extreme body modifications

If you’re among the modified (or just have a Tumblr and Instagram habit), you’ve probably seen the phrase “heavy mod” in your travels.  So what exactly is it?  Well, the answer can vary from person to person, but in the most basic terms, heavy mods are those that involve the use of more than just a needle.

surgical and stretch mods

This includes surgical modifications like ear pointing and punching, implants of various types, tongue splitting, stretching, branding, etcetera.  Some may incorporate large scale microdermal skin designs, alternative types of scarification, and certain styles of tribal tattooing (including facial tattoos) as well.

dermals, scarification, and face tattoos

For many of these modifications, specialized equipment will be used such as cauterizing tools, dermal punches, scalpels, and tapers.  Those who have performed hook suspensions or received ocular tattoos will tend to also consider these procedures to be temporary heavy mods, as they are performed using large gauge hooks and syringes.

 suspensions and energy pulls

Many other modifications that are not surgical in nature but involve the use of devices to shape the body are sometimes categorized in this way too, such as tightlacing corsetry for waist augmentation, foot binding, and neck elongation via metal coils or rings.

 nonsurgical extreme body modifications

For more about heavy mods, stretching, and tattooing, visit our Body Art and Extreme Modification category, and tell us about your mods in the comments below.


Check out this awesome video of Stephanie getting her rook piercing done by James at American Skin Art in Buffalo, New York.  Look for the money shot (actual needle insertion) at about 17 seconds.

First the piercer cleans the ear thoroughly, and then proceeds to mark the area where the rook piercing will go.  Stephanie approves the placement, and the needle and receiving tube are carefully put into place.  Next, our piercer tells his client to take a deep breath, and expertly pushes the needle through her cartilage, corking the free end to avoid any mishaps.  A ball captive ring is then pushed into place and carefully secured through the use of some expert tools.  Just a quick final cleanup, and Stephanie is ready to enjoy her rockin’ new rook.

rook ear cartilage piercing

The rook is an ear cartilage piercing performed where the fossa (the flat upper plane) and crus, or inside edge of the helix, meet.  That visible outcropping of cartilage just between the inner and outer conch areas?  Yep.  Right there. Although it’s been around since the 90s, (first popularized by famous piercer Erik Dakota) the rook piercing is still fairly rare and provides a beautiful and unique look, whether alone, or paired with other piercings.

the ear anatomy in relation to rook piercings

For more fun piercing close-ups, don’t forget to subscribe to our awesome YouTube channel.


cool creepy body jewelry

All Hallow’s Eve is imminently upon us, but there’s no reason the rest of the year doesn’t deserve some creepy attention too, so with that in mind, get ready for some fantastic freaky staples that will take you through Halloween time, and into any time.

These creepy crawlies may look a tad menacing, but encased in clear resin they give stretched ears a very vintage taxidermy-like je ne sais quoi.  Stingless, biteless, but definitely not frightless.

creepy bug resin plugs

Performers get a dose of vintage style glam, with monochrome shades of sparkling glitter.  Afterall, the show (and the shimmer) must go on.

glamorous silver glitter jewelry

Show all of your admirers that when you play with fire, you might get burned.  Flames in stunning brilliant reds meet shining steel for a match made in Halloween-worthy heaven.

sweet flame body jewelry

Hoops are where it’s at for Mischief Night mayhem, but they’re just as good for when you feel like hanging around, and these high-shine little beauties will turn all eyes on you, just like a circus.

shining retro nose hoops

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Quick Take: Eyebrow Ring Styles

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different types of eyebrow rings

There are three basic styles of eyebrow piercing jewelry: circular barbells, straight barbells, and curved barbells, with the latter being the most commonly worn in most areas.

eyebrow jewelry styles

Those who do their initial healing with a barbell may find it difficult or impossible to switch to a circular down line, and vice versa, so it’s good to know what style you prefer right off the bat.  Once you know that, you’ll want to find out your exact size, and simply go from there.  Circulars will be measured with a gauge size (thickness) and a diameter, while barbells will have a gauge size and a length.

sizing eyebrow piercing jewelry

Quick Tip: For barbells that are curved, length is still measured as the distance straight across from the base of one ball to the other, and not loosely along the curve.

meauruing curved bars for length

Dangle eyebrow rings are also available, along with pieces featuring other subtle variations in style, such as spikes or dice instead of balls.  To ensure that these more complex items are worn well, be sure that you get a nice snug fit, and always know your materials to avoid skin issues.  Eyebrow rings will generally come in a variety of hypoallergenic options including 14kt gold, titanium, bioplast, and more.

hypoallergenic eyebrow ring jewelry

Getting ready for Halloween?  So are we, and we’ve got the body jewelry goods for all of your popular costume needs.  Check it out.

