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Everything You Need to Know About Body Piercings

Posted by Jessy L. on 19th Apr 2023

Everything You Need to Know About Body Piercings

Everything You Need to Know About Body Piercings

Are you looking to get your first body piercing?

Body art has always been a symbol of beauty and a form of self-expression. Body art in different cultures can symbolize beauty, status, and even power. Now, it's a widespread practice around the world, from tattoos to body piercings.

Whether you're looking for a new look or want to add to your canvas, body piercings are an exciting concept. There are endless possibilities and various body piercing jewelry that matches your style. However, for first-timers, it can be a daunting experience.

If you're getting a body piercing for the first time, this is the article for you. This article covers what you need to know about body piercings, from their types to aftercare. Read on to discover more and book an appointment with a trusted piercer.

Types of Body Piercings

Body piercings go much further back in history than most may think. The earliest records originate from the 9th century BC in Nimrud, Iraq. They believed that piercings served a spiritual purpose, warding off bad spirits.

In the ancient Roman empire, warriors would pierce their nipples as a symbol of masculinity. Indian Americans, Aztecs, and Mayans believed that piercing their tongues would bring them closer to God. There are as many reasons as to why people get pierced to the different types.

To get started, here are the different types of body piercings.

Ear Piercings

The most traditional place to get an ear piercing is in the earlobe. Many cultures allow their babies to get ear piercings, but in America, the safe age is around two months. Earlobe piercings heal within 6-12 months and are often administered with a gun.

However, there are plenty more areas in the ear that you can get pierced. Each placement can show off a different style or vibe. Here are some of the different ear piercings you can get.

Anti-Tragus Piercing

You can find the anti-tragus opposite of your earlobe, sitting next to your ear canal. This type of piercing can take between 8-16 months to heal completely.

Auricle Piercing

The Auricle is a section of your ear that sits between the earlobe and your helix. It requires daily cleaning and can take between 3-9 months to heal.

Conch Piercing

This part of the ear gets its name from its resemblance to a conch shell. You can find this right at the center of the lobe and the top of your ear, next to the ear canal. You can opt for either an inner conch piercing or an outer one.

If you get an outer conch piercing, your piercing will lie between the helix and the antihelix. It should sit on the flattened part of your ear. An inner helix piercing will sit at the center of your ear, right next to the ear canal on the cup shape part of your ear.

Constellation Piercing

Not your first time getting an ear piercing? Put some structure into your piercings to create a cluster resembling a constellation.

Daith Piercing

Daith piercings are rings that pass through your ear's innermost cartilage fold. Some people claim that this can help with migraines.

Helix Piercing

The Helix piercing is also known as a cartilage piercing. Some veterans say that this is the most painful and can take a while to heal. You can opt for a double helix piercing or a forward helix piercing.

Industrial Piercing

Industrial piercing has many names, like the bar, scaffold, and industrial piercing. This is a two-in-one piercing, as you need to connect to pierced holes with a piece of jewelry. The is a diagonal piercing that is usually located on your ear's upper cartilage.

Rook Piercing

Rook piercings sit on the top portion of your ear or the antihelix. This is the ridge on top of the tragus between your outer and inner conch.

Snug Piercing

Snug piercings sit on top of the anti-tragus on the inner portion of your ear's cartilage. It goes through the antihelix but strays a little further away from the middle of your cartilage.

Tragus Piercing

The tragus is a part of your cartilage located in front of the opening of your ear canal. Tragus piercings can take anywhere between 6-12 months to heal completely.

Facial Piercings

Facial piercings are perfect for people looking for an edgier look. Of all facial piercings, lip and eyebrow piercings are the most popular. If you have dimples, you can accentuate this feature with cheek or dimple piercings.

Here are other interesting facial piercings to look into:

Anti-Eyebrow Piercing

Also known as cheekbone piercings, this sits below the eyebrow or above the cheekbone. It's classified under surface piercings, and you may opt to have it horizontal or vertical.

Ashley Piercing

Ashley piercings go through your lower lip. The gauge can range between 14 and 16.

Bridge Piercing

Bridge Piercings are also known as Erl piercings. This sits right between the eyes on the skin of your nose's bridge. While it is a surface piercing, there's a higher chance of scarring or rejection.

Medusa Piercing

Also known as a Jestrum piercing, this is an upper lip piercing. It sits on the center of the lip, below your septum. You may also opt for a Philtrum piercing, which features one hole in your upper lip.

Tongue Piercings

If you're looking for something a little more discreet, you may want a tongue piercing. They're unassuming, but it can be a great surprise to new people you meet. A basic tongue piercing is a vertical piece that goes through the center of your tongue.

However, did you know that there are plenty of other types of tongue piercings? Here are some of them.

