Body piercings are not as permanent as tattoos, so the commitment isn't as great. There are many different types to choose from. There are different pain levels, risks, and healing difficulties with each one. Knowing these factors can help you to make the right decision when thinking of getting pierced.
Types of Piercings
These guides will serve as a source of information for some of the more well-known piercings. It will inform you of where they are located, what they look like, what kinds of jewelry are best, and the expected healing times. It will help you to choose the right piercing artist, and provide instructions on how to care for your new piercing.
Having your ears pierced includes traditional piercings as well as edgier ones. An orbital piercing is one that is from side to side rather than front to back, with two pierced holes instead of one. Some pierce the cartilage, which can take longer to heal, while others are in the fleshy parts. Cartilage piercings take longer to heal, often six months or more. They are also prone to infection since cartilage has no blood supply that would help fight germs.
- Lobe (including Orbital): The easiest place on the body to pierce. It is a fleshy piercing and heals much faster than a cartilage piercing.
- Helix and Helix Orbital: Along the curled outer edge of your upper ear cartilage.
- Conch and Conch Orbital: The conch is at the large opening of your ear and it is one of the riskiest for damage to the cartilage and possible infection.
- Daith: A cartilage piercing of the innermost cartilage fold.
- Rook: Along the inner ridge of ear cartilage that runs down the center, parallel to the outer rim.
- Tragus and Anti-Tragus: The rounded protuberance of cartilage just outside the ear canal.
- Industrial/Scaffold: A two-hole piercing, the jewelry includes a long spanning bar.
- Snug/Anti-Helix: Along the vertical inner cartilage ridge.
Some facial piercings are surface piercings in the skin, while others pierce through to your mouth (oral piercing) or nasal passage.
- Erl/Bridge: Across the bridge of the nose
- Dimple/Cheek: Pierced through to the inside of your mouth.
- Monroe: In the area of a beauty mark, through the upper lip into the mouth.
- Septum: This pierces the soft tissue of the center of your nose.
- Labrets and Lowbrets: Under the center of your lower lip, through to the inside of your mouth.
- Nostril: Through the soft cartilage of the nostril.
- Lip Rings: Most piercings are both external and oral.
- Snake Bites: Two symmetrical lower lip piercings, more like fangs than bites.
- Medusa/Philtrum: The indentation between your upper lip and nose, it's both an oral and lip piercing.
- Eyebrow: These are surface piercings.
These heal fairly quickly, in about four weeks if you're not a smoker, but they can be painful.
- Tongue: This is a painful piercing as the tongue has many nerve endings.
- Tongue Web/Frenulum: The thin strip of connective tissue under your tongue.
- Frowny: Through the thin connective tissue under the bottom lip.
- Smiley/Scrumper: Through the thin connective tissue above the upper lip. It can be painful.
Different areas of the body have more or less healing time and also may have a risk of rejection or migration.
- Navel/Belly Button: This requires a lot of aftercare as it is a very germy area and you'll need to be diligent for three to four months.
- Nipple Piercings (M+F): Healing takes at least six months.
- Nape: A horizontal surface piercing with balls at each end.
- Sternum/Cleavage: This has a high risk of rejection.
- Vampire Bite: A surface piercing on the neck or shoulder.
- Madison: A surface piercing at the clavicle, it has a high chance of rejection.
- Dermal Anchors/Micro-dermal Implants: Protruding implants.
- Corset Piercings: Parallel rows of piercings you can connect with string or ribbon.
- Male and Female Genital Piercings Guide (For 18 and Over Only!)
Selecting the Right Piercing Artist and Studio
Getting a new piercing is exciting. But why spend your hard-earned money, or endure the pain and discomfort of a piercing, only to have it end in disaster? Take your time and find a really good piercing artist that you can feel confident in.
- Visit Several Studios: If you have several studios in your area, visit as many of them as you can, or even travel out of the area to find others to compare.
- Check the Portfolio: Take a look at examples of piercings they have done in the past. Do they look well-placed? Do lobe piercings look even?
- Listen To Your Friends: If they have had a good experience, they will probably recommend their artist. And if they've had a bad experience, they'll warn you not to make the same mistake. If you're outgoing, and you see someone walking down the street with a great piercing, don't be afraid to ask them where they got it. Many people love to talk about their body art.
- The studio should have a working autoclave for sterilizing all reusable equipment. Autoclaves should be clean and in good working order. They must be regularly maintained and tested often for accurate spore termination.
- Your piercing artist should wear medical gloves at all times. Their ungloved hands should not come in contact with your skin or any of the piercing equipment or jewelry. Period.
- Under no circumstances should you be pierced anywhere on your body with a piercing gun, squeeze piercer or any other object other than a clean, sterile, body-piercing-approved needle.
- The forceps, needle, jewelry and any other metal equipment should be removed from an autoclave bag, with gloved hands, in your presence. It remains in the pouch until it is time to use it on a client.
- Many piercers will use some kind of pen to mark your skin before inserting the needle. It should be brand new and then thrown in the trash after they are finished.
Body Piercing Aftercare
Most piercers will give you aftercare instructions, and the general rule of thumb would be to follow their advice. if you have allergies or a medical condition that might impact healing, discuss your intent to get a piercing with your doctor to see what modifications you may need.