area to pierce; that's why 12-year-olds with an ice cube and a needle can usually pull this one off. We recommend that you draw an ink spot exactly where you want the piercing on one side, then measure the distance up from the bottom of the lobe and back from the cheek. This is the spot the other side should go. And if they come out crooked, just take the earrings them out and wait a month to repierce.

The second safest place to pierce? The bellybutton. Other than the lobes and the bellybutton, you're increasing your risk of trouble if you stray to other areas. Ear cartilage, for example, has poor blood supply and can't fight germs if they get in. An infection here will leave you looking like a basset hound. In the eyebrow, there's a nerve that supplies sensation to the forehead that might be speared with the piercing. You'll remember the piercing every day because painful scar tissue, called a neuroma, can form here. Other areas like the nose, labia, and nipples are definite danger zones when it comes to infection and other long-term issues, like breastfeeding. And the tongue? Make sure you have good dental insurance; you'll need it as the piercing destroys your teeth by clanging against your precious enamel and gives your breath that sweet odor of trapped bacteria. Ugh?

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.