Everything you need to know about migration and rejection.

Migrated and jected piercings

Migration and rejection are common problems in the piercing industry. We love piercings, but sometimes they don’t like us! As I have stated in previous blogs, our bodies are not meant to have foreign objects in them. We, as piercers, do our very best to provide you with a successful outcome. We make sure you have the correct placement, proper fitting, and good quality jewelry in hopes that your body will allow the piercing to heal properly and be healthy. Sometimes we are faced with rejection and migration. 

What is migration?

Migration is where your body will move the location of the piercing from its original placement to a new one. There are a few reasons this happens.

  1. Pressure on the piercing, for example, sleeping on it or wearing tight clothing.
  2. Not charging the length of the jewelry once the swelling has gone down.
  3. Swelling.
  4. Trauma caused to the piercing.
  5. Not having enough tissue pierced.
  6. Your body finds it to be harmful to you, and rejection starts with movement in the piercing location.

How Do you know if you have migration?

Since the process is very slow, sometimes it is hard to detect. You might notice the swelling or tenderness is lasting longer than expected, the tissue between the piercing is thinning or a scar/mark from where the original placement was.

What should you do if you suspect migration?

Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do once the hole moves. It is permanently now in a new location.  You want to make sure it does not continue to move by seeing your piercer so they can help you find the cause and eliminate it. While most migration is isolated sometimes, it is the beginning of rejection.

Left: first day after pierced; right: 6 months later a migration and possible rejection occurred.

What is a rejection?

Rejection is when your body will push an object out completely because your system sees it as harmful or a threat to your health. So to protect itself, your body removes the object by healing the tissue behind it and slowly pushing it to the surface of the sink. If you do not remove the jewelry, it will drive out of your skin. Signs of rejection are very similar to migration as all rejection is going to start by migrating the piercing to a new area.

What should you do if you suspect rejection?

See your piercer right away so they can help you determine your next step. Once you are sure it is rejecting, you want to remove the jewelry as soon as possible. Full rejection can leave heavy scarring and dependent upon the area a split in the tissue. I will leave some pictures below. Any piercing has the risk of migration and rejection. Rejection is the most common in surface piercing and micro dermals. Migration is common on ear cartilage piercing when the jewelry has not been properly downsized after the swelling goes down. Can you get another piercing once you have had rejection in that area? Yes, you can, but you are at a higher risk for it to reject again. You will want to make sure you use the right materials (we wrote a blog about choosing the best materials) and see a piercer that has experience with rejected piercings.

I highly recommend not getting nipples or genitals pierced again after rejection. Any Questions?

Written by: Erica Bautista

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