The Piercing Gun Debate

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Many people’s first experience with piercings happens at a small kiosk in a mall, with a piercing gun. The question is often presented, “Why can’t I get other piercings besides my ears done with a gun?”.

The Truth of the matter is that piercing guns are not a good option for any piercing, let alone ear piercings.

Piercing guns have plastic parts and cannot, and often are not, sterilized. This can put the customer at risk for bacterial infections or other blood-borne pathogens like Hepatitis B and C.
The process by which a piercing gun operates is actually unhealthy for your body. A piercing gun actually inflicts blunt force trauma to the area which increases the chance for infection and makes the healing process all the more difficult. If you plan on stretching your ear lobes, you run a higher risk of blow-outs due to the scar tissue formed from the healing process. Also, often on women the ear piercing is not placed centrally on the lobe to make room for possible future other ear piercings. A centrally located ear piercing is crucial for an even stretch. Piercings should be performed with a hollow, surgical steel tribevel needle.

The second problem has to do with the shape and the material of the jewelry that is used . These guns were first made to tag livestock, and inflict unnecessary blunt trauma to the tissue. The earring studs used by the guns have clasps which can trap bacteria and which, when combined with the post generally used which is too short, compress the tissue. This does not allow for any swelling, which makes the healing process all the more painful and difficult. Also with no room between the flesh and jewelry, cleaning the wound is very difficult. The jewelry commonly used in this process is often of inferior quality and can irritate the skin and cause dermatitis and nickel-allergy reactions.

In conclusion; your best option is to seek out a professional body piercer. An Association of Professional Piercers certified piercer goes through months of training and be approved by the association. These people are knowledgeable in the anatomy of the human body and blood pathogen safety. Unlike a clerk at the mall, who receive little training. Professional pierces use proper sterilization techniques and good quality jewelry, and sharp single-use needles.

Next time you wonder why piercings are so expensive, consider the time and training as well as cost of materials and machinery for sterilization. Ensure you get the best experience possible, find an APP certified piercer near you at www.safepiercing.org 

To say a body jewelry style belongs strictly to a certain demographic is silly. Humans are a complex species. No two of us are alike. There’s bound to be some overlap in personalities and interests, across all sexes, gender, race, etc.

It’s sometimes assumed that individuals who choose to stretch their earlobes are of some underground, hardcore form of being. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it is pretty hardcore… hardcore awesome!

Stretching, much like any form of body modification, is an individual choice. For some it’s a journey of self discovery and awareness. It’s also just a cool way to accessorize! Have you seen our collection of new Acrylic Dried Spring Flowers Saddle Plugs?

No matter what your style is, you’ll have an easy time finding a pair of plugs, tunnels or tapers to match it. Don’t be afraid to show your effeminate side through body mod! If you think the only people who stretch their lobes are the stereotypical “goths” and “punk rock” kids, you need to check yourself…

And then check out these beauties, in all their delightful stretched lobe glory!


Jenny’s Industrial Piercing

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Come see Jenny get her Industrial piercing by James of American Skin Art in Buffalo, NY.

Money Shot at 0:39 and 0:47

 What is an Industrial Piercing? 

An Industrial piercing is actually two piercings, a helix and anti-helix, connected by a single barbell and is typically pierced at a 14 gauge.

Do I have to wear an industrial barbell or are there other options?

When you get pierced you can go with the traditional industrial barbell or ask your piercer for separate pieces of jewelry to wear until your piercings are healed. The advantage of this is that multiple cartilage piercings tend to stay tender and sensitive for many months and some people find that having the separate pieces puts less pressure on the affected area.

The Process

It’s Jenny’s first real piercing and we’re all super excited to see how she does! First James starts by cleaning the area and then marking both points where each end of the industrial bar will go through. He uses his tools to make sure the marks are perfectly straight and aligned. Next he applies a clamp to the first insertion area, then he pushes the needle through. He then moves the clamp to the second area and continues through with the needle still in the first hole, this creates a slight folding of the ear temporarily, once the needle is through both parts of the ear he corks the end of it to prevent any injury. The barbell jewelry is then pushed through, following the needle out of the ear. The ball end is screwed onto the barbell and then the area is cleaned.