Smiley Piercing and Frowny Piercing

This piercing goes through the frenulum of your upper lip. You can find the frenulum on the underside area of your upper lip. The frowny piercing is the opposite, which goes through your lower lip frenulum.

Uvula Piercing

Are you a decorated piercing veteran looking for a challenge? You may take an interest in a uvula piercing. However, beware that this piercing has a high rejection rate due to the gag reflex.

Web Piercing

When you lift your tongue, you'll see a webbed flap of flesh where the piercing will go. Piercings that go here often come in the form of a curved barbell.

Horizontal Tongue Piercing

Horizontal tongue piercings can come in two different forms, depending on your preference. You can get a snake eyes piercing, which is a piercing that goes through the tip of the tongue. You may opt to upgrade it to a venom piercing.

Nose Piercings

Nose piercings are another great way to upgrade your aesthetic to an edgier vibe. Most people opt for a nose ring or a stud, but you have more options to choose from. Here are some of them:

Septril Piercing

A septril piercing is unique and not as common as other nose piercing types. Septril piercings are ideal for those with upturned or bigger noses. This piercing may also require a previous septum piercing for quicker healing.

Septril piercings sit right at the center of your septum, between your nostrils. If you can't decide between subtle and badass, this piercing offers the best of both worlds.

Third Eye Piercing

The third eye piercing is a dermal piercing that sits between your nose bridge and forehead. This piercing is a little trickier to administer because there's not much skin to work with.

High Nostril Piercing

High nostril piercings are similar to traditional nostril piercings. They only sit higher on the nasal bridge. Depending on the curvature and general shape of your nose, your piercer may use a different placement strategy.

Nostril Piercing

A nostril piercing is the most common nose piercings you'll see around. It also offers the most jewelry options.

Nasallang Piercing

If you're looking for a challenge, consider the nasallang piercing. This is a tri-nasal piercing that requires a barbell to connect both nostrils and the septum. This will clamp your nose but will look like two separate studs on each nostril.

Rhino Piercing

A rhino piercing is similar to a third eye and was first seen in South American and African cultures. It goes through the bottom center of your septum then emerges on the tip of your nose.

Septum Piercing

Another beginner-friendly and common nose piercing is the septum piercing. The piercing goes through the thin membrane between the tip of the nose and the septum. It's also one of the more versatile piercings when it comes to jewelry.

Surface Piercings

The body is a large canvas, and the most popular surface piercings are naval piercings. Keep in mind that the body takes longer to heal than your facial skin.

Belly button piercings have long been trending in the fashion world, but you don't have to limit yourself to this. You may also try nipple piercings or sternum piercings.

Types of Body Piercing Jewelry

Your body piercing jewelry can come in different designs, patterns, and styles. Some may also have gemstones. However, the most basic kind of jewelry ranges from stainless steel, titanium, and gold.

Stainless steel is the most common and accessible body piercing jewelry. This is the safest bet as it's least likely to produce a skin infection.

People often steer away from gold as it's prone to wearing down and chipping. It also contains nickel, which, as mentioned prior, can cause irritation if you have a nickel allergy.

You may also opt for titanium jewelry for a new piercing. If you decide to get a titanium piercing, ensure to clean and polish it often. This will help you reduce its porosity.

How to Choose an Artist and a Studio

The thought of getting a new piercing can be riveting for newbies and veterans alike. However, as with any body modification procedure, it's crucial to find the right person to do it. Here are some tips for finding good body piercing shops you can trust.

Don't Pick the First Studio You Find

Take the time to look through different body piercing studios in your area. Many tattoo shops also offer body piercings in their services. So, if you have a trusted tattoo artist, ask if they also do piercings.

When you're in the studio, prioritize checking cleanliness. Look at the walls, floors, ceiling, and the piercer's workstation. Ensure that everything is clean and in proper order.

This shows that your piercer has good professionalism and guarantees safe procedures. It also helps to know if the piercing artist uses an autoclave for their procedures. Ask for their spore test results to make sure that any tools used in the studio get a regular cleaning.

A good body piercing studio must have sterilized piercing tools and needles. Each needle must also come in individual sterilized packaging. If a studio uses a piercing gun, turn and run the other way!

When compared to piercing guns, needles are much safer and even less painful. Some states have banned piercing guns because they don't classify them as sterile disposable equipment.

Certifications and Business License

Any reputable and established body piercing shop should have a license to operate. This means that the shop has undergone the necessary procedures to pass inspections. Body piercing also requires a special set of skills and artistry, so look for a certification.

They may not need formal education, but you need to ensure they have enough training and experience. This can include various health certifications because of the nature of body piercing. Some states have certain guidelines when it comes to setting up body piercing shops.

Look into your state's requirements to know what to look for.

