body jewelry

A Technique Question from a Piercer

I received this message from a Facebook friend:

Elayne, Let me begin this note by telling you that I am a huge fan of yours, and I am extremely thankful for all the hard work that you, Jim Ward, Doug Malloy, Paul King and so many others have done for the industry we are in. If it weren't for you and others like you, body piercing would be no where near where it is now, so THANK YOU!!!
Now then, my question to you:


I have been piercing professionally for 6 years, a good career so far but only a few steps in comparison to yours... When I first began, I used the "piggy-backing" method I saw in your recent video post. I have since moved on and now pierce with like sized jewelry and needles. I was under the impression that the method described was amateur and generally looked down upon, and yet here I see a MASTER PIERCER using it. Now please don't get me wrong, your title of master piercer is correct and very well deserved, I just find it strange. So I come to you with thisa humble question, why do you prefer this method? I have found that the piercings tend to bleed too much when using this method. Are there benefits that I am unaware of? Thank you for your time and any info will be appreciated.


By the way, the "bible" is one of the books in my modification collection that I am most proud of, and I consult it regularly so thank you!!!!

A fan and fellow body modifier, -J.

My reply:

Questions About Nipple Piercings

I received this message about nipple piercings:

I was given your book "The Piercing Bible" as a birthday gift this year, I love it! The information is great,and exactly what I have been looking for. I got my nipple spierced about 4.5 years ago after my divorce, a gift to self and I have no regrets, 12 guage rings.

I have 2 questions for you, first i do keep the nipple rings very clean use liquid antibacterial soap in the shower and cleam them well. But they are still constatly looking goopy, meaning there is a lot of really thick white gunk that smells bad. I had heard that perhaps Sterling silver or gold my not cause this effect.

If you have any thoughts that would be great. Also is it cool if a straight guy has a navel ring?

Thanks, Andrew


My reply:

Caring For Acrylic Body Jewelry

I received this message today:

Hi,
First and foremost I would like to say that you have a good looking and very informative site, which is somewhat hard to come accross in the piercing industry. I saw that on your blog area you answer Q & A's from your readers.

I have many customers that ask me questions about acrylic jewelry and proper ways to clean them. Searching on the internet for a answer to this question seems a little tough and many suggest using a mild soap and towel dry the jewelry.  As a piercer, how do you recommend to sanitize acrylic jewelry?


Thank you! :)

Chris Grucelski


VCH Piercing Jewelry Problem

Here's an email I received from a woman who was experiencing a problem because the jewelry that was placed in her VCH piercing was too short:

Hi there, I've contacted my piercer too, but I'm looking for some guidance and hoping you can help.  I had my VCH pierced a week ago.  It was initially healing very nicely with no issues.  However, when I had it pierced, I was told that my hood was very long and he probably could have used a longer barbell (I have a straight barbell in now).  This morning when I was cleaning it in the shower, I noticed that it was uncomfortable and found out that the bottom ball on the barbell has retreated into the piercing hole.  I tried to manually push it back through but it is stuck and very uncomfortable. What should I do?  Will my piercer be able to remove the jewelry and hopefully put a longer barbell in? I'm worried that it's healing around the ball and will be very difficult to remove. Thank you for any help you can give, Amanda

Amanda, Go see your piercer immediately! You MUST have a longer bar put in ASAP! If you allow jewelry that is too small to remain in place then it is likely to end up embedded. As the ball sinks in, your tissue grows around it, and soon you'll need the assistance of a doctor to remove the embedded jewelry by making an incision or two near it! Wearing ill-fitting jewelry is dangerous, especially when a piercing is so new. A curved bar gives you the advantage of some extra space without adding extra length--I usually start VCH piercings with them. This excerpt from The Piercing Bible explains proper VCH placement and jewelry:

"A Must-Read"

