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Page last updated at 10:50 GMT, Friday, 13 June 2008 11:50 UK
Warnings about bad body piercing
By Dhruti Shah
Newsbeat reporter

Teenagers Lozzy and Cloe
Teenagers Lozzy and Cloe have 21 piercings between them
One in seven young people who get a body piercing have to seek professional help because it has gone wrong.

The British Medical Journal surveyed more than 10,500 people in England about their piercings in the first study of its kind.

The report claims people aged 16-24 years-old are more likely to have a health problem because of a botched piercing.

Common complications include swelling, infection and bleeding.

Health strain

Almost half of the 1,500 young people quizzed admitted they've had to get professional help.

One in five people pierced their bodies themselves or got someone who was not an expert in the procedure to it for them.

I have done a few myself but it never really ends up well
Cloe Peachey

Although most people have easily treatable conditions, there are records of fatal cases.

In 2002, Daniel Hindle, 17, from Sheffield died of blood poisoning after having his lip pierced.

But teenagers told Newsbeat this wouldn't put them off having more procedures.

Your reaction

Lozzy Bones, 16, has 11 piercings, many of which she did herself.

She said the cost of getting a specialist to do the job is off-putting.

A professional tongue piercing can cost around 30.

She said: "It can be too expensive sometimes to go to the parlour."

She admits she has suffered from infections though which were too disgusting for her to even go into detail.

She said: "Sometimes you can't be bothered to wash your piercings every day so they do get infected."

Her friend Cloe Peachey, 16, has 10 piercings; seven in her ears, her nose, tongue and a Monroe which is on her upper lip.

Pierced belly button
Young women prefer getting their navels pierced

She said: "I did get an expert to do most of them. I did a few of them myself but it never really ends up really well.

"I have had infections which are gross. I have had a few red bumps and so have a lot of my other mates."

Expert view

Julie Howick runs Cold Steel Body Piercing in North London.

She wants more regulation so that only professionals can carry out the procedure.

She said: "What people don't seem to realise is that you need to have a certain amount of knowledge about what you're about to do.

If you pierce a lip it is going to swell so you need to prepare for that happening."

She said she felt doctors and pharmacists were too quick to diagnose an infection.

She said: "All you need is the right jewellery, the right placement and the right aftercare.

"If you've got all that you're going to be able to heal your piercing."

Researchers say the growing popularity of piercing could be a potential burden on the health service.

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