It's true: augmented reality (AR) technology has been shaping the landscape of today’s beauty and fashion scene. One platform that banks on this trend is video-sharing app TikTok. Aside from the usual perks provided by the platform to its users, it’s also encouraging a style trend that started off digitally but had people wanting to bring it to life: adventurous piercings.
Now, you might be thinking that piercings are quite typical and there’s nothing wrong whether people are trying them out virtually or in reality. But the piercing filter on TikTok has sparked the Piercing Roulette challenge, where the filter would randomly suggest a piercing placement to the user and the person has to actually get it.
Celebrities like Rihanna and Florence Pugh are also seen rocking the multiple earring trend in the past couple of years, igniting the growing interest in stylish piercings even more. This makes it sound even cooler, sure, but people are reportedly getting pierced without any professional help to join the bandwagon. Yikes!
Before you start calling us killjoys, let's be clear that we’re not here to stop you from trying the trend. We just want you to take a teensy bit of caution. Ahead, our guide on everything you need to know about piercings, from preparations, what to expect, post-care, and more.
What to do before getting a piercing
Consult your doctor
While getting a piercing can be fun and spontaneous, getting the advice of your doctor prior to the procedure should be a priority. Factors such as your blood sugar, blood pressure, and pain tolerance actually play a big role in the process. The body has different — sometimes unexpected — ways of reacting to pain and dealing with healing. Since piercing is initially a punctured wound, knowing how your body will react to it is a must.
Different body parts have different pain levels so keep your pain tolerance in mind
For first-timers and repeaters alike, pain tolerance varies significantly. Where you're getting pierced informs this, too. Loose skin or body parts that don't have cartilages like your ear lobes, navel or tongue hurt less. Your septum or the upper and inner part of your ears are more sensitive so do expect more pain if you're getting piercings there. Keep this in mind when deciding where to get your piercing since aside from the actual piercing process, you have to deal with some post-procedure pain.
Check your skin's sensitivity
Does your skin tend to get easily irritated under normal circumstances? It's best to stick to hypoallergenic studs then. Some people still tend to develop extra pain and irritation no matter how clean the piercing process was or how high-quality the rings/studs used are. It's important to know if your skin is more sensitive than others so your piercing and healing process goes smoothly. Again, this is why consulting doctors and getting it done professionally is important to avoid complications pre-, during, and post-procedure.
Make sure it's done by an expert
If you’re thinking that it’s as easy as poking a balloon, let us be the ones to burst your bubble (pun intended). The chances of getting an infection when piercing yourself or having someone inexperienced do it is high. You might even end up spending more for getting treated than going to a professional piercer. There are many licensed tattoo parlours — who use sterile tools (important!) — that offer the service. There are also jewellery shops found in malls like Goldheart or Stellar that can do it for you.
The day before the piercing, you should...
Avoid drinking and make sure you're well-hydrated and well-rested. This is to ensure that your blood pressure is at its best during the day of your session.
Parlours and shops may also have specific requirements like presenting identification cards, health documents, etc. so make sure you also verify and prepare these prior to your appointment.
Don't forget to take note of your hair and/or the clothes you're wearing to the session
If it's in the ears, make sure you bring a hair tie or some bobby pins so that your locks won't get in the way during the piercing procedure. If it's in other parts of your body, make sure you're wearing comfortable clothes that you can easily lift or remove. Also remember that after the session, the piercing shouldn't be touched or moved, so you also have to consider this when choosing what to wear during your appointment.
What to do on the day of your piercing appointment
Have a meal at least two hours prior to your appointment
Aside from preventing you from getting dizzy during your session, it's also good precaution in case the piercing session takes a while. Just make sure you avoid caffeine, alcohol, or energy drinks during your meal as this will make it harder to sit still. Drinking caffeine, alcohol, or energy drinks will also thin your blood which will make it harder to stop flowing once the puncture is made.
Reserve the painkillers for later
Taking painkillers, as well as calming or anti-nausea medications, prior to your session is not advised since, again, it might affect your blood pressure and the rest of your body's state.
Read the consent forms carefully
Procedures done in authorised parlours and shops have consent forms to ensure that both parties involved in the session are transparent in terms of health regulations, expectations, etc. Read these forms carefully and be honest in answering questions about your health to avoid any issues in the future.
It might be hard to do so especially if it's your first time getting a piercing. But try as much as possible to keep your nerves down and just have fun with it. If it helps, ask a friend or a trusted family member to come along with you for support.
The proper piercing post-care treatment
The best thing about getting pierced by a professional is that you get to ask all the after-care questions you can and get reliable answers. Each body part has a specific way to clean and care for post-piercing. Take your specialist’s advice to heart. But generally, similar rules apply.
How to clean your new piercing
First, make sure your hands are clean before touching the piercing. Next, clean the area with a saline solution (2.5 grams of salt for every 240 ml/1 cup water) or water and a fragrance-free antibacterial soap. Rinse the area thoroughly but gently, making sure that you're not moving the piercing too much. Dry the area with a clean tissue or disposable paper towel instead of a cloth since the latter may carry germs and has threads that might get caught on the piercing.
It's recommended to do this once a day in the earlier stages and then twice when the piercing is in its later stages of healing. Never use alcohol to clean the area as this might cause further irritation.
Things to avoid
Always remember the golden rule: don't move your piercing while it's still healing. A nudge here and there might cause swelling, bleeding or other negative after-effects. Also avoid contact to open water like lakes, pools, and bathtubs since bacteria can cling and infect the skin. Opt for showers instead since running water means lesser chances of bacteria hanging on to one area of the skin.
Don't use makeup, lotions, sprays, etc., on the pierced area as well since it can contaminate the puncture while it's healing. Lastly, antibacterial ointments are also a big no-no since this can block the wound from getting the air it needs to heal.
Should any complications arise, don't self-medicate and consult a doctor right away.
Other things to know about new and old piercing holes
Got a piercing you regret? Don’t worry. They tend to heal. Non-cartilage piercings tend to heal faster than others. Piercings that also don't have earrings for a long while tend to become smaller (and sometimes close up completely) compared to holes that have jewellery.
Overall, similar to other fashion or beauty decision, getting a new piercing is an exciting prospect. But you still have to practice caution. Get pierced (or not), but do it safely.
Next, find out what getting inked means to Gen-Z.
Comments, questions or feedback? Email us at [email protected].