Body piercing

  • By Dr. Neha Agrawal

“I am too old for an eyebrow piercing but too young for an eyebrow lift.” - Max Cannon

What is body piercing?

It is a cut or a puncture in a part of the body to facilitate wearing jewellery at that site. Began as a traditional practice, it is rapidly gaining popularity in the youngsters, especially in the western world.

Piercing History

The origin lies in the Middle East around many thousands of years ago. The Mughals brought the nose piercing to India. Be it Africa, Rome or Egypt, piercings have a story everywhere. Some believed it to be symbol of social status, some jewellery, some as a gift, and some as a symbol of strength.

Piercing Sites

There are various sites for piercing popular in different cultures, and have evolved over time.

  1. Nose
  2. Ear
  3. Oral
  4. Rare sites are navel, nipple and genitals

Go ahead, pierce all you want, and where you want, just make sure you don’t come back with an infection.

Dangers of piercing

  1. Allergy: Your system may react with an allergic response to the metal used for piercing.
  2. Infection: The instruments used for piercing may be carriers of infections, if not sterilized properly. This can lead to development of infection in your system. The infection could be simple pus formation or may even be contraction of HIV.
  3. Bleeding: Excessive bleeding may result from the site of puncture. If you already have a history of increased bleeding, be careful.
  4. Nerve Damage: While piercing, if the technician or piercing artist is not adept enough, he/she may make a mistake and end up damaging a nerve. Nerve damage can be difficult to recover from and may even lead to paralysis of a part.
  5. Mouth piercing risks: When the piercing is within the mouth cavity there is a risk of dental infections. A few cases have been reported of accidentally swallowing and even choking because of the metal ring pierced.
  6. Cannot donate blood for a year: The rule for blood donation is you cannot donate before completing a year after the piercing. This is because of the risk of blood contamination, especially infections like Hepatitis B, Hepatitis, C, HIV, and Syphilis.
  7. Scarring: The piercing may result in scar formation. This can get worse with formation of keloids.


  1. Make sure you go to a place with good reputation.
  2. Ask the centre to use sterilized instruments only.
  3. Once you’re pierced, take good care of the site. Do not touch the site without cleaning your hands.
  4. Watch for any signs of infections: redness, pain, swelling. If these come up, see a doctor.