Archive for Piercing and Aftercare Information

body mod holiday gift tips

The holiday season is in full swing, and you might be thinking about getting jewelry for the pierced people in your life.  But how do you know what to get?  Well there’s a few basics that will definitely help to start, like knowing what people wear where.  Here we go:

Nose Piercings

There are actually a few different types of common nose jewelry, but the two most long-lived, classic styles are the nose screw, and the nose hoop.  If you see your pierced giftee wearing hoops a lot the decision is obvious, but if it’s usually a small stud, a screw would be the way to go.  (Other nose jewelry styles include the L-shaped, and the nose bone.)

 jewelry for nose piercings

Belly Piercings

If you’re overwhelmed with all of the options here, it’s helpful to remember just a few belly basics.  1) Although BCR (hoop/ring) style belly jewelry is cute, many persons who were pierced with a standard curved barbell can find it uncomfortable, so it’s best to stick with the curved or “banana bell” style.  2) Ornate or chandelier style dangles may look beautiful, but they’re definitely not practical for everyday wear.  Sticking with a small simple charm or a fixed decoration will ensure that your recipient gets more wear out of their piece.  3) For those who have the bottom rim of their belly button pierced, you’ll want to get what’s called a “top dangle” or “top mount” item.  Most standard upper rim jewelry won’t work very well here.

 jewelry for belly button piercings

Tongue Piercings

For piercings of the tongue, you’ll want to get a straight barbell, but what style you choose is entirely a matter of taste.  If your subject most often wears unembellished steel items, you’ll definitely want to keep it simple, and switching to a biocompatible non-metallic material like bioplast is a great option too, especially for persons who have complained of tooth or gum issues.

 jewelry for tongue piercings

Ear Cartilage Piercings

Piercings of the ear’s outer rim or “helix” are incredibly fun to buy for because there’s a range of options here that are universally well worn.  Standard studs are lovely if you’re keeping it simple, but dangle items and specifically helix earrings are definitely great if you’re looking for more personality.

 jewelry for ear cartilage piercings

For tragus piercings, just look for studs or small diameter circulars that are specifically labeled as tragus pieces.

 jewelry for tragus ear piercings

So now that we’ve had a successful huddle, we’re primed and ready for the final holiday shopping rush.  Break!

winter modification aftercare

As anyone who’s modified knows, the change in seasons can mean a difficult period of biological adjustment, particularly for those of us with sensitive skin that’s been pierced or tattooed.  But there are a few things you can do during the cold months to combat the winter skin blues.

First, continuing with your aftercare regimen is important.  Just ask your piercer if the frequency of cleanses or soaks should change as the cold weather rolls in.  They’ll be able to give you expert tips on timing, water temperature, mixing ratios, and more.

 asking your piercer for winter aftercare info

After that’s sorted out, you’ll want to be sure that you have a moisturizing routine in place as well.  Winter is a drying season, even in many warmer climates, so keeping skin hydrated is definitely important.  Drinking the right amount of water can help, but organic oils and lotions are a good add-in too, as are premixed aftercare creams and pH balanced sprays.

 easy premixed sprays and creams

Then your next order of business is to prevent skin irritation before it starts. Some good things to keep in mind include watching your clothing and bedding materials, re-examining your detergent choices, and avoiding very hot winter showers.  Switching to fragrance and chemical free laundry products and turning down the tub temp are easy, but fashion choices can be a little more challenging.  A good rule of thumb is to steer clear of potential allergens like wool, goose down, and layered synthetics.  Natural materials like cotton and hemp will generally help to prevent chafing or itching.

And finally, remember your ABCs: alcohol, bad fats, and caffeine.  It can be tempting to overindulge in all three, especially during the holiday season, but keeping everything in moderation will be good for your insides and your outsides.

 saving your skin from holiday pitfalls

For more about modifications and aftercare year round, check out the rest of our Piercings and Aftercare category, and stay tuned.

Grab a front row seat as the lovely AJ gets two dermal clavicle piercings. Watch for the needle insertions at about 0:19 and 0:39.

