body piercings

Problems with Stretching Earlobe Piercings ("Gauging")

 

I received a message from a piercee who had questions about earlobe stretching:

Hi Elayne, 

I was having a little bit of trouble with gauging my ear lobes.  Generally,  I would use your website or book to figure something out, but the browser on my phone's acting up and I do not have the internet at home. Anywho, I stretched from a 6ga. to a 4 last week and since have been noticing a crust build up. I used a taper with o-rings to wear initially.  I doesn't hurt or stink and yesterday I switched the tapers out with silicone tunnel plugs.  Is this advisable, and if not, is there a way to resolve my problem without moving back to the 6? Could it just be the o-rings bothering me? Your opinion would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

L.

My response:

Hi L,

I do not advocate wearing such a taper for any length of time, even if it is made of implant grade material. This is from my book and it applies to tapers as well as tapered jewelry:

Tapered Jewelry: Caution

Many graduated jewelry styles come in metal, glass, acrylic, and an array of natural materials. A popular type is called a stretching crescent or stretching ring, and these are basically curved or circular insertion tapers. Variations include talons that are hooked or bent, spirals, and straight pieces that look just like insertion tapers. These can be dangerous because piercees have a tendency to cause tissue damage by stretching too quickly with them. Also, when tapered jewelry is used for stretching, the O-rings that are required to keep the ornament in place can cause irritation from excessive pressure against the skin. Tapered jewelry is safest in holes that have already been stretched. 

This is also from my book--not everyone can wear silicone, and it may be especially unsuited to it if you're experiencing crusting, which indicates unhealed/open tissue:

Smelly Nipple Piercing Problem

I recieved a message from a woman who was concerned about the odor of her healed nipple piercings:

I am a female that has a nipple piercing from a reliable professional piercer who you recommend.

I have fairly large nipples and he used a large gage post for my piercing.  I experienced many months of bloody leakage that finally healed.  My piercing is over 2 years old, but now I have a daily discharge of white fluid that has an odor.  I want to have an attractive piercing that isn’t stinky.  Could I schedule a consultation to review my situation and possible options?  Do I need to just remove my piercing?  Can I exchange it for another gage?  Can I change it out for a different piece of jewelry?  I love having my nipple pierced and how it feels, but the drainage is really a bother.  I hope you can advise me on my options.

Thanks.

Thanks for your message. If you've had your piercing for over 2 years and the discharge is smelly, I believe I know what you need. An appointment with me is not required. You're welcome to change your jewelry, but that is not required and is unlikely to have any effect on this particular situation.

The excerpt below is from my book, The Piercing Bible--The Definitive Guide to Safe Body Piercing, and it explains the issue:

Sebum is a substance from your oil glands that collects in healed piercing channels. It is a naturally occurring product of the body, containing fat, keratin (a fibrous protein), and cellular material. The purpose of sebum is to protect your skin and hair, keep it moisturized, and to inhibit the growth of microorganisms on the skin. People sometimes mistake it for pus, but it is more solid and cheeselike and has a distinctive rotten odor that reflects the dead cellular debris it contains. 

Healing Effect Of Water Consumption For Nipple Piercing?

 

I received a message from a woman who wondered if her water consumption could affect the healing process:

OMG! Let me start off by saying that I'm so excited that you have an advice column sort of thing. I have had your book for years, and I've always wanted to ask you questions. Anywho I've had my nipple piercing done for about 6 months. It still crusts up, and I know that it has not completely healed. It used to have previous issues until I had my piercer change the barbell to a longer one. I still use salt water soaks every time it gets irritated, but I've noticed that as I've been drinking a lot of water it has stopped crusting up as much. Is this because I'm in the final stages of healing or the amount of water I've been drinking? 

Thanks again.

Nipple bar

My response:

Thanks for your message. I haven't ever heard of increased water consumption being responsible for a major healing effect. That said, being hydrated is important for overall health and well being, so it couldn't hurt to continue drinking a lot of water.

And, you may find (as described in my book) that you will have ups and downs over time. You may have stopped crusting now, and whether you drink a lot of water or not, you may have more secretion once again. Don't be surprised by that cycle.

 

Nostril Piercing Placement

Here's a recent consultation I performed for a woman who needed assistance with determining the best placement for a nostril piercing:

Dear Elayne:

I have a placement dilemma.  For years, I’ve secretly admired nose piercings but was too afraid to get a piercing of my own until about 4 months ago.  I was initially apprehensive due to being employed in a white collar work setting and being over 40 years old.  I did tons of research and decided to go for it-especially after learning that there is a variety of “discreet” jewelry, to avoid having to remove my piercing while at work.

Upon arriving at the tattoo/piercing studio, I had already envisioned where I wanted the placement on my left nostril to be.  I assumed that by requesting that the placement be madenear the lower part of my nostril & back-it would be an ideal way for the placement to be discreet.  

