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Body Piercing 101

Mar 13, 2012

Are you thinking of getting your ears pierced? What about other parts of your body? If you're considering it, here's the lowdown on what you need to know to make an informed decision.

How is body piercing done?

A professional inserts a hollow needle through the body part getting pierced. Then a piece of jewelry is placed into the hole.

What can you get pierced?

Earlobes, nostrils and bellybuttons are pierced most often. You could also get your eyebrow, cheek, lip, tongue or other fleshy body parts pierced.

What do you put in a piercing?

The standard earrings are hoops, drops, dangles and studs. Huggy earrings, threaders, ear spikes, barbells, circular barbells, flesh tunnels and plugs are also used, though not as frequently.

Is there anyone who shouldn’t get a piercing?

If you are under 18, some places won’t let you get a piercing without a parent’s consent. If you have a [kwlink 5278]heart condition[/kwlink], diabetes, blood disorder, or other medical condition you may have a higher risk for a serious infection after a piercing, so talk with your doctor to get all of the information about risks before you decide to pierce. If you plan to get your tongue or mouth pierced, get a dental checkup and cleaning first to be sure your teeth and gums are healthy.

If you are allergic to some types of metals, make sure the jewelry you use is made with non-toxic materials like surgical steel, gold, titanium or platinum.

Where should you get it done?

In some places, body piercing must follow strict health and safety guidelines. In other places, you’re not guaranteed a safe environment. Never do it yourself or have a friend pierce you. The shop where you get pierced must:

  • Have sterilizing machine
  • Be a clean environment
  • Require the person doing the piercing to wear fresh disposable gloves
  • Safely throw away used needles and use a clean needle each time

Normal reactions

A normal reaction to a piercing is minor pain and swelling and a little redness. If you get your tongue pierced, you may have to deal with some excessive saliva for a while, and it will take a few days to adjust to eating and talking.

How to care for a piercing

When you pierce any part of your body, you are basically creating a wound. You must properly care for the area and help it heal, keeping it clean, allowing for good air circulation and avoiding bacteria until it heals completely.

Always wash your hands before and after touching the piercing site. Clean the site with soap and water, not alcohol or peroxide, twice a day. Don’t pick at the crust that forms around the piercing site; the crust will come off with soap and water. For a mouth piercing, rinse your mouth with alcohol-free mouthwash after eating to keep the site free of bacteria, and avoid kissing while the piercing is healing. If you have really bad breath after a mouth piercing, you may be washing away too much necessary bacteria, in which case rinse your mouth with warm salt water after eating and stick to mouthwash only twice a day. For a face piercing, keep the area free of makeup or powder while it is healing. For body piercings, wearing loose clothing around the area will help it to heal faster and avoid irritation. For nostril piercings, clean the area inside the nostril with a saline spray.

What could go wrong?

If you get your piercing done by a safe, careful person in a clean environment, piercings almost always go well. In some cases, however, you could end up with a minor or major infection, uncontrollable bleeding, scarring, tetanus, skin infections, or pus-filled sacs at the piercing site. If you have increased pain, redness, swelling, an unusual pus-like discharge or see other signs of infection, do not remove the jewelry. See a doctor for immediate treatment to avoid more serious problems.

In some cases, you may be sensitive to the cleaning products you use. The area may become dry, cracked, scaly, irritated, itchy or feel like it’s burning. Change to a more mild cleaning product, use less soap, or rinse more carefully with water.

You may not know that you have a sensitivity to certain types of jewelry. It’s always best to use pure metals like gold, surgical steel or titanium to avoid reactions. If your piercing is itchy, red, irritated or develops a rash, and your jewelry is not made of one of these substances, try switching your jewelry and see if it improves.

For mouth piercings, having metal jewelry in your mouth could cause your gums to get irritated, cause future gum problems and disease, erode your teeth and cause them to chip or crack. Mouth jewelry that becomes unfastened can cause a choking hazard. Since your mouth is constantly filled with bacteria, there is a much higher risk of infection with mouth and lip piercings.

When wearing hoops, hooks, threaders, flesh tunnels or other dangling jewelry, the jewelry can get caught or pulled and the flesh will tear. This requires immediate medical attention and will often require stitches and may cause permanent scarring or other damage.

Have Your Say

Do you think body piercing is only for celebs, or is it cool for teens, too? What’s the most “interesting” place you’d get a piercing?

