Piercing Questions

Question about VCH Jewelry and an MRI

Hi Elayne,
You did a VCH piercing for me on December 30, 2004 and, per my notes, it's a J-curve (JC 5085) 14 gauge, 1/2", 6 mm bezel cup with two teal gem stones.
I received a message froma woman I pierced who was concerned about taking her jewelry out for an MRI:

I'm having an MRI of my knee on Sunday and they want the piercing removed - which, needless to say, I'd rather not do.
I had a brain MRI done about two years ago, with piercing in place, without a problem.
The radiology tech suggested I hold a magnet to the piercing to see if it reacted - it did not, so I think I'm fine.
I think you said the metal was titanium - but not sure, and wanted to check with you before undergoing the knee MRI since it is "closer" to the genital region than my brain ...
BTW, I LOVED your book and only wish I had read it before coming to see you as I would have been much better informed and prepared - and therefore a better/easier client for you !!
Any thoughts/suggestions/feedback re: MRI would be greatly appreciated.
Let me know if/when you're planning to be in the Los Angeles area again, I would love to see you and likely get another piercing ... K.

My response:

Questions about Piercing Migration and Rejection

I received this message:

I have heard that surface piercings, eyebrow, navel, anti eyebrow and some others, have a tendency to reject. I was wondering if there are some ways you could prevent or slow down the rejection process for these piercings? If it does start to reject and you take the jewelry out are there fluctuations in rejection risk( more or less risk) that would possibly result in a different outcome if you had it repierced? And also what are some signs to tell if a piercing is rejecting? Thanks! G.

Injured Industrial Piercing

I received this message from a woman who is worried about her piercing:

I got my industrial done back in November....my boyfriend and i were doing a little rough houses and i hit my ear with his knee and when i went in the bathroom to look my bottom hole on the back side was bleeding. The only time i bleed was when i got my piercing 4 months ago. What could this be, and what can i do to stop it???

Discoloration (Hyperpigmentation) From Body Piercing

I received this message through my website:

Hi Elayne,

About five months ago I got my waist pierced. The piercer did not perform the piercing right neither did he use the PTFE in the piercing and it rejected within a matter of weeks and left a really unattractive scar that has slightly faded but is still there.

Three months ago I went to another piercer and I got my belly button pierced & also a surface piercing below my belly button. My piercing did not reject but I still had dark circles around the piercing and ended up taking it out.

attached are pictures of the scars.

hyperpigmentation of piercing scarsnavel piercing scar

Learning to Pierce--Piercing Apprenticeships

I received this message from a Facebook friend:

Hi Elayne i would like to learn body piercing. My problem being i have been round the local studios and no one will show me because i tattoo and most piercing is done in other tattoo studios i know you are in the states but thought you may have links or knowledge of some one in the north east of scotland. any advice or help would be much loved. Garry

My reply:

Navel Piercings and Pregnancy

I received a message about navel piercings (belly piercings) and pregnancy
Hey Elayne!

I've recently gone deeper into thinking about getting my navel pierced, I know it will look cute, but I'm concerned about long term side effects. First of all, when you become pregnant, will it scar? And when you lose your baby weight will the hole shrink to the regular size or stay floppy? Also, what is the smallest gauge possible? I want to get the smallest gauge because I feel as though the larger the hole the more obvious it would be when no jewelry was in it, which is rather irritating. Respond as soon as possible! Thanks! S.


Hi S.,

Nobody can tell you whether you will end up with stretch marks from a pregnancy, nor exactly what your piercing will do. Ordinarily the area stretches out and shrinks back down--like the rest of the abdomen. I haven't really seen any problems from piercings, and women usually go back to wearing their jewelry as before.

Here's a brief section about navel piercings and pregnancy from my book, The Piercing Bible--The Definitive Guide to Safe Body Piercing:

Navel Piercings and Pregnancy
If your navel piercing is healed and does not cause any problems, simply leave the jewelry in place. However, dramatic alterations to the size and shape of your navel are normal; your innie can become an outie. Once the tissue begins to stretch, many women experience discomfort, inflammation, and sometimes migration. Switching to flexible plastic jewelry usually resolves these problems. If the piercing still doesn’t feel comfortable, you should abandon it until after delivery.

A 14 gauge is the thinnest size used by responsible piercers. With a smaller gauge, it is  more likely you'll experience cutting or tearing and possibly other problems such as migration.

Questions About Stretching Ear Lobe Piercings

I received this message through the contact form:


My ears are currently at 1-1/4" (have been for a little over a month, probably), and are showing signs of blowing out soon. I'm planning on going up to 1-3/8", so I've started soaking them in sea salt twice a day, and applying Emu Oil afterwards.

I know it depends on each person, but how long do you think it will take until they're ready to stretch again?

Any advice you can give me would be great! F.


Hi F.,

Thanks for your message. I can't really say how long you should wait, and you shouldn't set a goal date either.

I think you should let your ears tell you, rather than trying to set a schedule for them! If you say they're "showing signs of blowing out" --and depending on what you're referring to, you may need to wait 6-9 months or longer before going up again. Or you may not be able to stretch further safely. Sometimes a body hits a limit, and attempts at further stretching can be unsuccessful and cause tissue loss.

Saline soaks if they're VERY mild are good, but be sure not to cause any drying of tissue. Emu oil is great, and I guess you know I heartily recommend it. Just listen to your body and when your current jewelry is very loose, and the tissue looks happy and healthy, then you can consider more stretching. Are you familiar with some of the techniques for stretching a little bit at a time? (Have you read my book, The Piercing Bible? Here's a brief passage from the section on stretching:

Guest Blog Post: Nipple Piercing Problem

I received this message from a friend and colleague (one of the few piercers on my referrals page), Courtney from Cheap TRX in St Louis, MO.

Her contact info is below.

So I have a story that I thought you may be interested to hear:

Last year a girl came to me after having 3 different attempts at healing nipple piercings. All were an issue of poor placement/poor jewelry. I did them for her a final time that day.

About 8 months later, she came to me almost in tears, as her gyno had sent her to have them removed. She had visited her doc in regards to suddenly beginning to lactate. I told her that piercings don't make you lactate, hormones do, and that she should return to her gyno and request further examination.

She was relieved, but not for long. Her gyno just said "meh" and that she still needed to take them out. As time goes on, my client developed increasing symptoms of hormonal issues. She then sought the help of her regular physician- and they eventually concluded that she had a tumor on her pituitary gland!!

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