Piercing FAQ

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Is my piercing going to hurt?

Everyone’s pain tolerance is different, even on different parts of the same body. What one person thinks is their most painful piercing might be another person’s least painful piercing. Part of a piercer’s job is to make this potentially uncomfortable experience as comfortable as possible. The actual piercing (pushing the needle through the body part to remove a small piece of body tissue) happens quickly, and by the time you feel the pain, the piercing is usually over. There can also be some pain as the piercing heals. The area around the piercing wound can be swollen, red, and sore for the first few days, weeks, or even longer, depending on the location of the piercing wound.

Jewelry insertion, which is the second part of the piercing process, is usually more a feeling of pressure rather than pain. The anticipation or general uneasiness you might feel while waiting to get pierced is usually the worst part of the whole process for most people. It is important to remain relaxed and still for the duration of marking the area to be pierced, and the piercing itself. Take long, deep breaths, and do your best to relax your entire body. Your piercer will coach you through the process.

Will my piercing bleed?

It’s important to keep in mind that every person’s body is different, with a different layout of capillaries (very small blood veins) in their body tissue. One person may have very few or very small capillaries in the area they wish to be pierced, while another may have slightly larger or a greater number of capillaries in the same area of the body. If you are adding a piercing in the same general spot where you have other piercings (for example, you have more than one piercing in your ear), there is a higher chance you will bleed because the body needs to increase blood flow to any area of the body that has been injured. It can take your body several months to two or more years for a wound to completely heal and the body to break down and dispose of the additional capillaries it produced to increase blood flow to the injured area. Getting pierced again in the same general spot as a previous piercing will increase your chances of bleeding during (and after) a piercing service.

These very small blood vessels are unable to be seen with the naked eye. Because a hollow needle is used to puncture the skin and remove a small amount of body tissue from the piercing site, some of these vessels will be damaged during the piercing which can cause the new piercing to bleed.

The second factor that can affect the amount of blood produced during the piercing process is the location of the piercing in relation to the heart. If you are lying down during the piercing, the piercing tends to bleed a bit more as it is on the same plane as the heart. As you elevate the piercing above the heart, the bleeding will begin to slow and come to a stop.

The third factor that can lead to bleeding during a piercing is the presence of blood thinners in the body, primarily that of either medication or alcohol. Any alcohol in your system can cause the piercing to bleed more than usual as well as increase swelling. While we will not pierce you if we suspect you are under the influence, it is best to avoid alcohol consumption within 24 hours of being pierced. We also recommend keeping the use of any blood thinning pain relievers (such as ibuprofen or aspirin) to a minimum both before and after the piercing as it lowers the body’s ability to clot the piercing wound.

The type of tissue being pierced also plays a factor in the amount of blood flow from a fresh piercing. Typically, piercings located in cartilage will bleed more than piercings in soft tissue, like eyebrows. Cartilage does not have its own blood supply, so the tissue surrounding the cartilage helps the initial healing process by providing blood flow to the area. The same principle applies to areas that contain scar tissue.

While there are factors that can increase the risk of bleeding during a piercing, the reality of the matter is, even if you do everything you can to prevent bleeding, there is no way to know for certain whether or not you will bleed during the piercing, or for a few days afterward.

Will my new piercing swell?

Swelling is a normal part of the healing process for every piercing. If the jewelry is too short and the ends of the jewelry are pushing into your skin, the jewelry will trap drainage inside the tissue around the piercing, and the wound will not be able to drain effectively. This will lead to more swelling in the area around the piercing.

If the swelling becomes too great, it can sometimes cause the beads on the jewelry to loosen or even fall off, and with nothing holding that jewelry in place, you run the risk of the bar or hoop falling out. If the bead sinks deep into your skin there is a chance your body will heal around the jewelry, trapping it beneath a layer of skin and tissue. This is especially common with oral piercings that are allowed to swell too much.

No one can tell for certain how much you will swell after receiving a piercing. Some people swell very little, while others need to get even longer jewelry than they were pierced with to allow for excessive swelling of the pierced area. If your jewelry looks or feels uncomfortably tight, come back and talk to a piercer. We will help you find an appropriate piece of sterile jewelry to purchase that will allow more room for swelling, and help you change out to your new jewelry so you are sure it’s comfortable before you leave the store. It is important to have help with your jewelry change out this early in the healing process, because sterile jewelry can help prevent introducing bacteria to the wound.

Swelling can affect the way the jewelry sits in the piercing wound. We will have you check our markings before each piercing, and have you check the piercing after the jewelry is placed in the piercing to get your approval. There is minimal swelling immediately after the piercing, so if you were pleased with the placement, but your piercing looks crooked a few days after the piercing when swelling is at it’s worst, give the piercing several more days to heal before making a final determination on straightness.