I just found another wonderful review of The Piercing Bible on this blog:
Thank the powers that be for Elayne Angel! Her book, The Piercing Bible, is a must-read for anyone considering this art form as a career, anyone thinking of getting pierced, anyone who is already pierced and everyone in-between. Elayne leaves no stone unturned in this thoroughly researched guide to safe body piercing. She delves into the history of piercing and the effect this has had, and will likely have, on many generations, before exploring it in its current form as well as its future possibilities. From deciding what to pierce, to finding an accomplished and conscientious piercer; from hygiene issues to piercing trouble-shooting, Elayne has touched on it all. Being relatively new to the art, I found myself starved for solid, trustworthy information and, with decades of experience under her belt, Elayne shares a wealth of knowledge, dispels many misconceptions and offers sound advice from the effects your new piercing could have on society’s perceptions of you to lifestyle changes that might be necessary if you want to live in harmony with your piercing. The book also discusses different jewellery styles and sizes, equipment used during the different procedures, stretching of piercings, retiring of piercings, problems that may arise, and special situations such as breastfeeding and sex that may be compromised, or enhanced, by the piercing. The industry has waited a long time for this book and, after reading it, you might be able to tell your doctor a thing or two about infection control, blood-borne pathogens and cross-contamination.

The Piercing Bible Featured

The subject of body jewelry as it relates to airport security was discussed on the Travelite Blog. This is what it said by way of introducing me as the expert quoted in the article:
One person who would know is professional body piercer Elayne Angel. Elayne is not only covered in various forms of ink and metal herself, but she is also one of the pioneers in professional body piercing, a field she personally helped expand decades ago. Elayne has served multiple terms on the board of the Association of Professional Piercers as an advocate for field safety, and her most recent project has been authoring The Piercing Bible, the definitive guide for consumers and professional body piercers.
Check it out. There's lots of great information througout the site, and if you travel, be assured you'll find plenty of great tips and ideas.

Surface Piercing vs. Dermal Anchors

I struck up this conversation with a gal who made a comment on a post I made about surface piercings. She wrote:

… I'm getting a five point star surface piercing/s on my right hip in a few days :] gotta talk it over with my piercer but should be cool to go :] ...

I asked her:

Has your piercer been clear with you that the surface piercings are unlikely to stay long-term and that you will most probably end up with scarring instead of jewelry there?

Her reply:

Yeah I've been told that before. I knew it wasn't going to be long term/permanent anyways. Does a surface piercing count as one that goes under the skin, with two balls on each end? because I was thinking of doing that instead of where you can only see one ball. Does that make sense? Sorry if I'm confusing you but id like to get more background info before I get it done. thank you

I provided her with some additional information and I hope it will make her decide to take more time figuring out the best course of action:

Nape Piercings

I received this email from a piercer today:
Loved your article in PAIN magazine this month. It still surprises me how many clients will ask if its ok to heal their piercings with rubbing alcohol or peroxide!! I had one girl ask if it was ok to put liquid bandage over her freshly pierced nipples!! I don't offer surface percings in my studio because I have seen so many pictures of them rejecting but my friend is begging me to do the nape of his neck. Do you have any suggestions for the correct jewelry or tips for that piercing that would give me a better chance with not having it reject?
Hi Meghan, Thanks for your email. I'm not big on surface piercings myself, but there is one area that I will routinely do: the nape of the neck! Though if the tissue is not pliable, I decline. If the skin pinches up well, I make a wide piercing (usually over an inch; generally 1 1/4") and insert Tygon tubing. I most commonly use 12 or 10 gauge. There are some tricks to using it. Because the tubing is so flexible, it is kind of like trying to feed cooked spaghetti through a piercing, which obviously wouldn't be easy! So, I insert the tip of a small insertion taper (18 gauge) securely into the lumen of the tubing as far as it will go. This gives me a solid end that makes it easy to do the jewelry transfer. Important note: Tygon tubing is sold by gauge but may not be the exact measurement of your needle of the same size. If the Tygon is marginally larger, you won't get it through the piercing unless you use a needle of the next larger gauge (or half-gauge). To make the tubing into a barbell: depending on the size of the lumen, you can press-fit ornamental ends made for threadless body jewelry by Neometal. The 16 ga ends work great in the 14 gauge tubing.
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