Piercings Getting Infected Since Being Put On Roaccutane (isotretinoin)

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Sarah Says:

So I've got 7 piercings in my ears, all of which were perfectly healed up, however about 5 months ago I was put on Roaccutane (Isotetrinoin) for acne. Since about a month or so into the treatment, my most recent two piercings (which had healed up before being prescribed the medicine) have done nothing but leak yellow-green, and sometimes red pus. They're sore and swollen, but the lobes themselves aren't red. I've surgical titanium hoops in them, changed from studs for easier cleaning after the problem began, and I use a hot, sterile compress on them daily, sometimes several times a day, to draw out the dirt and pus from the piercing hole itself before applying Fucidin, given to me by my GP.

However, even after all this, they still insist on getting infected alternately. They are old piercings, and I had no issues til I started on Roaccutane.

Has anybody else had this issue whilst on this medication? Or is there any other possible explanation you can think of that might be the issue, or why they keep reacting like this? Also any possibly solutions would be fantastic. I was advised by my consultant to avoid changing the Fucidin cream for another cream due to the fact that it might make the bacteria that keep infecting the piercings more resistant.

Just thoughts, help, advice, ideas... anything would be helpful right now. Also i've only one month left on the medication so if you think it would be worth putting up with for that long, then say, because I'm seriously considering taking them out and letting them heal up to get them re-pierced if they don't stop after coming off the meds.

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Jen Says:

My suggestion is to stop Accutane. They claim that Accutane continues to work up to 2-4 months after treatment has stopped. Accutane is known to lower the immune system and cause infections and prolonged healing. It also can thin the skin. If you take them out then note you can't have them re done till about 6 months after your course.

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Verwon Says:

Hello, Sarah! How are you doing? Sorry about the problem that you're having.

I think Jen may be on the right track, it may be a good idea to stop the medication for awhile and see if the problem goes away, if it does, then that will answer your question….but consult your doctor before doing so!

And as to getting your piercings back to being healthy…well I can also help with some tips on that, since I have 10 myself, 9 in my ears plus a navel one that I had done a few months ago…….but I do have to add the caveat to always double check any advice or information you receive from me or anyone else with your doctor…

Now on to the details….these are instructions I received from both my piercer and my doctor….

The first and most important thing is do not take them out, if they are infected. That allows the skin to heal over the fistula (hole) and traps the bacteria inside, which could result in worse problems, such as abscesses.

Wash your hands well, with antibacterial soap, before touching your piercings, it doesn't matter if they've been healed for over 20 years, bacteria can still wreak havoc if you aren't careful.

You shouldn't be using any type of topical cream or ointment on piercings, that actually holds bacteria and moisture inside, which allows the bacteria to propagate and prevents proper healing.

The proper way to clean them, help get rid of the infection and help them heal again is by using sea salt soaks. You should be putting an eighth of a teaspoon of regular, non-iodized sea salt in 8 ounces of purified water, you can boil it yourself if you want and it's cheaper, the water should be hot, not scalding, but just so it feels slightly hot like your shower or when you wash your hands…..then press the glass against your ear, so it soaks the fistula….earrings and all, as I said, you shouldn't take them out right now….and soak that way for 5 minutes, 2 to 3 times a day! Use a cotton swab to gently clean the posts as much a you can on both sides…..do this for both ears and all piercings…..do not wipe with a regular towel, since they can actually harbor bacteria, use paper towels that are disposable.

Pick up an antibacterial liquid soap that is clear, so it doesn't have dye in it, such as regular Dial. When you shower, right before you get out of the shower, just get a few drops on your fingers, work it into a lather and then work it around and into a piercing, leave the suds there for no more than 30 seconds and rinse well, do that for each piercing.

If you change your jewelry, at some point, always clean the jewelry, before putting it in. Pick up some alcohol wipes at the chemist shop/drug store and use one per earring, letting it air dry. You will experience less tearing and irritation of the fistula if you lubricate the threaded end of them with a tiny little bit of KY Jelly or antibiotic ointment….notice I said a 'tiny' little bit, just enough to help it glide smoothly into and through the hole.

As to something from your doctor to help, an oral antibiotic would be best, one that you take for 10 days or so. To make sure my navel piercing didn't get infected, my doctor prescribed a 10 day course of Amoxicillin.

Are there any other questions or concerns?

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