September 23, 2011

Body piercing has been practiced in many cultures for many centuries. Depending upon the era, the place, and the culture, body piercing has been variously associated with royalty, spirituality, sexuality, and beauty.

Body piercings can be done on almost any part of the body, including ears (lobes and cartilage), eyebrows, nostrils, nasal septums and bridges, tongues, lips, nipples, navels, and male and female genitalia. A piercing is done by passing a hollow needle through the body part, followed by the insertion of body jewelry. The piercing may cause a small amount of bleeding and the area that is pierced may be somewhat swollen and/or sore for several days afterward. A piercing gun should not be used for piercing because it crushes the tissues that are being pierced and the gun cannot be resterilized for the next person, increasing the risk that an infection can be spread from one individual to the next. These infections can range from a bacterial infection to hepatitis or even HIV. The healing time will vary depending upon which part of the body is pierced and how quickly an individual heals in general. Proper care of the piercing will hasten the healing process and reduce the risk of infection or other problems. it could take, for instance, from 4 weeks for the tongue to heal to 1 year for the navel or ear cartilage to heal.

Women may have particular concerns associated with piercing. Some piercers have suggested that women remove nipple piercings if they are going to breast-feed. The pierced area may close once the jewelry is removed and will have to be repierced. Women are also advised to wait to have a navel piercing done if they are pregnant or planning to become pregnant soon and to remove an already existing navel piercing if they are pregnant because the pierced area will stretch.

if you are considering getting a body piercing, it is important to consider the following.

  1. It is best to have the piercing done by a professional piercer rather than a friend. A professional piercer will know how to do it safely.
  2. Make sure that the parlor where you will have the piercing done is clean and maintains clean equipment. A fresh needle should be used for each client, and you should be able to see the piercer remove the needle from the unopened package. The piercer should be wearing new gloves for each client.
  3. Make sure that the area to be pierced is first cleaned. The jewelry that is to be inserted into the freshly pierced site should be sterilized before it is inserted.
  4. To avoid infecting the newly pierced site, make sure you wash your hands before touching the site.
  5. Clean the pierced area with an antibacterial soap once a day. Softsoap, Provon, and Satin are recommended by many piercers.
  6. There may be some discharge and crusting around the site. Remove this with warm water using a cotton swab (Q-tip).
  7. Cleaning is usually easiest in the shower. Place a small amount of the antibacterial soap on your fingertips, lather the area, and work the jewelry back and forth several times gently in order to get the soap into the area. Wait 30-60 s and then rinse with warm water, working the jewelry back and forth in order to get all of the soap off.
  8. Always support the area that has been pierced when you are washing it.
  9. Soaking the pierced site in warm water with sea salts for 10 min a day will hasten healing and help to remove any crusting or discharge.
  10. Some piercers recommend taking multivitamins and especially vitamin C and zinc to help the healing process.
  11. Avoid overcleaning the area or changing the jewelry too soon because this can lead to other problems and/or infection.
  12. if your jewelry is internally threaded, like barbells, be sure to check the ends twice a day to make sure that they are tight.
  13. if you have a new piercing on your face or ear, avoid using makeup or hairspray/other hair products near that area until it is healed.
  14. Do not wear tight clothes over the pierced area. if you have a navel piercing, do not sleep on your stomach. if you have an ear piercing, try to avoid sleeping on that side.
  15. Signs of an infection include swelling or hardness in the area of the piercing, pain, a yellow or green discharge, and a feeling of heat in the pierced area. If any of these symptoms are present, it is wise to consult a physician.

SEE ALSO: Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, Fetish, Hepatitis

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Category: P