Piercing Questions

Follow-up on the Previous Post

Liz wrote back with some additional questions:
Elayne - Thanks so much for responding so quickly!  I have your book on pre-order with Amazon, and look forward to devouring it! I really hesitate to try any kind of steel - I have had my ears pierced since I was 8, and to this day can't get near anything less than 14k (other than sterling) in my ears without major irritation and discharge, even bleeding.  My wedding ring is white gold, and even after wearing it for 14 years, I still sometimes get a rashy irritation under the band from the nickel in the alloy.  Can you tell me any more about the alloy used in 14k that makes it piercing compatible?  Even the gold earrings I wear turn red over time where they contact my skin - presumably from my body oxidizing the trace copper in the yellow gold alloy.  Who knows.  Obviously something I need to do more research on - I had no gold would pose its own complications. I hope the attached pics are ok - the q-tip was a bit tricky, and as it is a self-portrait, kind of blurry.  It's a standard generic q-tip.  If you need better detail or a different angle or something, I can try to re-do the photos later this weekend (if I can get my toddler to nap). Thanks again - Liz
Liz, I know my book will provide you with a great deal of information that will prove most helpful to you. There is a big chapter on jewelry and you will learn all about the different materials. For healing, you may decide to go with titanium or even bioplast or PTFE (inert plastics). Implant grade steel and titanium have alloys that meet certain standards, but gold does not have an implant designation. Gold alloys are proprietary mixes, so there are no assurances like the "mill certificates" provided by manufacturers of implant grade steel and titanium.

VCH Piercing, Jewelry Materials, and Jewelry Changes

Today I received this query in the comments section of one of my posts:
HI!  I am 44, and have been considering a VCH for a while now, and find that most of the research I have done has led me to you and Rings of Desire. I appreciate your expertise, and any time you could give to address my questions.  Hubby and I will be attempting the q-tip test today, and I hope to email you a pic of that for your expert advice (if that's ok).  I have no real local resources (small midwestern town). 1. How do I determine what size jewelry to buy?  I need to use 14k gold (metal allergy issues with anything else) and I assume not all shops carry 14k.  Maybe that's a bad assumption, but I'm guessing I'll buy in advance and take it to the shop with me -
2. Will I be able to change the jewelry myself (or can my hubby) if i want to increase size, or will I need to return to my piercer? 3. I've heard the phrase "growing out" - what exactly does that mean? Thank you so much for your time!  I look forward to hearing from you, and would love to know if you would look at my photos, if hubby can get any good ones! All best, Liz
Hi Liz, Sounds like you have LOTS of questions that will all be answered in detail by my book. You can pre-order it at a discount on Amazon.com. Below you will find some brief answers to your questions to tide you over: 1. I would not suggest buying jewelry in advance. A piercer with a quality studio will stock a wide range of suitable styles, sizes, and materials. You should not need to determine the size--your piercer should know EXACTLY what you need for your build and suggest the size for you.

VCH Question

Here is an email exchange that started as a comment to one of my other posts:

Hey, I wanted to know if I could ask a question about a VCH that was done MONTHS ago (at least 5) and might be rejecting.How do I know?  Would I be able to send a picture and you tell me.. or can I find a picture online?

My response: You are welcome to email me a photo or two to: angel@piercingbible.com and I'd be happy to take a look. What problems are you having that make you feel concerned about this? To see photos and a diagram of properly placed VCH piercings go here: http://ringsofdesire.com/femalegenital.html and http://ringsofdesire.com/q_tip.html. Or, you can watch me do the piercing here. Watch me perform genital piercings Marie wrote again:

How Long Can I Leave My Jewelry Out?

Piercees often want to know how long they can leave out their body jewelry before a hole closes. One man asked me just today:

I don't know if you can help or point me to someone who can, but I have a frenum with 3 (originally had 4) ten gauage 5/8" bars.  I have had them for over two years and want to be able to remove them for several hours when the mood hits my wife -- we are now getting into tantric activity. Here is the problem:  I removed them several months ago for about 1 1/2 hours and when I went to re-insert the bars, one piercing had closed so much I could not get the bar in one, so I lost it (I have a taper). My questions: 1.  Could I leave it out longer (say 2-3 hours) if I stretched to 8 guage? 2.  Would it help if I inserted a lubricant such as emu oil when I remove the jewelry? Any views would be most appreciated. L.

