Q) I want to get _______ pierced. Will it hurt? A) It all depends on your pain tolerance. Something that is painful to one person, may not be painful at all to another. Here is a list I found that might give some insight (but like I said, everyone is different). This is from least painful to most painful: 1. Eyebrow 2. Earlobe 3. Tongue 4. Navel 5. Nostril 6. Labret/Lip 7. Female Nipple 8. Cartilage Piercings 9. Male nipple 10. Genitals When you consider how painful something might be, remember that there is a needle involved and it’s going to be going through your skin. So chances are you will feel it. But it’s over in a matter of seconds, so if you want a piercing bad enough, don’t let the possibility of pain deter you! Q) How do I care for my new piercing? A) The shop where you got your piercing should provide you with instructions. I suggest listening to them. If you did not receive any instructions, here is one idea. This is how I personally heal my piercings. Remember that everyone will have their own method and opinion. ORAL: *Sucking on ice will help your tongue feel better and help with the swelling. *Drink PLENTY of water *Rinse with a sea-salt solution (1/4 teaspoon salt to 1 cup of warm water). Do this after you drink, eat, or smoke. *Don’t play with your piercing, leave it alone and let it heal. *Try to stay away from spicy and hot food. That will NOT feel good. BODY: *Always wash your hands with antibacterial soap before EVER touching your new piercing. *Check the barbell for tightness *Change your pillowcases/sheets often *Soak your piercing 2-4 times per day for about 10 minutes each time. Use the sea salt solution that I listed above. *Don’t play with your piercing or pick at the crust that forms around the piercing (this will fall off on it’s own during a shower usually). Q) Why does a piercing get rejected? A) Given the choice, your body doesn’t want foreign objects inside itself, and that includes piercings. It is easier for your body to push the piercing out than it is for your body to heal a fistula (skin tunnel) around it. This is especially true for surface piercings. The following have a higher risk of rejection: Ear (cartilage in particular), eyebrow, nipples, surface piercings, navel, genital. Q) How long does it take for a piercing to heal? A) Healing time depends on which body part you’re getting pierced as some parts heal faster than others. Also, everyone heals differently. The navel is an area that heals slowly because it’s right where your body twists and turns which slows the healing process. It also doesn’t get much circulation because it is covered much of the time. Some general healing times: Ear lobe: 6-8 weeks Cartilage: 4-8 months Eyebrow: 6-8 weeks Nostril: 3-4 months Septum: 6-8 months Labret: 2-3 months Tongue: 4-6 weeks Nipple: 4-6 months Navel: 6-12 months Genitals: 6 weeks – 6 months Lastly, the better you care for the piercing, the quicker it will heal. Q) What should I look for in a good piercing studio? A) Do your research! Google is your friend. When you do go in, make sure the place is clean. A studio should have a separate room where nothing else is done but piercings. This is because the most common cause of infection is simple exposure to germs. The room has to be clean, and always look for an autoclave (wet steam sterilization unit that is to be used to clean and sterilize all tools and equipment used during piercing). You should be pierced with single-use, disposable needles that are pre-wrapped. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Ask how long the piercer has been doing his job. Has he gone through an apprenticeship program? How long did they train for, and where? You can also look for a certificate of membership in a professional society such as the Association of Professional Piercers. This is your body and you have the right to ask these things. Don’t be shy. There are many sketchy studios out there, and people doing work that haven’t been properly trained. I have seen some of the damage that has been done. Q) What kind of jewelry should a piercing be done with? A) You should be pierced with a high quality metal that won’t react with your body chemistry to create an allergic reaction or contaminate the open wound (which is what a piercing is). Don’t use cheap jewelry, this is not the time to be frugal. The best metals to use are titanium or surgical steel, both of which are essentially inert and won’t react with your body. Gold is sometimes used, but the nickel content could create an allergic reaction in some people. Q) What is a keloid? A) These are usually caused by excess scar tissue growth formed as a callous by the body to protect the piercing from uncomfortable friction. They are difficult to get rid of so it is best to avoid circumstances that encourage keloid development. Which could be due to: * Clothing pushing on the piercing * Sleeping on the jewellery * Over stretching the piercing * Shampoo, soap or shower gel * Poor placement of the piercing * Inappropriate jewellery. Also, if you knock a piercing hard, during the healing process, you are more likely to get a keloid. Removing the jewellery at the start of keloid formation and allowing the piercing to heal will often get rid of the keloid. Removal of the jewellery is not always necessary. Ideas on how to heal it: Hydrogen Peroxide 6% 20 vol. - Apply this to the piercing twice a day using a cotton bud. Leave it to fizz for a minute and then wipe off. It will take around a week to notice any difference. Vitamin E Oil - Put Vitamin E oil on the piercing and leave for 10 minutes. Then rinse off. Do this once a day. Tea Tree Oil - This can be a very effective natural alternative but it can be drying and too strong, even when diluted. Apply a small amount to the piercing and rotate the jewellery. Do not rinse off. Use no more than once a day. Hydrogen Peroxide 6% 20 vol. (Oral Piercings) - Apply this to the bump twice a day using a cotton bud. Leave it to fizz for a minute and then wipe off. It will take around a week to notice any difference. Anbesol (Oral Piercings) - Put a drop of Anbesol directly on the bump. This can also have a numbing effect and can provide temporary pain relief for any oral piercing. See packet for instructions on how to use. Aspirin (Oral Piercings - Only if you are not allergic to Aspirin. Wet a small piece of Aspirin and place it directly on the bump for 10 - 15 minutes. This will literally burn the bump off. This method is very strong so DO NOT use it more than once a day, three times a week. If your tongue begins to feel sore stop trying this method. Start with the mildest method first and only try the stronger methods as a last resort.