How to Keep a Piercing from Rejecting

Rejection, when your skin pushes a foreign object out by killing the tissue on top of it, is a risk with any piercing. In order to reduce this risk, you must take good care of your piercing, and plan it well. Good placement is just as important as good aftercare.


  1. Image titled Keep a Piercing from Rejecting Step 1
    Find a piercer that is experienced in the type of piercing you want. Check their portfolios for healed piercings in addition to fresh ones. Ask about their experience and qualifications.
  2. Image titled Keep a Piercing from Rejecting Step 2
    Decide how high the risk of rejection is with your piercing. Eyebrows, navels, lip frenulums, some genital piercings, and surface piercings all have a higher risk of rejection. Piercings through cartilage have a very low risk.
  3. Image titled Keep a Piercing from Rejecting Step 3
    Choose appropriate jewelry. Piercings that travel through a lot of flesh, like a rook or tragus, should be done with a straight or slightly curved barbell. Surface piercings should be done with surface bars. Navels and eyebrows need curved barbells, or surface bars. Most piercers agree that titanium or glass is less likely to reject than steel, because your body accepts it more easily.
  4. Image titled Keep a Piercing from Rejecting Step 4
    Make sure the gauge is large enough. Most piercers use 14 or 16 gauge as the standard, smaller gauges are more likely to reject. Choose the largest gauge that is suitable. Many piercers believe certain places, like tongues and inner labia, do best with 12g or larger.
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    Have your piercer double check the placement for proper depth.
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    Take good care of your piercing, clean it daily with soap and water, use sea salt soaks, and never touch it with dirty hands. To make a sea salt soak use non iodized sea salt that can be purchased at any drug or grocery. Use 1/4 - 1/8th teaspoon salt to 8 oz of warm distilled or bottled water. Using more salt can cause irritation to your piercing. Don't bump or hit your piercing, and keep hair products and tight clothing away from it.
  7. Image titled Keep a Piercing from Rejecting Step 7
    See your piercer if it seems your piercing is rejecting, if there's redness outside the holes, or it looks like the holes are getting larger.
  8. Image titled Keep a Piercing from Rejecting Step 8
    If you think your body is rejecting the jewelry, do not remove the jewelry yourself. See a qualified piercer to remove jewelry. Removing jewelry from an infected site can seal the infection inside the skin, causing cyst.


  • Surface bars are shaped like U, J, or L, and are far superior to straight or flexible barbells for surface piercings, because they don't put pressure on the channel the jewelry follows. Napes, cleavage, and other surface piercings should use surface bars. High impact areas like wrists should also have flat disks instead of balls.
  • Body parts that bend are very likely to reject piercings. You may want to reconsider these placements.
  • You cannot help a piercing from rejecting/migrating.. this is a myth. When your body views a piercing as a foreign object and wants to "push" it out, nothing you do can stop that from happening. More importantly once a piercing has migrated you cannot get it re-pierced because skin has memory and the same migration will happen leaving a deeper and darker scar.
  • Lip frenulums, inner labia, and other thin membrane areas need larger gauges and deep enough placement to help guarantee the piercing won't reject.
  • Before any piercing is done the area needs to be cleaned really well by gently but firmly rubbing alcohol on it. Green alcohol is not the same!
  • Clean your hands & always wear gloves. The jewelry and piercings need to be completely sterile to prevent bacteria form settling inside the new opening. So after marking the place to pierce clean it gently with a Q-tip soaked in rubbing alcohol.
  • Clean a piercing with rock or sea salt solution. Just a pinch in pre-boiled water. Soap is too harsh and will just cause irritation as well as leaving behind residues that can build up and cause yet more irritation.


  • Rejection causes ugly scars; you must have the jewelry removed to prevent this.
  • Remember your body doesn't want foreign objects in it, and will remove them which takes less energy than healing around a foreign object.
  • A piercing may often migrate, then stop and become stable. Watch migrating piercings carefully to make sure they don't reject.

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Categories: Tattoos and Piercing