April 19th, 2013
I received a message from a man who experienced healing problems after getting his ear cartilage pierced by a piercing gun:
I on a whim got my cartilage pierced at Clare's Saturday afternoon and it was doing really well up until today. I know the piercing gun is bad. i think I either irritated it or its showing signs of infection. Today when I woke up I cleaned it with theIr solution and I took a shower this afternoon and did the following:
1. After washing my scalp I used the Bronners Lavender to clean my ear (thinks its too harsh for me).
2. After I got out the shower I used their cleaning solution and spayed some h2ocean on it.
3. It felted irritated so I soaked it in chamomile but I put 1/8 tsp of sea salt in the water and let it soak.
Well since then its red, burning, and throbs off and on. I attached a pic and I would value your opinion.
Thanks for your message. You're OVERCLEANING with too many products. You only need one soap and some saline. Did you dilute the Dr. Bronner's? I suggest using their "baby mild unscented" formula.
These are the care instructions I suggest: http://piercingbible.com/piercing-care
Here is information on the saline soaks: http://piercingbible.com/saline-soaks
April 3rd, 2013
I received a message from a piercee who had questions about earlobe stretching:
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.
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:
March 4th, 2013
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?
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.
February 17th, 2013
This piercer had thoughtful questions about piercing babies ears:
I have your book, The Piercing Bible, and I consult it before I perform any piercings. I appreciate your cautious yet sensible attitude.
At the moment I'm looking for some information about piercing a baby's ears and I can't seem to find it in the book. Would you mind answering a couple of questions?
Is there a minimum age that you recommend the piercee should be? What gauge needle is optimal and is there a particular jewellery style which is preferable? Also, do you have any tips on how to hold the baby?
Thanks for the positive feedback about my book; I appreciate it! Perhaps you'd be willing to post a review somewhere, or some comments on my guest book? If so, the entry form for a new posting is at the bottom of this page:
I've never pierced an infant or anyone too young to consent. If you plan to do it, I would suggest looking for some online forums to get input from piercers who do pierce infants.
If you check in The Piercing Bible on page 251, you will find my perspectives clarified (though directed to parents rather than piercers):
Infant and Child Ear Piercing
November 26th, 2012
I received a message from a gal who had ear lobe piercings done with an ear stud gun and she experienced complications:
About 4 weeks ago I gor my ear lobe pierced with a piercing gun, and just recently one of my piercings has started to become very sore, and then today I went to clean it with a spray the piercing place gave me but as soon as I rotated it it starting oozing a lot of green pus, and then bleeding. I don't understand why this has happened as I have followed all instructions on cleaning the piercing, and I can't find any information on why the piercing is bleeding. What should I do? H.
Piercing guns do NOT meet the Association of Professional Piercers guidelines for safe piercing in terms of hygiene nor jewelry style and material. This page of the APP site has information about it: http://www.safepiercing.org/piercing/faq/#guns
Go to a competent body piercer immediately for appropriate jewelry!
All of my piercer referrals are posted on this page of my website: http://piercingbible.com/piercer-referrals
If I haven't personally worked with or trained any piercers in your area, you can check the website for a member of the Association of Professional Piercers who is local to you:
They can insert jewelry that is higher quality and a more appropriate style for healing. You may need to see a doctor but let a professional piercer get a look at you first.
These are the care instructions I suggest: http://piercingbible.com/piercing-care
November 2nd, 2012
I received a message from a piercee who I'd assisted previously. This time it was about an industrial project: two piercing in the ear cartilage connected by a single barbell.
Hi. You helped me clear up an infection last year in another piercing I have so I thought I'd contact u about a new problem I'm having with a new piercing...
I got an industrial piercing a month ago. I cleaned it 4 times a day with saline solution like the piercer advised, didn't sleep on it, didn't bother it. Well, it still hurts to the touch where the barbell enters my ear as well as throbs throughout day/night. I still can't sleep on it. Now I notice lumps at 3 entrance points. I've done a sea salt soak a day and put emu oil on the site at least once a day since noticing these lumps. I still try to clean it with saline 3 times a day. What else can I do? I attached some pics. Thank u
September 7th, 2012
I received a question and photo from a woman who has an ear cartilage piercing that is experiencing problems. Below is a somewhat condnesed version of our correspondence:
I've read your book many times, but I wanted to seek guidance from the author herself! I got my helix pierced at a tattoo and piercing parlor about 3 weeks ago. The piercer put a rather large ring in my piercing with a bead.
He then told me to clean the piercing with alcohol and Dial soap (I knew better after reading your book, so I just nodded and smiled).
Instead, I did nightly sea salt soaks, but the piercing seemed fine after about a week- in fact, it felt and appeared to be fully healed.
However, about 4 days ago, it started to feel warm and red. 2 days ago, the skin around it (basically the top half of my ear) is very warm to the touch, purplish red, and sore (the piercing throbs). However, there is no strange discharge or swelling from it- all of the discharge is clear to light yellow and it's very minimal and there is no swelling. What's going on with my piercing? The bump looks a little more irritated than usual because I just got out of sparring practice and had a good amount of contact with my ear.
Unfortunately, I was unable to go and get the jewelry changed as I left for school a few days after. The piercing is not painful, tender, or warm (although I can't lay on it, that's not surprising as I usually can't lay on my ears in general).