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You may have had your ears pierced with a piercing gun back in the day. While this is not so terrible a method for soft flesh like that found on the earlobe, piercing guns are not recommended for any other type of piercing. The reason for this is that guns tend to crush the tissue they are penetrating. This doesn't allow for adequate healing to occur. Instead, your piercing technician should use an autoclaved (sterilized) hollow needle for all body piercings (technically, even earlobes). Needles may sound scary, but they actually do less damage to surrounding tissue when they pass through your skin. The difference can be thought of this way: Would you rather slice a tomato with a razor blade or a butter knife? The analogy may be a little extreme, but you get the picture!
The Association of Professional Piercers does not recommend getting a body piercing with a stud gun.
The APP approves of sterile, disposable equipment for body piercing only. Stud guns are not disposable and therefore carry the risk of harboring the blood and bodily fluids of others.
Piercing guns force a blunt-edged stud through the ear or other location, which can lengthen healing time and cause damage.
There are several types of metal that you should avoid wearing after getting your body pierced. You should avoid the following: sterling silver, because it oxidizes when it contacts body tissues and other fluids; plated gold, because the plating can wear away to expose metal that reacts with human skin; and fake gold and other base metals, because they may corrode when exposed to fluids.
Due to the extreme sensitivity of the genitals, it is advised you see a piercer who has a lot of experience piercing genitals. If you decide a genital body piercing is right for you, be aware of the following.
- Piercing the clitoris horizontally may result in a loss of all feeling. A vertical piercing through the hood is not as risky.
- You may not be able to have sexual relations until your genital piercing completely heals.
- Piercings in the genital area are prone to infection. Be sure to follow all cleaning instructions given to you by your piercer.
Occasionally you may need to remove your body piercing jewelry. Ear piercings tend to stay open longer than other body piercings when the body piercing jewelry is removed. Body piercings such as tongue piercings, belly button piercings, and nose piercings need to have a retainer inserted. Retainers are available in clear and flesh colors, which minimize their appearance.
If the original piercing was done with a gun (for instance at the mall) you will want to wait until it has healed completely, which takes from between six to eight weeks. Then you can go to a professional piercer and have them stretched. You probably won't be able to go far on your first stretching, most piercers won't stretch more than a gauge or two. You'll need to let that heal before stretching again. Piercers do have the ability to pierce your ears right away at a larger gauge, so you wouldn't have to go through as much stretching. As to whether your ears will heal back, it depends on what you mean by small. Most of the time if you haven't had the large gauge plugs in for very long and haven't put weight into them, the holes will heal up again.
While it is easy to purchase a body piercing kit on the Internet, it is not a good idea to pierce yourself. Piercing professionals have had years of experience piercing. Professional body piercers usually start with an apprenticeship, where they learn how to properly pierce from someone that's been in the business for a long time. Body piercing, especially piercing the tongue, nose, and genitals, can be extremely dangerous and cause permanent damage if performed by an inexperienced person. It is best to get your piercings done by someone who knows what they're doing.
Here are a few signs that your piercing may be infected: a red ring around the piercing, a burning sensation in the pierced area, or a pain when the piercing is touched. Consult a doctor or a professional piercing studio if you notice any of these signs. Mild infections can often be treated with home remedies, but it's better to be safe than sorry.
A nose piercing is a body piercing that requires special care because of its susceptibility to germs and the nose's proximity to the brain. The nose and brain share the same blood supply. If your nose piercing becomes infected and is not cared for properly, the infection could spread to your brain.
See your doctor if your nose piercing becomes infected. Do not remove the nose ring jewelry - if the hole begins to close and the bacteria become trapped, the infection could spread through your system.
Choosing the right body piercer is essential to getting your body piercing done correctly and safely. Here are some things to look for when you select your body piercer:
- Body piercing should not be done with a piercing gun - body piercing needles should always be used to pierce the body.
- The piercing studio should have an autoclave, which is used in hospitals to clean medical equipment.
- The piercer should wear gloves when piercing your body.
- The piercer should remove body piercing tools from a sterile bag in front of you.
Talk to others with body piercings before selecting a body piercer. If you are at all uncomfortable with a shop or body piercer, choose another one.
Typically, you shouldn't have to worry about your unique body jewelry setting off metal detectors. Obviously, metal detectors are designed to detect metal, but they can be adjusted so that small amounts of metal don't set off an alarm. Otherwise, common items with small amounts of meta, such as buttons and zippers, would be incessantly setting off alarms.
