How do I prepare for a piercing?

At Skincraft we usually do piercings on a walk-in basis. We encourage you to make an appointment if you are on a tight schedule and want to make sure you don't have a long wait or if you would like a certain person to do your piercing. Try to eat about an hour before you come in to be pierced. If you have not eaten anything within four hours of when you plan to get pierced, we will ask you to eat something. Please do not consume any alcohol or other drugs prior to being pierced. If you have any health issues which might impact your ability to heal, please consult your doctor before you get a piercing. Some people like to make an occasion of their piercing so feel free to bring a friend to witness the event, wear something special or whatever makes you feel most comfortable. You may bring up to four other people into the piercing room with you.

Does it hurt to get pierced?

Yes, but only for about a second, and significantly less that most people anticipate. We are often told "that it didn't hurt nearly as mush as I thought it would." We are constantly refining our techniques to make your experience as comfortable for you as possible.

Can you numb the area to be pierced?

For various reasons, we do not use any anesthetics in our piercing process. For one, only licensed medical professionals can legally administer injectable anesthetics. For another, when performed by a skilled, professional piercer, the actual piercing is quicker and considerably less painful than an injection would be. Anesthetics distort the tissue to be pierced, which can result in a crooked or misshapen piercing. Topical anesthetics also can not penetrate deeply enough to provide any significant numbing.

Will it hurt after it's healed?

The tenderness associated with a new piercing usually diminishes rapidly during the healing period. As long as you take care of your piercing properly, you should experience the least amount of tenderness as possible. Healed piercings often bring people a great deal of physical pleasure in addition to aesthetic appeal.

How long does it take to heal?

Healing times vary from piercing to piercing, person to person and can be affected by the aftercare the piercing receives. Touching a healing piercing with dirty hands, contact with bodily fluids, rough treatment, and use of cleaning agents which are inappropriate or to which you are sensitive can cause problems and significantly lengthen healing time. Following your aftercare instructions will minimize healing time and the risk of problems.

What are the chances of getting an infection?

If you are pierced at Skincraft, and follow our aftercare instructions faithfully, the chances of an infection are very small. We take extreme care to assure that all piercings are performed in a appropriately clean environment using sterile equipment. After that, it's up to you. If you do have any questions about how to take care of your piercings or if you think you might have an infection, please contact us immediately. We will never discourage you from consulting a physician if you believe you have an infection, and if you're not comfortable going to your usual doctor, we can often refer you to a "piercing-friendly" doctor. There are however, many conditions which are not infections, and may be mistaken as such. They include reaction to metal or, more commonly, to the cleaning agents you are using. If you want, we are happy to consult with you and suggest possible approaches based on our experience as professional piercers. The percentage of people who get infections in our piercings is extremely small, and these are usually the result of in appropriate aftercare practices.

When can I take the piercing out and not lose the piercing?

There are two stages of healing. The initial stage seals the piercing and thus reduces the chances of infection dramatically. The second stage is longer and is the time it takes for the piercing to "toughen up." During and after the latter stage jewelry can be removed for varying lengths of time. The piercing will begin to shrink as soon as you remove the jewelry. How long it takes to shrink to a degree that you cannot reinsert the jewelry varies from person to person. Never force the jewelry into a piercing which has shrunk. Contact Skincraft for instructions on reinserting your jewelry, or stop by and have us reinsert the jewelry for you.

Do you use a piercing gun?

A professional piercer would never use an ear piercing gun, even on an ear lobe. There are many reasons for this, the primary one being that guns cannot be adequately sterilized between uses. Additionally, the jewelry design is in appropriate, even for lobes, as the post is often too short to allow for swelling and proper cleaning, and the backing traps infectious matter close to the piercing. While many people imagine that being pierced by a gun would hurt less than being pierced by a needle, this is not so. With a gun, the piercing is accomplished by forcing a blunt stud through the tissue, a considerably harsher method than a professionally performed piercing.

Does the needle remove any tissue?

No, the needle does not remove any tissue from your body. It merely makes a small incision the same width as the jewelry and spreads it slightly to fit the jewelry. Some piercers use what is known as "medical gauge" needles. These needles are measured by their inside diameter so that the jewelry fits snugly inside the needle. While this makes the jewelry transfer easier for the piercer, the outside diameter of the needle can be up to a full 2 gauges larger than the jewelry. This means that the new piercing is bigger than the jewelry, which can lead to excessive bleeding and a longer healing period. At Skincraft, we use needles measured by their outside diameter which precisely match the jewelry that we use. We only make the piercing just big enough to accept your new jewelry, keeping your discomfort and healing time to a minimum.

