What Parents Need
Piercings and teenagers go hand-in-hand. Like clothes, makeup, and hairstyles, piercings offer teens a way to express themselves. If your teen has expressed interest in piercings, especially in stretching or gauging the earlobe, there are a few things you should know.
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Repairing a stretched or gauged ear
When stretching is done properly, the channel could shrink down to leave a minimal mark when jewelry is removed, says Angel. Stretches over one-half inch, however, will probably not return to a normal appearance. In order to be rid of the void, plastic surgery may be necessary.
Facial plastic surgeon D.J. Verret, MD, repairs earlobe stretchings on a regular basis. "The biggest age group coming for repair," says Verret, "are high school and college graduates entering the job market."
According to Dr. Verret, the success of the repair process is dependent on how much earlobe skin is left. Verret compares cases with less skin to repairs for people born without earlobes or those who have lost their earlobes due to trauma.
Please don't pierce that!
Angel is a strong advocate for expression through piercing, but there are some piercings that even she refuses to perform. Steer your teen away from these risky piercings:
- Face: eyelid, lip surface, chin, horizontal (transverse) tongue, cheek, between the cheek and gum line, under the tongue, uvula (at the back of the throat)
- Torso: outie navel, small or inverted nipples, under the collarbone
- Genitals: deep clitoral shaft (the Isabella), female urethra opening (the Princess Albertina), deep penile shaft, and transcrotal
- Other body parts not to pierce: anus, between fingers and toes or anywhere on the hands and feet, close to skin's surface through a small pinch of tissue, behind bone or tendon
>> Piercing safety pointers for teens
The bottom line
Angel, who has performed over 40,000 piercings in her professional career, believes piercing is safe when both the piercer and pierce are educated about the process. Check out safepiercing.org for more information.
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