Getting Pierced: Signs of Infection

For most people, the scariest part of getting sa piercing is seeing the needle – and this is understandably so.

But there is one other thing that is much scarier, something much more ominous that most people don’t consider: Infections.

Infections are common and are caused by a number of factors during the healing process. You can find out more on how to avoid getting an infection on your new piercing here.

The fact of the matter is your piercing is an open wound, and as open wounds go, there is always a risk of it becoming infected.

Your new piercing requires the appropriate attention to avoid exposing it to a number of things that can lead to an infected piercing.

To help you better understand the signs of infection, let’s first take a look at what is expected or normal during the first few weeks of the healing process:

Body Piercings: The Healing Process

Let’s dive into what you can expect during the first few weeks of the healing process.

Don’t worry, most of these experiences are perfectly normal and nothing to be alarmed about.

Here’s a rundown:

  • A Bit of Swelling and Tenderness: You may notice some mild swelling and tenderness around the area of healing. It’s just your body’s way of telling you that it’s working hard to repair itself and get you back to feeling your best.
  • Changes in Color: On fair skin, you might see a touch of redness, while on darker skin, the area around the injury might appear a little darker than usual. These color variations are completely normal and are a result of increased blood flow and your body’s natural healing process.
  • Keep It Fresh: If you haven’t been keeping your piercings clean regularly, they might develop a not-so-pleasant smell. This is due to the accumulation of sebum, a whitish or yellowish discharge produced by your body during the healing process.
  • Crust Formation: Expect to see some crust forming around the piercing. This is completely normal and actually helps protect the wound from outside elements. Just remember, it’s important not to pick or forcefully remove the crust, as it plays a role in the healing process.
  • Tiny Bumps (Granulomas): You might notice some small bumps around the piercing area, known as granulomas. But fear not, these are just part of the healing process and are not the same as keloids, which are abnormal scar tissue growths. We’ll cover the differences between granulomas and keloids in a future blog post, so stay tuned!

All of the above signs are usually signs that your healing process is right on track.

However, it’s understandable that you might mistake them for signs of infection.

Okay, So What Do Piercing Infections Look Like?

Catching an infection early can help you take action and avoid any complications.

So, here are some things to keep an eye out for:

  • Itching around the infected area: If you notice persistent itching near your piercing, it might be a sign of an infection. But it could also be due to an allergy to the jewelry metal, especially if you have a sensitivity to nickel. If the itching sticks around and comes with other symptoms, it’s always a good idea to reach out to a professional piercer or healthcare provider for advice.
  • A burning sensation around the infected area: If your piercing feels sensitive to touch and gives you a burning sensation, it’s a potential sign of infection. That discomfort shouldn’t be ignored, so it’s best to get it checked out.
  • Bleeding or pus from the piercing: Pus is a fluid that can look whitish, yellowish, greenish, or even brownish. It’s not always the best smell either, but hey, it happens. If you see anything unusual oozing out of your piercing, it’s wise to seek professional advice. They’ll know how to handle it.
  • Inflammation around the infected area: Infections can cause redness, swelling, and inflammation. Your piercing site might get all puffy and angry-looking. If the area feels hotter than usual or looks seriously swollen, it’s a good idea to get a healthcare professional to take a look.
  • Development of fever in severe cases: Okay, let’s hope it doesn’t get to this point, but sometimes infections can get worse. If you start feeling feverish, with a high body temperature, chills, or flu-like symptoms, and you’re also seeing signs of infection, it’s time to get some medical attention.

Remember, infections can happen, but they’re totally manageable with the right care.

If you suspect an infection, please don’t try to fix it yourself or remove the jewelry on your own!

Reach out to a reliable piercer or healthcare provider who can assess the situation and give you the proper advice or treatment.

Keep in mind that infections are pretty common in piercings, but with a little TLC, paying attention, and getting help when needed, you’ll be back on track in no time.

How to Deal with a Piercing Infection

If you find yourself with a piercing that displays signs of infection, it’s important to take the necessary steps to address the issue promptly.

While following the proper aftercare instructions provided by your piercer is crucial, sometimes infections can still occur.

At North York Ink, we prioritize our clients’ well-being by offering a comprehensive piercing aftercare guide that, when followed diligently, can help you avoid infections during the healing process.

However, it’s important to note that any open wound, including a piercing, carries a risk of infection.

In the unfortunate event that you experience an infected piercing, here are some steps you can take to address the situation:

  • Do not remove or move your piercing: One common misconception is that twisting or removing the piercing can promote healing. In reality, this can exacerbate the problem. It’s best to leave the jewelry in place.
  • Clean it regularly with a piercing aftercare spray: We highly recommend using a saline aftercare spray, such as the one available at North York Ink. Look for products that contain only pharmaceutical-grade water and sodium chloride, as these two ingredients are effective in promoting healing.
  • Avoid touching your piercing unless you are cleaning it: Our hands harbor a multitude of germs, some of which can cause infection. Minimize contact with your piercing to reduce the risk of introducing harmful bacteria.
  • Consider taking a multivitamin: Boost your body’s healing abilities by incorporating a multivitamin containing zinc and vitamin C into your daily routine. These nutrients can support your immune system and facilitate the healing process.
  • Clean clothing and bedding: Often overlooked, maintaining clean clothing and bedding is essential. This is particularly important if you have pets or young children, who can introduce additional germs into your environment.
  • Avoid excessive drug use or alcohol consumption: Substance abuse can weaken your immune system and hinder the healing process. Minimizing drug use and alcohol consumption can help your body focus on fighting the infection.

If you have followed these steps and the care instructions and your infection persists or worsens, it’s crucial to seek professional help.

While we strive to assist you to the best of our abilities, it’s important to note that we are not medical professionals.

In such cases, we recommend consulting a physician who can provide appropriate guidance and treatment for more severe infections.


We are here to help as much as we can, but it is important to note that we are not doctors and will suggest consulting a physician if the infection is beyond our area of experience.

Piercing Infections: We Want You To Have a Safe and Smooth Healing Journey

Whether it’s a tongue piercing, navel piercing, or an infected ear piercing, we are here to help no matter what part of your body is giving you trouble!

If you think you may have a piercing infection, feel free to contact us at or call us at (647) 501-822, and we can book you in for a consultation.

If dropping by is more your thing, we are located at 4864a Yonge Street in North York.

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Welcome to North York Ink! A local tattoo & piercing studio providing the community of North York with quality tattoos and piercings close to home. When hard work and devotion merge with passion and creativity, the possibilities are endless.