Stages of Healing | Almost Famous Body Piercing. One of the first questions that almost every customer asks after piercing is: “When can I change jewelry ?!” With all the jewelry options available, it’s no wonder that you think about it first. However, it is incredibly important that you give your piercing enough time to heal. Here’s why.
One word we like to use with customers to understand the meaning of healing is “wound”. Which is exactly what a piercing is. A piercing is a stab wound that takes aftercare and time to heal to accept the piercing. Healing begins almost immediately after you receive your new piercing and can last from six months to a year or more.
Piercings heal like any other wound in four stages:
First stage of healing – hemostasis
The only goal of the first healing phase is to stop the blood loss. Have you ever wondered how your piercing stops bleeding? It is due to the hemostasis. As soon as your piercing is complete and the jewelry is inserted, your piercer takes off his instruments and uses cotton swabs to apply pressure to your new piercing. This is done in steps of 20 to 30 seconds and helps with coagulation. This only takes care of the minor surface bleeding that you can see. Meanwhile, red blood cells and platelets in the wound work to stop the bleeding that you can’t see. Collagen fibers in the walls of the vessels activate platelets to form a barrier or stopper to prevent further bleeding and to prevent pathogens from getting into the wound. This forms a scab that can look like dried blood around your piercing.
Second stage of healing – inflammatory phase
Level two is also known as the defense level. The focus in phase two of healing is on the destruction of bacteria and the removal of residues in the wound. At this stage, neutrophils, which are a type of white blood cell, enter the wound area and begin cleaning. They remove all residues and non-essential bacteria that could irritate or cause infections. This helps prepare the area for new tissue growth. Once part of it is done, macrophages move on and finish the process of removing deposits such as dead or damaged cells. Macrophages also secrete growth factors and proteins that attract cells from your immune system to aid in tissue repair. The dermis and epidermis also work together and contract to close the wound, while fibroblasts help create connective tissue to close the wound. During the inflammatory phase of healing, the permeability of the vessels increases so that fluid can accumulate in the tissue around the wound. This is when you may notice signs of healing such as redness, pain, clear / white color drainage, and swelling.
Third stage of healing – proliferative phase
In the third stage of healing, granulation tissue begins to form. Fibroblasts make their way to the wound and begin to contract and in turn pull the outer edges of the wound towards the center. This is the main reason why you don’t want to change your jewelry early. While there may be periods when the wound feels healed enough, it probably isn’t. This is because the outer edges of the piercing heal first and slowly heal towards the center. Removing and reinserting jewelry can damage this delicate tissue and start the healing process all over again.
Fourth stage of healing – maturation
This last phase is also known as the renovation phase. It is when the wound changes and matures a lot. It closes completely and the cells used to heal or repair the wound are no longer needed and are removed or die. This last phase can last between six months and two years.
It is important that everyone heals differently. There are many factors to consider about how well you take care of your piercing, your overall health and lifestyle, and the quality of blood flow in the area where you choose to have a piercing. A lip piercing or another piercing, which is carried out in a mucous membrane, for example, often heals much faster than any cartilage piercing. You can support the process by performing consistent post-treatment. Sea salt soaks the wound and drains it. Glycerin soap detergents remove all residues from the surface of the piercing and jewelry before they get inside and can cause irritation.
Your body that heals a piercing is a wonderful process. It’s best to understand how this process works so that you get a piercing that looks nice and lasts a long time.