piercing information

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:

Piercing Questions from a Female to Male (FTM) Transsexual

I got this message from a Facebook friend:

Hey Elayne,
I had a bit of a question. What is your take on ftm genital piercings, before any kind lower surgery? I myself being trans and having a few trans friends. I meant to talk to you about this at conference this year, but didnt. I know a lot of guys who also don't want to come in and ask for a "hood" piercing. I was almost considering figuring out another name for them. Also, do you think Triangle piercings are ok? it seems to me the jewelry would have to be rather large to accommodate the larger anatomy and might possibly interfere when they're erect. I also wanted your opinion on doing post op piercings ftm's and mtf. Really, i think you should just do a big article on transgender genital piercings. : ) Thank you for your time and wisdom.

My reply:

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,

My reply:

Bleeding Industrial Piercing

I received this message via email:

Hi Elayne,
I am having a situation with a piercing I did. Sunday afternoon I did an industrial piercing on a girl named Alex. I'm still an apprentice but this was the 10th industrial piercing I've done and I have never had a problem with any of them up until now.

Alex called me this afternoon, 2 days later, complaining that her piercing is bleeding and she can't get it to stop. It hardly bled when I pierced it, and up until last night when the bleeding started, she said that it was healing just fine. It wasn't sore, red, no signs of infection, and didn't hurt at all. First thing I did was try to figure out how the bleeding started. She said she took 500mg of ibuprofen and the bleeding started shortly after that. I understand that a side effect of ibuprofen is blood thinning but unless she was already bleeding I didn't think the ibuprofen would cause her to start. I just thought it would make it a bit harder to get the bleeding to stop if she did happen to start bleeding. Am I wrong about this?

She also said she thinks she accidentally rolled over onto it in her sleep which would make more sense except that it started bleeding before she went to bed. Is it possible she is just not telling me that she bumped it or something, or is it normal for industrial piercings to randomly start bleeding days later?

Septum Piercing and Stuff

I received this message from a reader:

Elayne, the book was amazing!  I always had a feeling that the old shop I was going to was not the cleanest or most knowledgeable place in the world, and now I am certain haha!  You have really opened my eyes to a lot of things that I just didn't look at before.  I plan on enrolling in my classes soon, and hopefully with what I learned from your book I will have a bit of a head start above my competition for an apprenticeship.  Also, your aftercare section was great.  I have heard a ton of varying viewpoints, but never any reason other than "it just works."  The piercer who did my lip told me to use anti-bacterial soap and peroxide to clean my lip ring, and now I no longer have it because it wouldn't heal.  I wish I would have found your book sooner!  It probably would have been able to keep it!

Also, I found a video on YouTube after reading your book that you might be able to use as a "how not to pierce" guide.  Here you go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bYU4fLYIVk

Any way, thanks again for everything.  You are the best.  I am going to be far more picky when I get my septum pierced and when I look for my apprenticeship.  Thank you so very much!


My reply:

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.

Helping a Future Piercing Apprentice

Here's my exchange with a young man who plans to seek an apprenticeship for body piercing:

Can you tell me if there is anyone in the Kansas City Missouri area who might be taking on an apprentice?  Also, I am 25 years old.  Is it too late for me to start learning?  I am committed to taking the CPR, blood pathogen classes, and I am going to buy your book as soon as I hear back from you.  Thanks in advance for your time!

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