I want my friends to take pictures, or possibly a video of me getting pierced. Do you allow people to do this?

Sadly, there are some people that want to pierce themselves or their friends without proper piercing training. Rather than pay a professionally licensed and/or trained body piercer to do the piercing correctly, and in a license and inspected location, these people search online for how-to videos or photos. Even though our customers may not intend for their videos or photos to be used as a piercing how-to, we do not wish to even accidentally contribute to this unfortunate trend. We generally allow you to take before and after pictures if you wish. Please be considerate and ask your piercer before taking any pictures in the piercing room.

I would like several of my friends to be in the room with me when I get pierced. How many people can I bring with me?

For the safety of the piercers, the person getting pierced, and any observers, we limit the number of people who can be in the piercing room at one time to the person getting pierced plus one observer. For the piercer to be able to give the person getting pierced their full attention, distractions should be kept to a minimum. The piercer must focus on the task at hand, not on crowd control. A crowded room can limit the piercers ability to properly move around room, and to keep the piercing service clean. The piercer may need to access additional tools or supplies during the piercing process and they need a clear path to do so quickly and cleanly.

A piercer can only safely watch a small number of people and still be able to pay enough attention to the task at hand. There is also a higher risk of cross contamination with more people in the piercing room. The fewer people who have access to the piercing room, the easier it is for the piercing staff to keep the room clean and safe. Always ask your piercer before touching anything but the piercing bed in the service area.

I really want to get pierced, but I’m terrified of needles. Why won’t you use a piercing gun on any piercing besides ear lobes?

The ear lobe is the only part of your body that can safely be pierced with a piercing gun. The specific gun we use is an FDA approved device meant solely for piercing the area of the ear that does not contain cartilage. The piercing gun uses mechanical force to push the jewelry through your ear. The jewelry used with piercing guns is only suitable for your ear lobes because it isn’t long enough to allow for swelling that occurs in other areas of the body with thicker tissue. Also, the stud and clasp style of the jewelry does not allow for proper piercing technique in locations other than the lobe area of the ear.

If you do get your ear lobes pierced with a gun, we suggest you have someone help you check the butterfly backs specific to this jewelry to make sure they stay clean during the entire healing process.

What should I use to clean my piercing?

We recommend using non-iodized sea salt solution and fragrance and color free glycerin soap to clean your piercing. Rubbing alcohol, peroxide, and other first aid products are too harsh to use daily on fresh piercings. These products may kill bacteria, but they also tend to be very drying to your skin, which can damage the new cells your body produces for the healing process. Non-iodized sea salt soaks are much gentler on the area, and the salt has natural antiseptic properties. The warm salt soaks also increase circulation to the piercing wound, promote wound drainage, and soften any dried drainage that may be stuck to your jewelry or the edges of the wound.

Antibacterial soaps can leave a residue on your jewelry and if your jewelry gets pushed into your piercing so does that soap residue and whatever else is stuck to it. Clear, unscented glycerin soap leaves very little residue and will help to loosen and wash away any bacteria, dried drainage, and residue left behind by other body wash or hair products off your jewelry. Creams, ointments and some lotions are thick, and they trap drainage inside the piercing by sealing the wound opening.

Why is the jewelry so long/big? I wanted my jewelry to fit close to my skin.

The size of your jewelry is very important. The jewelry for a new piercing has to be longer (for a straight piece of jewelry like a barbell or labret stud, or for a bent barbell), or of a bigger diameter (for a hoop or a horseshoe) to allow for swelling and for the piercing to successfully heal. Size can refer to the length, diameter, and gauge of the jewelry itself, or the size of any beads or balls attached to the jewelry shaft. The jewelry for your new piercing has to be long enough to allow for swelling, but not so long that it interferes with the healing process. Additionally, you do not want to pierce with jewelry that has ends that are too small (such as small gems or beads), as the ends need to be large enough to ensure that the jewelry does not pull or sink into the fresh piercing wound.

Imagine you are getting your nostril pierced. If your jewelry is too short and there is excessive swelling around your piercing, the jewelry can sink into the tissue around your new piercing. If you were pierced with jewelry that stuck out an inch from your nose, you would be constantly catching it on things, and breaking open the new, soft tissue that is trying to heal. Both of these instances are painful and will severely interfere with your body’s ability to heal.

Everyone’s anatomy is different, and your piercer will be able to help you find jewelry that is best suited for your individual healing needs.

Why are sea salt soaks more effective on healing piercings than sea salt sprays or rinses?

