Importance of Sterilization of Piercing Tools

Sterilization is all-important in ear piercings- the piercing area must be sterile, the piercer’s hands must be sterile, the tools used must be sterile, and the piercing needle must be sterile.

The human body reacts to inclusion of any foreign object and may initially try to repel it. This manifests itself in the form of allergies and infections, which are the two of the biggest concerns faced by us during piercings.  Allergies are caused by sensitivity to certain metals like nickel and are easily avoidable. Use of jewellery and piercing instruments which are made of hypoallergenic metals prevents any allergic reactions. Infections on the other hand are a little trickier and proper care is required before, during and after the piercing to successfully avoid it.

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As we have discussed in our earlier post choosing a safe and trusted studio which is hygienic is the first step towards an infection free piercing experience.  Your chosen studio must not only be hygienic but it is also necessary that they must sterilize all the equipment they use or reuse during piercing. Check out their sterilization procedure and notice if they strictly adhere to it. All good piercing studios must have an autoclave where they sterilize all their reusable piercing equipment between each piercing.

It is essential to clean all tools before sterilization as unclean tools cannot be sterilized effectively. The person performing the procedure must wear clean disposable gloves the entire time. Instruments must be placed in water, disinfectant or detergent immediately after every use, to prevent drying of client material and to make cleaning more easy and effective. This cleaning can be done either through scrubbing with soap or preferably with a mechanical device like a covered ultrasonic cleaner. There are many methods used for sterilization but not all of them are as effective. The autoclave which sterilizes through heat and pressure is considered the most ideal method of sterilization when it comes to piercing equipment.  Any instrument that can withstand heat must be sterilized through autoclaving. There are many other methods too like flaming, boiling, bleaching, rubbing alcohol but they are not sufficient or effective enough especially when it comes to piercing equipment.

These sterilized instruments must not be touched until your piercing begins, and then only by your piercer when he has safely cleaned and gloved his hands, just as a surgeon would. The piercer should wash his hands and wrists with an antibacterial liquid soap and dry them before donning disposable gloves.

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If you are not sure if the studio is following the proper sterilization techniques or if they are practicing it regularly, then avoid using non disposable guns as they cannot be sterilized. The safest bet in such situation is to use disposable piercing guns such as single use pre-sterilized cartridges by Studex.

Piercing your New-born’s Ears

Should you get your new-born’s ears pierced when she still is a baby or should you wait till she is older to get it done? This is a decision that every parent has to make and is based on their cultural background and personal experiences.

In western countries it is not usual to pierce a new-born’s ears and parents usually wait till their daughter is older.  Whereas in Latino cultures, ear piercing is such a deep-rooted tradition and it’s very common to give a new mom gold ear studs for her new-born, and for the baby to leave the hospital wearing them. Even in India it is customary to pierce the baby’s ear when still an infant. Parents here believe that it is best to have the baby’s ears pierced when the skin is still soft and hence less painful for her.

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A few things to ensure while getting your baby’s ears pierced are

  • Consult your doctor about topical anaesthesia for the earlobes to minimise the pain during piercing. He may also recommend an antibiotic cream or lotion as after piercing care.
  • Use jewellery and piercing instruments of a reputed brand made of hypoallergenic metal, to avoid any chance of rashes or any kind of allergic reaction to metals such as nickel.
  • Go to a reputed piercing studio or artist and make sure they use sterilized equipment to prevent infections. It should be hygienic and must follow the correct procedure of piercing.
  • Pierce your baby’s ear only when she is completely healthy. It is recommended to pierce her ears after rounds of DPT to provide protection against infections like tetanus.
  • Hold the baby firmly and gently to help her stay calm so that her head does not move while getting the piercing.
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  • Try not to pierce her ears during hot and humid months as sweat and grime can cause infections. Keep earlobes clean and dry at all times.
  • Distract your child and try to keep her hand away from the piercing.  If she touches her ears constantly or tugs at it as it she may hurt herself in the process.
  • Clean the piercing twice a day and rotate the earring so that the skin stays free from it. Always wash your hands before touching her ears.
  • Dress your baby in such a way that it doesn’t interfere with the piercing. Take special care while changing her clothes or while bathing her. Keep her bed linen and towels clean, and change them frequently.
  • Watch out for signs of infection and consult a doctor if you see any.
  • Choose simple earrings and do not change them till the piercing is completely healed. The healing process may take anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks.