It’s common for your ear to feel hot and burny right after you get it pierced and for a few days after. Many people find taking Motrin helps reduce the pain and swelling. Clean your industrial with a solution of non-iodized sea salt and water; 1/4 tsp sea salt to 8 oz of water, a few times a day or as directed by your piercer. You can use cotton swabs, q-tips, or gauze to soak in the solution then compress it onto your ear for a few minutes. An industrial piercing typically takes 3 to 9 months or longer to heal.


Myth vs #TheTruth

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Getting your first piercing?  Thinking about piercing a new part of your body? Really want something pierced, but too afraid because of what you’ve heard? Let’s turn those nerves into excitement. Take a look at all the really awesome jewelry you’ll be able to wear. Think about how your new piercing will speak to your individuality; your uniqueness. And above all else, don’t let someone else’s words detour you from going after something you really want!

Myth: All piercings hurt.

#TheTruth: Pain is individualized. Every body is different. Not only that, but every part of your body is different. Pinch your ear and then pinch your belly – the pain differs depending where you’re being pierced. There are a few piercings that generally will hurt more than others, but your own pain tolerance as well as your body’s overall sensitivity that day will determine how painful your piercing will be. Obviously piercing a sensitive area of your body (ie. a nipple) is going to hurt a bit. Your piercing professional will do his/her best to make sure you are comfortable. You can trust those guys, they know what they’re doing.

Myth: You’re going to regret it when you’re older.

#TheTruth: How in the world could you possibly know what your future self is going to regret? You can’t. Anyone who tells you this is passing judgement based on their own views, which has nothing to do with who you are, so stop listening to them!

Myth: Intimate piercings are more likely to get infected.

#TheTruth: The only way a piercing is more likely to get infected is if you’re pierced by someone who isn’t credible, or do not carefully follow aftercare instructions. Be honest with your piercer about your body. A professional piercer will warn you if any pre-existing conditions will effect your healing time, and will know if the piercing is safe for you or not.

Myth: If you’re pierced/tattooed, you’ll never get a job.

#TheTruth: Everyone who writes for this blog has a job. There are employers out there who discriminate against pierced and/or tattooed individuals, but that’s changing. In fact, there’s an entire website devoted to this issue called Support Tattoos and Piercings at Work. Apple, Bank of America and All State Insurance are a few corporate companies that allow their employees to have visible tattoos and piercings. Even their CEOs and members of upper management!

Myth: Only [certain types of people] get [certain types of piercings.]

#TheTruth: All types of people get all types of piercings. End of story.

Disclaimer: All points made in this post are directed towards those individuals who are of legal piercing age. If you’re unsure, please visit the Tattooing and Body Piercing section of the NCSL website to verify policies in your state.


Spiritual Serenity

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Lord Ganesha is one of the most recognizable and revered deities in the Hindu tradition. However, his appeal stretches beyond the boundaries of the Hindu faith and he is beloved the world over for the simplicity of his character: he is the god who clears all obstacles in life, the remover of worries, the patron of wisdom. Worship of Ganesha can take any form: lit candles, incense, or decorations given in his honor.


You don’t have to ascribe to Hindu philosophy to identify with the peace and serenity that Ganesha brings; he is for everyone. Decorate yourself, feel the calm serenity that Ganesha provides to the world and remove your worries with his help.

As the founder of the Buddhist tradition, Siddhartha Gautama’s title of “Buddha” means enlightened one.

Enlightenment can be achieved by discovering and traveling down the Middle Path; to strike a balance between opposing forces of sensual pleasure and self-denial. Like Ganesha, the Buddha enjoys universal appeal around the world for the simplicity of his message of peace, understanding, and harmony between people.

These basic philosophies can be incorporated into your everyday life and your everyday look. No matter who you are or where you live, it is the journey through life that really matters. Find your path, find your peace, discover serenity.

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Everyone is generally familiar with the classic tongue piercing and lip ring, we’re going to cover a few facial and oral piercings you may not be too familiar with as well as general care and healing information for the aforementioned piercings.

