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You are here Home > Beauty and Grooming > Articles
  BODY PIERCING - by Editor
Planning to go for body piercing? Read about the procedures, the healing and the criteria for choosing a piercer.


Body piercing has been widely popularised by pop stars and artists. It has become a distinctive part of today's youth culture. However, even older people can go for it to infuse some excitement into their appearance. Body piercing is the piercing of a body part to insert an ornamental stud or ring. Depending on the part you pierce, the effect can border from aesthetic to outrageous.

Here is a list of some of the places where you can be pierced and the time it will take for the wound to heal:

  • Beauty mark (a mole generally at the corner of the lip): 8 – 10 weeks
  • Ear cartilage: 6 – 12 months
  • Ear lobes: 6 – 8 weeks
  • Eyebrow: 4 – 6 weeks
  • Lip/Labret: 4 – 10 weeks
  • Nostril: 4 – 8 weeks
  • Tongue: 4 – 6 weeks
  • Female Nipples: 4 – 12 months
  • Male Nipples: 2 – 4 months
  • Navel piercing: 6 – 12 months
  • Neck: 6 – 12 months
It is important to note that for piercing a minor, a parent or legal guardian must be present to sign a consent form. There are restrictions with regard to where the minor can be pierced. These guidelines are provided by the Association of Professional Piercers.


Procedures

The most common method involves using a hollow medical needle. A hole is made in the part to be pierced, using the needle. Without removing the needle, the piece of jewellery is pushed through the opening, following the needle. There is no removal of flesh. The needle cuts a C-shaped slit and the hole is held open in the shape of the cross section of the needle. The needle can be the same gauge as the initial jewellery or larger, depending on the place to be pierced.

There are other ways of piercing. Some European piercers use the indwelling cannula method. The only difference here is that the needle contains a cannula, a hollow plastic tube that keeps the jewellery from slipping during insertion. It may also help in preventing irritation in the pierced area. For large-gauge ear piercings, the scalpelling method may be used. A medical scalpel is used to make a slit allowing jewellery of larger gauge. It is generally used on earlobes. A dermal punch may be used to remove both skin and cartilage, such as in upper ear piercings. Another instrument used is a piercing gun. However, its use is not endorsed by most professional body piercers as it results in longer healing time, cartilage bumps (hypodermic scarring), and increased discomfort. This is because the piercing artist applies great force with a quite blunt stud earring to make the piercing. In addition, these instruments cannot be autoclaved.

Once the piercing procedures are complete, the artist will insert a small piece of jewellery into the opening. The choice of jewellery is according to the part of the anatomy. Once the wound has healed, you can remove the jewellery and opt for another one of a similar size.


Choosing a Piercer

Choosing a professional piercer to suit your needs is imperative to ensure a safe and trouble-free body piercing experience. The Association of Professional Piercers has laid down some guidelines:

The piercing studio should be equipped with a good autoclave. An autoclave uses a combination of steam and pressure to sterilise the piercing jewellery, tools, and other equipment. A spore test or biological indicators evaluate the autoclave's efficiency. Ask to see the latest test reports and ensure that it can kill the most resistant of viruses such as HIV and Hepatitis.

Try to be present during the setting-up of the piercing room. The piercer should wash and glove their hands. Equipment should be in individual sterile packages. The needle that the piercer uses on you should not be soaked in liquid. All needles should be disposed off in a sharps container after use. Aftercare guidelines should be provided in writing and include instructions for abstinence from harsh soaps or hydrogen peroxide.

The studio should be clean and orderly. Take a look at their piercing portfolio. The accuracy of piercings should give you a good idea of the piercer's competence.


Aftercare

Your piercing studio should give you detailed aftercare guidelines as this is vital to avoiding irritations and reactions. Here are some brief pointers:

  • Do not touch the piercing or the area around it until it has healed. Your hands accumulate a lot of dirt and these can cause the healing area to get infected. In addition, the area may be sore.
  • The Association of Professional Piercers advocates that taking Vitamin C and Zinc may promote healing.
  • You may apply a very mild, saline soak to the piercing. This will aid healing and prevent infection by removing bacteria from the area.
  • A mild liquid soap is generally used to wash the pierced region, followed by rinsing. Ask your piercer for specific products available. Do not wash more than once or twice a day.
  • Abstain from use of hydrogen peroxide or alcohol in this area as they are too harsh.
  • Even antibiotic creams, gels and ointments are better kept away from pierced areas. They act as a web for dirt and germs, and block oxygen supply to the wound.
As with all cosmetic procedures, there are risks involved in body piercing as well. But with a professional piercer and the right procedures, these can be minimised. After all, earrings and nose rings do add to your beauty in a unique way!


Do you approve of body piercings other than earrings? Would you go for it? Do your teenagers hanker to get pierced? Do you think it looks fashionable? To share your views and experiences, click here.

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Feedback on article
Name: Nathni
City:   mumbai
Comments:   i just got my navel studded. It´s a silver drop and makes me look sxy in a room full of teenagers (I am 34). The odd thing was the mild fever I felt for a few hours after. Wonder why that happens though I been told it does.
Name: bharadkar
City:   mumbai
Comments:   My 18 year old wated this thing done to her bodyshe doesn´t want traditnal ear piercing just this thing on her neck I dont understand. What do you get with this?
Name: pronoy
City:   mumbai
Comments:   I was planning to get 4 rings in my earlobes. But after reading your article, I have changed my mind. Its too much information that really scares me.
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City:   mumbai
Comments:   Infection alert guys! those who plan to do this thing should payattention to the advice on antibiotics! my sister she didn´t take care and her ear turend black in color
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City:   Delhi
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