the benefits of blueberry

Did you know that the month of July is National Blueberry Month?  It’s easy to see why these sweet little berries deserve a whole month to celebrate their awesomeness.  They’re good for eating, juicing, dying, homespun beauty regimens, and more.

Blueberries have historically been used in teas, compresses, and other homeopathic remedies for centuries.  They’re low in fat, sodium, and calories, but pack a powerful antioxidant punch, making them an awesome food choice when your body is healing from a new tattoo or piercing mod.  Plus, they also appear in many blue colored vegan hair dyes, thanks to their powerful pigment anthocyanin.

 blueberry pigments

But blueberry coloring is good for more than just your tresses; deep blues are making waves in fashion this year too.  From cobalt, to sapphire, to indigo, rich blue hues are a great of the moment accessory.  For extra oomph, try a few coordinated pops of shining titanium.  And remember, the fun doesn’t have to stop when the month ends; being blue (in the good way) is always in style.

Categories : Jewelry Fashion
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needles instead of guns for piercing

In honor of Thread the Needle Day (which occurs tomorrow on the 25th), we figure it’s time to have a little talk.  Specifically, we just want to let everyone know why professional piercers are so important, because there’s definitely more to piercings than just a needle.

 piercers and hollow needle know-how

So why is a hollow piercing needle the very best way to create beautiful body piercing art?  There’s actually a few reasons, but perhaps the most obvious and simple one is this: by removing the tissue that the needle pierces through, we’re essentially adhering to the laws of physics.  Removing mass with the needle, and then replacing mass with the jewelry.  When you poke a hole in something without removing any mass, the area around the hole you’ve made is damaged or distressed. Just think about poking a pen through a sheet of paper.  The edges around the pen hole look pretty rough, right?  That’s actually a pretty good comparison of what happens to the skin when a piercing gun is used to pierce cartilaginous tissue.  It doesn’t look terrible or tear anything apart, but on a cellular level, there’s definitely inflammation and fettered tissue.

 why guns aren't good

It’s actually a minor form of what we would consider blunt trauma, and since parts of the piercing gun are unable to be properly disinfected, it quickly turns into a recipe for disaster.  Piercings performed with a gun have a higher risk of infection, migration, or rejection, all of which can be dramatically lessened with a piercing needle.  This is part of the reason that the APP (Association of Professional Piercers), has been working for almost twenty years to educate both piercers and their clients about safe piercing and aftercare practices.

 body piercing education and the APP

So on this Thread the Needle Day, be sure to take a moment to appreciate both your piercing professional, and their stock of sterile hollow piercing needles.  Because the two of them together make your body mod dreams come true.

fun with creamy color

Today is Vanilla Ice Cream Day (and you know how much we all scream for ice cream), but if you’re looking for other ways to celebrate that are a little less messy, cool vanilla color is an awesome substitute.

Standard white is a little bit boring for the senses, but creamy vanilla whites are a cut above, especially when it comes to body jewelry.  Just think of it as dessert for your wardrobe; that fun little extra touch that makes a style stand out.

 shades of vanilla pastel

Our favorite way to wear it in Summer?  Faux pearl belly rings and a lacey crop tee.  Just check out all of these warm pearly pieces that transition seamlessly from day at the beach, to night at the party.  And no matter how you wear it, never forget, vanilla may look boring on the surface, but underneath that golden pale is a whole lot of vivacious flavor.  Kind of reminds you of someone you know, right?

sweet creamy colored faux pearl belly rings

Categories : Jewelry Fashion
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star symbolism in body art

The star has been a powerful and mystical symbol since time immemorial, with a slew of associations both dark and divine.  So it should come as no surprise then to a modified generation that it pops up in body art left and right.  But what does the star mean to those who wear it?  And why is it one of the most popular motifs worldwide for youth skin art?

 star tattoos and piecings

A return to our ancestral roots may be partially responsible, as many ancient civilizations revered the symbol.  The Rub el Hizb, an eight pointed star created by overlaying two squares, is a Muslim symbol that has been used for hundreds of years and appears in the flags or coat of arms of many countries including Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan.  The “morning star,” (a representation of Venus) which is a four pointed star, has been a symbol for strength of spirit and the watchful eye of the ancestors for many Native American tribes over the centuries as well.  And other four, five, and six pointed stars have been tied to the Sumerian, Greek, and ancient Shinto peoples as early as several hundred years BCE.

