So, you’ve just gotten a piercing you are really, super excited about! You’ve been waiting a while, and today is the day! Your piercer is discussing aftercare and how to heal your piercing and a thought creeps up. What about working out?!? You have gym plans right after this, or perhaps you play a sport for school, or you’ll be seeing your trainer later this week. Will sweating and working out hurt your piercing? Is it bad if sweat gets into it? These are questions I get asked often by my active clients, and I’ve got great news- sweat isn’t going to hurt your piercing.
To start, what is sweat exactly? Sweat, in the simplest terms, is the production of fluids secreted by sweat glands in mammals. We have two distinct sweat glands- eccrine glands which are all over the body and usually produce the watery sweat you get when its hot. Apocrine glands are located in armpits and other areas and produce an odorless oily secretion which then gets it smell from bacteria. Sweat is totally normal- it’s our bodies way of regulating our temperature and its something that happens to all mammals in different ways. Sweat is mostly water, with trace amounts of minerals, lactic acid, and urea. Honestly depending on where in the world you live, your sweat may very well be cleaner then your local tap water (nothing like growing up on hard water, yum!)
We as a society view sweat as ”yucky” and unclean, but sweat is often not as dirty as we make out out to be. While few things feel better then a fresh shower or bath after getting super sweaty, our sweat wasn’t going to be harmful if we left it, nor is it going to hurt our piercings if it gets in on them during the course of a workout or a game. Far more harmful to your piercing would be things like using improper or overly harsh aftercare, or getting makeup and skin care products into your piercing. A little sweat, in the grand scheme of things, its one of the least harmful things clients do to their healing piercings.
Now, for some clients who live or work in hot or strenuous environments and spend more time then not very sweaty, the constant moisture more so then the sweat can cause specific moisture irritations. In these instances wearing jewelry that limits moisture buildup, and working with your piercer on specific aftercare with drying or dry heat is essential, and this will vary on a case by case basis. For example I see far less of these issue working in Tennessee then I did in florida, where more of my clients experienced them from working outdoor jobs in the heat year round. This is a pretty specific case however, and working out a few times a week or going jogging is not likely to cause this type of irritation.
Now if you are physically active, physical trauma is a concern for healing piercings- be aware of how workouts or activities effect your piercing, particular with things like helmets, headgear, or workout equipment which can catch, snag, or put pressure on your healing piercing. Also be aware in shared spaces and throughly wipe down equipment before using or wearing it yourself so you are as clean as possible. But don’t let a little sweat stop you from enjoying your new piercing!