Body piercings are not a new phenomenon. Some claim the earliest known body piercing belonged to a man depicted in a stone relief back in the 9th century. Even earlier is a mummified body, dating back more than 5000 years, with pierced ears of a diameter between 7-11mm. Bringing this concept closer to the present, you could think of the rise of the punk fashion that entranced so many (musicians in particular) between the 1970s and 80s. Nose, belly button, and facial piercings became a sign of rebellion. (1) (2)
Today, the motivations behind body piercings are varied, from cultural heritage and personal significance to following popular fashion trends. According to a 2017 report published by Statista, 77% of Americans surveyed revealed that they had earlobe piercings, followed by 33% with another part of their ear pierced, like the helix. The potential placements of piercings are vast, and definitely not confined to the ear region. It’s vital, however, that you not only decide upon the placement but also understand how to prepare and care for your body before and after the modification, which will be further explored below. (3)
Choosing the right studio
One key consideration that should be at the top of your list is choosing the right place to get any piercing you’re considering.
It’s a good idea to visit several studios, like The End Is Near Brooklyn, to observe how they operate and to request to see their portfolios. Determining whether they’re a member of the Association of Professional Piercers (APP), as well as reading reviews and seeking recommendations is also wise. Another important factor is whether or not they properly follow sterilization procedures.
Different types of piercings
As you’re exploring piercing options, you’ll have a lot to consider, including what your piercing should be made out of. There are several materials used for body piercings, some considered more highly than others, including:
- Surgical steel
- Glass. (4)
Silver, acrylic, wood, and silicone aren’t viewed as highly, since they may cause allergic reactions, or they might only be suited for temporary wear. (4) (5)
The areas of the body that people choose to get pierced are varied, and some of them may make a piercing newbie cringe.
Most painful areas:
According to Healthline, the most painful areas to pierce are, understandably, the genitals, nipples, and septum. This will, however, depend on your pain tolerance.
How to prepare
If you’re a spontaneous person who acts upon any and every whim, you may be tempted to get pierced at a shopping center after a few cocktails with your friends, without any advanced planning. These kinds of retail/accessory shops pose their own potential risks, but undergoing a bodily alteration without proper preparation, in general, may prove riskier than anticipated.
Recommendations for pre-piercing care include:
- Eat well (something nutritious) in order to keep your blood sugar levels steady, otherwise, dizziness or fainting may occur if your stomach is empty.
- Stay hydrated (water).
- Avoid drinking alcohol before and after as this causes your blood to thin and means you’ll bleed for a longer period of time.
- Get a good night’s sleep.
- Ensure you have proper identification.
- Ensure you’re of age.
- Be mindful of your hair, makeup, clothing, and general hygiene depending on the location of the piercing.
- Practice hair removal processes (if normally done) at least 48 hours beforehand, as these won’t feel comfortable to undergo for a few weeks.
- Confirm with your doctor that any medications you’re on won’t affect the process.
- If suffering any anxiety, bringing along a friend may ease nerves.
- Wait at least three months if you’ve recently given birth/been pregnant.
(5) (6) (7) (8)
It’s vital to follow aftercare guidelines, otherwise, you may risk infection. Initial bleeding is expected as well as some discoloration, secretion, and itching during the healing process. Avoiding swimming, as well as baths, is recommended to avoid introducing unwanted bacteria. Cleaning solutions such as sterile saline (wound wash) should be used daily to clean the area. (9)
Exercise and showers are acceptable; however, strenuous activities should be avoided depending on the area. Ensuring your clothing and bedding are clean, and that you’re not lying directly on your new piercing, are both important.
Risks/when to seek medical help
Risks may include bacterial infection, abscesses, sepsis, and blood poisoning if your new piercing is not cared for correctly. Some people may also have allergic reactions. Keep an eye out for high fevers, chills, abnormal swelling, and bleeding so that you may seek out medical attention in a timely manner if needed. Consulting with your doctor even before you undergo the modification may be wise in order to avoid any issues. (10)
Body piercings can be an exciting and unique addition to your person. You should, however, not take the decision lightly. Taking a look at some different studios, in person or online, before choosing one, as well as confirming you’re of age with appropriate identification, is vital. It’s also essential to properly prepare your body and mind and to take the appropriate steps afterward to ensure complete healing.
- “A Historical Look at Body Piercings”, Source: https://www.kolopiercing.com/blog/a-historical-look-at-body-piercings/
- “Piercing: A Cultural History Of Holes”, Source: https://allthatsinteresting.com/history-of-piercing
- “Which areas of your body are pierced?”, Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/722670/pierced-body-parts-of-americans/
- “The Best (And Worst) Materials For Your Body Piercing”, Source: https://blog.freshtrends.com/best-body-jewelry-materials/
- “Beginner’s Guide to Piercing: From Fashion to Fetish”, Source: http://berlinlogs.com/2013/07/beginners-guide-to-body-piercing-from.html
- “11 things to know before you get a piercing”, Source: https://www.insider.com/what-to-know-before-getting-a-piercing-2018-8
- “What To Do Before Getting Pierced”, Source: https://www.piercinghq.com.au/before-getting-pierced/
- “What to do before your piercing appointment”, Source: http://www.thestudiotattoos.com/before-piercing
- “Suggested Aftercare For Body Piercings”, Source: https://safepiercing.org/aftercare/
- “Getting Tattooed or Pierced”, Source: https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care-tattoos-piercings