Body Piercings

Ask the Raffles Medical Group Experts


I am a 15 year girl, who is keen on getting multiple piercings, as my friends are all getting them. However, I am apprehensive about it as I am worried about the implications. What are some complications that one can get from multiple body piercings?


Potential complications include minor skin infection, which is the commonest complication; contact dermatitis (skin rashes) to jewellery due to sensitisation to nickel or gold in earrings; and keloid formation. Keloids are scars due to overgrowth of tissue. I have come across very large keloids on earlobes the size of a one-dollar coin. They are unsightly and can be itchy and painful at times. A very rare complication is transmission of viral diseases like Hepatitis B from use of contaminated piercing needles, which should not occur if proper hygiene practices are followed.

You are likely to get skin infection if proper technique and hygiene practices are not followed. However, this is less common these days with the use of ear piercing guns.

You may have contact dermatitis as some individuals are sensitised to nickel or gold found in earrings. On the other hand, wearing stainless steel earrings lessens the risk of this occurring.

Keloids may also occur in those who have a predisposition to it but it is difficult to know who is susceptible.

You should take note if there is swelling or pain around the ear piercing, or pus discharge, this may indicate the presence of a bacterial infection. Unusual growths or lumps at the pierced site may signal keloid formation and presence of rashes may indicate contact dermatitis. Seek a doctor’s advice if these signs and symptoms are present.

If you are going to get body piercing done, choose a reputable store or doctor to have the piercing done. This would prevent bacteria infection. A dingy messy jewellery store may not have the best hygiene practices. Also keep the pierced area clean at all times. Use stainless steel earrings to minimise the risk of contact dermatitis.

However, it is difficult to prevent or predict keloid development. Therefore, you should seek a dermatologist’s advice on treatment.