Piercing Questions

Risks of Piercing "Cauliflower Ear"

I was asked a question recently that I hadn't heard before:

At one of the tattoo shops I work in, one of the apprentice tattoo artists wants me to pierce a helix on both ears. No problemo. However he has "cauliflower ear" in both. I've been doing some research about specifically what causes it, also I've talked with him about it. He told me that he used to be a boxer, which is somewhat common. But he never had them drained.

I have never pierced a cauliflower ear, and honestly I've never been presented with this question. So I'm curious to know if its something that I should or should not do ? I'm also curious to know what your experience is, and what you think. :) Thanks.

My reply:

That's an awesome question! It is one I have never been asked before. And in all my years of experience, I've never had a request to pierce an ear that has been injured in this way.

Cauliflower earFrom my understanding of the situation, I'd be very wary about piercing such anatomy. As I imagine you know, the condition itself results from the surface tissue being separated from the cartilage, and is a problem that is caused by a lack of vascularity. To me that would indicate that the healing capacity of the area is even worse than usual (and we all know cartilage is rather finicky when it comes to healing).

If he can bring you a doctor's note that says piercing is not medically contraindicated in his case, I'd consider it. Short of that, I'd personally stay away from an area that is highly likely to be problematic healing.

Is There a Reason Repiercing Heals Quicker than Initial Piercing?

I received an interesting question from a piercee who wondered if there was a reason his piercings healed more quickly the second time around:

Hey Elayne,

This might be a dumb question but I was curious as to why piercings heal faster the 2nd time. I had my nipples pierced twice cause I took them out for some dumb reason and then a few years later wanted them done again and I had 10 frenum piercings and did the same thing with those. Both healed alot faster the 2nd time... is there a reason for this? Im just curious... thank you for all your time with my questions and btw im back to work and just got paid so ur book is definitely on the agenda! Thanks. W.

My reply:

Numbness After Lower Lip Piercing

I received a message from someone who got a lip piercing and was concerned about experiencing numbness in the area:

(Photos below show a normal range of sizes and placements for a side lip placement with ring--with initial jewelry that allows for swelling.)

Lip piercing with ring
Hello,

I got a lower side lip piercing yesterday (captive bead ring) and it now feels like there is numbness around the piercing canal (the lip itself and skin around the piercing are not numb). There is a little redness around the outside opening and a little pain, though I haven't spotted any pus, and movement is in no way impaired.

My cleaning regimen is standard.

My question is: is numbness normal? If so, will it go away eventually? If not, what should I do?

Thank you for your help (your book is an invaluable resource).


My reply:

Nipple Piercing Angles--Changes Between Erect and Non-erect States

I just got an email from a woman who was concerned about the angle of her nipple piercings:

I had a few questions with regards to nipple piercings. I have gotten my nipples pierced before, but they came out crooked. She marked and pierced them when they were erect. But the crookedness really bothered me so I took them out, and got one of them repierced about a month later.

The second time, I got a different piercer, who marked when they were flat. Now, they are even when they are flat, but when the nipple gets erect, they get crooked, which still bothers me.

I am going to get my other nipple repierced, but I was wondering, is it standard to mark and pierce when the nipples are flat or erect? Are some nipples just naturally prone to crooked piercings? Is it not possible in some cases to have the piercing sit straight at both times (when they're flat and erect) so you have to chose? In which case, if I prefer the barbell to sit straight when they're erect, should I redo the first one?

Thanks, and sorry for the multiple questions! I really love the piercings, but when they are crooked, it really also bothers me! Thanks, J.

My reply:

Eyebrow Piercing Rejection Risks

I received an email from a woman who is concerned about her eyebrow piercing:

Hi Elayne,
I got my eyebrow pierced today. After reading online about migration and rejection, I'm very worried that my piercing is certainly doomed to reject at some point. My piercer used a press-fit titanium curved barbell. He described the tissue as "moderately taught", though I can easily pinch it between my fingers (on the opposite eyebrow of course!) My question is - are most eyebrow piercings likely to reject eventually? Is there anything in addition to sea salt soaks that I can do to prevent this from happening? I've already grown so attached to my new piercing that I'm very afraid of losing it.

Thank you so much, M.

Nipple Piercings on Large-Breasted Women (With Photos)

I received a message from a woman who was large breasted and had some questions and concerns about getting nipple piercings:

I was wondering if you could give me some advice on nipple piercings. I am a lady of a larger build, and as such I have quite large breasts. My nipples aren't probably as perky as they should be and sit quite low on my breast. Would it be okay for me to get nipple piercings?

I currently have several other piercings and a few retired ones too, so I'm of age and not concerned about aftercare and such. Would it be better to go and ask a piercer face to face if they think my anatomy is suited to it? Also, does it make a difference what angle the nipple is pierced at? I've seen a few pictures of people with diagonal or vertical nipple piercings and I really like the look of them. Are they more difficult to heal or anything like that?

Thanks in advance for your help, people like you make me want to find an apprenticeship myself!

My reply:

Surface Anchor ("Microdermal") Fell Out

I received this message from a gal who was concerned about her surface anchor:

Hi! I had a microdermal piercing today above my cleavage and not 4 hours after having it pierced  it fell out into my lap!

Is this normal? i'm scared of it getting infected. Should I go back to the piercing shop tomorrow?

Be great if you could get back :(
M. x

My reply:

Hi M.,
They usually last longer than that, but the truth is they aren't a permanent adornment the way regular body piercings can be.

Also, I don't know that I'd trust the piercer who put it in. They didn't bandage it with a wound sealant clear dressing? That is quite common following the procedure.

The fact that your jewelry came out doesn't have anything to do with an increased risk of infection, unless you touched the wound with dirty fingers.

I think you should go back and get your money back, and learn more about them before deciding whether or not to have it replaced (probably with a different piercer).

Sincerely,
Elayne

Elayne Angel, Author
The Piercing Bible--The Definitive Guide to Safe Body Piercing
President, Association of Professional Piercers

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Foot or Heel Piercing?

I received a question about a very unusual piercing placement:

Can you get a piercing on the heel of your foot????????
S.

My reply:

Piercing behind Achilles tendon


S.
I wouldn't recommend it. And even if you managed to do it, it would be VERY unlikely to be successful. The tissue there is dense and tight with little or no pinchable flesh. Piercings in such areas is very seldom remain for long--the body simply ejects the jewelry.

Importantly, a piercing in such an area would also have a significantly higher risk of infection than traditionally placed body piercings because of its proximity to the floor where dirt and germs are more abundant

I have seen a very rare placement of a piercing actually behind the achilles tendon the ankle (see Photo, courtesy of Jim Ward and PFIQ Magazine.) Suffice it to say, such a piercing has grave risks including potential for loss of function of the limb.

If you want to get pierced, please select a safer area of your body.

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