New Piercing? Awesome! Now let's learn about the 4 stages of healing!
So as many of my clients would be aware, healing a piercing can be a process that can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years.
Firstly, Our bodies are amazing things! But its important to understand the vital steps the human body takes to heal a wound. Yes, wound! Because that is exactly what a fresh piercing is.
So lets take a look at the stages our bodies go through during the healing process.
1 : Hemostasis As soon as your selected piercer has completed the piercing and inserted the jewellery, they will clean the area and apply pressure or remove any excess surface blood with sterile cotton swabs. This helps with clotting and kick starts the first stage of healing - Hemostasis! Inside the new piercing cavity, red blood cells and platelets are working hard to clot the inner section of the wound. Little things called Collagen Fibres that live in the walls of the vessels activate platelets that form a 'plug' to ease and prevent further bleeding and also to help stop any unwanted pathogens entering the wound.
This is what creates the dry blood seal or scab around your initial piercing!
2. Defensive Stage The main focus of this particular part of the healing journey is to defend against any unwanted bacteria and remove any left over debris left in the wound itself. It can also be known as the 'Inflammatory Phase of Healing' as this can be where your body can produce some lovely 'Piercing Crust'. This comes from a type of friendly little white blood cells, called Neutrophils, entering the area and removing and pushing out any unwanted debris and unnecessary bacteria that could actually cause irritation or infection. This helps to facilitate new tissue growth! Once this process is well underway, we have something called Macrophages join the party. These little buddies finish the removal process of bacteria and dead and damaged skin cells. What a bunch of little legends!
Macrophages also produce proteins and other amazing secretions that call on your immune system to aid in tissue repair. This is when your skin aka Mr Dermis and Mrs Epidermis work closely together to pull tightly and close the wounded area, while their other friends called Fibroblasts get in there and work their own magic, creating new tissue connections. This is the time that your body allows a build up of fluid to the wounded area, which is why during this section of your healing journey you may notice the physical and completely normal signs of healing! Signs such as : Redness Soreness Drainage (Clear or White in Colour) Swelling
Yes, thats right! These are all perfectly natural and completely normal signs of the healing process. Talk about our bodies working hard!
3. Proliferative Phase Its time to rebuild!!!! This is the exciting stage of your healing where new tissue starts forming! Remember our little buddies called Fibroblasts? Well this is their time to shine! They work hard by contracting and pulling the outer edges of the wound inwards. This is why the outside of your piercing heals first, while the inside of the piercing canal can take a lot longer. Piercings heal from the outside in, so it is vital not to change your piercing jewellery out too soon, especially with unsterile or externally threaded pieces! To prevent damaging the extremely soft inner tissue, thus starting the whole healing process all over again.
A great reason to stay in touch with your piercer and utilise their knowledge of healing times.
4. Maturation Phase During this final phase, the new tissue gains strength and flexibility. This is where our little friends, the Collagen Fibres do some housework, by reorganizing themselves and in turn some minor tissue remodeling takes place. After a long healing journey, the piercing canal matures and fully closes. Although, it is important to remember that this doesnt happen overnight, this final stage can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years.
Another key note in healing your piercing is - Remember everyone heals differently and things take time. There are a lot of different factors to take into consideration too, like how well you take care of your piercing, your everyday health and lifestyle, and the area you’re choosing to get pierced. For example : An oral piercing or any other piercing done in a mucous membrane, can in certain circumstances heal a little quicker than a cartilage piercing. You can help the incredible healing process your body undertakes along by following the aftercare advice of your piercer consistently.
Our bodies healing a piercing is an incredibley fascinating process. It’s best to understand exactly how that process works so you are aware of the stages. And ofcourse, so that you can have a piercing that looks beautiful, is comfortable and stands the tests of time.