In modern times, the star has far simpler associations, such as legal ties (via the sheriff’s badge), religious connotations (think Star of David and Wiccan pentacle), and maritime leanings through the nautical star and eight-point compass rose.  It also appears as a symbol of rank or pride in almost every nation in the world’s military uniforms or insignia.  For those who are tattooed, the nautical association is generally the most relevant, as imagery of the north star has been inked superstitiously onto many a sailor since the 1800s.

 stars in nautical tattoo art

Some fun contemporary star idioms: catch a falling star, reach for the stars, Per Aspera Ad Astra (by rough ways to the stars), like a shooting star, until the stars collide, and you stole my star.

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17

Photo File: Rare Piercings Peek

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Rare piercings are a sight to behold, and if you’re as obsessed with body art as we are, they might just give you some ideas of your own.  Check out these beauties:

Triple Tongue Piercing

Three piercings of the tongue, whether next to eachother, in a vertical line (a-la- Elayne Angel), or arranged in a pattern.

multiple piercings of the tongue

Nose Bridge Piercings

Piercings of the skin over the nose’s bridge (also called an Erl piercing), generally the most fleshy portion between the eyelids or eyebrows.

piercings of the nose bridge

Vertical Labrets

A vertical piercing of the lower lip, usually worn with a curved barbell or flexible bioplast bar.

vertical piercings of the lower lip

Madison Piercings

Piercings at the front of the throat that can be worn with a curved barbell, BCR, surface bar, or as a dermal piercing.

madison neck piercings

Clavicle Piercings

Piercings directly over or at the top crest of the clavicle.  These are most often performed in pairs (one on each side), and are best performed as surface piercings and worn with surface bars.

clavicle chest bone piercings

Double Septum Piercings

Two piercings of the nasal septum or “sweet spot” flesh, normally worn with circular barbells.

multiple piercings of the nasal septum

Horizontal Eyebrow Piercings

Horizontally placed piercings (usually surface piercings) above or directly over the brow.

horizontal brow piercings

Third Eye Piercing

A piercing in the third eye chakra area between the eyebrows.  These are popular as dermal piercings, but can also be seen in surface piercing style.

third eye forehead piercings

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Cow Appreciation Day

Unless you happen to be a dairy farmer, today marks a holiday that you’re probably not too familiar with.  It’s Cow Appreciation Day.  Now, for those of you who are thinking, “wait, is that a real thing?,” I can assure you that it absolutely is.  This holiday started in 1995, and was originally advertised by southern restaurant chain Chick-fil-A with the slogan “Eat More Chicken.”  Over the years, the so-called “Cow Campaign” has continued to grow, evolving from an advertising ploy into a grassroots movement to educate communities about the mistreatment of industrially farmed cows and encourage vegetarian eating choices.  As of 2011, the Chick-fil-A cows had amassed over a half million fans on Facebook alone.

 the spread of cow farming awareness

So what’s exactly so special about cows?  Well there’s definitely a few things that are pretty neat and interesting.  First off, cows are a lot smarter than most people think.  They’re even capable of storing long-term spatial memory, so they know how to return to their favorite streams or grazing patches and can always locate their offspring.  Second, cow’s actually make friends similar to the way that humans do.  They pick their associates judiciously and will graze with, play with, mate with, and even groom their closest chosen companions.  And lastly, they have body art!  That’s right, cows can have septum rings.  In fact, in the earlier days of contemporary septum piercings when primarily young men had this type of piercing, it was even nicknamed a “bull ring.”

 Bull Ring Septum Piercings

So maybe we aren’t so different after all.  So whether you eat cow, wear cow, or even hug cow, today is the best time to appreciate cow.  (And also a great time to stock up on septum jewelry.  Just sayin!)

cool septum jewelry

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Americans with body piercings

In the late 1970s when America’s first body piercing studio opened its doors, less than one percent of the population had piercings in places other than their earlobes, and the percentage of tattooed persons was equally miniscule.  Many things have changed in the United States over the decades, and the popularity of body art is certainly no exception.  Just check out this info about the 2010s:

Several studies have ball-parked the percentage of Americans who have their earlobes pierced today at around 83%, but more interestingly persons who have piercings in locations other than their lobes have risen to between 14 and 16 percent.  Of those who fall into that grouping, approximately three quarters are female, with women ages 16 to 24 comprising the largest percentage of that segment.  As far as the prevalence of specific piercings go (ear lobes being of course the highest), piercings of the navel, nose, ear cartilage, and tongue narrowly round out the top five for women, while piercings of the nipples, eyebrow, and ear cartilage steal the top spots for modified gentlemen.

