Body Piercing Jewellery: Frequently Asked Questions

How much should a piercing cost?

The cost of a piercing will be affected by a few different factors; running costs and staffing costs of a well maintained studio are going to be major factors, as are the placement of the piercing on the body and probably most of all, the type of jewellery chosen. The average piercing carried out with a Steel Ball Closure Ring is going to be cheaper than the same piercing carried out with a Jewelled Zircon Gold one. In a good, reputable studio, you should expect to pay between 20 and 30 pounds (22-35 Euros) for a piercing. You will find shops that will offer to pierce you for between 5 and 10 pounds (6-12 Euros) but we all know what they say about offers that are too good to be true.

What metals are suitable for initial piercings?

The main factor in choosing an initial type of metal for your piercing is that the jewellery should be completely Biocompatible in relation to your body. EEC Complaint Steel, which is Nickel free, is a popular choice as is Titanium which can be used in its plain polished (dull silvery) form, anodised (coloured), or with a PVD coating in the form of Blackline or Zircon Gold. You could also consider 14 and 18 carat Gold, although in these days of high metal prices this will prove an expensive option.

What's the best type of jewellery to get pierced with i.e; Ball Closure Ring, Labret, Barbell? 

The main priority for the initial piercing is speed and ease of healing and, without doubt, the best place to begin in this quest is your local piercer. The advice of an experienced piercer, who may have carried out well over 50,000 piercings, should be taken seriously as they want your piercing to heal properly just as much as you do. Different locations on your body will work better with one style of jewellery in comparison to another and different gauges (thickness) can also affect your bodies ability to heal, as can the length or diameter of the jewellery inserted. It is common in many piercing for the ball or bar to be a few milleters longer than needed Do your research well and listen to any advice given.

How long will my piercing take to heal?

Probably an impossible question to answer due to the number of different factors involved; Position of piercing being healed, jewellery used, jobs and activities, general health, immune system, diet etc... we could go on forever! If the piercing is well looked after, and a good aftercare routine followed, then the following estimates can be treated as normal (healing times in months):

piercing estimated healing time in months
1-2 1-3 1-4 2-3 2-4 2-6 2-12 3-4
Ear Lobe              
Ear Rim, Inner Helix, Tragus, Rook              
Conch, Anti-Tragus, Snug, Diath              
Industrial, Traverse Earlobe              
Lip, Labret, Madonna, Medusa              
Snake Bites, Spider Bites              
Earl (Bridge of Nose)              
Prince Albert              
Inner Labia, Clitoral Hood              
Outer Labia              
Foreskin, Frenum, Pubic, Scrotum, Guiche              


How should I choose the best studio in my area?

A hard question to answer. Reputation, reputation and reputation are probably the three most important factors in choosing a studio. Ask people who are pierced (they won't mind) for their experiences in different studios. Do the same names keep cropping up? Is the feedback positive? If the answer's "Yes" why not go and see them and make up your own mind. Are they helpful and knowledgable, do they want to provide you with a good piercing in a lovely clean environment or do they just want to take your money with a minimal amount of effort? If you feel comfortable, the studio is council registered and/or regulated and is obviously well run and clean, you're probably in the right place.

What diameter of Ball Closure Ring or Circular Barbell should I put in my piercing after it's healed?

Again a difficult question to answer. Different piercing will quite comfortably hold different diameters of jewellery. If you are looking for a snug fit in somewhere like the Ear Lobe or Ear Rim, then jewellery perhaps only 1mm bigger in diameter than the ear is wide can be accommodated, whereas Nipples may need a diameter 50-60% larger than the piercing is long. Advice from a good piercing studio, and knowing from experience what your own body will tolerate, will probably be your best bet.

What's the difference between an externally and an internally threaded piece of jewellery?

An externally threaded piece of jewellery is the most common type and will have a thread machined onto the outside of the post and is twinned with a Ball with a thread cut into it (the ball will 'screw-on' to the jewellery post). An internal thread is obviously the opposite, the thread is cut down inside the post and the thread protrudes from the Ball itself and fits snugly into the post (the ball will 'screw-in' to the jewellery post). The accessories on our website have been divided into 'screw-on' or 'screw-in' to help ensure you get the correct type.

The jewellery I bought yesterday is making my skin itchy and my piercing is starting to weep.

This sounds like a case of metal sensitivity (allergic reaction). More often than not it's caused by the presence of Nickel as part of a Steel alloy, this problem is far more common in women than men. A good friendly piercing studio should be able to help you out with a replacement that's more suited to your body chemistry.

I think that my piercing is starting to 'reject'.

The vast majority of piercings that are prone to rejection are surface piercings (Eyebrow, Bridge, Navel etc) although a number of other piercings can suffer the same fate. Signs of a piercing being 'rejected' include; the piercing shrinking in size, (for example a Navel piercing that a year ago held 12mm long jewellery now holding similar jewellery that is only 6mm long), the jewellery being almost visible through the skin itself, the skin around the piercing darkening in colour and the top layers of skin becoming 'flaky' and loose. None of these signs are positive and it is probably a good idea to remove the jewellery to avoid the skin being broken completely as this can leave a nasty scar that may take a while to flatten out. The piercing can usual be re-done once the skin returns to its natural colour.

Will my piercing leave a scar when I eventually remove it?

To a greater or lesser extent the answer is "Yes". A healed piercing is basically a tube of scar tissue that snugly surrounds the jewellery that it holds in place. Most piercings will leave a fairly small indentation that, once removed, will shrink down and become less obvious over time. Some piercings such as Cheeks will probably leave a larger indentation in a more visible location once removed. This mark is often assumed to be natural 'dimples'.

