Does it hurt?
Occasionally, but a good piercer will have finished before you have even drawn breath to scream – in fact, most people find that the very worst part is the time between making the decision to have the piercing done and going to the piercing studio. If you are worried, this can be very stressful; relax, it will all be over before you know it. If you are worried or stressed about getting the piercing, tell your piercer and they will talk you through the procedure and help you feel comfortable and relaxed. For most people the reaction to the piercing is a quick ‘ahhh’, followed by a laugh. Stress, rather than pain, can cause some people to feel light-headed and dizzy or to faint. If you do experience any light-headedness, tell your piercer.
Guns or Needles?
Wildcat Ink does not use piercing guns for any piercings. Avoid anyone who tries to use one of these for any piercing as they are unsuitable and can harm you. Trained professional piercers use a hollow needle blade or cannula. This cuts a hole instead of poking one with a blunt object at high velocity. This sounds worse, but actually is much less traumatic to the area, causes less scarring, and of course hurts a lot less!
Average Healing Times
Every area of the body has its own unique healing period & processes; oral & facial piercings tend to heal most quickly. A general guideline for approximate healing times is as follows:
Bridge 2 – 3 months
Cheek up to 12 months
Conch 3 -6 months
Dermal Anchor 2 – 4months
Daith 3 – 6 months
Ear lobe 10 – 12 weeks
Eyebrow 10 –12 weeks
Genitals 2 – 8 months
Labret 6 – 8 weeks
Lip 6 – 8 weeks
Nape 6 – 12 months
Navel 6 – 9 months
Nipple 4 – 9 months
Nostril 2 – 4 months
Rim 2 – 4 months
Rook 3 – 4 months
Scaffold 2 – 6 months
Septum 6 – 8 weeks
Tongue 3 – 4 weeks
Tragus 3 – 6 months
Remember, these healing times are approximate; every individual heals and reacts to piercings differently. If properly cared for, your piercing should heal within the time specified. By using appropriate aftercare & keeping irritation to a minimum you will ensure the best possible environment for healing your piercing.
Changing your piercing jewellery
We do not recommend that you change the initial piercing jewellery until your piercing has fully healed. Some piercings (tongue, labret, cheek, p.a. etc.) will require a change of jewellery during the healing period as the swelling of your piercing is reduced; however, this should be done only by your piercer and only with properly sized sterilised jewellery of a suitable material.
If you want to change your jewellery yourself, you should do this only after the new piercing has healed and developed a tough barrier of healthy skin between the piercing and the jewellery. Re-opening the wound in a piercing that is not sufficiently healed will delay the healing process and can cause infection.
Wait until the piercing is no longer tender (i.e. you can move the jewellery in your piercing without experiencing any discomfort).
Use as much care and be as clean as possible when changing your jewellery for the first time.
When handling or changing your body jewellery, always clean your hands well, preferably with an anti-bacterial soap.
A hot shower or hot compress can also help by softening the skin around the piercing before cleaning it and inserting fresh body jewellery.
To insert fresh jewellery, pinch the skin adjacent to the piercing and insert one end of the body jewellery into one hole of the piercing.
Wearing jewellery of the correct size in your body piercing is important; if the body jewellery is too short it will aggravate the piercing, if it is too long the body jewellery can move around a lot in piercing or get snagged on hair and clothing which causes aggravation to the piercing and may also cause tiny tears in the tissue. This can lead to scarring (keloids), migration & infection. Your piercer will be able to help you measure the correct jewellery size or your piercing.
Downsizing stretched piercings
Generally speaking, the larger your stretch your earlobe, the harder it will be to downsize the stretch. As you stretch the flesh it naturally loses its elasticity. Most people find that piercings of 8mm and smaller can be downsized fairly easily, although this process will be gradual. Keep the skin healthy by moisturising and massaging regularly which will stimulate the tissue and increase blood-flow to the pierced area.
At the counter: Don’t handle your piercings (even if they are healed) as you may spread bacteria to the studio’s common areas thereby endangering both staff and fellow patrons.
Bring worn jewellery in a baggie or other sealed container.
Never place worn jewellery on the counter or display.
In the bathroom: Don’t handle your piercings (see above).
It is never appropriate to change your jewellery in the restroom or other locations in the studio.
If you want your jewellery changed at the studio, it should be done by one of the piercers, in the piercing room.
In the piercing room: Allow your piercer to direct you to an area where personal belongings may be placed BEFORE putting anything down.
Camera flashes can be very distracting during the performance of a piercing.
Check with your piercer before taking pictures.
Turn off your mobile phone.
Piercing and Pregnancy
Navel jewellery can be left in place if you wish; some women leave jewellery in during their entire pregnancy and delivery. If, during your pregnancy the piercing becomes uncomfortable, you can replace the jewellery with Bioplast or PTFE, which are inert plastics (something like thick fishing line). These will bend and flex with your changing body, be more comfortable, and are safe to wear. Once your pregnancy is over, you can return to the your regular navel jewellery.
Even long after the piercing is totally healed, a piercing may or may not stay open without something in place. This varies from person to person. Wearing an inert plastic in it will ensure that it can be maintained.
If you decide to remove the jewellery entirely during your pregnancy, it is still possible that it can be reinserted using an insertion taper even if the old jewellery won’t go back in easily. If it cannot be reinserted it is quite likely that it can be re-pierced.
As a side note, some women who lack sufficient tissue quantity or pliability for navel piercing prior to pregnancy are often well suited after pregnancy.
There is no special care that is required during pregnancy for healed piercings.
We have not found any cases of women who wished to breast feed and could not as a result of having had a nipple piercing. The milk ducts are a multiplicity of little pore-like ducts. Therefore, the likelihood of closing them all off from a piercing of usual size is virtually nil.
Most women do remove their jewellery for breast feeding and we believe this to be appropriate. As a result, some milk may come from the site of the piercing during nursing, which is not harmful nor problematic. Some woman will use an insertion taper (a tool designed for this purpose) to facilitate reinsertion or to check regularly and make certain the holes are open.
There is no special care that is required during pregnancy for healed piercings.
New Piercings During Pregnancy
It is advisable to refrain from undergoing any and all body art procedures during a pregnancy, even just an ear lobe stretch. It is best to let your body focus on the important, complex and demanding task that it is handling already.
Piercing Following Pregnancy
We suggest that a three month waiting period be observed following delivery in order for the body to regain physiological and hormonal equilibrium before piercing.
In addition, we recommend waiting a longer period before nipple piercing – see below.
Body Piercing During Nursing
With the exception of a 3-month post-partum delay we do not find it contra-indicated to remove piercings (with the obvious exception of the nipples) during nursing. The body is not under the same type of demands as during pregnancy.
In addition, we recommend waiting a longer period before nipple piercing. It is advisable to wait three months following the cessation of breast milk production before piercing of the nipples.