Sea salt sprays can be good for a quick clean during the day if you’re unable to soak your piercing. Alternatively, use a soaker bottle that you can use to rinse the piercing off with which you can find in our online store (store.almostfamouspiercing.com/aftercare/8-ounce-soaker-bottle-make-soaking-your-hard-to-reach-piercing-easier.html). Sea salt sprays or rinses with the soaker bottle will clean the drainage only off the surface of the skin. Sea salt soaks on the other hand allow the piercing to be fully submerged in the solution. This allows the solution to travel into the piercing wound, and the warmth of the soak will promote additional circulation to the area of the piercing and help the wound drain.

We recommend mixing your own sea salt solution by using ¼ teaspoon of non-iodized sea salt to 8 oz (1 cup) of warm water, and completely submerging your piercing for three to five minutes, two to three times a day. The warmth of the water helps soften up drainage trapped inside and around the piercing wound, and increases blood circulation to the pierced area.

Will I faint when I get pierced?

While it is common for people to feel faint or lightheaded after being pierced, there is no way to know for sure prior to the piercing if you will faint or not. All of our piercers are trained to recognize the signs of fainting so we can help to prevent it from occurring, or help you recover from fainting if that should happen. Some things you can do to help reduce the chances of fainting are to eat a small meal before the piercing service, remain calm by taking steady, even breaths, and don’t rush to stand up too quickly, or move around too much after the piercing.

What is the “popping” sound I heard during my ear cartilage piercing?

If you are getting an ear piercing, depending on the location, the piercer may need to position your ear to push the needle or insert the jewelry. This may cause air to be trapped in the ear canal momentarily, and when pressure is released, there is a popping or crunching sound. The other cause of any noise can also occur when a receiving tube is used to cap the needle. You may hear a slight scraping noise from the needle rubbing against the inside of the tube.

How do I know if my piercing is infected?

The first thing to keep in mind is that the first few weeks of any piercing are the most difficult. Normal signs of healing you may experience are redness around the piercing, swelling and tenderness around the piercing site and drainage from the piercing wound that is clear to pale yellow or whitish in color. Other normal healing issues that can occur are healing bumps, which are caused by drainage that has become trapped under the skin. They generally appear as bumps or “pimples” next to the piercing wound.

While a piercer cannot diagnose an infection, we can tell you that the signs of an infection are generally a green or bloody discharge from the piercing wound, the piercing wound itself feels hot to the touch, the piercing wound is more painful than when it was pierced or you have an unexplained fever. If you feel like you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is recommended that you visit a doctor as soon as possible.

Will I be able to breastfeed after I get my nipples pierced?

Typically, having your nipples pierced does not pose a problem when it comes to breastfeeding. We do recommend that there is at least a year of healing between getting pierced and breastfeeding so that the piercings have an ample amount of time to heal. When breastfeeding, it is usually best to remove the jewelry because it can be a choking hazard to the baby, and uncomfortable for mom. Care needs to be taken if removing the jewelry, as the piercings can shrink or potentially close if the jewelry is left out for an extended period of time. See a piercer for suggestions on jewelry that is easy for you to change out yourself during this time. It is also necessary that you keep your piercings clean with consistent aftercare. We recommend using a non-iodized sea salt and warm water mixture in a small disposable cup or shot glass, then suctioning the cup to the area around the piercings and soaking each side for 3-5 minutes. Make sure to use fresh sea salt solution for each piercing you soak.

Should I rotate my jewelry during the healing process?

Contrary to popular belief, it is best to leave your jewelry alone while your piercing is healing. Therefore, we do not recommend removing the jewelry or continually rotating it. A piercing is a puncture wound so it heals from the sides of the piercing towards the center. Excessive moving of the jewelry in the piercing can tear the new tissue that is healing.

Can I go swimming with a fresh piercing?

At Almost Famous Body Piercing, we recommend waiting 6-8 weeks or longer before swimming in chlorinated or lake water with a fresh piercing. These types of water can harbor a lot of bacteria and can increase your chances of getting an infection. We sell ‘Cover It!’ bandages at all of our store locations that can be worn over your recently done piercing to keep it dry. These work best on piercings that are on a flatter surface of the body, such as the navel, surface, or dermal piercings. When it comes to ear and oral piercings, it is usually best to avoid submerging the piercing while swimming.

If you use a Cover It kit, be sure to do a glycerin soap wash and a sea salt soak after removing the waterproof bandage.

My piercing looked great right after I got it pierced. It’s been a week, and now it looks crooked.

Swelling can affect the way the jewelry sits in the piercing wound. We will have you check our markings before each piercing, and have you check the piercing after the jewelry is placed in the piercing to get your approval. There is minimal swelling immediately after the piercing, so if you were pleased with the placement, but your piercing looks crooked a few days after the piercing when swelling is at it’s worst, give the piercing several more days to heal before making a final determination on straightness.

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