Needles are the best method to pierce a nose. Using a needle allows precise placement, minimizes pain, and creates a small hole. Piercing guns were designed to pierce ear lobes, which are an easier place to pierce than the thick cartilage of the nose. Discuss body piercing methods and placement to be completely comfortable beforehand. You may also ask to see your piercer's past work. A bad piercing job can lead to an unsightly scar.
Tongue body piercings require perhaps the most special care of all body piercings. Here are some basic cleaning and care guidelines:
- The mouth must be rinsed with a diluted mouthwash at least a dozen times a day, especially after eating or smoking.
- Follow a diet of soft food for the weeks immediately following the piercing
- Avoid oral sex and french kissing for at least a month
- Ice and ice water can reduce swelling
- If there is unusual swelling, pain, or fluids around the piercing, see a doctor immediately
It's natural to want to try different styles of body piercing jewelry after we're first pierced. However, it is extremely important to wait until the piercing is fully healed before removing the starter stud. Healing time is dependent on the location of the body piercing and the person. When you can move your body piercing jewelry without any discomfort, it is healed. Use care when changing your body piercing for the first time to avoid irritation.
Everyone's body is different. If you get something pierced and someone else gets the same piercing, your results could be the same or they could be unique. You should never take out a fresh piercing at three days, this is far too soon to be messing with your piercing. Noses (nostrils) take between two to four months to completely heal, and even then some people are going to have issues with pain, especially if they've never left the jewelry in long enough to heal properly. You might want to go back to a piercer and have them look at your nose to make sure there's nothing keeping it from healing, and it might heal easier with a ring in instead of a stud.
Piercing yourself is not easy, and if you push the needle through at the wrong angle, you will have a piercing that might not work for your nose, or the stud may fall out. Professionals would be able to also check that you have the right size needle and jewelry for your nose, and it would be a sterile environment. If something doesn't work at a shop, they will repierce it or at least help you to fix the problem, but if you do it yourself you could be in for scarring, infection and a botched looking nose.
Rotating your body piercings prevents scabs from forming. However, if you spin your body piercing with dirty hands, it is likely you'll get an infection. Before spinning your piercing, clean the area with cleaning solution and then twist the piercing several times with clean hands.
Unlike many other forms of piercing, eye piercing is a relatively new phenomenon. Members of the 70s punk movement are some of the earliest known people to practice this unique form of piercing. The reason that it may not be the most popular form of piercing is that the eyebrow does not heal very easily.
Before you get pierced or buy body jewelry, you should make sure that your immunizations – particularly hepatitis and tetanus – are up to date. Of course, you should be careful about what type of jewelry you wear and the sterilization practices of the piercing studio that you go to, but remember that you aren't in total control of the situation.
You should always wash your hands before touching a pierced eyebrow that is healing. Obviously, anyone else who wishes to touch your piercing should do the same. It is also recommended that you avoid wearing eye makeup during the healing process as the chemicals in the makeup may irritate the piercing.
There are many different unique styles of themed body jewelry. Body Candy Body Jewelry has Betty Boop, Marvel Comics, and Strawberry Shortcake designs, to name a few. Another popular body jewelry manufacturer, Third Rail, creates a lot of intricate metal designs.
For those getting their first body piercings, the choice between internally and externally threaded jewelry can be a source of confusion. Externally threaded jewelry is more common and is usually lower in cost. Internally threaded jewelry is less readily available but provides advantages that may make the extra effort to find this style worthwhile.
The primary advantage of internally threaded jewelry for body piercings is the added comfort and safety during insertion or removal of the jewelry. This can be particularly important in dealing with new piercings where the healing process could be set back by the rough threads of externally threaded jewelry catching on the healing tissues and causing tears in the skin.
Many professional piercers are also adopting the use of internally threaded jewelry for its advantage in the piercing process. Appropriately sized piercing needles with threaded ends can be connected to this style of jewelry. This allows for a single motion to pierce the body part and insert the new jewelry, thus reducing pain and trauma to the surrounding tissues.
Another distinct advantage of internally threaded designs as compared to externally threaded body piercing jewelry is the ease with which the component pieces can be put together. With externally threaded barbells, the ball ends are difficult for many individuals to attach due to difficulty in locating the internally threaded hole where the ball attaches to the shaft. Internally threaded jewelry eliminates this problem by adding a small externally threaded stud to the ball which connects to the internally threaded shaft of the barbell.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|