Archive for Piercing and Aftercare Information
Anyone who’s modified can tell you that from time to time, certain piercings develop an unpleasant odor. This is a result of a build up of dead skin and other possible residues such as shampoo, make up, or food particles. Keeping your piercing clean is the first and foremost step in maintaining healthy body modifications. But sometimes that’s just not enough, that’s where Funk Off comes in.
What is Funk Off?
Funk Off is a piercing deodorant. It’s all natural and made from plant fats and botanical oils, so it’s vegan friendly! It’s long lasting and very effective in eliminating unwanted odors. Funk Off comes in super cute, pocket sized tins that are great for on the go piercing maintenance. The company who manufactures this product boasts 100% customer satisfaction, so give it a try!
How to Apply Funk Off
- Remove the jewelry
- Open the product
- Use your finger to massage the product, the heat from your body will melt it for easier application
- Massage the product into the desired skin
- Wipe off the jewelry and replace it into your piercing
Money Shot: 0:46
Where is a septum piercing located/ What is a septum piercing?
The septum is the anatomical name for the piece of flesh that divides the nasal cavities or nostrils. Made mostly of cartilage this section of flesh has what is called ‘the sweet spot’ within it. The sweet spot is a soft, membranous bit of tissue just below the cartilage and above the skin. It’s located up and towards the tip of the nose on most people. You can locate it if you reach up into both nostrils with your fingers and gently press them together, you should be able to find a section of skin that feels thinner. This is actually some of the thinnest skin that is pierced on the human body. As everyone’s anatomy is different, each person’s sweet spot may be larger or smaller in diameter, and higher or lower in placement.
Many people find that they cannot openly wear a piece of jewelry on their face due to work, school, or other circumstances. For this reason it is very common for the initial jewelry to be a retainer. A retainer is a “u” shaped piece of metal. The open end allows the jewelry to be flipped upwards into the nasal cavity for easy concealment. If you are lucky enough to be able to sport a septum piercing openly, a curved barbell (horseshoe) or captive ring (bcr) is a good first choice. This piercing is usually done at a 14 or 12 gauge, but can be done minimally at 16 gauge and conversely at a 10 gauge maximum on larger anatomy.
The diameter for septum jewelry ranges like so: 1/4″, 5/16″, 3/8″, 7/16″, and 1/2″ from smallest to largest. The diameter you choose to wear is all up to your taste in aesthetics and what your body will allow. 1/2″ diameter is a reasonable maximum for most people so as to not interfere with eating and minimize the risk of the jewelry swinging about and hitting your lips or teeth which could cause some damage if done so with enough force i.e. jumping or running.
Once your piercing is healed a popular jewelry option is a septum clicker. Many people find these are easier to put in than a bcr and they come in a massive variety of materials, colors, and designs.
Typically the piercer will clean and mark the area with a line going across the underside of the tip of the nose to ensure a straight piercing. Then clamps with open loop ends will be applied inside the nasal cavity to hold the area steady and improve the accuracy of the needle as it passes through the clamps and septum. After the needles is passed through the piercer will follow the needle out with the desired piece of jewelry and then clean the area again. It’s a very quick piercing which most people find is not terribly unpleasant. The feeling is similar to a pinching sensation which will commonly cause tearing or watering of the eyes. The feeling passes very quickly though.
This piercing takes about 4 to 8 weeks to heal. Soreness is very common during healing and as it heals you may find your new piercing has a particular smell to it. Don’t worry, this is very normal and will go away as you heal. Regular cleaning will help speed the healing process and minimize smell. Don’t worry, only you can smell it!
Nick gets his nose pierced by James of American Skin Art in Buffalo, NY.
Money Shot: 0:26
The area is cleaned and sterilized then marked for correct placement. Nick checks it out to make sure it’s in the spot he wants and gives the go-ahead. James uses a hollow metal recieving tube on the inside of the nostril so when the needle is pushed through it does not accidentally injure the nose cavity by travelling farther than intended. The needle is pushed through the nostril and then followed through with the jewelry piece behind it. In this case, it’s a nose stud. Other jewelry options include a ring and nose screw, this piercing is typically done at a 20 gauge and higher up to 12. The fresh piercing is cleaned of any excess bleeding and Nick gets to go check out his new piercing!
This piercing takes about 3 to 4 months to heal. Do not rotate the jewelry as this will cause more damage to the surrounding tissue that’s healing.
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
Come see Jenny get her Industrial piercing by James of American Skin Art in Buffalo, NY.
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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.
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. An industrial piercing typically takes 3 to 9 months or longer to heal.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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!
Watch as our friend Natori gets her double forward helix project by piercer James of American Skin Art in Buffalo, NY!
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What is a Helix?
The helix is the curled outer rim of the ear, and can be pierced and most any point. Forward helix means that it is the area further most towards the front of the ear.
Come see Maggie get her lower back dermals done!
What is a Dermal?
A dermal is a piece of jewelry that sits beneath the skin and has a decorative top that sits on the surface. Also knows under the term surface piercing, dermals are done using a dermal punch. The dermal punch is a hollow needle with an angled end that is used to remove a section of the skin to make way for the dermal anchor. The dermal anchor itself has flat base or ‘foot’ with holes in it which allow the flesh to grow through as it heals. This helps keep the jewelry in place and prevents it easily being ripped out. The exposed end has threading and the tops can be interchanged.