 Top Piercing Sites for Men and Women

Concerning tattooing, the numbers are considerably more well-matched across gender, with men very slightly more likely to have ink.  Age however continues to be a deciding factor, with up to a third of those under the age of 29 claiming at least a single tattoo.  Of those who have been tattooed whilst amongst these younger age groups, approximately 17% would consider getting their ink covered up or removed.

Some other interesting body mod statistics:

In studies conducted at University of Illinois, it was found that persons who claimed the lowest household income were the most likely (by approximately 30%) to be pierced, tattooed or otherwise modified.  Also of interest within the same study, those who are common-lawed, divorced, or widowed hold a higher percentage of both ink and piercings than persons who were never married.

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celebrating summer with Teddy Bear Picnic Day

Today is Teddy Bear Picnic Day!  That means it’s time to let your inner child out to breathe.  Plan a picnic, have a tea party, adopt a new teddy bear from your neighborhood second-hand store, or just unwind with some teddy-worthy accessories and sweets.

 teddy-worthy summer sweets

It’s said that the teddy bear itself was designed in the first years of the 1900s, after a story about US president Theodore Roosevelt not shooting a bear while hunting was sensationalized by the media of the day.  Some toy makers then began producing stuffed bears, naming them “Teddy” after the commander in chief.  The apparent geniuses behind our fluffy friends?  The Michtum family, whose then small toy shop eventually grew into the renowned Ideal Toy Company.

 cute teddy bear body jewelry

If you’re planning a teddy garden party for kids (or for your friends), teddy bear coloring sheets and bear hugging photo ops are great ideas.  Or you could hand out party favors with teddy bear jewelry and gummy bears. Just be sure to put out some berries and honey on your sweet tray, two of the bear’s favorite guilty pleasures.

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upper lip philtrum piercing

Location: The Medusa is located just above the center of the upper lip, under the tip of the nose/septum, in the cleft of the cupid’s bow, which is anatomically know as the philtrum.

Alternate Names: Upper lip piercing, medusa lip piercing, cupid’s bow piercing, philtrum piercing.

Piercing: Like other lip piercings, the medusa is performed with a hollow piercing needle and a pair of pennington forceps.  Common sizes are a 14 or 16 gauge, but more rarely a single size larger or smaller can be seen.  Since piercings of the philtrum have begun to come into the mainstream, variations including stretches and doubles have also sprung up.

 types of medusa piercing

Aftercare: Most piercers will recommend seas salt soaks or rinses, along with the avoidance of acidic foods, smoking, makeup use, and alcohol.  The lip will swell during the initial healing phase, so rinsing multiple times per day after eating is essential to the prevention of irritation and infection.  With proper care primary healing should occur around the 12 week mark.

Jewelry: Most medusa piercings will be worn with stud style jewelry, like that used in lower lip piercings and monroes.  For those who have a set of two piercings in the philtrum, a common practice is choosing a larger stone or design closer to the lip, with a smaller or simpler item above.

Popularity: Though far less prevalent than standard labrets or monroes, the medusa and it’s vertical cousin the jestrum are growing in popularity amongst the punk and alternative subcultures.  It is estimated that lip piercings in general account for at least ten percent of overall piercings in the United States.

Follow along as Holly gets a three part piercing on her outer ear cartilage. (Watch for the needle insertions at about 0:30, 0:55, and 1:13).

Our piercing professional, James from American Skin Art, first cleans the ear and marks three small dots where the piercings will go.  He then has our piercing enthusiast double check in the mirror that the markings are aligned how and where she would like.  He instructs her to take a deep breath, and pushes the hollow piercing needle through, corking the free end.  Next, the jewelry is slid into place and secured, and the other two piercings are performed in the same fashion.  Once all three are finished, there’s a final cleanup, and our newly modified friend is ready to go.

 triple outer cartilage piercing

There are a variety of perforations that can be made in the cartilage of the human ear, and not all of them have a specific or distinct name.  This type of triple piercing is often referred to as an “ear flat piercing,” “triple scapha piercing,” or “fossa piercing,” and can be performed in a variety of orientations.  Multiple piercings of the ear cartilage in general are becoming more common amongst the modified generations.

 Holly's Triple Cartilage Piercing

For some, the ear’s features won’t allow for certain piercings, and that’s where your piercing professional comes into play.  With a thorough knowledge of the ear’s anatomy, they can often recommend alternate placements or styles, and angle such piercings correctly to allow for optimal healing.

For more up close videos of real piercings being performed, don’t forget to follow us on YouTube.