Piercing Questions

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:


Hi!

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!!

Hip Piercings

I recently received this email message:

I'm going into the military in a few months, and i want to get my hips pierced before i go. I was wondering if when i took the jewel off, if you could see the post of hip piercings?


My reply:


My best professional suggestion is sound advice: don't bother to get these piercings.

They're notoriously difficult to heal and frequently people end up with scars rather than healed piercings. Further, you will not be able to safely wear the surface bars (the type of jewelry most commonly used in that area) without some type of threaded ends on the jewelry--discs, gems, or something else. You won't be able to completely hide them, and the physical activity that you'll be required to engage in during basic training will cause nothing but problems.

This one works better in fantasy than reality. Sorry...

Sincerely,
Elayne

Irritation in Initial Piercing Site From Repiercing

Here's a message I received recently from a piercer who works in the studio of an old friend:

Hi Elayne!

I have been piercing for four years and came across something today I was wondering if you could help me with. A girl came into the shop today with her medusa pierced (about 2 months old), after having it previously pierced before, complaining that her old piercing site, a little big higher than the current piercing, would swell up with fluid (I assume to be lymph?) and drain a significant amount when she put pressure on it.

She also added her nipples were repierced about 2 years ago, and occasionally her old piercing sites would do the same thing.

I guess I've never really encountered this before. I suggested sea salt soaks and hot compressions to help. Is this sound advice? Do you know why something like that would happen? Could the fluid buildup be independent of the new piercing? Any advice would be awesome :)

Thank you so very much,
B.

My reply:

Nostril Piercing Help

This inquiry (like so many others I post) was also from a Facebook Friend:

Hi Elayne,i got a question for u. I've got my nose piercing long time ago,a year...until now didn't heal,i always have this bump on top,red sometimes bleeding. All i use is H2Ocean and emu oil,but....nothing.This is my second time i've it done,and i use14k white gold .I have read in your book all about aftercare...but i guess something is wrong with my piercing or i do something wrong. Maybe i should take it out?


My reply:

Hi Kristina,


Have you ever tried a different material or jewelry style? Are you wearing a nostril screw? If so, was it custom bent to fit your nose? If it wasn't bent for you, then it is possible you're wearing a "right-bend" piece of jewelry on the left side of your nose (or vice-versa). Also, if the post is too short, or too long, that can cause problems with healing.

I'd strongly suggest you try a jewelry change before abandoning your piercing. Here's a section from The Piercing Bible about nostril screws:

Vertical Lip Piercing Option

What can you do if you like the look of a vertical labret, but like many individuals, you do not have the full, pouty lips required to support a vertical surface piercing safely and with stability?  

Lip Piercing  (not vertical!)

This is not a vertical lip piercing--it is a traditional placement using a custom-bent circular barbell!

There is a likelihood of migration or rejection and a high risk of scarring with any lip surface placement. But a custom-bent C-ring or U-ring is a safe and comfortable alternative for many piercees who wear labrets. This is a small diameter circular barbell that is widened so that it is C-shaped (or U-shaped, depending on anatomy) rather than round. This will conform to your lip and help to avoid jewelry contact with your teeth or gums. There is a wide range of fit possibilities based on the way it is bent to accommodate individual anatomy. Sometimes an asymmetrical bend is used. This style may satisfy you if you like the look of a vertical lip (surface) piercing but don’t want to face its risks of scarring and migration. The jewelry can give you the same appearance (one ball on top of your lip and the other right beneath it), but with the versatility of a traditional labret.

It sometimes takes a few attempts with different styles and sizes of jewelry to deter- mine what works best for your labret piercing. The mouth is a dynamic area that moves and changes shape considerably when you speak, smile, and eat. No wonder comfort- ably accommodating a static piece of metal there is so challenging.

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