Tongue Piercing

Typically this piercing is placed centrally but can be placed just about anywhere on the tongue. Two piercings placed side by side is often referred to as ‘venom bites’. A traditional tongue piercing is placed where the nerves are primarily for taste and temperature, it is more painful is be pierced towards the tip or edges. Healing time is about 4-8 weeks, during the first week there will be significant swelling and tenderness, drinking cold water especially immediately following the procedure will help with the swelling and soothe the area. You can eat normally but it is advisable to do so slowly and take small bites. Many people find smoothies, shakes, and soups are easiest to start with. Avoid chewing gum, salty, spicy, or very hot foods as these may be injurious or irritating.

The Labret Piercing

 A traditionally placed labret is centered under the lower lip, but may be placed higher, lower, in pairs or even multiples.  Usually pierced with a 16 or 14 gauge needle, a flat disk-back  stud or ring are the most common jewelry worn. Healing time is about 6-8 weeks but may take longer. Cleaning is easiest by using a sea salt soak (1/4 tsp to 8oz water) in a shot glass held flush against the face or a cotton ball/q-tip with the solution on it.


The Monroe Piercing

This piercing imitates a beauty mark and is placed off to one side above the upper lip. Also paired with another piercing on the opposite side which is nicknamed ‘angel bites’. Typically done at 16 or 14 gauge this piercing heals in about 2 to 3 months or longer. Aftercare is the same as the labret.

The Philtrum Piercing

Also commonly knows as the ‘medusa’ this piercing is placed center of the natural divot between the mouth and the nose. It is common that during this piercing the client’s eyes may water.  Healing time for this piercing is typically 2 to 3 months and usually at 16 or 14 gauge.


Cheek/ Dimple Piercings

Cheek piercings can be done in most locations on the cheek but are usually placed in the natural dimple on the client’s face and should not be placed further back than the first molars. This can cause issues with the salivary glands that are located within the cheek. This is considered one of the lesser painful facial/oral piercings, usually done with 16 to 12 gauge barbells preferably with a flat back. This piercing takes anywhere from 2-3 months or longer to heal. Cleaning can be done with the sea salt solution, many find using a small shot glass to hold over the area to be an easy way to do so.


The Smiley/ Scrumper and Frowny Piercings

Smiley and scrumper are both names for the piercing of the upper frenulum, which is a piece of skin that connects the center of the upper lip and gums. The frowny is a piercing of lower frenulum that connects the lower lip and gums. Performed with usually with jewelry between 16 to 18 gauge circular barbell, horseshoe, or curved barbell; this piercing heals in about 4 to 8 weeks. This piercing comes with the risk of rejection and migration as well as the wearing of the tooth enamel, all things to consider before getting this piercing.

 The Lingual Frenulum Piercing

This is a piercing of the web located underneath the tongue if the client has the substantial anatomy to accommodate the jewelry. Most often done with a small curved bar or 16 gauge ring. This piercing heals quickly and easily in about 4 to 6 weeks. This piercing has a tendency to reject but most people keep it for at least a few years. Clean the piercing by using a non-alcohol based mouthwash. Be sure to keep it free of food and debris. Avoid swimming, alcohol, and sexual contact until it’s healed.


Considering getting your first piercing? For some people it’s a right of passage, for others it may mark a life event, or be the doorway to an individual finding themselves. Whatever your reasoning, there a few things to consider and some vital information you need before you make your choice.

The two factors when thinking about a piercing you need to consider are Anatomy (physical structure) and Aesthetics (physical appearance). Your piercer will be able to help you determine if your desired piercing is anatomically possible for your body. Try not to get too keen on one particular piercing until you consult with the piercer. Should your body be accommodating physically the decision ultimately lies with you whether or not you think the piercing will compliment your appearance. Piercings can be used to draw attention to a certain area or detract unwanted attention from a less desirable feature. Draw focus to the lips with a ring or stud for example. The most important thing is that you like the piercing and the way it looks on you.

Once you’ve decided on what piercing you want and have consulted your piercer it’s time to prepare yourself!

Make sure you have all of your aftercare supplies on hand and ready before you go.

