New Delhi: Aparajit Sinha, 21, pierced his eyebrows in the first year of college to look cool. But within two days he had to take the studs out because of extreme infection and severe pain.
Body piercing has come a long way - from earlobes and the nose traditionally to eyebrows, belly button, lips and tongues now. But it needs care in the initial days to avoid infections.
Many youngsters impulsively head for piercing without taking note of their skin type, proper sterilisation and post-piercing care information.
"Lack of hygiene, lack of proper sterilisation of the area and the gun are the common reasons why pierced areas catch infection. Also, there are some people whose skin is very sensitive and when they clean the pierced area with antiseptic, they get irritant eczema," Sachin Dhawan, clinical and aesthetic dermatology at Artemis Health Institute in Gurgaon, told.
Dhawan gets around 10 percent queries for piercing complications.
While piercing the earlobes and eyebrows result in common complications, nose or naval infections can be fatal. Nose infection could result in swelling and pain for a few days at the pierced site, says Mumbai-based cosmetic surgeon Meenakshi Agarwal.
Also, studs and rings can get caught in clothes, which can aggravate the problem.
"There are times when a stud gets caught in clothes and pulls the skin, leaving one in extreme pain. So this unexpected rubbing too can lead to further complications," said Mumbai-based dermatologist Ashwini Padmawar.
Experts also suggest that one should avoid going to any random piercing shop and opt for experienced hands to avoid infections.
"A lot of ENT surgeons and plastic surgeons also do piercing, it is safer to get it done from them, as they understand the body system better," said Agarwal.
Sixteen-year-old Anamika Kalsi, who got her belly pierced without informing her parents and chose a cheaper place for piercing, realised this later.
She covered her stomach all the time and didn`t take precautions to clean up the spot. End result - major infection and ultimately she had to pop antibiotics to control inflammation.
This often happens because body piercing at a local shop or a jewellery shop is cheap - it could be done within Rs.500, but at such places people are not hygiene-conscious. On the other hand, a medical expert`s charges start from Rs.2,000 onwards, but he or she takes all the precautions. In case there is any complication, they are capable of taking care of the problem before it goes out of hand.
So, it is advisable that one should go to experts and in case it doesn`t fit into your budget, just make sure the gun or the hands used for piercing are clean, as simple hygiene steps can keep an infection at bay.
"One should put an antibiotic ointment and gently wash the area once a day for at least 15 days after the piercing to prevent infection," said Padmawar.
"If infections happen, they can be treated with antibiotic tablets and ointments for five-seven days. If allergies happen they need to be treated with anti-allergic and steroid antibiotic ointments," he added.