If the right precautions are taken, your baby’s ear piercing experience will be smooth and infection free. 

Piercings for Men

Traditionally, piercing has always been the woman’s domain. Most women have been getting their ears (and noses) pierced across countries and cultures for centuries now. However, today, in a more liberal world, men are catching up with women in terms of piercing although the common areas pierced are not the same in men and women. Men tend to be more adventurous and have piercings in more unconventional places than women. They also are more likely to get their face pierced than women are. The best piercing spots for men are

Eyebrow Piercings

Eyebrow piercing is done anywhere on the eyebrow or around it either vertically or horizontally. It is best to get them done by a professional piercer with the help of a piercing needle only and not a piercing gun. Always try and wear lightweight eyebrow jewellery, the most common ones being eyebrow rings or barbells.

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Tongue Piercing

Most tongue piercings belong to guys with very few women getting them pierced. It is done on the tip or the lower part of the tongue. Special care has to be taken during tongue piercing and after care also must be maintained very strictly.

Lip Piercing

There are various types of lip piercings. Labret piercing is the piercing done below the lip also known as goatee piercing when done on guys.  It is in the centre, below the lower lip line where the goatee is usually grown, so only a part of the piercing is visible. When the piercing is above the lip in the centre then it is known as medusa piercing. The labret piercing looks better on most guys hence is more common on them than the medusa piercing.

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Septum Piercing

Another facial piercing is the septum piercing. Also known as bull rings, septum piercing is done in the middle of the nose. Here, the septum that separates the two nostrils is pierced. Septum piercing can be painful and is common among both men and women. It can take a long time to heal and must be performed by a professional only

Ear Piercing

It is probably the most common piercing among both men and women. It is one of the easiest methods of body modifications and is the safest one too. It is not frowned upon like a few other piercings, and is widely accepted be it in schools and colleges or at workplace. It has been in practise for many years and is considered a part of many cultures and their rituals. It was probably man’s first attempt at body piercing as it is the easiest and most obvious part to pierce. There are many ways to get your ears pierced. There are simple ones like ear lobe piercings which are more common and ones like stretching and gauging which are rarer because of the risks associated with it.

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No matter which part of the body you choose to get pierced always make sure to use jewellery and piercing equipment from a trusted brand. Go to only a reputed piercing salon or artist and use the right aftercare products till the piercing has completely healed.

Types of Navel Piercings

Navel Piercing also known as belly button piercing is considered the sexiest piercing of all and looks very sensual on a well-toned stomach.  Navel piercing was said to be prevalent among Egyptian Pharaohs and aristocrats and was a symbol of courage among then.  In present times navel piercing is most common among women, especially among the younger lot. It came back in vogue after the invention of the bikini in the 1950s. Pop singer Madonna further popularized it and model Christy Turlington and Naomi Campbell immortalized it on the ramp. They are very popular among teenage girls not just for their appearance but also for the fact that they can be easily concealed with clothes.

The actual navel is not pierced during most kinds of navel piercing and it is actually the skin around the navel that is pierced.  The types of belly piercings are

  • Upper Vertical Navel Piercing

It is the most common form of Navel piercing. It is where the piercing is placed through the upper ridge or rim of the belly button through to the interior of the navel.

  • Vertical Inverse Navel Piercing or Reverse navel Piercing

It is the opposite of the vertical upper navel piercing. It is a piercing placed on the bottom ridge of the navel and goes through the bottom rim to the interior of the navel.

When both the above piercings are performed it is called a Double Navel Piercing.

  • True Navel Piercing

This is performed on people with outie belly buttons that is when the umbilical scar tissue is protruding from the navel. This is the only type of belly button piercing where the actual navel which is the small nub of scar tissue is pierced.

  • Horizontal Navel Piercing

It is usually a form of surface piercing and does not involve passing through the rim into the navel. It is instead a piercing that passes horizontally above or below the navel instead of going through its ridge.

Another form of horizontal piercing which is not surface piercing is when two separate piercings are performed on either sides of the navel passing through its side ridges. These two piercings are usually joined with one long barbell.

  • Multi Navel Piercings

This involves piercing the rim several times. It can be a combination of two or more of the above types of piercings.  One type of multiple navel piercing is the navel industrial, in which a solid or flexible barbell passes through two piercings. Try and give a reasonable gap between each piecing in case of multiple piercings.

These piercings can take up to a year to heal. Standard care for new piercings must be taken during the entire healing process and proper and trusted after care products must be used on it.