First the entire area is cleaned, and then a detailed set of markings is laid out to ensure that the two dermals will be well positioned in relation to both the tattoos, and eachother. After the locations have been viewed and agreed upon, a hollow piercing needle in lined up just right. The needle goes in at an angle, creating a pocket-like puncture in the skin, and a microdermal anchor is then inserted and moved into place. A simple gem is all that remains at the surface, perfectly framing Aj’s bone structure, and her ink. The same steps are repeated on the opposite side, and after a quick final touchup her clavicle dermals are ready to rock.

microdermal clavicle piercings being done
Clavicle piercings are definitely a modern development, but have grown widely in popularity in recent years thanks to their fun and interesting look.  They’re a unisex piercing, and merge seamlessly with both masculine and feminine aesthetics, making them a beautiful addition to both healed ink and untouched skin.  Since dermals can be placed in almost any location on the skin, a variety of jewelry options is readily available, from simple gem solitaires, to colorful complex shapes, and everything in between.

 clavicle microdermal project

To see more real dermals and body piercings being performed up close and personal, check us out on YouTube, and join the conversation.


The Low Down on Dermals

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all about dermal piercings

So, like a lot of us, you may have been thinking recently about getting a dermal.  With all that internet info out there though, things can get a little confusing when you’re doing research.  To  remedy the issue, we’re going to break it down into just the basics, to turn that “uh, huh?” feeling into an “ah-hah!” feeling.  Here we go:

The Look

Dermals have an amazing and unique look that fits into a variety of aesthetic niches.  As single point piercings, they can be as simple as a solitary gem resting on the cheek, or as extravagant as a large-scale, multi-element design, and everything in between.  Some common locations for microdermals include the cheek/eye area, the wrists, the chest/clavicle, the hips, and the nape of the neck.

 microdermal versatility

The Jewelry

There are two main types of dermal jewelry: single piece items, and two piece items.  Single piece choices are called “skin divers,” and are most often simple items in a barbell-like shape.  The side that’s designed to rest above the skin will sometimes contain a metal shape or colored gem, while the opposite unembellished side sits below.

 single piece dermal jewelry

More common two piece dermal jewelry will be composed of a separate top and a foot-shaped base, which may contain one or more small holes.  Over time, the tissue will grow through these holes, anchoring the dermal pretty strongly into place.  This type of dermal anchor set-up will often require surgical excision if removal is desired.

 dermal anchors and tops

The Process

Dermal piercings can be created in a variety of ways, but the two most common methods you’ll run into are needle piercing, and dermal punching.

Needle pierced dermals are similar in process to a standard piercing, but instead of passing through a portion of the skin and out the other side, a hollow piercing needle is pushed into the skin at an angle, creating a single pocket-like point of entry.  The dermal base is then inserted and usually twisted into place underneath the skin to secure it.

 dermal needle piercings being performed

Punched dermals utilize a small device called a dermal punch that looks like a glorified pen, but really holds an extremely sharp cylindrical razor that actually “punches” out a whole in the skin.  This leaves a nice, clean, circular opening for the dermal base to be inserted through.  Some artists prefer this method, because it ensures that the hole penetrates deep enough to lessen the risk of migration or rejection, but the use of surgical instruments isn’t an option in a lot of locations.

In the United States a person must be 18 years of age or older to receive a dermal piercing, and both modification artists and clients should exercise care where dermals are concerned, as they are considered in some areas to be a surgical modification, and fall under a stricter set of laws than standard piercings.  As always, your friendly neighborhood piercer is the best resource for microdermal piercing information.


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.



Video: Kalea’s Double Belly Piercing

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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.


Video: Micky’s Madison Chest Dermal

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Follow along as the lovely Micky gets a Madison dermal piercing.  Look for the money shot at around 47 seconds.

Before doing the piercing, Micky’s neck and upper chest are thoroughly cleansed. Then a small mark is made as a guideline for placement, and a hollow piercing needle is poked through at an angle, creating a pocket-like puncture in the skin.  Next, a microdermal anchor is inserted and twisted into place.  After a little final cleanup, Micky and her new Madison piercing are ready to shine.

dermal neck piercing being performed

Piercings that fall at the front of the neck near the center of the clavicles were first popularized in the early 90s by former adult star turned tattooist, Madison Stone.  This of course, is how they got the name “Madison.”  Originally these were performed using small curved barbells or circular jewelry like horseshoes, which made for some difficulty keeping them healthy in this high-traffic area.  Since that time though, piercings of the neck, clavicle, and chest have evolved into primarily microdermals and surface piercings, vastly extending their wearability and shelf life.

 permanent dermal neck piercings

In general, dermal piercings heal well with proper aftercare, which often includes gentle cleansings and sea salt soaks, much like standard piercings.  They can be performed in almost any location on the body, opening a massive array of piercing possibilities up to modification artists and enthusiasts.

