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Scars are pretty much a given, once you remove a piercing. That said, how noticeable your scar is can depend on several things, not all of which you can control.
Since eyebrow piercings are surface piercings, they carry a higher risk of migration and rejection, which could lead to bigger, more noticeable scars.
Read on to learn more about why they happen and how to minimize your risk.
Generally speaking, yes.
Often, though, the scars — which form over the entry and exit points of the piercing — are so tiny they’re hardly noticeable.
Other factors can also influence how significant the scarring is.
Some people might notice more significant scarring than others.
- are under the age of 30
- have darker skin tones
- are of African, Asian, or Latin descent
- have a family history of keloids
- are pregnant
You’re also more likely to scar if you experience a complication with your piercing. Complications might happen due to:
- Infection. An infected piercing can swell, bleed, and crust over, increasing the risk for scarring.
- Jewelry migration or rejection. Piercing rejection means your body is trying to protect itself by getting rid of the foreign invader (aka your jewelry). When your body rejects a piercing, the holes begin to widen as your skin around the jewelry begins to flake and crack. If left untreated, rejection can damage the tissue around the piercing, resulting in a large scar.
- Improper aftercare. Following aftercare instructions helps your piercing heal, and it can also help prevent complications that lead to scarring. For instance, not keeping your piercing clean increases the risk for infection. Using harsh cleansers can irritate your skin and cause a hypertrophic scar.
- Snagging or tearing your piercing. If your jewelry snags on, say, a sweater or hairbrush, you could tear your skin or even rip your jewelry out completely. Ouch.
- Removing your jewelry before the piercing heals. Taking your jewelry out before you’re fully healed can lead to infection, irritation, and, yes, scarring. The same goes for removing jewelry when your piercing is infected.
Scars can sometimes linger for years. Most scars fade over time, especially when the healing process is uneventful and free of complications.
Often, scars are so small, they’re hardly noticeable.
Large or raised scars are more likely to remain noticeable for the long haul.
- Hypertrophic scars can take months or years to heal, but they can go away on their own, sometimes even without treatment.
- Keloid scars may continue to grow over time. Sometimes, they even grow back after treatment.
A dermatologist can offer more guidance on determining the type of scar you have and a timeline of what to expect when it comes to healing time. They can also provide some tips for effective treatment.
Scarring is a possibility with any piercing, but you can still do a few things to lower your chances of developing a scar.
Find a reputable piercing professional
Choosing a reputable and skilled piercing professional is a must.
An experienced professional will follow proper sterilization procedures to reduce your risk of infection, and they’re less likely to cause injury when piercing your skin.
Get the right jewelry
Choosing jewelry made from quality material, in the right size to accommodate swelling during healing, is important. Once you’ve healed, your piercing professional can swap out the initial jewelry for something smaller, if needed, to avoid irritation.
The Association of Professional Piercers (APP) recommends specific materials for piercing, like:
- surgical steel
- 14k to 18k gold
These are less likely to cause allergic reactions or be rejected by the body.
Avoid lower quality jewelry, since it may break or irritate your skin. Beware of gold-plated jewelry, even jewelry plated in 14K gold or higher. The gold plating can still flake or wear off, damaging your skin and exposing it to the metals underneath.
Get your piercing along your brow hair line
Ask your piercing professional to position your eyebrow piercing as close to your eyebrow hair as possible.
This won’t prevent scarring, per se, but your eyebrow can offer some camouflage for any potential future scars if you retire your piercing.
Practice good aftercare
Proper aftercare will go a long way toward helping prevent an eyebrow piercing scar. By taking care of your piercing, you reduce your risk for complications that can lead to scarring.
Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:
- Avoid touching your piercing, unless you’re cleaning it.
- Clean the piercing site with saline rinse or gentle soap, as recommended by your piercing professional.
- Rinse the area thoroughly to get rid of soap or debris.
- Avoid harsh cleansers and skin care products containing alcohol.
- Keep your jewelry in until your piercing is fully healed.
Be careful with your piercing
Pulling a top over your head or brushing your hair over your forehead might seem like NBD. But, if you’re not careful, you could snag or even rip out your eyebrow piercing.
Be careful when getting dressed, styling your hair, washing your face, or doing anything that involves close contact with your piercing.
As long as your scar doesn’t cause discomfort, there’s no need to treat it. Of course, if you don’t like the way it looks, there are options.
Severe scarring that’s large, raised, or dark might require professional treatment by a licensed dermatologist. Professional treatments include the following options or a combination of them:
Surgical removal is another possibility, depending on the type, size, and severity of the scar.
Options for treating an eyebrow piercing scar at home include:
- Over-the-counter (OTC) scar creams. Several OTC scar creams can help minimize the appearance of scars. Some popular options, which you can find online or at your local drugstore, include Mederma Advanced Scar Gel and Cicatricure Face & Body Scar Gel.
- Silicone sheets. Applying silicone adhesive gel sheets, like ScarAway Silicone Scar Sheets, can help fade and flatten scars, including hypertrophic scars and keloids.
- Pressure and massage. Applying pressure and massaging a hypertrophic scar can help weaken scar tissue and reduce its appearance. You can apply direct pressure with your hands while massaging the scar, or use silicone sheets or tape to apply pressure.
You’ll want to reach out to a healthcare professional right away if you notice any signs of infection, including:
- severe or worsening pain, redness, or swelling
- a foul smell, thick discharge, or pus from the piercing site
- skin abscess
Scarring is a risk with any piercing, but most eyebrow piercing scars remain very small and may fade over time. Choosing a reputable piercing professional and taking care of your piercing can help lower your chances of scarring.
If you develop a scar, at-home and professional treatments can help minimize its appearance.
Adrienne Santos-Longhurst is a Canada-based freelance writer and author who has written extensively on all things health and lifestyle for more than a decade. When she’s not holed-up in her writing shed researching an article or off interviewing health professionals, she can be found frolicking around her beach town with husband and dogs in tow or splashing about the lake trying to master the stand-up paddle board.