What is migration/rejection?
Migration is defined as a piercing moving from its original position. This can happen naturally during the healing process or can be caused by external influences such as jewellery that is too heavy or a piercing that has been ‘played with’.
This is where the body completely expels a piece of jewellery, causing it to grow out of the skin entirely.
This may be because the piercing wasn’t placed deeply enough, it may have been badly cared for, too harsh an aftercare product could have been used.
The piercing may have suffered physical trauma – from clothes rubbing on the area, knocks or bumps, it was changed before it was healed and even emotional stress, bad diet and/or lifestyle can encourage rejection.
If a piercing is visibly migrating it is advisable to retire the piercing before it rejects entirely as it can leave excessive scarring.
Migration is a slow process which may only be noticed when the piercing angle changes, has moved closer to the surface of the skin or the tissue between the entry and exit points appears thinner.
A piercing may only move a little from it’s original placement and then heal without growing out entirely which is why it is highly recommended to downsize jewellery when the piercing is healed.
Even a piercing that has been performed and cared for correctly can migrate/reject for seemingly no reason.
This is simply a risk we take when placing a piece of jewellery through our skin and isn’t necessarily anyone’s fault.
Piercings that only break through a small amount of surface skin (surface piercings, navel piercings etc.), those that are working against the shape of the body, or have clothes constantly moving against them are most likely to be rejected.This can also happen to well established piercings.
Some people are more prone to rejection than others, it just depends on the body’s reaction to having jewellery placed in your body.
It is advisable to avoid re-piercing a rejected piercing, especially if there is scar tissue present. It all depends on how much scar tissue there is and how the new piercing will be positioned. The chances of this new piercing migrating or rejecting is pretty high. It is recommended to wait a minimum of 12 months to re-pierce a migrated/rejected piercing.
Scar tissue is less pliable than non scarred tissue, but this can be reduced with gentle massage of the area.
You should always make your piercer aware of what happened to your last piercing and try to think of reasons that could have caused your previous piercing to migrate.
Your piercer may be able to advise on what you could do differently to try and prevent your new piercing migrating/rejecting. They will also be able to help with alternative placement if your desired area isn’t suitable to support another piercing and may suggest a new piercing on a different site.
A retired piercing that has migrated will sometimes not close entirely and may remain open but will always be too shallow to safely support the placement of jewellery.