Most require first-aid and CPR training through YMCA or Red Cross. Your piercer also must have proper training with bloodborne pathogens by the OSHA. This can also come from Red Cross or other OSHA-approved organizations.

Referrals and Recommendations

If you have a friend, family member, or an acquaintance with piercings, ask for a referral. Word-of-mouth is often the most reliable source of information, especially if it's from someone you know. This is a guarantee of good experience with a professional piercer.

They can also help you identify which shops to avoid, so you don't make the same mistakes. Again, if you get several referrals, don't hesitate to take your time.

Check Their Portfolio and Reviews

Most established body art shops have websites and social media pages. If you're canvassing for a body piercer online, don't neglect to check out these pages. Website design can often say a lot about a business and its performance.

Look for the artist's portfolio to see piercings they've done in the past. If you're in the shop, they may have a binder of pictures to show you. Determine if the piercings are well-placed, especially examples of the piercing you'd like to get.

A great and easy way to determine the piercer's skill is to look at their lobe piercings. As one of the most basic and common piercings, any artist should get this right. If the lobe piercings don't look even, it may be best to look elsewhere.

If you're on the artist's website, check out their reviews. Good reviews mean that you should have nothing to worry about.

However, if there are bad ones, it wouldn't hurt to look at how the artist responds. Looking at responses can give you a good idea about the artist's character and principles.

The Artist's Skills and Character

When visiting a studio or consulting online, take the time to talk to an artist. Getting a body piercing can be a daunting experience, but you must never feel intimidated when you walk in. You must always feel comfortable and safe whenever you walk into a studio.

A body piercer must also have good interpersonal skills. Body piercers encounter all types of clients with various backgrounds. If a body piercer seems hard to communicate with, they may not be the right one for you.

Any person looking to get a piercing done must be able to communicate their ideas. An artist must also have great accuracy. Exceptional attention to detail will ensure that you don't get unwanted needles in the wrong places.

Risks Associated With Body Piercings

Piercings have been growing in popularity and becoming a more accepted practice. Various state regulations and guidelines have made it safer and more accessible to the public. Even so, it's best to understand the risks associated with body piercings.

The nature of piercings means that your body will come into contact with foreign objects. The body piercer will use a needle to puncture a hole in your body then insert jewelry in it. If your artist doesn't know what they're doing, you may feel adverse side effects.


The most common risk of getting a body piercing is a bacterial infection. This is why it's vital to know that your body piercer is using sterile equipment. Some people can develop serious side effects like an abscess around their piercing.

If left alone, it can worsen and result in blood poisoning or sepsis. Sepsis is the result of an infection and can lead to organ failure or even death.

Using contaminated piercing equipment can open more possibilities of risk. Tetanus and hepatitis are possible if you're not up to date on immunizations.

Oral Trauma

Tooth fractures and chips can happen as a result of a tongue piercing. Some jewelry may also damage the enamel or cause gum issues. There is also the risk of swallowing your jewelry by accident if it dislodges on its own.

More severe complications may require oral surgery to save the teeth. Infection can make it difficult to swallow, chew, or talk. You may also experience a swollen throat.

Allergic Reactions

Nickel allergies are much more common than some may think. However, if you get a piercing, it can be a serious risk. Be tactful with your piercings and ensure to avoid any jewelry containing nickel.

At best, you may only need to remove the jewelry piece and allow it to close. If you feel an allergy coming on, take the jewelry piece out immediately and use a steroid cream. Keep in mind that this kind of reaction can happen with cheap and poor-quality jewelry.

Medical Conditions Can Affect Your Piercing

The chances of getting an infected piercing are higher if you have certain medical conditions. This includes a bloodborne virus, diabetes, and other clotting or bleeding disorders. People who are pregnant, anemic, or who smoke often carry the same risks.

If you want to get a piercing, talk it out with your doctor first. Your body may end up rejecting the piercing, which will result in tears and scars. It's also best to talk with your piercer about any metal or latex allergies before the procedure.

Other Jewelry-Related Health Risks

No matter what kind of piercing you get, your jewelry must be completely clean and new. It must also be the right size for the kind of piercing you. Using jewelry that is too big for the intended procedure can cause tissue damage and big scars.

Too small, and you risk cutting or breaking the skin. Wearing heavy jewelry on your ear can elongate and deform your earlobe. Certain body piercings are also more prone to getting caught on various clothing.

This may include nose piercings and facial piercings to naval piercings. If you're lucky, you won't experience infection and will only need to deal with mild irritation. Even then, it can delay your healing and cause many other issues with your piercing.

Proper Body Piercing Care

Any body piercing or modification procedure carries its own risk. However, you can avoid it all with proper aftercare practices. One great tip to prevent tissue damage is never to let a piercer use a gun on you.

At most, piercing artists can only use a piercing gun for the earlobe. If anyone attempts to use a piercing gun, ask for a needle instead. A piercing gun uses pressure to force an earring through a body part.

