I want to get my body pierced! Where do I start? (Part3)
Lip - Lip piercings have become very commonplace in the last decade. These piercings can be right on the lip or pretty much anywhere around the mouth. Labrets and monroes (posts with one threaded top) are most commonly worn centered below the lower lip, or off to one side above the upper lip (monroe- think Marilyn Monroe’s beauty mark). Captive bead rings are also commonly used as lip rings.
Tongue - Tongue piercings are quick-healing and relatively painless. Check with your piercer to make sure it is safe to have your tongue pierced- you will not be able to get this piercing if you have too much webbing extending beneath your tongue. You cannot be pierced through this webbing. The best way to heal is to wear a straight barbell (generally 3/4”, initially) for at least two weeks. The swelling should be gone within a few days and after two weeks you’ll be able to switch to a shorter barbell that fits better (generally 5/8”). Also, make sure that no part of the barbell rests on your teeth or gums- constant contact can wear down your teeth and gums which can end up being pretty costly in dental surgery!
Navel - Although extremely common, these piercings are the hardest to heal. Not all bellybuttons can be pierced! You must have enough skin above your navel (ledge) and a little bit of depth to your navel to utilize that ledge. Check with your piercer to see if your bellybutton has the right shape for proper healing. Curved bars with a small ball on top (~5mm) and a bigger ball on bottom (~8mm) are most common for navel piercings. Navel rings come in a variety of forms and shapes- from simple to stylish.
Other piercings - Body piercing has grown immensely over the last twenty years, including piercing methods, body jewelry materials, and new types of body jewelry like dermal anchors. Dermal anchors are literally little anchors that are placed under your skin with a hole to screw in dermal tops. Dermal tops come in a variety of forms and sizes. They are generally gems and stones and can easily be switched out for different tops. Genital piercing has been around far longer than most people think; in ancient India, the Kama Sutra speaks of several different types of genital piercings that are used to enhance sexual experiences. Both women and men can be pierced “below the belt.” Other various piercings include the nape (back of your neck), neck (a.k.a. madison), and even the webbing between your fingers and toes!
Nowadays, you can get pretty much anything pierced. Take your pick- just make sure your piercer can provide a safe, sterile, professional environment. Don’t forget to ask questions! Make sure that:
- the piercer washes his or her hands with a germicidal soap.
- the piercer wears fresh, disposable gloves during the procedure.
- the piercer uses sterilized instruments or instruments that are disposed of after one use.
- the needle being used is brand-new and sterile.
- the disposal of waste (needles, bloody gauze, etc) is handled in a professional and sterile manner.
- the piercer does NOT use a piercing gun (they are NOT sterile).
It is also a good idea to find out if you are allergic to any kind of metals before getting pierced. There are some who have allergic reactions to certain kinds of metal. Only nontoxic metals like surgical steel, gold, niobium, titanium, platinum, etc should be used for body piercings.