Body Piercing Precautions?
About five years ago I was hit by the "modern primitive" bug and intrigued by body piercing. After having my navel done, I experienced an odd phenomenon. Instead of healing flat, my skin began to grow around the jewelry, almost in an attempt to "cocoon" it. This mimicked an earlier medical condition. I underwent an emergency partial patellectomy (kneecap removal), and to aid in recovery, a drain tube was installed just below my kneecap. The skin around the tube behaved in the same way as my piercings. When the tube was removed, the doctor applied silver nitrate topically, to burn off the excess flesh. I've tried tea tree oil to reduce the growth of the skin but it doesn't seem to make any difference. Any ideas?
It sounds from your description as if you are a keloid former. Keloids are sausage-like overgrowths of scar tissue, and some people are genetically programmed to react this way when their skin is broken. A dermatologist might be able to suggest laser treatments as a better method than silver nitrate to remove excess flesh, since silver nitrate is a caustic chemical. Tea tree oil, from an Australian tree (Melaleuca alternifolia), is useful for topical infections, but I wouldn't expect it to affect skin growth.
In general, I discourage people from wounding their skin more than absolutely necessary. There is a risk of contracting a serious infection, such as hepatitis or HIV, from piercing. That said, there are some precautions you can take before having any part of your body pierced.
First, select a professional body-piercer trained in safety and hygiene. Ask how long this person has been piercing and talk to former customers.
Make sure the piercer sterilizes all instruments and uses a new piercing needle for each client. If you're not sure, ask. The piercer should wear new latex gloves for each client and carefully clean the area to be pierced. Follow the care instructions after piercing to avoid infections.
Surgical stainless steel, solid 14-karat gold, and other noncorrosive metals are best for fresh piercings. Sterling silver, gold-plated, or gold-filled jewelry should not be used. And don't insert jewelry from another person directly into your body. Consider the purpose of the jewelry you're selecting. If you want it for decoration, light-gauge is fine. If you have other (i.e., sexual) purposes in mind, use a thicker wire. And if you're a keloid former, I'd recommend finding some other form of body art that turns you on.