This photo is clear evidence of why I save my drunken debauchery for Saturday nights. Meet hangover face. Open all day Sunday!
Today, I thought someone out there might be interested in my piercing acquisition process, seeing as I just got my eyebrow re-pierced for the 3rd time. Yup!
It started in a land far away (actually across town), long, long ago (when I was 12 or 13 years old) when I got my earlobes pierced. Like most young girls of that time and my age, we went to Claire’s, a cheap jewelry boutique. The piercers are not educated in hygiene, safety, or any real technique, and use disposable piercing guns. I don’t ever recommend that anyone get pierced at a place that uses piercing guns. Some places apparently RE-USE the guns, which is incredibly unsanitary. The guns are also highly inaccurate and I have known many people who had to abandon their piercings because they were pierced crookedly or too prone to infection.
For some people, one set of dangly bits of metal hanging from their ears is enough. For me, it created an addiction! (No, not really, just trying and failing at sounding overly dramatic. It’s that kind of day.)
Here, look at this, I’m busting out my gigantic external hard drive just for you mystical internet folk.
Lobes: Age 12 or 13. My mom set the age “limit”. I think it’s only because my sister didn’t want hers done until she was roughly that age. Not fair, but clearly, I’ve gotten over it. We had them done at Claire’s and I had no problems with healing, which is a miracle, given my lazy ways, and how infrequently I specifically cleaned the new piercings. For a while in high school, I wore large paperclips in these holes. They are stretched out to about 10-gauge now. I’m not sure if I’ll go any larger.
2nd lobe piercings: The photographic evidence indicates that I had these by the time I was 15, but I can’t remember when/where I had them done. It might’ve been Claire’s again. I think the only reason why these never closed is I never changed the jewelry (or took it out). These are stretched to maybe 14g now (usually start at 18 or 20), just because I had the jewelry. I have a preference for horseshoe-shaped barbells.
3rd lobe piercings: At home, with starter studs. I was in a bad, bad state of mind and thought, “Screw it, I want them done.” The first one didn’t hurt at all and I cheered up considerably. The second one, I did a few days later, and it hurt a lot more. That’s what happens when you’re not numbed to pain from depression! I took these out after a year or two because I never changed the jewelry and was bored with them.
Cartilage piercing: April of 2005. Don’t remember why I wanted it, but this was the start of my piercings at Chameleon Body Arts in the Garage, in Harvard Square. Erin Duffy did the piercing (she is apparently back & piercing there again). I touched it too much after it was done & it got infected (ear looked purple, felt hot & heavy). We went back in and she told me to dab a little iodine on it twice a day for a few days, and it would be fine. It was fine for 5 years until I had to take it out for my job at a Sony retail store. Jerks. I think I’ll get this one done again. I rarely took the jewelry out after high school. For a while, I kept a fake diamond stud earring in it, then I just put in a hoop and left it.
Eyebrow piercing: This one has a tumultuous history. I turned 18, the next day I had my eyebrow piercing, the day after that I had my wisdom teeth out. Being on antibiotics for a week kind of helps with the healing, since there was probably no way I could have gotten it infected, but I cleaned it diligently and it seemed okay. I won’t bother telling you where I had it done because they placed it poorly and used a straight barbell, which works for some people, but not me. A good piercer should be able to recognize that. Anyway, it rejected after quite some time and I took it out and let it heal. Rejection from a piercing is usually like the piercing has regressed, it’s suddenly flaking & scabbing all the time, or oozing, in my case. The only thing you can do is take it out and let the wound heal.
I had it re-pierced by Owen, who still pierces at Chameleon, maybe 6 months later? He put it in a slightly different spot and it lived on for several years like that. I took it out in 2010 for my job at Sony, and just got it re-pierced on Friday night. Owen did it again. He was able to use the same site since it had been plenty enough time since I took the jewelry out and let the holes heal up. It hardly hurt and the healing time is 2-3 weeks this time! I feel a little more complete with my eyebrow bling back :).
Nostril: September or October of 2007. I remember polling friends on Facebook about this one. Nostril or lip? I didn’t want to copy my sister, who’d gotten her nostril pierced when she went to college and turned 18. I decided I didn’t want to have to stop kissing while a piercing healed, so I got my nostril pierced. It was done poorly, like the first time with my eyebrow. Too high, not a good angle. There was a bump inside my nostril that never went away. I went back to the person who did it and they blamed my anatomy. I went back to Chameleon and was told the placement was bad. I took it out and had it redone by Owen and it has not given me any trouble. I rarely change the jewelry, since I got this easy hoop a few years ago. I was able to keep this piercing when I worked at Sony, just popping in jewelry when I was at home/out of work.
Navel: I had my belly button pierced in 2011. I had it for less than a year because it began to reject. I think the jewelry was too long after a while, and the balls might’ve been too large (I had Owen look at it this week and he said it could’ve been either, but no way to tell without seeing it while it was rejecting). I don’t think I’ll bother having this one re-done, it was a huge hassle trying to heal it. I move around way too much to deal with this kind of surface piercing.
So, that’s essentially been my experiences. I haven’t had the best luck or done the best research. I’ve learned quite a lot along the way and am probably always going to go back to Chameleon from now on. They haven’t done me wrong yet. In terms of maintenance, I use saline solution (often just buy the nasal spray bottles they sell at CVS) to rinse new piercings twice a day (and rinse them in the shower every day). I’m really lazy about cleaning beyond the healing period and have managed to keep all my piercings from getting infected after the cartilage one, so I think I do okay. Everybody tells me to take earrings out once a day to clean, and body jewelry out at least once a week to clean, but I never did and I’m still here. Take it all with a grain of salt & pay attention to feelings & smells. You’ll figure out what your body’s limit is quickly enough!
Note: I’m not a professional, don’t ask me for advice. These are just my experiences.