Nose piercings leave marks

Piercing gone ... This is how ugly holes can be closed

The ring in the eyebrow has done its job: it was cool at a young age, now it seems inappropriate and has to go. But how do you close the ugly hole that remains after removal? What to do about piercing scars. By Mag. Sabine Stehrer

Claudia S. started getting pierced when she was 14. A nose piercing was followed by piercings in the auricles, eyebrows and tongue. It continued with a genital piercing, a piercing in the navel, in the upper lip and in the lip frenulum. Why? “I was young at the time, easily influenced and wanted to belong,” she replies. "Everyone around me had a piercing or several, and in order to be just as cool and not the only one who doesn't have one, one piercing after the other was added." She didn't worry about later because the piercings promised , everything would grow closed again as soon as the jewelry was removed without leaving any traces.

Mainstream relic of the 1990s

Today the Viennese woman is 35 years old and “only grabs her head about so much stupidity”. Except for a nose stud, she removed what she once saw as jewelry - what remains are scars and ugly holes. "The holes in the eyebrows and upper lip are particularly bad," she says. “Everyone sees them, and a lot of people ask me about what annoys me and makes me very uncomfortable.” Sometimes she has even considered sticking stones over them so that the holes cannot be seen. She had photos of special family events such as her wedding retouched accordingly.
Claudia S. is not alone with her problem: Like her, many children of the 1980s had themselves pierced. Because in the 1990s, when they were teenagers, the balls, rings, chopsticks, plugs and plates for earlobes were no longer a means of demarcation for members of special marginalized groups, as in the decades before, but were almost mainstream: as its relic wears According to researchers at the University of Leipzig, around a third of women under 30 have a piercing - mostly in the nose, in the auricles and in the navel. And almost one in ten men of the same age is pierced.

Holes in the face particularly annoying

Like many of Claudia S.'s contemporaries, who is now a mother of three, who once did its job and is supposed to go, which was once perceived as cool - we can only speculate about that. In any case, in Internet forums there are increasing questions about how to get rid of the piercing scars, which also means the holes. Also with Dr. Walther Jungwirth, President of the Austrian Society for Plastic, Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery, is asked about it more and more often. Jungwirth, who heads the department for aesthetic plastic surgery at the EMCO private clinic in Hallein and has ordinations in Salzburg and Vienna, knows: "Piercing scars or piercing holes that are on the face and are therefore visible to everyone are particularly disturbing." I have also treated several patients who were heartbroken about other piercing scars. Jungwirth: "Just a few days ago, for example, I corrected a piercing scar on my belly button."

Cut out with a scalpel

According to Walther Jungwirth, what you can do about the unpopular piercing scars depends on where they are. Large holes in the ear lobes, so-called flesh tunnels, which are also considered piercings, can be sewn together after the tissue has been redistributed - which is comparatively complex and leaves larger scars. It is better for those who have small holes in their eyebrows, nose or upper and lower lips. "These can be easily removed with a scalpel," says Jungwirth. "During the operation, the skin tube that has formed along the narrow puncture canal after the puncture is completely cut out," says the surgeon. "Then the narrow stitch channel is completely sewn shut with a fine needle and a thread, which later dissolves itself."

Inconspicuous scars remain

What remains is an inconspicuous scar, which, as Jungwirth knows, is usually no longer associated with a piercing. There are hardly any risks inherent in the interventions. "Only when holes are closed in the nose is there a risk of retractions," explains Jungwirth. “This means that dents can arise that can only be removed with another operation.” The surgical wounds can also become inflamed, but this is just as rare as dents on the nose. So to speak, lucky in misfortune are those with holes in body tissue that is covered by mucous membranes, such as those pierced for tongue piercings, lip frenulum piercings, nipple piercings and genital piercings. Because, as promised by the engravers, these actually grow closed again by themselves as soon as the jewelry has been removed. But in this case too, scars remain, and according to Jungwirth, contrary to promises to the contrary, these cannot be removed, "not even with the laser".

Costs are to be borne by yourself

The costs for removing piercing scars - at Jungwirth they are from 300 euros - are not covered by the health insurance companies. And not even if the holes are psychologically stressful or the relics from youth impair your health in other ways - which can already be the case when carrying and piercing.
The Viennese Claudia S. has had painful experiences with this - discomfort when pricking and wearing body jewelry: the balls that she carried in her tongue and lip frenulum rubbed her incisors when she spoke and clogged her teeth. The three plugs with asterisks, which she wore in her nose arranged in a triangle, hit the wall of the nose and repeatedly caused nosebleeds. And the ring in the navel grew out of its own accord immediately after it was inserted, which left a bulging scar as an ugly eye-catcher.

How dangerous piercing can be

Not only when you no longer want to have piercings, but also when piercing, inserting and wearing the piercing jewelry, a piercing can cause problems or endanger your health. After the sting, painful swellings and light bleeding often occur, which can sometimes last for weeks or even months and increase the risk of infections. Piercings through the cartilage tissue of the auricle also cause inflammation. A flesh tunnel through the earlobe can tear open. Pricking through eyebrows or nostrils can hit parts of the trigeminal nerve - causing pain or numbness. Rubbing nose piercings against the wall of the nose can cause nosebleeds. The constant irritation of the teeth from a piercing in the tongue or on the lip frenulum damages the teeth. Piercings in the nipples can lead to a loss of breastfeeding ability, and piercings in the belly button often grow out during pregnancy, which not only hurts but also leaves extremely unsightly scars. Piercings on the penis or clitoris can tear out, which is also painful.

Web tip:
The TATTOO & PIERCING brochure can be downloaded from the homepage of the wienXtra-Jugendinfo association:

As of 6/2015