A few things to buy may include:

  • Non-iodized sea salt (finely ground dissolves easier in water)
  • Mild anti-microbial soap
  • A container for soaking your piercing (a shot glass works well)
  • Alcohol-free antiseptic mouth wash (crest pro-health as an example)
  • Pads or panty liners if you’re getting a genital piercing
  • Popsicles to help with swelling from an oral or tongue piercing

A few things to bring with you to your appointment:

  • Your identification ( Commonly accepted forms are Driver’s license, Passport, Military ID, State issued ID, and Foreign government id with photo)
  • A snack and/or drink such as fruit and juice to stabilize your blood sugar after
  • A friend! Don’t be afraid to bring one friend with you if you need moral/ emotional support, just don’t bring a crowd as it makes the piercer’s job more difficult, but be sure to ask if the piercer minds your having company with your for the procedure

Be sure to eat beforehand as well! Many people forget to eat in their anxiousness and end up feeling light headed or passing out from the dip in blood sugar level getting pierced causes. A light snack one to two hours before should do the trick, but a heavy meal is best avoided as you may experience nausea or vomiting.

Things to avoid:

Pay attention to your physical condition. If you’re not feeling well you should post-pone your appointment, it’s easier for your body to heal while you’re healthy. Avoid drinking heavily the night before, having a hangover will make you more sensitive to pain and may cause excessive bleeding as alcohol thins the blood. Do not take aspirin, Advil(ibuprofen), or Aleve(naproxen) beforehand. These are also blood thinners. Many piecers recommend Motrin after the piercing is performed to reduce swelling.

Relax. Do something to take your mind off your upcoming appointment, practice slow deep breathing. Remind yourself that the actual piercing will only take but a few seconds, any discomfort should pass quickly.

At the Studio

Cost- “Why are piercings so expensive they’re just jabbing me with a needle?” Piercings are costly because body piecers go through long periods of training, knowing where major veins and arteries are is one of many crucial factors when placing a piercing. The supplies such as high quality surgical grade steel, the needles, and the auto-clave (the machine used to sterilize tools, jewelry, etc) are very costly. When choosing a piercing studio don’t just go for the best price, go for which shop has the best reputation. Check out online reviews and ask around to see what the public’s general consensus is.

 Don’t Touch Anything!

Everything within the piercing room must be sterilized and your hands can contaminate the tools or other surfaces, so if you really feel the need to handle a piece, ask first!

Before the actual piercing, the piecer will take your ID and make a copy of it for their records. You will also have to fill out a waiver, be sure to answer all medical questions thoroughly and honestly. Once in the piercing room you may, depending on the location of the desired piercing, has to remove some clothing items. A good piercer will always be professional when dealing with the exposed human form. Don’t worry too much about your body, the piercer is here to guide you and give you a safe, pleasant experience. They won’t be judging you on your body type or looks.

The Piercing

The piercer will mark the desired area with a temporary ink and have you look at the projected placement in the mirror so you can decide if that location is what you want, don’t be afraid to ask them to change it! Once the mark has been approved it’s finally time, the piercer should put on clean gloves before handling any tools. Often times for many piercings a clamp is used to ensure an accurate piercing. The piercer may ask to to deep breathe in and then out as they push the needle through, this is very brief and possibly sharp sensation passes quickly. Then, the jewelry will be inserted as the needle is pushed out, this may be more uncomfortable than the actual piercing, just breathe deeply and relax. The area will be cleaned and you’re done!

You may experience some light headedness from the rush of endorphins and adrenaline, sit or lie as long as you need to afterwards until you feel comfortable moving. If you brought a snack or drink, now is a good time to consume them to stabilize your blood sugar. Also you may take the Motrin if you brought some. Make sure to listen to the aftercare instructions from your piercer, and don’t be afraid to call them or stop in if you have any issues or questions.

Don’t forget to tip your piercer either!


Easter Euphoria

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I remember when I was in college, an English professor told our class that although Christmas was the more popular of the Christian holidays, Easter was actually the more important to the devout. Over the years, the commercialization of both holidays has meant big business to retailers. So if you’re lost in a haze of colorful hard boiled-eggs and chocolates too numerous to count, let’s break down Easter into its essential elements and explain, for starters, just why bunnies are connected to religion.

