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:

Book Update

My publisher, Ten Speed Press, sent me a version of the manuscript called "first pages." This is a hard copy that was formatted by their "interior designer" with the photos, illustrations, sidebars, headers, charts, and so on. It was the first time I'd seen it formatted and it was exciting! Almost all of the editing work I've done has been on the computer. I had the manuscript printed a few times, but always as a Word document; it looked more like a school project than a book. But as soon as I saw this version, I realized The Piercing Bible is definitely closer to becoming a book. I made a bunch o' edits and sent it back. They'll make the changes and then send me a corrected version called "second pages" to edit. I think that is the last round--then it will go to the printer. Finally. I also found myself listed as an author on my publisher's website HERE.

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

The Piercer's Reply

This is the piercer's response to my reply about piercing a client in the hospital:
Angel, Thank you so very much for the prompt response to my situation :)  After thinking about it over the weekend, and reading your response, I agree with you wholeheartedly - I don't believe that I will do the piercings unless she can come to my studio after she recovers fully from her surgery (she's getting a hysterectomy).  The thought of her getting a nosocomial infection did cross my mind, too - I don't want to be liable for an infection she caught at the hospital!  Sometimes my passion about the public getting a safe and beautiful piercing clouds my judgement LOL  Thank you so much for your advice!  I will let you know how my next conversation with her turns out if she returns or calls today :) Thanks again!

Question From A Piercer

This is a question from a piercer who is concerned about doing the right thing:
I would like to ask some advice from you, as I've had a weird request from a client this afternoon.  She is going into surgery this next week, and her surgeon told her that he would do her nipple piercings for her while she is under anesthesia if she could bring in the jewelry.  Of course, I was leary of wanting to sell the jewelry and encourage a possibly botched piercing. She also told me that the doctor suggested that a licensed piercer come in and do her piercings while she was under anesthesia (I would be concerned about any legal & ethical questions/ramifications resulting from piercing one under anesthesia-even if agreed upon in paperwork).  I would be open to piercing in a hospital setting, but, not sure if this is a route I would want to take?   I hate being put in a position where I would really prefer her to come to my studio and get pierced, but am afraid that she'll get the piercing anyway by someone who hasn't been trained to pierce.  (Her reason for doing it while under anesthesia is that she's had 2 very bad experiences with past nipple piercings.)  I guess we can't "save" all of them, but, what would be your best advice for a situation like this? *N*
Hi N, Well, that's not necessarily an easy question to answer. I believe you will need to decide the best course of action for yourself under the specific circumstances. I'm willing to tell you what my response would be in this situation: I wouldn't do it. I think you're correct; we can't "save" all of them. We can do our very best to educate and inform potential clients. As someone put it, "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink." I'm afraid piercees are the same way. You can provide them with sound facts and information, but they may not put it to good use.
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