The most dangerous place you can get a piercing.

Many of us will get our ears pierced without a second thought to the risks – some of us were even too young at the time to remember it.

But we’re not just getting our ears pierced these days. We’re getting our belly buttons, noses, cheeks, tongues, eyebrows, lips and even nipples and genitals pierced.

So what kind of risk are we posing to our bodies when we pierce a piece of skin that was probably never meant to be pierced? Are some places more prone to complications such as infections?

Well yes, and no, says Canberra-based GP Dr Gillian Riley.

Listen: Sophie Cachia says her kids Bobby and Flossy won’t be getting any piercings until they’re old enough to ask for it.

Dr Riley tells Mamamia that a piercing in your genitals (which can we just pause to say “ouch”?) poses the greatest risk of infection due to a number of bacteria down there that the wound may come in to contact with.

She says the other places for piercings such as noses, ears, nipples and navels pose a similar risk of infection, which is “reasonably low”.

However, she adds that piercings in the cartilage of your ear – such as the part of your ear closest to your cheek (tragus) – generally takes the longest time to heal.

And it’s while the wound is healing that people with piercings are open to the risks of infections.

This is why, Dr Riley says, people need to make sure they pay attention to the after-care instructions they are given by the professional who pierced them.


“They only people I’ve seen run into trouble with these over and over again are people who get them done and don’t do as their told. They’re not cleaning them properly.”

So spray that alcohol spray and keep the jewellery in.

Maybe think twice before you get that ear pierced.(Image via Getty.)

She says the other people who run into trouble are those who have an underlying illness that compromises their immune system, such as journalist Maggie Alderson, who winded up in hospital due to a piercing near where she had lymph nodes removed.


Dr Riley advises people also make sure any person sticking a needle near your body is highly qualified to reduce the risk of infection.

"Always get a reputable piercer. Make sure you do your research and make sure it's someone who's done a lot of them. And make sure the equipment is sterilised. You should also check that they are using medical-grade metals."

"You should also check that they are using medical-grade jewellery."

However, if you do think you may have an infected piercing, Dr Riley recommends you visit your GP at the earliest possible stage.

"The skin around it might be red, it might be seeping puss, if the pain level has suddenly increased you need to be seen."

"It's best to get these things sorted sooner rather than later."

And if your teen is tossing up between a tongue stud and a belly button ring - from a safety perspective, it's best to go with the navel piercing.

"Navel piercings are sometimes chosen because of reduced likelihood of infection especially compared with oral piercings where infection is more difficult to manage," Australian Medical Association Vice President Dr Tony Bartone tells Mamamia.

He warned, however, that frictional irritation from clothes rubbing against the piercing and the skin can be a problem, and "occasionally the piercing buries deep into the skin".

Let's try to avoid that, shall we?