People get piercings for different reasons. You could say that some people get them while going through existential life crisis as a way of regaining control over their minds and bodies, you could also say some people do it plainly for the aesthetics (piercings actually do make certain parts of your body look more pretty), while many people swear their Daith piercings cured them of their migraine and eased their anxieties. A piercing parlor says “As with both acupuncture and auriculotherapy, a piercing can be placed in a specific spot to stimulate the reflex points in that area. Doing this can improve the flow of energy within the body, which can help alleviate a certain pain and regulate the body’s functions and internal organs”.
Whatever your reasons are, here’s what you need to know before you get a piercing:
Rule #1: Do NOT attempt to pierce your body yourself. Yes, it is just inserting a needle and placing the ring but it is also a procedure that can go from simply inserting a needle into the body to needing a surgery at the ER. Things can go south VERY quickly so no matter how many YouTube videos you might have watched, it is still safer to get it done by a licensed professional.
Piercings do hurt but your tolerance for pain is the major determinant in the level or amount of pain you would feel. This is normally measured from a scale of 1 – 10 with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest.
You should familiarize yourself with the type of piercing you want before going to the piercing parlor. There’s no fun in having to change spots after piercing a wrong one. The first time really is the charm.
Most types of piercings are based on the body part the jewelry is located at – ear piercings, nose piercings, facial piercings, oral piercings, dermal piercings, navel piercings, nipple piercings and genital piercings.
These are the commonest types, and almost every woman has ear piercings that are usually done hours after birth. The outer ear is made up of the earlobe and cartilage and does not contain any bone, so it is the easiest body part to pierce. The ears are also versatile; there are over 10 types of ear piercings but it is advisable to pierce only a maximum of three spots on an ear at a go. This will give it time to heal, your body is still adjusting to this new development after all.
Keep in mind that piercings are addicting. You will most likely want another one so be strategic in picking positions for your new piercing. You wouldn’t want everything to look disheveled if you decide to get a new one. Simply put, keep your piercings orderly and spacious.
Ear lobes are soft so they hurt lesser than cartilage piercings. On average, ear lobe piercings take 6 – 8 weeks to heal while cartilage piercings take 5 months – 12 months to heal. Everyone’s body is different so it might take a shorter or longer time for yours to heal.
Nose piercings are the second most common type of piercings and they hurt a little more than ear piercings. They also make more statements than ear piercings because they are literally on the most prominent feature of your face.
Especially for septum piercings, nose jewelries should not be heavy. Heavy and large piercings can make your septum weak and might even tear. Titanium is light and this makes it the best jewelry to use for nose piercings.
The healing period for nose piercings is 3 – 6 months.
These type of piercings are done directly on the face. They accentuate the part of the face they are located at. Facial piercings include but are not limited to eyebrow piercings. There is constant blood circulation on the face so this helps facial piercings heal faster. The healing period is usually between 6 – 8 weeks.
Oral piercings are located in and around the oral cavity. They include lip and tongue piercings.
One of the easiest and fastest ways to get things into your body is through your mouth so maximal care is needed after your oral piercings. While your piercings are healing, you will need to stop taking alcohol and cigarettes, refrain from kissing and oral sex and avoid spicy and acidic food till your piercings are fully healed. This would also be the time to take your oral hygiene up a notch. Improper care for your oral piercing might cause infections and damage to your teeth, gum, tongue, mouth and/or body.
On an average, a tongue piercing heals between a period of 1 – 2 months.
Dermal piercings are piercings that do not have a separate exist point. An anchor is inserted into your dermis (the second layer of your skin) to put the jewelry in place. Dermal piercings are the most flexible, they can be done on any part of the body as long as it is fleshy and a flat surface. Different types of dermal piercings include cheekbone piercings, chest piercings, back piercings, wrist piercings, neck piercings, abdominal piercings, etc.
The healing timeframe for dermal piercings is between 1 month – 3 months.
Navel Piercings are mostly referred to as belly piercings because well they are on the belly. Compared to other piercings, the navel piercing takes a relatively longer period to heal – between 8 months to 1 year.
Tight clothes should be avoided when your navel piercing has not fully healed so as to avoid inflammation, irritation and infections.
Nipple piercings are so badass.
They are usually done by inserting a small barbell horizontally in between your nipple.
You will have to forgo nipple play until your nipples are fully healed and this can take between 9 months to as much as 1 year, although some people say that their nipple piercings have never fully healed even after years of piercing them. You will also have to put off swimming and tight bras (sports bras are the best option) for a while after getting your nipple pierced.
It is easy to develop infections and scars after getting piercings so it is very important to care for them with utmost diligence and cleanliness.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before touching your piercings. You might have unknowingly picked up germs or bacterial and a direct contact with your sore, open pierced area could cause infections.
- Clean your piercings two times a day—morning and night—with saline solution (salt and warm water). Be gentle while cleaning, do not rub the surface but rather, gently dab it with cotton cloth or wool.
- In its early stage, pressure on the pierced spot can cause inflammation. Try as much as possible to avoid contact with surfaces.
- Do not change your jewelry for a while. Give it time to heal before taking the initial jewelry out. Taking it out earlier than advised might lead to the pierced hole closing up. It would be disheartening if you went through all that pain and patience only for your piercings to close up.
- Just like other scars, your piercings will itch for a while when it starts to heal. Do not listen to your body, itching it will mess it all up and you would have to start the healing process all over again. Instead gently dab with a clean cloth.
- You cannot be careful enough so you might still end up with an infection, swelling or redness on the pierced area. The body wants what the body wants and at any time your body might reject and push out your jewelry. Reach out to your piercer if anything feels out of place, and in extreme cases, consult a doctor.
Methods of Piercings
There are basically two methods of piercings: Gun and needle method.
Although piercing guns are cheaper, they are not as safe, so you should immediately leave any piercing parlor that offers to use a piercing gun on you. Using the needle slowly drills a hole in your body as opposed to out rightly shooting the jewelry into your body parts using the gun. A piercing gun will likely open a larger hole than necessary, resulting in an increased risk of complications. Also, piercing guns are made of plastics and cannot be thoroughly cleaned and sterilized unlike the needle.
Piercings are so much fun and while writing this article I made a decision to get three more piercings before the end of the year! How many piercings do you currently have and how many more do you intend to have?