Whether you go as a full-out Catrina, or just adopt some Day of the Dead makeup secrets, a bevy of blood red roses is just the thing to add a touch of Latin flare.

red rose Catrina jewelry

For ghostly glamor with classic appeal, a pinch of pearl is where it’s at.  Luminous bone and cream solitaires add a splash of extra ephemeral glow to the countenance of any Halloween-time ghoul.

ghostly white pearl jewelry

A bit of blood is all well and good, but believable vampires can benefit from some romantic gothic touches.  Dark vintage baubles hint at immortal origins and give voluptuous vamps a spark of va-va-voom.

vampy Victorian gothic jewelry

Gold is a pretty pirate’s favorite accessory, but skulls and bones will be your new best friends once you feast your eyes on this creepy crossbone booty.

pirate skull and bones body jewelry

Lovely little sorceresses can work all kinds of magic, and no mortal is a match for these shiny bewitching moons.  Time to take flight across the night.  (Enchanted brooms not included.)

bewtiching moon body jewelry

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dealing with questions and comments about our mods

So if you have tattoos, piercings, dermal implants, stretched ears, brands, or any other equally awesome mods, you’ve probably been asked silly questions by a stranger at least once, especially if you live in an area where body modification is less than prevalent.  But how do you deal when people that you don’t even know start getting annoying or invading your space?  That’s the fifty million dollar question.

There’s basically two options here: get mad, or get awesome.  Getting mad won’t do anyone much good, and may even further the negative stereotypes that are often wrongfully associated with modified persons, so that really leaves just getting awesome.  There are three main things you can do to diffuse a potentially nasty or awkward situation.

 stretched ear questions

1. Kill Them with Kindness

If somebody goes out of their way to say something less than friendly to you about the way you look, you can squash their bad attitude with a friendly smile and a compliment.  Why be nice?  Because if they get rude with you and you get even ruder back, you’re playing right into their hand.  That person wants you to be mean or rude so that they can feel better about having a negative opinion about you based on something so superficial.  Show them that you’re a way better person, and they’ll have no choice but to reconsider.

 the beauty of modified skin

2. Handle it with Humor

When things get awkward, sometimes the best way to handle it is by showing off your funny bone.  Get everybody laughing together, and there’s an instant sense of warmth and calm; it’s even proven by behavioral science.  Sharing a joke is a great way to build a rapport with those who may seem very different on the surface.  So the next time somebody pulls out a gem like, “Did that hurt?,” get creative and say something like, “No, it felt like a Swedish massage.”  You might even make a new friend.

 ink awesome at any age

3. Push it When it’s Personal

We’ve all seen it happen, even if it wasn’t to us.  Somebody comes up to a younger, modified woman, and says something way too personal for a stranger to say.  Something like, “What does your mother think about that tongue piercing?,” or “How will you ever get a job looking like that?”  It’s rude, it’s hurtful, but sometimes the best way to handle it is to take them by surprise with a reply that’s equally personal. “What does your mother think about that tongue ring?”  “She loves the fact that I’m so fearless.”  “How will you ever get a job looking like that?”  “My boss says that my intelligence and talent are way more important than how I look.”  Show them that their misconceptions about how you look and how you live are all wrong by giving them the heartfelt, realistic, personal truth.

 modified love and friendship

Modified men and women are just as smart, thoughtful, and passionate as anyone else, and it’s our responsibility to make sure that everyone else knows it.  Lookin’ good, beautiful.

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beating the undead in style

In honor of the upcoming parades of undead, we’re busting out all the right stylish accessories to help make this Halloween the most fashionably fiendish yet.  First up on our list: zombie awareness.

fun zombie-centric jewelry

Show the brain-eating undead a little love by letting the world know that they’re misunderstood.  Become a zombie awareness advocate, and all your fellow party-goers will applaud your sense of style (and your sense of humor).  And don’t forget, now is the perfect time to beef up your survival kit with some on-the-go aftercare solutions.

piercing and tattoo aftercare solutions

Did You Know?

