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30th Jun 2012

Body Piercing 101

Thinking of going under the needle and getting a piercing? Here's a few tips and tricks to help you on your way...

You may not think it to look at me, but I have pretty much had every part of my body pierced at some point in time. Yes, even that part. And while you’re playing the guessing game, yes, I’ve had that other part pierced too.

Over the years however, I slowly parted ways with my metal. Now all I have left is my labret piercing, which, coincidentally, was also the very first piercing I ever got.

I can still remember how nervous I was when I ventured into the piercing studio for the first time. I was sixteen and had never even had my ears pierced, so it was kind of a big deal for me. But, like tattoos, once you get your first one, you’re completely hooked.

And thus began a few years of adding holes to my body (much to the dismay of my parents).

If you’re considering diving into the world of body piercing, here are just a few tips and tricks to help you on your way…

1. Choose your method wisely: When we think of body piercing, our mind immediately fills with images of huge needles. Yes, huge needles are a part of it but there’s a reason why. Getting pierced by a huge needle is MUCH safer than toddling into a jewellers and asking them to pierce your ear with a gun.

Piercing guns cannot be sterilised and they tend to cause excessive trauma by shoving the jewellery through the hole rather than gently gliding it in. Plus, the standard jewellery used in a piercing gun is almost always the wrong size, which doesn’t allow for any post-piercing swelling to occur.

Most reputable piercing parlours will only pierce you with a needle because it is more hygienic and far safer. If a body piercer is trying to pierce your nose or your tongue with a gun, then you need to get out of there as quickly as possible.

2. During the piercing: Keep calm. The best thing about body piercing is that it is quick and, unless you’re getting cartilage pierced, relatively pain-free. It happens so quickly, your body doesn’t have a chance to register the pain. You may feel a quick sting and a tiny amount of pain when the jewellery goes in, but it is not nearly as traumatic as people think.

It always helps to take a few deep breaths and to exhale as the needle goes in – this will help distract you from the sensation.

3. Embrace the sea salt soak: After you get your piercing, you’ll be advised to clean it with various types of lotions and potions until it settles. Hands down, the best thing you can do for yourself is to soak your piercing in warm water with a bit of sea salt in it. This is the easiest way to keep infection at bay.

Get a cotton wool pad and soak it in the sea salt mixture, then apply it to your piercing. Do this every single day, as required. It’ll stop any itching, oozing or throbbing. Just make sure you use SEA salt and not table salt.

4. Don’t touch it: Piercings are temperamental things and the more you tug it, touch it and knock off it, the more aggravated it will get. I know the temptation to touch it is always strong, but abstain. Your new metal with thank you.

The best thing about piercings is the fact that they can hold the same weight of meaning as a tattoo, but, unlike a tattoo, they are temporary. So if you find yourself getting bored of your metal, all you need to do is take it out. Problem solved.