The Truth in Common Piercing Myths

Ashley Swedlund, Reporter

Do piercings trigger metal detectors in airports?


To answer this, you must know how metal detectors work in places such as airports. A metal detector will emit an electromagnetic field that travels until it comes across something metallic, and the metal object will disrupt the flow of the field in different ways depending on size and the type of metal. 

Adjustments can be made to the metal to determine how sensitive the metal detector will be based on the desired level of security. For example, a very private secured location will have metal detectors that are able to dense small amounts of metal, but places such as concerts or airports, where this a lot of people moving in and out, the metal detectors are set on a very low sensitivity. This is because if the metal detectors were set to trace small amounts of metal, a lot of false alarms triggered by harmless metal would make the entire place or event congested with people.


With this said, piercings will not trigger airport security in the same way that your house keys or jewelry won’t. The metal is small and harmless, and won’t set off metal detectors that are scanning from weapons or bombs.

From my personal experience, my piercings have never set off bells and whistles at airports, I couldn’t say the same for a person who has a significant amount of more piercings than I do. 


Do daiths cure migraines?


Supposedly, your daith- which is a fold of ear cartilage just above your ear canal- is a pressure point that is somehow tied to migraine symptoms. If this pressure point is activated through piercing it, it helps relieve migraine symptoms. 

This myth is tied to acupuncture, which is an ancient Chinese medicine based approach to treating various conditions by triggering specific points on the body with needles.

There had been a lot of stories claiming this myth was true, and many other stories say this myth is false. But to give an answer, there had been little scientific proof that getting your daith pierced will prevent migraines. And some claiming that migraine relief is due to the placebo effect.

I used to suffer from a lot of migraines, but that wasn’t the reason I got my daith pierced. For about a year after that, I only got a few migraines, but the frequency of migraines has increased since then. So I can’t really say if it works or not, but there’s no harm in trying.


Do piercing holes ever go away?


The answer to this depends on how old the piercing is and where the piercing is. Lip, tongue and other oral piercings tend to heal faster and better than cartilage and surface piercings will. Cartilage and surface piercings are generally more difficult to heal, and will more likely than not leave a scar if you decide to take it out. 


If you decide to take your jewelry out of your piercing two weeks after you get it done, the hole will close up and leave a small scar where the piercing was.

But if you take out your jewelry after the piercing is completely healed, the hole will shrink, but will most likely never close. All that will remain is a small divot where the jewelry once was.


Can I clean my piercings with alcohol or hydrogen peroxide? 


Alcohol and hydrogen peroxide may be good agents to prevent infections in minor cuts, scrapes or burns, but it cannot be used the same way for piercings.


The way hydrogen peroxide works is that it goes in and kills many different types of bacteria. But there has been little evidence that it can kill bacteria inside of a wound. In fact, Hydrogen peroxide will irritate your living skin cells, including damaging your fibroblasts- which are responsible for making connective tissue and repairing wounds. Fibroblasts are critical to healing wounds, and damaging them will slow down in the wound-healing process. 


Piercing holes are considered minor wounds. When getting pierced, you are stabbing a needle all the way through your flesh, and while it may not be life threatening, piercings are still very prone to infections and rejection. Treating a fresh piercing requires a healing solvent that will both hydrate and clean the piercing as well.