Well, after looking at my placement over and over again.  I feel that I did not choose an ideal or flattering spot for the piercing.  I have since taken out my nose jewelry to let the piercing close, so that I can have it re-pierced.  

Elayne, I have enclosed some pictures for you to assess the “best” placement location.

My reply:

Hi.

I've indicated what I believe would be the best placement for your nostril piercing on the photos you provided. One shows just a small circle for the placement I would describe as an ideal aesthetic for your anatomy. Let me know if you have additional questions.

Forward Helix Healing Help

I received a message from a woman who was concerned about her new Forward Helix piercing:

Hi there! I got my forward helix and snug done on February 5th and the healing for the forward helix isn't going as smoothly as I'd planned. I have several other ear piercings but this one feels sore, hurts to smile or move my mouth, and has blood crusties coming out. My piercer used a hoop instead of a barbell for the jewelry, could that be the source of my problem? The snug is healing beautifully with no problems and I have my industrial in the other ear which gave me no problems as well.

If the cause of the problem is from the hoop, would it be safe to change it right away then?

Forward Helix healing

Hello.

The piercing is still brand new; you need to give it a little time to settle in. Blood and secretions aren't indicative of any problem at this stage, and neither is discomfort or even pain. 

I have put hoops in on many occasions in that location and everything has healed up just fine. I think you need to just give it some time (assuming the jewelry is high quality). The fit looks appropriate, and so the initial jewelry should be left in for at least a few months before changing it.

Healing A Lip Piercing

I received a message from someone who got a lip piercing and was concerned about how it was healing:

Hi! 8 days ago I got my lip pierced professionally. I was pierced with the standard gauge at 16g stud. My cleaning regimen goes like this: Every morning after my first smoke and breakfast, I brush my teeth, do a 50/50 mouthwash with water and Listerine, and clean the outside with antibacterial soap. When I get out of the shower I do a sea-salt soak for 3-5 minutes depending on how it feels. These actions are per my piercer. After I eat or smoke I swish sea-salt water. I do the morning regimen before bed, skipping the last sea-salt soak.  My problem resides on the inside of my lip where the back of the stud sits against my lip. I'm trying not to panic, but I am known to overcook things when I notice something weird going on on/in my body. What I SEE looks like a small mound of scar tissue; it's not very red and there is no leakage other than small amounts of lymph. I should tell you that this scar tissue (or whatever it might be) is aiding in the back of the stud leaving a mark where it sits. What I FEEL is a small lump under the skin just next to my piercing. If I show anyone what I am feeling, they would not see it as it is impossible to see under the scar tissue. It worries me because I don't want to take it out or get rid of it. It looks pretty and I love it. I wouldn't think it is because my long stud is too short because it sticks out a ways in front.

Nipple Piercing Migration

I received a message from a piercee who was concerned about her nipple piercing, which appeared to be migrating:

Hey. 

I had both nipples done back in August. The one had to be removed about 3 months later because of rejection and now I think the other is doing the same. 

I have been under a lot of stress but I'm just not sure. It's not in the same place anymore.

Nipple piercing showing migration, front view.Migrating nipple piercing, side view

 

My reply:

Yes, sorry-that does appear to be migration.

Did you use the same jewelry the first time? 

I noticed your jewelry appears to have a matte finish and that can cause problems, especially in a new/healing piercing. Initial jewelry should have a super-smooth, high polish mirror finish for safety. It is unclear whether the ring would have been wide enough for optimal safety when the piercing was new. The part of a ring that passes through the tissue should be relatively straight.

You should probably go ahead and remove that ring now to avoid further tissue damage.

 

 

 

Multiple Nipple Piercings

 

I received a message from a woman who was considering the possibility of having multiple nipple piercings:

So I got both my nipples pierced quite a while back. Because of my profession I can't get any visible piercings and I'm not quite ready yet to go into genital ones. So that's why I was thinking of getting my nipples pierced again

What are some of the perks and risks of getting additional nipple piercings? My piercings are also not horizontal, but diagonal. I let my piercer do this on purpose, for aesthetic reasons. Is it possible to put the second pair straight on there, so it makes a diagonal cross?

My reply:

Hi there,

To some extent your anatomy will determine appropriate (or possible) locations for added jewelry. If the second piercing would end up too close to the surface, or too far into the areola, those are potential issues. Also there's another consideration, depending on how much space you have, and therefore how much tissue is in between the jewelry: it can pinch on the interior. And, if the jewelry is quite close together, it is not uncommon that due to pressure, the skin in between thins and dissipates, and the jewelry rests metal to metal inside. This is not necessarily a bad thing, especially if you experience discomfort from interior pinching. 

The drawing from my book, The Piercing Bible, shows the appearance of a double nipple piercing in an "iron cross" formation.

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