Psoriasis- a skin disorder, considered to be an autoimmune condition that effects the skin, leading to itch rashes, flakes, or lesions. This is a very common condition with more than three million cases documented every year in the US. It’s also a chronic condition, which means that folks who have psoriasis will have it their entire life. Fortunately it’s not contagious so you can’t catch it, but it is difficult to live with. And when it comes to body piercing, having psoriasis can absolutely effect our piercings, how they heal, and how we have to care for them. For many folks who struggle with more severe psoriasis, it can often feel like body art and body modification is off the table for them due to their psoriasis. Well, this blog post is here to explain all of my best advice for having psoriasis and wanting to get pierced, as a professional body piercer who struggles with psoriasis myself.
Healthy Skin, Healthy Piercing
If you have psoriasis, the first step when getting pierced is ensuring the area you intend to pierce is healthy. We can’t pierce through a psoriasis flare up, and honestly you wouldn’t want us to- it can cause any flareups to become worse or more severe. As professional body piercers we should never be piercing through broken, irritated skin. So in order to pierce, we want healthy happy skin. But it’s more then just that- we want this to be stable skin as well. This means I’d suggest making sure the area you want to be pierced in hasn’t had a flare up fir at least a month or longer. If you did say recently have a flareup on your ear, I wouldn’t rush to your piercer the first day its’s gone. Give the skin time to get healthy and calm down after the flare up.
Likewise, we want surrounding tissue to be pretty healthy too. If you have a psoriasis flare up under your hear right up to your ear and we pierce your ear, there’s a great chance the new piercing ends up with a flare up as well. I would get the flare up on that area of your scalp under control before piercing. Ensuring that not only the direct spot being pierced but the surrounding area is healthy and happy sets you up for much better success with getting pierced. And that’s because…
Broken Skin can Trigger A Flare Up
Unfortunately, a big trigger for psoriasis for many is breaking the skin- a scratch, a paper cut, and yes, a body piercing. This means that we can cause a flareup to occur by doing a piercing for someone. If you have psoriasis, this is a risk you’ll need to accept in getting pierced or tattooed. But there are ways we can minimize the chance of a flare up.
Starting slow for piercings is always a good plan. Rather then coming in and getting a full ear curation with 5 new piercings all at once, let’s start with 1-2 piercings at a time and see how your body heals. Psoriasis is considered to be an autoimmune disorder, meaning our immune system is effected. This can of course effect how we respond to and heal wounds. Because of that, it’s better to play it safe and not overwhelm our body with too many piercings all at once. So if a client has psoriasis, I always suggest to start with just a few piercings, monster the healing, and then work our way up to adding more.
Starting simple goes for jewelry as well. As beautiful as big, complex designs can be, they can also be more challenging to heal with and keep clean. For clients with skin conditions starting with smaller, simpler jewelry makes cleaning and care much easier, and allows us to monitor the skin around the piercing better to watch for any irritation or flareups. Once we get things fully healed then we can swap to the bold, fancy pieces. But our top proton is always getting things to heal well- and simple jewelry can help with that.
Manage Your Triggers
Psoriasis flare ups usually happen due to specific triggers. Of course this isn’t always the case, and sometimes we get random flares from seemingly nothing. But for most, there are triggers that cause these flareups to happen. Stress is considered one of the largest, and most universal triggers. But temperature, weather, diet, medication, sickness, topical products, wounds, and hormonal issues are just some of the things that can be triggers for different peoples psoriasis. A key factor in learning to live with psoriasis is learning how to manage your triggers.
Figuring out what your triggers are and working around them with greatly decrease your chances of dealing with flareups. For example, I know cold weather is a huge trigger for me. The dry skin, the chill, it makes me get flareups around my joints and pretty severe joint pain. Because of this, I go into winter months with a routine that includes extra daily moisture to help my skin, and I bundle up more than most. I also generally don’t get pierced during the winter months- understanding that my psoriasis is more likely to flare up during that time. For me, it’s not worth the added risk to my piercings to get pierced then when my skin is already so angry and fragile.
Managing your triggers also looks like knowing what medications work for you. There’s a bevy of different psoriasis treatments from topicals, to oils, to injections and prescriptions. Everyones body and skin responds differently, so I encourage you to find a dermatologist you trust and work with them to find treatment that manages your symptoms the best. Sticking with effective treatment can really help keep this under control and keep your skin happier and healthier.
For those of us with psoriasis, it can be a difficult condition to manage. But, it doesn’t have to stop us from living our life to the fullest and experiencing all the things we want to. This includes getting piercings and body modifications! We may need to take some extra steps and extra care to do so, but it’s so worth it! Happy healing!