He Said, She Said: Myths and Truths About Piercing and Aftercare


We’ve all heard plenty of scary or downright hilarious urban legends about body modification, so it’s not surprising for even the most educated piercing aficionado to sometimes have a problem distinguishing funky fiction from serious fact.  Just take a good hard look at these piercing truths and body mod tall tales.

1. If they pierce your tongue wrong, you could die!

We all know the story of someone from near our neighborhood who died after having a vein nicked during a routine tongue piercing, but sorry to say, it’s just a story.  Completely false.  The only confirmed record of death resulting from tongue piercing is that of Amanda Taylor of the UK, and unfortunately for Amanda, her death was actually caused by her own choice to get pierced during a bout of tonsillitis.  The bacteria from her throat infection was the real culprit, entering her bloodstream through the new piercing.  As for the rest of us though, even piercings done incorrectly are extremely unlikely to cause anything more than a scar.

man getting a tongue piercing

2. You need to twist your jewelry or the piercing won’t heal right…

This one is actually false as well.  Especially for piercings of the navel and lip, but also many others, most piercers now recommend leaving it alone.  The new school of thought on this issue is that the jostling that occurs during cleansing is more than enough to ensure skin doesn’t attach to the jewelry.  And less touching of the piercing jewelry means a lower risk of infection.

3. Belly piercing can cause stomach problems.

Again, entirely false.  Not only is the actual stomach nowhere near the belly button, but underneath all the layers of skin that are being pierced are two layers of muscular tissue, and even for the thinnest of us, a little bit of fat.  Unless the needle is at least eight inches long, there’s no way it’s getting through.

woman with navel piercing

4. Corset piercings can be healed.

This is true!  Once thought of solely as a temporary or “play” category piercing, when properly performed and cared for, it’s entirely possible to heal a corset piercing.  Most well versed piercers recommend the use of surface bars during the healing itself, and say that while rejection is a concern, it’s definitely not an inevitability.

woman with laced back corsetry

5. If you pierce an eyebrow wrong, it can cause half of your face to be paralyzed!

False!  Although the nerve that controls facial expression has a single branch that runs close to the eyebrow area on either side of the face, it would be extremely hard to pierce it.  Not to mention, the thing being pierced is the skin, and not the underlying layers of tissue.  Paralysis of the facial nerve is generally caused by far more traumatic events like skull fracture, or stroke.

6. It’s possible to pierce the human uvula.

True.  The uvula itself doesn’t even effect the gag reflex; the surrounding tissue including the tonsils does.  Although there’s a slight danger of gagging due to the clamps used to pierce it touching other parts of the throat, it’s entirely possible to successfully pierce the uvula, and dry runs (mock-ups without a needle) are usually used to lessen risk.

woman with pierced uvula

7. It’s okay to get your nose piercing done with a gun…

This might sound like it goes without saying, but this is super false.  Piercing guns use blunt force to push a stud through the cartilage, and for any part of the body other than the ear lobe, this spells trouble.  Not only are bruising, scarring, and tearing a real possibility, but without removing the tissue, infection or improper healing are almost a certainty.  A sterile, hollow needle is the only way to properly pierce the human nose, so even if it looks tempting, just say no.


  1. Chris says:

    once pierced, can a nipple heal itself if the ring is left out long enough?

    • Lorna says:

      Many piercers will tell you that once the jewelry is taken out, certain piercings will normally “close up,” but that process is different for everybody. It depends how long you’ve had the piercing and how well it healed. If you’re thinking about a specific piercing or about taking your jewelry out, your neighborhood piercer is the best resource for advice on achieving a specific result. Thank you for the comment.

  2. Rury stalowe says:

    Nice post, really.

  3. Kelly says:

    If You Damaged A Nerve In Your Nose With A Piercing About How Long Will It take To Heal If Ever?

  4. Ashton says:

    I have heard more than once that you could possibly paralyze half of your face from piercing your lip wrong??

    • Jodie says:

      Piercing your lip by yourself puts you at risk for a number of infections. It’s important to have piercings done by a professional because they’re trained to know what locations on the body are safe to pierce, and how to avoid any nerve damage, etc. As long as you have it done by a professional piercer, you can be 100% certain the procedure will be done properly and they will instruct you on how to care for your new piercing to ensure there’s no risk of complications.

Leave a Reply