Once you get your body pierced, your piercer will give you a list of instructions on how to keep your piercing safe. Failure to care for your piercing can result in infection.

While an infected piercing is quite scary, it is often misunderstood. In fact, several signs of piercing healing are quite similar to that of an infected piercing. So, you might believe that have an infection when, in reality, your piercing is just healing.

To give you an idea about whether your piercing is healing or has an infection, here’s what you should know about piercing infections.

Symptoms of a Piercing Infection

The symptoms of an infected piercing are much worse than those that occur during natural healing. You can experience swelling, excessive bleeding, and even high temperature if you have an infection. If your symptoms are minor and barely noticeable, then there are chances that it is not an infection.

Clear or slightly whitish secretion is quite normal as it occurs due to natural healing. However, if you have an infection, you may secrete a green or bright white liquid from your pierced area. Also, if any red lines appear on your piercing or your lymph nodes appear to be swollen, this isn’t a part of the natural healing process. So, you should definitely seek out medical help.

If Not An Infection, Then What Can It Be?

If you’re experiencing minor irritation or other complications with your piercing, but aren’t showing any serious symptoms of infection, there are a few possibilities for this.


Some people can have an allergic reaction to metal, which results in skin irritation. This can often be mistaken as a piercing infection. However, it isn’t too difficult to tell an infection and metal allergy apart as metal allergy has far less-severe symptoms, such as small bumps and inflamed or itchy skin. If you find out that you have any allergies, you should switch to high quality, nickel-free jewelry.


These small bumps that are quite similar to pimples can often be mistaken for an infection. Caused by an accumulation of dead skin cells under the skin, pustules can be quite irritating. While it may be enticing to pop them, you can further end up irritating your piercing by doing so.

How to Treat a Minor Piercing Infection

As long as you have a minor piercing infection, you can easily treat it at home through the following process.

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly before cleaning or touching your piercing.
  2. Rinse your piercing with sterile saline at least thrice a day.
  3. Avoid using any products containing alcohol to avoid skin irritation.
  4. Don’t take out your piercing jewelry as it can cause the hole to close, trapping the infection.
  5. Clean both sides of your piercing properly and pat it dries with a paper towel.

In case you aren’t sure of your symptoms, you should instantly seek medical attention or at least pay a visit to your piercing specialist to let them take a look. Either way, infections can spread quite quickly, which is why you should get instant help!