“Can you pierce me through a scar?” “I heard it won’t heal if you pierce me through a scar?” “I heard it hurts more through scar tissue?” I get questions like this quite often, and these are super valid questions for sure! Scar Tissue is not as stable or as healthy as regular tissue and there are absolutely often different considerations depending on the type or degree of scarring that you have. That said, there is also a lot of misinformation floating around out there about scar tissue as well, so lets take a look at the facts, and debunk the fiction.
Can you pierce through a scar?
The short answer? Maybe.
The long answer? Well, it entirely depends on the degree of scarring you have, the cause of it, and how old the scar is. If it is a scar left behind from a previous piercing, which was healthy or fairly healthy when removed, and the scar it left is a small, mostly flat, healthy scar, absolutely. This is probably the most common scar I get asked about, and these are very easy to pierce through and totally safe to pierce through as well. Often clients were happy with the placement and look of their old piercings, and if so I always suggest going back in the same place. It gets them back the piercing they loved, and it prevents them from having more scars in the same area. These are no issue at all.
Scars from previous piercings that were irritated when removed, or left more severe scarring such as raised scars, discolored scars, or large scars, must be evaluated on a case by case basis. This is particularly true of piercings that migrated or fully rejected. Migration and rejection leave paths of scarring that are more severe then they little scar left from just removing a piercing. It entirely depends on the degree and type of scarring if we can or can’t, and often we need to see and feel the tissue in person to determine this. If you are unsure what category the scars from your piercing may fall in it doesn’t hurt to send some photos to your piercer of choice and see what they say. Be aware many scars need to be assessed in person, so you very well may need to do an in person consultation to get a final answer.
An exception here is surface piercings- both surface bars and microdermals. Because scar tissue effects the integrity of the tissue in the area, we are more limited in our ability to do these piercings through scar tissue. Given that surface work is long term temporary, it’s important to consider that before getting a surface piercing and to keep that in mind when they eventually need to be removed.
Where things become more difficult are scars not from piercings. Things like accident scars, surgical scars, etc. These scars are much more complex, and I will start by saying that the final say always should be done in person. These needs to be felt and observed to determine their viability for piercing. For more extreme scarring, I suggest at minimum 1 year from the surgery or cause of the scar before repiercing. I know- your doctor may tell you to be pierced sooner, but I cover this in my plastic surgery and piercing article here. 1 year is the minimum I will do a piercing through larger scars. Sometimes depending on the scarring repiercing is not possible at all, and this is very common with plastic surgery scars, including tummy tucks, breast implants or reductions, and top and bottom surgery.
My scarring is bad, but I still really want a piercing!
Don’t fret, and don’t give up hope yet! There are a lot of modern treatments that can be done to improve scarring and possibly make it able to be pierced. If your piercer has turned you away for piecing through your scar but you are still quite determined, you can seek out treatment from a dermatologist. From from scar injections, to laser treatment, or silicone patches, there have been amazing breakthroughs in scar treatment in recent years. I’ve personally and professionally had amazing success with scar injections and laser treatment. I’ve had these procedures done myself and sent clients to get them. They don’t always make a scar piercable again, so this is not a guaranteed bet. But they will improve the scar greatly, and give a higher chance we can repierce.
I heard it won’t heal if it’s pierced through a scar?
Well, short answer- maybe.
Long answer- Like everything else, it depends on the scar! Like we discussed above small stable scars like from previous piercings, or even minor cut, scrapes, minor surgical scars, and minor acne scars you are probably fine and things will probably heal up just fine! When it comes to larger or more severe scarring like that from plastic surgery, major accidents, or very severe previous piercing scaring, this is when things become less sure. A good, reputable piercer will assess your scarring. If it is too severe, they will be honest with you and decline to pierce you. If its somewhat in the middle, they may be willing to try the piercing, but with no guarantees that it will heal and won’t leave more scarring. Your piercer should discuss your choices with you, and also be honest about any extra risks or considerations.
Does it hurt more through a scar?
Not at all! I’ve personally been pierced through scars and pierced plenty of clients through scars and everyone says there’s really no difference! If anything, more severe scars often have decreased sensitivity and feeling (my surgical scars are virtually numb!) Scaring can make things more difficult for the piercer, as we need to assess that tissue differently and often take a unique approach to piercing if the scarring is more severe. And it can make healing more difficult and require more diligence and care on the part of the client. But it doesn’t change the process of actually getting the piercings enough to be felt, so don’t be scared!
Most scarring from previous piercings is very minor, and absolutely no issue to be pierced through again. When it comes to surgical scars, it becomes a more advanced process. I encourage you to seek out a piercer with history of working on surgically altered tissue and examples of this in their portfolio. Have realistic expectations, be ok hearing no, and remember we have your best interests at heart always! Happy healing!