This much pressure can cause more tissue damage than needed for a piercing. Needles are much more sterile and offer more control over accuracy. Here are some other tips on caring for your body piercings.

How to Prevent Infections

After a workout, don't allow sweat to sit around your piercing. Rinse the piercing immediately afterward to keep the hole and the jewelry clean. Swimming, lotion, and tanning are best avoided after a fresh piercing.

Some piercings may require special care or attention. For example, if you have a lip or tongue piercing, avoid oral sexual contact.

Do not let anyone kiss, touch, or lick your piercing while it's healing. Be wary of eating spicy foods right after getting an oral piercing.

After a navel piercing, it's best to avoid wearing belts and other tight clothing. If you have glasses and have recently gotten an ear piercing, clean your glasses often. If you want to spritz up your hair with some hairspray, cover your ear piercing with a tissue or your hand.

How to Clean a New Piercing

For the first month, we recommend cleaning your piercing at least twice a day. After that, you can settle for cleaning at least once a day for the remainder of the piercing's life. Neglecting to do so can cause skin cell and bacteria build-up, which can cause issues while healing.

In some cases, an infection may arise even after a piercing has healed. Opt to clean your piercing whenever you take a shower, so you don't forget.

Before you touch your piercing, first ensure that your hands are clean. Any form of bacteria can aggravate a healing piercing. Rinse the area and the jewelry with warm water to get rid of dirt and debris.

Hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, and harsh soaps can irritate a new piercing. When cleaning, opt for a mix of warm water and mild soap instead. It also helps to rotate your piercing a few times throughout the day to keep the hole open.

Your body piercer may also recommend getting a sea-salt piercing cleanser. You can find this at your local department store, or your piercer may offer it in-shop. It's best to use a paper towel or napkins instead of a towel on your piercing.

If your piercing has not yet completely healed, avoid anti-ornament jewelry. Your piercing needs to breathe, and this type of jewelry can prevent it from getting that air.

We also recommend using petroleum jelly like Vaseline around the opening of the piercing. This allows you to prevent crusting and minimize scabs.

Additional Tips to Help a Body Piercing Heal

While it may seem more helpful, it's best to avoid cleaning your piercing more than the suggested amount. Overcleaning can do more harm than good and aggravate the sensitive area. It can slow down healing and give you more problems to deal with.

Taking multivitamins can help your body boost the healing process. Get a multivitamin that contains vitamin C and Zinc for best results. Ensure also to follow a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Drug abuse, stress, and various illnesses can make it harder for your piercing to clean. Avoid sleeping with your pet while your new piercing is healing. You don't want your piercing to get infected while you're sleeping.

If you're pregnant, it's best to wait three months after delivery or pregnancy before you get a piercing. This allows your body to stabilize and reach a normal hormonal equilibrium to prepare for the physical trauma.

When to See a Doctor

If you notice signs of an infection or your piercing is starting to bother you, don't hesitate to see a doctor. Some of these signs include redness, pain, tenderness, pus, or itching.

You will need oral or topical antibiotics to prevent an infection from getting worse. Your doctor may also administer cortisone injections for allergic reactions. Certain piercing placements are prone to scarring and keloids.

If you notice any bumps, don't wait for the area to worsen. It's better to contact a professional to address the issue immediately.

What to Expect During Your First Piercing

After finding a trusted piercing shop and booking an appointment, it's time to mark it on your calendar and prepare for the day. If you're getting a surface piercing, ensure to wear loose and comfortable clothing.

Body piercers always suggest having something to eat before you get your piercing. This helps you keep your blood sugar steady so you can make it through the process. Low blood sugar levels can result in dizziness and even fainting, which can be traumatizing for a beginner.

If you're not yet of legal age, you may need to bring a parent or a guardian. If you are, it won't hurt to bring an ID with you in case they check.

Your body piercer may also ask you to come a little earlier for your appointment so you can choose your desired jewelry. The piercer will then sterilize it, which can take up to ten minutes.

Your body piercer will clean the area of the placement and mark where they think is best for your anatomy. They will then check in with you for approval and any final adjustments. The actual piercing is fast and may not take longer than a minute.

Pain varies from person to person, so even if it's your first time, you might not feel anything at all. Pain and slight irritation are normal for the first few weeks of your new piercing. Crust, mild itching, and a white or yellow fluid are part of the healing process.

A Beginner's Guide to Body Piercings

Here's everything you need to know about getting body piercings. While it can be a thrilling experience, it's always best to put your safety first and know what to expect. With the right aftercare, you can enjoy your new body piercing with no problems.

Are you interested in finding unique pieces of body piercing jewelry? That's where we come in. Contact us today to find unique pieces that will help you bring out your style!

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