Leave it to the US government to turn pop culture into an education tool.  Since zombie-based entertainment hit the heights of popularity circa 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have released the ultimate modern public health masterpiece: a tongue in cheek PDF encouraging zombie pandemic preparedness.  Rife with metaphors (and arguably social commentary), the 40 page graphic work of zombification fiction follows an average Joe as he pulls together a proper disaster stash.  Aside from the old standbys like water and batteries, just a few of the CDC’s recommended emergency kit items include blankets, maps, first aid kits, cash, medicine, flashlights, and a manual can opener.

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dark and gothic Sweetest Day gifts

Sweetest Day is almost here, and that means it’s time to show your guy or gal that you care …with dark and twisted, October-worthy gifts.  Candies and stuffed animals are an outdated standby, so why not go for something that our alt, goth, and darkly glam better halves will really appreciate?  Something that says “I love you, with all my black little heart.”

black heart body jewelry

Let her know that she’s your dark queen with decadent black, antique-styled belly rings that shine and shimmer to regal perfection.

regal antique style belly jewelry

 Want to show your sweetheart that you’re in it for the long haul?  Nothing says “I’ll love you forever” like matching his and hers gifts.  Case in point: the skeleton cameo.  These cute skeleton lover’s plugs are sold individually for easy mix and match.  Just make men’s and ladies’ sets by pairing your favorites, and a season of lovers’ bliss is all but assured.

his and hers skeleton couples' plugs

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Follow along as pierced beauty Kalea gets a double belly piercing (look for the needle insertion at about 28 seconds).

After thoroughly cleaning the area, our piercer marks two tiny dots, reflecting where the piercing itself will be placed.  Kalea approves, and a pair of forceps are clamped over her lower navel rim, followed by the insertion of a hollow piercing needle.  Our piercing enthusiast takes it like a champ, and the needle is chased with a barbell belly ring.  A couple finishing touches, and she’s ready to rock her fun new look.

 belly piercings being performed

Although less common than standard top rim belly piercings, bottom navel mods are becoming a popular addition or alternative.  For many, piercings can be performed at numerous angles around the navel’s rim, and pairing an upper and lower piercing creates a cool and interesting aesthetic.  Belly piercings performed in any area will require proper aftercare, and should experience initial healing by around the twelve week mark.

double navel piercings
For more up close views of real piercings being performed, check out our awesome YouTube channel, and stayed tuned.

The Hamsa

The hamsa depicts the open right hand, a symbol of protection across many cultures.  A version of this emblem is present in nearly every major world religion, though sometimes operating under a different name.  Hamsa (or Khamsa) is an Arabic word that refers quite literally to the number five.  The most common use for an amulet or image of the hamsa is to guard against evil, particularly the evil eye.

 hamsa symbol body jewelry

The Pentacle

This simple star within a circle is connected to various types of Paganism and Earth-worshipping religions, and is most often associated with wholeness, unity, and light.  Some see the symbol as a representation of man’s harmony with nature, equating each of the four lower points to the elements (earth, air, fire, water) and the fifth upward point to divinity, or the sanctity of spirit.  Many call the pentacle a pentagram interchangeably, the main generally acknowledged difference being that pentagrams may point in any direction, whilst pentacles only point upward.

 pentacle/pentagram body jewelry

The Aum

The aum, ohm, om, or omkara, is a symbol primarily used in Hinduism and other Eastern religions as an aid to meditation.  The three syllables that come together to form the aum (A, U, and Ma) dictate the amount of time it takes to read the symbol aloud.  The various regions of the aum are representative of the states of human consciousness, and although the symbol is written many ways in many different languages, the widely recognized Sanskrit version has come to be associated with modern spiritualism and yoga as well.

 ohm, om, aum symbol body jewelry

The All-seeing Eye

This symbol has meant many things to different cultural groups, but most commonly observed are the eye’s Egyptian, Hebrew, and Masonic connotations.  The Egyptians associated the eye with the duality of nature, and presented it as the eye of Horus, an emblem of the path to enlightenment, composed of six parts.  The Hebrew, and later Christian version, is more equated with the watchful eye of god.  A great eye that never closes, and sees and knows all things.  The free masons and associated Illuminati sects have often been rumored to ascribe an ultimate, ancient knowledge to the symbol, placing the eye sometimes above a great pyramid, or within a crescent of light.

eye of providence body jewelry