Maybe it's for work. Maybe it's for school. It might be a visit to the parents or a wedding or who knows. Maybe this is a decision you've made, or maybe it's something you just have to deal with. Maybe it's for a little while or maybe you've changed your mind for good. But for whatever the reasons, the piecing is coming out.
Many people go into the idea of body piercing without a whole lot of forethought and without too much research into the matter, so this article is here to talk about what can happen when you take a body piercing out. Note that there is no set course of reactions or responses, more of a variety of potentials that can happen to an individual depending on their own body and the specific circumstances involved with their body piercing.
If the piercing isn't fully healed yet, the most likely outcome is that in a very short time, the piercing will collapse and start to heal shut. What this means is that the tissues will rejoin, closing the canal of the piercing and although they won't be fully healed shut, it can prevent the jewelry from being replaced. For some people and very new piercings, this can happen anywhere from instantly to just a few minutes. If you are thinking of getting pierced, and you can think of a definite situation in the next six months to a year where you'd absolutely have to take out the piercing, I'd advise that you just not get pierced, as you run a high risk of the hole closing from not being well-established.
For piercings that are past the estimated healing times, the reactions vary widely from person to person and piercing to piercing. The age of the piercing and type of body tissue pierced are big factors. The longer a piercing has been established, the greater the chances are that it will remain open, allowing the removed jewelry to be put back, but this isn't always the case. Some piercings can tighten up or shrink a bit when empty, a side effect that can't be predicted ahead of time. If you have to take out body jewelry due to a medical procedure, I suggest you try and replace the metal with something plastic/acrylic, as it's the removal of anything metallic on the body which is really what the doctors are trying to achieve.
If you no longer wish to have a body piercing, of course there's no worries about having to try and replace jewelry but some people get concerned about what sort of mark or hole might be left. Overall, thin piercings shrink down but don't entirely disappear. Think about when you watch movies and how many actors you can still see have or had pierced ears even when they aren't wearing earrings. Larger piercings will shrink but may remain much larger than average and stretched or gauged ear piercings might remain visibly open.