Want more modification videos?  Then check us out on YouTube for up close shots of body piercings being performed by a professional.  ‘Til the next!

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Back to School: Modification Preparedness

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modification preparedness

The new school year is already here, and as things begin to get hectic this Fall, it’s more important than ever to make sure that modified skin is healthy.  So here’s a few quick tips to help you be ready and set for smooth sailing during the entire year.

1. The temperature and humidity regulation inside large buildings like schools isn’t exactly ideal, and a full week in those conditions can cause dry skin and irritation, especially for those who are sensitive.  On the go aftercare products like moisturizing cream for tattooed skin are great to have on hand for exactly this reason.  Also, if piercings are less than six months old, a sea salt aftercare spray or pre-filled medicated swab are lifesavers for quick cleanings, particularly since they let you avoid having to touch anything in germ-filled public restrooms.

 caring for modified skin on the go

2. The other big worry for those who are pierced is the loss of vital body jewelry parts.  Accidentally dropping a ball is incredibly inconvenient in situations where it just isn’t possible to leave your classes and buy a replacement, so another good tool to have in your arsenal is a bonus pack.  This is a pack that includes one or two barbells and multiple interchangeable balls, so you’ll never have to stress about lost parts during the school day.  There are also multi-packs of single piece jewelry like nose rings and standard earrings, just in case you experience a mishap.

 body jewelry bonus packs

3. And finally, for those moments when you really want to hide your piercings, there are clear retainers.  These are usually made out of a flexible, biocompatible material called bioplast that’s hypoallergenic, and approved for extended wear.

Also, for those who want to stretch their lobes but are short on time and resources, be sure to check out stretching kits; convenient nine piece kits that allow you to stretch your lobes from home on your own (probably hectic) schedule.

 nine piece ear stretching kits

School preparedness?  In the bag.

Check out this fun short video of Jalesa getting her industrial pierced by James from American Skin Art. And keep your eyes peeled for the needle insertions at around the 15 and 25 second marks.

industrial ear piercings being performed

As with all professional piercings, the area around the piercing site is first thoroughly cleaned.  Then a set of guidelines are marked where both piercings will be, including a connecting line to assist with the needle’s angle. Next, a pair of forceps are clamped into place, and the outer portion of the ear is swiftly punctured. Our piercee is instructed to take one more deep breath, and the needle is pushed through for the second and final time. Finally, the needle is chased with an extra long industrial barbell, and Jalesa is ready to show the world her new piercing.

Jalesa enjoys her new industrial ear piercing

Though often referred to as an “industrial piercing,” this type of modification is actually a set of two piercings, interconnected across the ear with a single piece of body jewelry.  For this reason the industrial may take longer to heal completely than an average helix piercing, but it’s definitely well worth the wait.  With proper attention and aftercare, healing will be straightforward, and you’ll be left with a versatile and interesting new mod.

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

clear retainers for dimishing piercings

We’ve all been in a situation where we’ve wished we could hide our piercings.  Whether it’s to avoid family scrutiny, comply with an employment or educational institution, or even a simple aesthetic reason, having the option of making our piercings “disappear” sure would be handy.  While we can’t help you magically close and reopen your body piercings, there is a good way to make them a lot less noticeable: with retainers.

A retainer is basically a body jewelry item that keeps a piercing open while minimizing its appearance. There are several different styles of piercing retainers, employing a variety of materials and shapes, but some of the best for truly hiding a mod are completely clear.

 body piercing retainer jewelry

These are most often made of clear acrylic, bioplast (a flexible material), borosilicate glass, or PTFE, and are usually designed to sit as flush to the skin’s surface as possible.  For many items, this is accomplished with a thin clear disc, especially in pieces designed for high profile piercings like those of the nose and lips.  For other piercings, simply the shape can work wonders, like with modifications of the nasal septum.  Here a staple or crescent shaped pieced can have its ends turned up to sit inside the nostrils, effectively making it look the septum isn’t pierced at all.

 hiding a septum piercing

No matter what the reason for hiding your piercings, keep in mind that retainers are only a temporary solution, but when used to the full extent of their ability, they’re a tool that every modification enthusiast should keep within their arsenal.  You know, (wink, nudge) just in case.