Piercings: FAQ

September 29, 2006

People will often ask me their questions about piercings when they see me with my septum out. I’m happy to answer them, as it’s always been a great curiosity of mine. In this entry, I’ll do my best to answer the most commonly asked questions.

Will it hurt?
Of course it will hurt, it’s a needle going through flesh. To what extent it hurts, however, usually depends on the person. If you’re able to get your ears pierced without a flinch, body piercings shouldn’t be too difficult. But if you get squeamish at the site of blood, you may have a rough time.

Frankly, getting my septum pierced was the worst pain I’ve ever been through. Thankfully though, it’s one of those pains that goes away soon and you forget about it. The sharp pain leaves as soon as the piercing is finished, and it’s all tenderness after that.

Will it bleed?
Again, this depends on the person. If you know you’re prone to bleeding, expect it! In any case, the bleeding normally isn’t that bad and it will stop as soon as the blood clots.

Some good tips for minimizing bleeding:
Be calm! A fast heart rate will only make your blood pump faster and you will be more anxious.
Never drink alcohol before going in for a piercing. Alcohol thins the blood, and it will cause you to bleed more and for a longer time.
Aspirin has the same effects as alcohol in that it thins the blood, so don’t take that either.
If you are diabetic, it body modification may not be for you, and in fact most professionals will not pierce diabetics because they do not heal as quickly and the piercing may not heal properly.
If you think you’ll be especially squeamish, try eating something 2-4 hours before the piercing. This will keep your blood sugar high enough to prevent you from fainting.

How long will it take to heal?
Usually it takes 4-8 weeks for your piercing to completely heal. If you take proper care of it, it could possibly heal faster, as was the case with my septum. In one week I was able to change the jewelry, and it was fully healed in less than two weeks. However, you’ll not want to change your jewelry until it’s completely healed.

How do I tell if it’s infected?
This depends on the person. There are many different symptoms.
Usually the most noticeable is tenderness.
If you can sniff your piercing, try it. If it smells funny, it’s probably infected.
You could also get “the crusties,” which is just dried pus. Or you could also get the normal kind of pus, which is a little grosser.
You could also get cracking, bleeding, or oozing. If you’re having trouble taking care of it yourself, don’t hesitate to contact the person who did it for you. It’s their job to know!

How do I clean it?
Often times professionals will tell you to clean your hands and apply an anti-bacterial, non-lathering soap like Spectro-Jel. However, my tried-and-true method is this:

1. Make sure your hands are clean!
2. Rinse your piercing with warm water.
3. Now mix Epsom salts with warm water and stir until dissolved.
4. Dip a Q-Tip into the salt water and rub it around your piercing. If you want, you can gently move the jewelry around to get the mixture inside.
5. Rinse with warm water again, and let air-dry.

I think this is why my piercing healed so quickly. It also fights infections! I cannot stress enough, be careful with infections, especially the septum. There is an artery that directly connects the septum to the brain, leaving an open passage for infection. People have died from this! Luckily, it’s pretty hard to get an infected septum if you’re taking care of it properly. I’ve only had one infection, and my method got rid of it within days.

In what cases should I NOT get a piercing?
As I already explained, most piercers will not do their work on diabetics. They also have the right to refuse customers with AIDS, HIV, and Hepatitis B and C.

Will it look good?
This is a completely personal thing. You have to decide whether you like it or not. After all, it’s on your body, and you will be the one who sees it the most. You have to be willing to take care of it and keep it healthy. The great thing about piercings is that if you end up not liking it, you can always take it out and let it heal back up.

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3 Responses to “Piercings: FAQ”

  1. kjamrozy said

    Thank you for sharing these faq’s with us. These are all things that I have wondered. Thank you also for your honesty. I agree that it has to be a personal decision. It is an artistic expression that is very personal.

  2. This entry is a good idea. Your information is thorough and knowledgable. It covered any questions I may have had, and I am impressed that you covered the medical conditions that may pose a problem for this type of piercing. Great job!

  3. Thanks both of you. I’ve kind of made it one of my missions to learn and experience as much of this stuff as I can, so I’m always glad to share the information with others.

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