I want to stretch my Ear Lobe piercings. Will they close back up again?

Perhaps, but to be honest there are so many contributory factors involved it is impossible to give a straight answer. The size of the stretch, the speed of the stretch, the length of time that the jewellery was worn for and the age and physiology of the person involved are all contributory factors. As a rule of thumb, and with a long (and heated) discussion behind us, we came up with an idea that stretching up to a maximum of 10mm wide, stretched up at no faster than the recommended 1mm a month, worn for a maximum of around 5 years, would probably shut down almost completely. Again please don't take this as law, it's simply an educated guess from over 40 years of combined experience. 

Will my jewellery set off the scanner at the airport?

That all depends on 3 factors:
#1 - The material the jewellery is made of: Steel /Titanium - maybe. Acrylic / Wood / Glass – no.
#2 - The density of the metal: 8 mm thick Ball Closure Rings and far more likely to trigger the alarm than a 1.2mm thick Barbell.
#3 - The calibration of the machine itself. Some are more sensitive than others.
If in doubt (and worried), remove your jewellery and replace it with something more suitable.

Will the actual piercing hurt?

All piercings will hurt to a certain degree though, thankfully, most will feel no worse than a quick hard pinch. Be realistic, a Nipple is going to be sorer than an Ear Lobe though they should both, in the hands of an experienced piercer take only about a second to complete. Listen to your piercer, if they are good at their job they should be able to make the vast majority of piercings both a comfortable and enjoyable experience.

How should I clean my piercing?

From years of experience we have come to the conclusion that a mild salt water solution is probably the best option for cleaning the majority of piercings. This can be bought from a chemist in the form of Saline Contact Lens Cleaner or can be made up with care at home. If making up the salt water solution please make sure that it is not too strong as this can burn the skin. Dissolving a 1/4 of a level teaspoon of Sea Salt in a 1/2 pint of boiling water and allowing to cool to a comfortable temperature should work well for most people. After washing your hands thoroughly with an anti-bacterial soap, the piercing should be cleaned with a cotton bud dipped in the saline solution (never dip the buds back into the saline solution, always use a fresh one).  A thorough clean to remove any crust/Lymph followed by a good dry should complete a successful cleaning regime. Be patient.

Will my piercing bleed?

There is no exact answer to this question as some people are more prone to bleeding than others and some piercing sites are more vascular and thus more likely to bleed than others. A small amount of blood at the time the piercing is conducted should be considered to be normal and should stop shortly afterwards. During the healing period, heavy bleeding or prolonged bleeding is uncommon but has unfortunately been known to happen and if you are worried about this you should consult your local Accident and Emergency Department for advice.

I have been told to hide or remove my piercings for work. What are my options?

This usually only applies for either Facial or Oral piercings, both of which can be removed and replaced for jewellery of a matching size and/or gauge from our range of retainers made from clear plastic, these pieces should work well in most piercings. For stretched Ear Lobes, Flesh Coloured Silicone Plugs are available in a good range of sizes. Don't panic just change your jewellery.

I've just had my piercing carried out and it's a little red and sore. Is this normal?

In a single word "Yes". Inflammation is a normal part of the healing period and can last for a few days sometimes being accompanied by a small amount of bruising. Cuts, scratches, bumps and spots will all go through this phase and it should pass relatively quickly.

I've got a Navel piercing and I've just found out that I'm pregnant. Should i take it out?

In most cases you shouldn't have to remove the jewellery permanently although as the pregnancy progresses it is a good idea to replace the original piece of jewellery with a flexible and completely inert PTFE Barbell that will flex slightly to fit the new contours of your body. Please make sure that your new pliable PTFE Barbell is around 4-6mm longer that the original one that it's replacing.

I'm trying to remove my jewellery but I can't get the Ball off!

A common problem. Balls on Labrets, Horseshoes and both Straight and Curved Barbells can become 'stuck' over time. In the vast majority of cases the Ball isn't actually stuck at all but is  difficult to grip due to it's size or position in the body. It's also a good idea to make sure that your hands are free from Sebum (a natural oil) or any dampness which can make an easy job problematic. The use of latex (assuming you are not allergic to it), vinyl or nitrile gloves will usually bring a happy conclusion to this problem. The problem of Balls being stuck in Ball Closure Rings can be more difficult (if more obvious) to solve. Small Rings, Thick Rings and the combination of both spells trouble that can easily be remedied with the use of a pair of Circlip Pliers to release the pressure of the ring. Care should be taken not to open the Ring too widely to distort it's shape and prevent the Ball being refitted.

What's the difference between 'Blackline' and 'Black Steel'

Fundamentally the only difference between Blackline and Black Steel is the base metal used. Blackline is manufactured from a base of Grade 23 Surgical Titanium while Black Steel has a 316L Surgical Stainless Steel base. Both are then finished using the same black PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition) coating to give them the beautiful deep glossy and hard-wearing coating that they are well know for. Black Steel is also referred to as 'Black PVD on Steel' for obvious reasons with the trade name Mysterium being the most prolific. Blackline is a trade name for PVD coated Titanium.

The main choice between them is usually decided by price/weight factors. Blackline is much lighter than Black Steel but tends to be more expensive. Secondly, people with a Nickel allergy will choose Titanium based Blackline over Black Steel, though we are hearing more and more that the PVD coating on the Steel tends to stop the Nickel salts migrating to the surface. However, till this has been properly tested we suggest you play safe and stick to Blackline.

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