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Dear Dish-It In The Forums

Wonderfulcalico
My parents have always been aggressive and abusive and I only just noticed it a couple months ago. Over time they've gotten worse (specifically my mother). Whenever she gets mad she'll yell at us and if she gets mad enough she'll hit and push us around. Whoever we get into arguments it's always one- sided and she always wins, even if she knows she is wrong. An argument we had not to long ago was about me not taking care of myself. She looked at my hair and started to touch it and told me "Your hair isn't soft why is it so dry, it's probably because you aren't taking care of your hair." Then she goes on to tell me that she's going to cut it and all of this other stuff when she knows I'm conscious about me looking like a boy ( Used to get called a boy for having short hair). As the argument goes on, I start to tell her things that she knows she is wrong about. She proceeds to yell at me then grabs me by the face and say "If you don't lower your tone and listen to what I'm saying I'm going to knock you in the head." Then she goes on to tell me she remembers nothing I was saying and that it's a lie. She also hit me when I didn't clean the laundry room correctly and whenever she gets fed up. I'm constantly having to watch what I say and do, because I'm scared that I'm going to end up hurt. She also likes to degrade me and tell how bad I'm doing. She's said plenty of thing like when I didn't have my bed covers tucked in she yelled at me and hit me and I said "Do you expect me to just stand here and take this", and she replied saying "That's what you are supposed to do you are the child and I am the adult, you take whatever I do until I'm done." Another time is when I had my band concert and I had to pick out the right attire. When we went shopping to get the clothing I chose slacks when she liked a skirt better, we went on to fight in the store and she bought the slacks. When we got home she said to me that real girls wear skirts and dresses and boys wear slacks and pants. This hurt me because she knows I have a past with people telling me I look like a boy etc. Another time I started to sleep on the floor, because I was practicing a minimalist life. When I left my pillows on the floor she found it and questioned me on why they were there. I told her it fell of my bed when really I left it there. Later when I told my dad, he told her and she got mad because I was getting cat hair on my pillows. She then proceeded to ask why I lied and I told her sometimes lying is better then the truth (I knew she would get mad that I was sleeping on the floor so I lied) then she told me that I was never going to have a relationship, a job, or friends ( This hurt me because I don't have friends now). She's also said that I don't take care of my body because I ate two sweets in one day which lead her to banning me from Doritos and now I have to ask to get chips and any other snack. She's told me I don't take care of my teeth because I have yellow spots from using whitening toothpaste with braces on. She's told me I don't take care of my hair so I can't wash it or do any hair style or then a bun. She had lead me to starving myself (Unless she makes me eat) and cutting myself. I've just stopped caring, because what ever I do is always wrong. I never get a choice in my activities, she controls my life in fact she me just in a different body. But what is even worse is that she's turning my dad into her. Now I have a scheduled time to eat breakfast and lunch, and to go onto my electronics. I feel like I'm in a prison with my parents constantly watching over me, in fact yesterday when I was pouring my milk my mom got out a measuring cup and poured my milk into the measuring cup and said "Why isn't this a full cup" and I replied saying "Because I don't measure my milk." Then she got angry at me. There's so much I could say about her, but I'll stop. Anyways my father is always sarcastic and he doesn't realize how much it hurts me. Today I was cleaning out my bag for next school year and my dad came in and said, "Wow, you aren't even dress yet and I had to come up here to tell you how sad." Just little things like that hurt me. My little sister got mad at me last week for sitting in a certain area and she said " Why are you sitting there," and I didn't reply because I didn't want to speak to her and she then said, "Probably because you are too stupid to answer." I wanted to break down crying then and there, but I kept it in. I've limited my talking to her, because all she does is break me down. Like when there was a Proactive commercial and she said, "Ha, you need that." That hurt me because just the other my mom was telling me how I don't take care of my face and that's why I have acne. My older sister and I barely talk, because whenever I try to talk to her she's mad for what ever reason and when my parents were talking about hitting my sister she was in the corner laughing. My cat Preston is very young and I got hi,abo a year ago. I get very sad and often cry, because I've seen him turn out scared and aggressive just like me because he's been through what I have. One time he pooped in a clothes basket (It's right next to his litter box) my mom grabbed him by the neck and hit him while she smothered his face in his poop, all while yelling at him. I was going to call the Animal Protective Services, but I got too scared and I realized how lonely I would be. Please help me I'm not sure what to do anymore. Also sorry for the very long post!
reply 2 days
Error101
Error101 posted in Family Issues:
Dear Kkmr324, I hope you get to feeling better as time goes on.  It does get better but like you said you can't actually get over it.  Losing someone to cancer is awful and I have never lost a friend and I hope I never will and I am so sorry that you did, but I have lost family to cancer and it is horrible.  I hope your okay. :(
reply 4 days
Kkrmr324
Kkrmr324 posted in Family Issues:
A few months ago,my friend Kendall died of cancer. It was really hard to "get over it"; because really you dont just get over it. One thing i did was find a bunch of pictures of me and Kendall and remembered all the fun we had together. And it helped! I still miss her, but good friends and family helped with that.
reply 6 days
Kkrmr324
Kkrmr324 posted in Family Issues:
A few months ago,my friend Kendall died of cancer. It was really hard to "get over it"; because really you dont just get over it. One thing i did was find a bunch of pictures of me and Kendall and remembered all the fun we had together. And it helped! I still miss her, but good friends and family helped with that.
reply 6 days
Tennis123
why are you allowing that to control your happiness? why can't you have true happiness instead of chasing some dream for momentary satisfaction? You're 12. This is when your core beliefs, values, and outlooks on life start. Don't mess it up choosing to be sad over something like that.
reply 7 days