When did Easter first become an established holy celebration? Despite Easter being about the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, it wasn’t until 325 A.D. that the First Council of Nicaea determined that Easter would fall on first Sunday after the Paschal (a term which relates to both Easter and Passover) full moon, which is simply the full moon that occurs on or nearest to March 21st; western Christians find that Easter always falls on a Sunday between March 22nd and April 25th.  Speaking of Passover, Easter is linked to this Jewish celebration by much of its symbolism – not just by the two falling closely together on the calendar (this year, Passover runs from April 3rd to April 11th). Because Easter’s date changes every year, it’s called a “moveable feast.”

Why are there so many symbols – many of which seem to have nothing whatsoever connected to Christianity – that make people immediately think of Easter? While that fluffy stuffed/real bunny may not seem anything but just plain cute, there is (as is the case in many instances) an amalgamation of both religious and secular symbolism going on. The rabbit by itself has zero to do with the death and resurrection of Christ, but because polytheistic cultures (mostly in Germany) adopted them as fertility symbols long ago – and fertility means resurrection – it follows that German Christians eventually started associating rabbits with Easter, which made its way to the American colonies in the 1700s when Germans started filtering into Pennsylvania Dutch county.

For more fairly fascinating explanations into why we associate certain things with Easter, visit and quick and entertaining tutorial courtesy of the History Channel right here.

Even though it’s too late to get straight-up Easter swag for this year, there are plenty of spring flowers and the like that transcend all seasons (and who doesn’t love a cute bunny any time of year?). So start planting some post-Easter pretties all over, and Have a very Happy Easter!

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The semi-final round of the 2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament will take place on Saturday April 4. I will be watching the game with my sister Lisa, as I have done many times in years past.

This year is different for both of us because this year we are a house divided.

I attended Michigan State University from 2005-2012 for my doctorate. I am a proud Spartan who has lead the “Go GREEN, Go WHITE” chant many times. For some reason Lisa has been a life-long, die hard (and I mean HARD) fan of the Duke University Blue Devils. She is the only person I know who can pronounce “Coach Kryzyzewski” with more ease than a television commentator. At the end of the game on Saturday night one of us will be cheering with joy for the winner while the other will quietly congratulate her. I hope to be cheering. Lisa is hoping for the same thing.

The REAL excitement during this year’s tournament has been the undefeated University of Kentucky Wildcats making their way into the history books. Not since 1976 has a collegiate basketball team closed out an undefeated season and a tournament championship. I must admit, I have been caught up in the excitement of this. At the same time, I love the romance of an underdog story. According to many sports analysts the Badgers of the University of Wisconsin are the only team able to stop the Wildcats. The (seemingly) unstoppable offense of the Wildcats will come in contact with the precise and disciplined defense of the Badgers. No matter the outcome of this game, it is sure to be action packed and thrilling.

Get out your t-shirt, paint your face. Spread out the chips, dips and drinks and enjoy the end of the tournament.


It’s Just a [Moon] Phase

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At approximately 5am EST, on April 4, 2015, a total lunar eclipse will be visible in North America.

An eclipse happens when the earth blocks sunlight from reaching the moon’s surface. A total lunar eclipse can be seen once, about every two and half years, due to the patterns of orbit followed by the sun, the earth and the moon. It’s called a total eclipse because it only happens during a full moon, when the sun, earth and moon are in a straight line. Even though the earth is blocking the full spectrum of sunlight when this happens, the moon is still visible to the naked eye. (Note: This is a lunar eclipse, not a solar eclipse.) This is because the earth’s atmosphere is blocking all but the longest wavelengths, producing a red hue that is reflected onto the moon’s surface. You might also hear the total lunar eclipse referred to as a “Blood Moon,” for this reason. And the best part? It’s completely safe to watch!

But enough with the science lesson…

A total lunar eclipse is also  said to be a time of great emotional reaction. Feeling rather sensitive? A little too in-touch with your emotions? It is said that a full moon causes us to be more emotionally expressive. A total lunar eclipse emphasizes those emotions, but no need to freak out. This is a time to embrace change, explore your spirituality, discover your artistic creativity and just let yourself go. Pardon the ~*astrological*~ moment I’m about to have, but I’m ready! As an Aquarius rising in Scorpio, my plan is to let my curiosity and deep emotions guide my eccentricity into new experiences.

So for all of you who feel like you missed out on “new year, new me,” you’ve got another chance. \ (^‿^) / Total lunar eclipse, new me!