Should you let your teen get a body piercing?

Before allowing your teen to get a piercing, know that all piercings can be dangerous if not performed by a qualified professional.

Should you let your teen get a body piercing?
 Piercings can easily get infected and cause problems down the road – especially in places like the belly button, tongue or the lip.

While you may squirm at the thought of piercing your lip, tongue, or nose, these piercings may seem as usual to your adolescent as slim jeans and iPhones. However, just because “everyone is doing it” does not always mean you should give your teen the green light to get piercings.

Even if you’re not completely opposed to your adolescent getting body piercings, it’s essential to understand the potential dangers and downsides.

What is a body piercing?

A body piercing is exactly what it sounds like: a needle-made piercing or puncture in the body. A piece of jewellery is then put into the hole. The most common body parts pierced are the ears, nose, and belly button. Included in oral piercings are the lip, cheek, and tongue.

When a piercing has healed, some individuals opt to enlarge the hole to wear jewellery like plugs and tunnels. Stretching should be performed in tiny increments to reduce the risk of piercing injury and scarring.

Practice caution

Suppose your teen has a medical condition (such as heart disease, allergies, diabetes, a weakened immune system, or a problem with bleeding). In that case, it’s essential to consult with their doctor before allowing them to have a piercing. 

If your teen wants a tongue or mouth piercing, speak to their dentist. Tongue piercings can destroy tooth enamel and harm the gums, resulting in oral health problems.

Because belly button jewellery irritates the skin when it scrapes against clothing, getting a piercing in this location in winter may not be a good option, as the area will be constantly irritated by heavy clothing.

How can I ensure my teen’s piercing is done safely?

If you decide to allow your teen to have a body piercing, you should inquire about the salon’s practices and ensure that the environment is clean and safe for clients.

Every store should have an autoclave (a sterilising machine) and store sterilised tools in sealed packages until required. 

Additionally, the store should adhere to protocols for trash management and disposal (like needles or gauze with blood on them).

Before getting pierced, determine if your teen is allergic to certain metals, such as nickel or brass. 

Choose jewellery (including backs and studs) crafted from metals less prone to induce allergic reactions, such as:

  • Surgical stainless steel 
  • Solid gold (not gold-filled or gold-plated)
  • Titanium

How dangerous is a body piercing?

Mild swelling and soreness at the piercing site are usual. With a tongue piercing, there may be significant swelling. If your teen attempts to pierce themselves, have a friend do it for them, or have it done in an unsanitary atmosphere, they may experience severe complications. Parents need to ensure that an expert performs it in a safe and clean setting.

However, even if you are cautious, issues might still occur. Common complications associated with body piercing include:

  • Pain 
  • Infection
  • Allergic response 
  • Bleeding 
  • Keloids 

Infections may range from skin or cartilage infections characterised by redness, swelling, sensitivity, and pus to more severe blood infections. After a tongue piercing, tongue swelling might create breathing difficulties. Individuals with oral piercings run the risk of chipped or fractured teeth. There is a possibility that jewellery in the nose or tongue might be ingested or inhaled.

Depending on the pierced body area, recovery might take a few weeks to months. If your teen has a piercing done, be sure that they take proper care of it, don’t pick at it and keep the area clean with water and mild soap (not alcohol or hydrogen peroxide). 

Call your teen’s physician if they experience bleeding, increasing discomfort, or other indications of infection.

Legal concerns regarding teenage body piercings

Some piercing salons have rules concerning minors and body piercings. Your teen may need your approval, or you may be required to be physically present at the time of the piercing.