Hi L. Thank you for your email. Even though I literally "wrote the book" on piercing, I can't answer your question with certainty--nobody could, because human bodies vary so widely on this matter. In general, the suggestion is: if you like your piercing, leave something in it at all times. Some people's piercings shrink within minutes of removing the jewelry. A technique for large gauge piercings called "resting" involves removing jewelry and some of the principles apply to you. This is from my book:

Age Limits for Piercings

I periodically get questions about age limits for piercings, and I got one today:

How old does a piercee have to be to get nipple piercings done?

To get nipple piercings, or any below-the-neck piercing other than a navel, the piercee would have to be 18 years of age or older. For other piercings such as the navel or above-the-neck areas, it depends on local laws and the ethics and policies of the piercer. That said, there is no federal legislation about body piercings; states and localities handle their own regulations. The extent of the laws varies widely, and some areas don't have any legislation regarding piercing at all! There are other laws that could be applied to piercing, however. For example, a parent who gives permission for her minor child to get an adult piercing (such as nipples or genitals) could be charged with reckless endangerment of a minor. The piercer could also face these charges for performing the piercing, even if the parent "gave permission." The policy I used for my studio is below:

Reinserting Body Jewelry/MRIs

Some months back I had to have an MRI (had to find out if I'd torn a tendon in my knee, which fortunately turned out not to be the case).  I took all my jewelry out for that (it was mostly stainless steel).  It was looking like I was going to need another MRI when I was done there, so I cleverly decided I could leave it out while I waited to find out if I needed the second one.

Repiercing Problem

Sometimes this problem happens when an area is repierced:
I got the bottom of my belly button pierced years ago. I let it close up three years ago. I got it re pierced two months ago. When the guy repierced it, he was able to put it through the first hole but it came out in a different spot then originally. In the middle of the barbell there was a small scar. A few days ago that scar rose above the skin and became a small red bubble in the middle of the barbell. I have been cleaning the piercing and the piercing itself seems to be in good condition. I dont know what caused this or how to get rid of it. It's not causing me pain but is not pretty to look at and I'm afraid it may be and infection of some sort.
Hi Erin, Are you doing lots of saline soaks? That is one of the best things you can do in this situation to help with drainage. See the instructions on this page: http://safepiercing.org/bodyAftercare.html Some people get such a bubble to drain using hot compresses of clean moist towels. If a week of frequent saline soaks or compresses (3 times a day or more) does not help or if it gets worse, you may need to see a doctor. From repiercing, sometimes an old channel becomes inflamed or infected after a new piercing is placed nearby. Due to continuous secretion or irritation from the previous piercing, occasionally these situations cannot be resolved satisfactorily and you will not be able to wear jewelry in the site. Good luck and let me know how it goes.

VCH Piercing Problem?

A woman asked a question about her VCH piercing in the comments section and emailed her a reply:

Hey I recently got a VCH done about 1 month ago. The other day I noticed that the bottom ball (where my hood is) has gone up inside there and is now inside at the top of my piercing... I think it has closed now and I dont want to go back to get it redone because I dont want to go through that pain again.... Shan.

Hi Shan, You really should return to your piercer right away to have it looked at. Are you sure the ball isn't just resting under the little "tunnel" of your hood? If the bottom ball got stuck in the piercing channel, a lot of the post portion would be sticking up above the top of your piercing--or your piercer put in a post that is too short. Please see your piercer as the resolution may be very simple--you might just need a longer bar and/or a larger ball on the bottom, to prevent the jewelry from slipping up under your hood. If the bottom ball really is stuck in the tissue, you should see your piercer immediately, as it still might be able to be liberated. But if the tissue has closed around it you may need medical intervention to remove it. Let me know what happens. To see video of me performing a VCH click here. It shows properly sized jewelry in the ideal placement. Watch Genital Piercing Videos

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