When I get a new piercing, my family usually responds to it with mild to extreme distaste. After my latest, my grandmother sadly said, “You have a new…thing in your face.” Sorry to bring shame upon the family, Oma, but as the kids say: YOLO! Piercings are a fun and creative way of expressing yourself, and I’m not stopping anytime soon. (In case you were wondering what my credentials are, I’ve got three cartilage piercings, six ear piercings, a nose piercing, and a center labret—lip– piercing). There are, however, some basic rules, and if you’re not ready to follow them, a piercing probably isn’t the best idea for you. So put down that piercing gun, take a deep breath, and let’s figure out whether you should really do this or not.
Are you responsible enough to let it heal properly?
You may think that it’s really wild and free-spirited of you to get your eyebrow pierced one weekend with your friends to celebrate the end of summer, but a few weeks later when you’re out fifty bucks and the only thing you’ve got to show for it is a crusty infection stuck in your eyebrows, it won’t seem quite so appealing. Piercings are more than just a fashion statement; they’re a body modification, and that means that you need to treat them well. Think about it: you’re stabbing yourself and then sticking some metal through it. Bodies don’t generally like that. Healing times and general care are different for every piercing, but just be sure to clean it with some antibacterial soap, rinse it regularly, usually with a sea salt mixture, and keep other products like makeup away from it. Follow the instructions of your piercer first and foremost; they’ve been doing this for a long time, hopefully, and they know what’s best. And if you start seeing any signs of infection, your body rejects the piercing, or it hurts past the designated healing time, don’t be afraid to go back to your piercer and ask them for help!
Are you being pierced by someone safe?
I cannot stress enough how important it is to go to a piercing shop that you trust. I know Lindsey Lohan made at-home (or rather, at-camp) piercing look like a breeze, but look where she ended up. Go somewhere safe!
Make sure that your piercer has a permit, sets up the supplies in front of you, and has a sanitary workplace with sterile tools. If anything makes you uncomfortable about the experience, leave; there are plenty of other people out there, and you deserve to be safe. One of the best ways of doing research about potential shops is by reading reviews on sites like Yelp. Check to make sure that the reviews are recent and that the reviewer had the same procedure done as you, and don’t be afraid to do some digging via search engine if reviews are hard to find. Every place I’ve been to for a tattoo or piercing has had an online presence. If yours doesn’t, that might be a warning sign. And for god’s sake, don’t let anyone near you with a piercing gun unless they’re doing a simple ear piercing.
Will it negatively affect your body?
There are some piercings that are more risky than others. I recently got my lip pierced, which comes with a risk of gum and enamel damage, which I had researched thoroughly before getting it done. Any oral piercings, especially tongue piercings, come with these risks, as well as the risk of chipping a tooth. If you’re prone to keloid scars, piercings may aggravate this. Clitoral piercings, if done wrong, may cause a loss of sensation in the area, and industrial bar piercings are extremely prone to rejection if placed incorrectly. None of this should necessarily scare you away from piercings, but you should definitely be making an informed decision when you get one. If you’re squeamish about the risks, maybe opt for a more benign piercing. Whatever you get, make sure that you know the potential side effects before you commit; this includes short-term side effects like discomfort, swelling, and any difficulty maneuvering around the area, too.
Look, I’m not trying to be a mom here. I have eleven piercings, and I’m happy with all of them. I just want you to be equally happy! So go out there, get some new holes in your body, and rock that piercing– but safely. I know, I know– it’s not nearly as cool when I put it that way. But neither is pus.
Do you have any piercings? Have any other tips? Leave them in the comments!
Header image courtesy of Normal Activities.