The importance of downsizing our body jewelry.
In every new piercing, we will start by using a longer bar, because, like any wound, our skin will have an inflammatory reaction. To facilitate the process of assimilating the jewelry into our body and promoting healing, the idea is to have enough space for this process so that it doesn’t reach a limit. Some areas may become quite inflamed, almost immediately, but this inflammation can decrease quite rapidly over the following days. On the other hand, some areas may not appear inflamed initially, but after a couple of days or weeks, they may experience local inflammation that lasts longer than expected.
In some cases, the piercer may choose a short/small piece or bar, fitting the jewelry snugly, so that the person does not experience excessive inflammation, and there would be no need for a further change. However, this carries a high risk, as if the piercing becomes more inflamed than expected or if the person accidentally hits or pulls the area, it could begin to constrict the piercing and, in more extreme cases, even become embedded in the skin. Conversely, if an excessively long or large initial piece is chosen, it is unlikely that the inflammation will reach a limit, but it may get caught or snagged by our clothing, hair, bedding, etc.
After the first weeks of inflammation (at least 6 to 8 weeks), this change in size becomes crucial. First, we must understand that it won’t always be when we think or feel that the piercing is “fine.” This is where the experience of the professional comes into play, as not all areas inflame in the same way; every body can heal differently, and this may depend on various factors, such as our own body, skin color, diet, pathologies or illnesses, and even the altitude, latitude, or climate where we live. This is why performing follow-up check-ups after a piercing is so important. By doing this, we can assess how the healing is progressing, and if there’s any problem, we can take appropriate action, such as changing the size or waiting a couple more weeks.
By changing the size of the bar at the right time, we avoid accidental pulls or bumps in the area, but most importantly, we prevent our jewelry from moving, which over time can generate a “lever effect” by unintentionally pressing the piercing while we sleep. If this happens for weeks, days, or even just a few hours, it can cause migration of the jewelry or a change in the angle of our piercing, where our skin practically moves the jewelry towards the area where pressure is applied and could even completely remove it from our skin. Once migration starts, the most sensible thing to do is to remove the jewelry, wait for a couple of weeks/months, and re-pierce.
If the piercing is healing as expected, and our piercer recommends downsizing at the right time (which varies depending on the area), we increase our chances of successful and trouble-free healing.