Piercings and tattoos
 
Piercing
 
What is it?

• A piercing is a permanent hole in the skin made using a needle or specialized instrument for inserting a piece of jewellery.

• Piercings are most common in the ears, mouth, tongue, nose, eyebrows, navel and genital organs.

• Piercings are permanent. Once the lesion has scarred, you will always have a hole in the skin even when you remove the jewellery.

• Any piercing you have is a lesion in your skin that could get infected or transmit disease.

 
Complications
Infection: Infections are common. Lesions can take up to a year to heal depending on the location of the piercing. An infection can be severe and spread throughout your body.

Tearing of the skin can cause scarring.

Allergic reactions associated with the jewellery used.

Problems caused by jewellery. Jewellery worn on the lip or in the mouth can cause the person difficulty when chewing or swallowing, or cause them to break a tooth. Jewellery worn in the genital area may injure your partner, reduce your ability to maintain an erection, break a condom and increase the risk of an unwanted pregnancy or the transmission of STIs.

Damage to blood vessels and nerves at the piercing site. A health professional can provide further information on these types of complications.

Scarring at the piercing site.

Transmission of hepatitis B, hepatitis C, tuberculosis, tetanus, syphilis and HIV from unclean  instruments or contact with an infected person.
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