Will I set off a metal detector?

Probably not unless you have a large concentration of piercings in one area of your body, or if your piercing jewelry is of a very thick gauge.

How will exercise and sweat affect a new piercing?

For most people this does not cause any problems. A particular exercise should only be avoided if it directly causes pressure and rubbing against any healing piercing. These problems can often be solved by a change of clothes. While your own sweat is technically sterile to your own body, it can cause dust and dirt to stick to you so it's a very good idea to clean the piercing after your workout. Wearing clean, absorbent clothing with a minimum of dyes can be helpful.

What about swimming pools and hot tubs?

Pools, hot tubs, and natural bodies of water are teeming with potentially harmful organisms. For the first month of healing, the cell walls inside the piercing are simply not strong enough to defend your body against an invader. Products such as Bioclusive or Tegaderm, waterproof bandages available at some pharmacies, will provide a measure of protection. If you must go swimming in the first month of your healing period, schedule one of your two daily piercings cleanings immediately after being in the water. Try to avoid chlorinated pools and hot tubs if your jewelry is gold as the chemicals can cause it to break or shatter.

Do navel and eyebrow piercings usually grow out?

Of the more common piercings, navels snd eyebrows have a bit greater tendency to grow out than average. Placement has a lot to do with success, so you can increase your chances by having the piercing done by a skilled professional. Be sure to follow proper aftercare and minimize any irritation caused by clothing which is tight or restrictive and/or which has belts and waistbands.

Are the piercing needles used only on one person?

We absolutely never use a needle on more than one person. One needle may however be used for more than one piercing on the same person in the same session. At Skincraft, our needles are sterilized in an autoclave in specially designed packaging prior to use and disposed of safely after use.

How many piercings can I get done in one session?

Three piercings in one session is not uncommon depending on what you plan to have pierced. Having too many piercings done at once can be a bit too stressful for your body to cope with and can prolong your healing time.

Can I lose sensation in the pierced area?

For most people, a piercing increases sensation. One of the main reasons people get pierced is to heighten the stimulation of a particular body part. The number of people who have reported no change or a loss of sensation is actually very small.

What metals are safe for piercing jewelry?

316L surgical implant grade stainless steel, solid gold of either 14 or 18 karat, niobium, or titanium work well for the vast majority of people. Platinum and some other exotic metals also work well. Metals to avoid include silver, gold plated or gold filled, brass, bronze, and copper. The initial "savings" on a cheaper ring is quickly forgotten when infections and reactions to poorly made jewelry necessitate medical expenses. This includes cheaply made rings of a proper metal. A piece of jewelry that is improperly formed, is not polished properly, or has any tiny nicks or scratches can harbor harmful bacteria and lead to infection or irritation.

What size jewelry is standard?

Usually a sizing is a matter of individual custom fit, some piercings do have "standard" sizes which work for most people, and often there is a minimum size. Aesthetics is only a part of what makes a piercing work for you. It must function properly as well. Jewelry which is not the right size can cause healing problems.

Why can't I have a smaller ring?

Sometimes, what you imagine would look best will not work best. Your preferences in look and play aside, the size needs to be tailored to your body's individual structure, and, most importantly, what will be the most comfortable and promote the best healing.

How does nipple piercing affect breast feeding a baby?

Since the nipple secretes milk through a system of hundreds of ducts, a majority of which are not blocked by a nipple piercing, a healed piercing should not interfere with breast feeding. We do suggest that a mother remove her jewelry while feeding her baby. A piercing in the process of healing would be problematic. We do not suggest having your nipples pierced if you plan to breast feed within the next two years. If you have any specific breast-feeding questions, please feel free to contact Dawn as she has a signifigant amount of experience in this area.

What about sex and genital piercings?

Anyone's body fluids, other than possibly your own, can be a sure-fire source of infection. Consequently, condoms or dental dams should always be used for sexual activity while a genital piercing is healing. Also, don't get too rough with it. Genital piercings are intended to enhance sex, not interfere, so be sure the jewelry you select is of the right size and design so that it won't get in the way. We are always happy to make suggestions based on our experience.