The History of Body Piercing

Throughout history people have decorated and altered the appearance of their bodies in many different ways. Body piercing is one of the oldest and most interesting forms of body modification, yet the reasons for piercing the body are as diverse as the cultures they come from. Throughout history body piercing have been practiced by many cultures for many centuries; it is believed as long as five thousand years. Body piercing was often identified with royalty and portrayed courage and virility. Egyptian Pharaohs pierced their navels as a rite of passage. Roman soldiers pierced their nipples to show their manhood. Mayans pierced their tongues as a spiritual ritual, and both sexes of Victorian royalty chose nipple and genital piercing. In our culture we have brought to the mainstream some of these ancient and tribal practices. The big difference here is the expression of self choice. In our more permissive modern day society an individual can pierce their body for any number of the reasons listed above, but is not limited or obligated to a specific set of rules or conduct. Another unique principal behind modern day piercing is that unless the piercing has been overstretched, it can be viewed as temporary. The person can take out the jewelry if he/she desires and re-transform their "look" again and again! We believe that much of the recent attraction and popularity of this "piercing renaissance" stems from the fact that up until the present - people were just unaware it was possible to pierce the body in so many different ways!

X-Pression Aftercare

Tongue and Eyebrow

First, get informed. Scientists at the CDC are researching a possible link between tattoos and piercing and the infectious liver disease called viral hepatitis. All piercing should be done by professionals who follow health and safety guidelines that prevent the spread of these diseases. PLEASE, don't pierce yourself or a friend.

Tongue piercings are usually placed in the center of the tongue. The risks of nerve and blood vessel damage are minimized when the piercing is placed centrally. The large blood vessels are usually highly visible to either side, on the underside of the tongue. Tongue piercings are not known to affect the sense of taste; the papillae (tastebuds) are too numerous. Placement should be decided with regard to the length of the tongue both in its normal resting position in the mouth as well as when it is extended.

While there is some latitude as to how far forward or back the piercing can be placed, a piercing made through or just behind the natural bend in the tongue is usually most comfortable for speaking and eating. A piercing placed too far back may be uncomfortable and will irritate the frenulum, if one is present. If the piercing is placed too far forward the bottom ball will irritate the gums.

Ear Piercing

Many teenagers or young girls like to have their ears pierced. Most earrings today are available for pierced ears. If you have very small earlobes you may want to think about how an earring will look before you have it done. After you have your ears pierced, you must wash the area with soap daily and use isopropyl alcohol on both sides of the ear at least twice a day. It is also a good idea to use an antibiotic ointment every night for the first week. This is available over-the-counter at most drug stores or supermarkets. A triple antibiotic is preferred, but Bacitracin ointment will also work. These are available in a generic brand which works as well as the more expensive brand names.

You should start by wearing only gold earrings first. Some people will find they are allergic to any other metal. Rotate the earrings at least twice a day to keep the holes free from scabbing. You must not removed the earrings for at least three to four weeks until the skin is healed. During the first year you should wear earrings most of the time to keep the holes from closing. Newly pieced ears will close up quickly at first if you do remove your earrings.

Do not wear dangling earrings while playing sports. They can get caught on clothing or in your hair very easily and can actually tear the earlobe.

If you pierce other parts of your ear, keep in mind that other areas besides the earlobe will take longer to heal, will be more painful, and will not close up as easily or may never close at all.

Body Piercing

Body piercing has become very popular, trendy and fashionable. Body piercing really varies with multiple hoops up, around, and inside the ear, or studs and rings sticking out of the tongue, eyebrow, nostril and lips. It seems that almost every part of the body is open to piercing. While parents shout "Yuck" or "Gross" and teachers ask "Why?", teens continue to gravitate toward body piercing. If you're like many teens who have thought about piercing you probably see them as a personal and fashion statement, a form of body art, and a chance to establish your individuality.

Piercing may be considered cool, but there are things you need to know before you get that piercing done. Piercing are susceptible to infection during the healing period. It is extremely important to take care of your new piercing in order to promote healing and prevent infection.

If you get your bellybutton pierced, you'll need to deal with a long healing time - sometimes as long as five months - as well as the challenge of clothes that create friction, build up moisture, and increase the chance of infection.

Don't make this a do-it-yourself project. Resist the temptation to resort to your friends or to do-it-yourself piercing to get the look you want. The result can be disastrous: wrong and often unsterilized equipment producing botched and unclean piercings, and inadequately pierced openings in the wrong areas of the body. That can mean infection and the formation of scar tissue.

Go for quality! If you decide to go ahead with body piercing, avoid bizarre jewelry such as re-engineered paper clips or safety pins. Instead, invest in quality jewelry such as surgical stainless steel, 14K gold, or titanium. The silver coating on regular costume jewelry can wear off and increase your chance of infection.

Piercing heals by the formation epithelial cells along the inside of the piercing to protect the body from the foreign object. These cells form a layer of skin along the inside of the piercing in about 6 to 8 weeks. Since the epithelial layer can easily be torn, do not force the jewelry to rotate without first applying warm water. The piercing may need to be soaked in warm water to allow the skin to expand. It takes six months to a year for the epithelial layer to toughen and strengthen. The entrance of the piercing will round inwards, like a donut hole.

Do not remove your jewelry for any length of time while it is healing, or it will close. After the piercing has toughened, it will not close but will shrink if the jewelry is removed.

All piercings produce a white discharge during the healing period. Symptoms of infection may include pain, swelling, inflammation (area feels warm or hot to the touch) excessive redness, and a discharge of yellow pus. If you suspect an infection contact your health care provider. DO NOT REMOVE YOUR JEWELRY. If the jewelry is removed the openings of the piercing will close and trap the infection, which can create an abscess. If you are going to get a new piercing, you must care for it properly.

The Risks

Among them are infection, allergic reactions, hepatitis B, HIV transmission, and tetanus. For example, blood poisoning, blood clots hemorrhaging, nerve damage, paralysis, staph infections and toxic shock can result from piercing the tongue, and there are more risks even after the tongue looks like it's healed. Piercing leaves a hole in the tongue larger than the pinprick used to pierce an earlobe, and the constant motion of the tongue makes it more difficult for the hole to really heal. This makes it easier to contract bacterial and viral infections, as well as some diseases. Maybe now you know why your parents say "Ugh" or "Gross". If you are 18 or older, this is a decision that you can make on your own. Just give it some thought. Many people LOVE their piercings.