It’s that time of year again, folks! It’s time for the Rogue annual piercing gift guide, where we show you all the options you have for the piercing lover in your life. And if that piercing lover is yourself, then who are we to judge?
The run up to Christmas can be a difficult time for independent businesses – Who are we to compete with the big box stores and online retailers like Amazon? If you can, always support local businesses. High quality, ethical piercing studios are the lifeblood of this industry. Support us however you can, as we will always be here to help you feel at home in your body. Whether that be through purchasing jewellery, booking for piercings, bringing us your piercings to troubleshoot, we are always here to help in ways that big retailers or chain piercing shops simply can’t.
We’ll talk you through some options for a few different piercing placements, and some more general options as well.
Piercing Gift Cards
The quickest, easiest, and sometimes the most thoughtful thing you can do as part of your piercing gift guide is to purchase a gift card. We know, gift cards have a bit of a reputation… But buying a gift card at Rogue is more like buying someone a personalised service than it is an item – Being able to come in, work with the team, get a piercing or choose your own personal piercing upgrades is a really epic gift. Don’t snub it just because!
Within the realm of gift cards – Did you know that you can use gift cards to place custom orders through Rogue with all of your favourite brands? If your partner, sibling, mum, dad, or any other loved one has been yearning after a particular piece of jewellery, or wanted something that we stocked that has since sold, then getting them a gift card to use as part or all of a custom order is probably the sweetest thing you can do!
Buying jewellery is kind of like buying someone perfume – It is really difficult to capture who they are as a person and get them something that they truly love! But if you know the person well, and you get them something that they adore, then… There is literally no better feeling in the world. So if you think you can nail it, absolutely go for it!
You can buy jewellery from Rogue a couple of different ways – Firstly, you can do it in-person under the expert guidance of our jewellery specialists by booking a Jewellery Consultation here. That way you can bring reference photos, inspiration, and generally help us figure out the perfect gift to match their vibe.
You can also purchase our entire jewellery collection online! Simply head to our WEBSTORE and scroll through our vast array of options, with in-depth descriptions on sizing, gemstones, and pricing available at your fingertips. You can also click HERE to find an excellent guide on how to get the best out of our online shop!
Nose piercings are quite personal – The choices go far beyond ‘ring or stud!’ If your loved one is a ring person, we always recommend booking them in for a checkup where we can measure and fit the right size for them, unless you know the exact size they need. You might be able to do this by sneaking a ring out of their collection and bringing it to us to be measured… Studs however, are a little bit more straightforward. Especially if they already wear threadless (push-fit) jewellery!
Flux Jewellery 18k Seam Rings – Again, a really classic look for those people who adore nose rings and need a little bit of luxury in their lives.
Piercing Gift Guide – Cartilage Piercings
Cartilage piercings are a really fun place to buy jewellery! They tend to be versatile placements where a lot of different ends will look really cool. You can do either lots of gems and sparklies, or keep it relatively toned back!
BVLA is the leading designer and manufacturer of fine body jewellery in the world. Rogue also has an entire cabinet stocked with exclusively their jewellery. But why? Why are they so great? What makes them so special, and better than any other goldsmiths on the market? Well, let’s find out.
Who are they?
BVLA, Body Vision Los Angeles. They are designers, manufacturers and innovators based over in the heart of Los Angeles, California. Founded by their owner Nick Martin in 1996, they have proudly built up a business that has exceeded industry standards, provided top quality body jewellery, and defied the status quo. At present, they have 100 employees and five jewellery workshops, all dedicated to the process of turning dreams into reality.
You can find BVLA’s jewellery all around the world. At current, they sell their jewellery to some of the best piercing studios in the world, in over 25 countries. You can find BVLA stockists in New Zealand, France, Spain, Malaysia, the UK, the Netherlands and many more destinations.
Why are they highly recommended?
If you have been looked into a higher quality piercing studio, or different high quality studios, you will notice that there are lots of companies that offer gold, or fun colours and cute designs. But what makes BVLA stand out from the crowd? Why do they have the ultra-lux reputation that they do?
They are ethical: BVLA are arguably one of the most ethical companies in the piercing industry, and consistently make responsible choices in every regard. The Gold that they use is recycled to help minimise environmental impact, and all of their Diamonds are ethically sourced and guaranteed to be conflict free. They are also big believers in equality and diversity for all humans. They currently have a programme called the ‘BVLA Future Stars‘. This programme is an apprenticeship that aims to support and provide full-time paid positions for under-resourced BIPOC, in order to help them forge careers in fine body jewellery and manufacturing.
They have an infinite amount of choice: BVLA is currently the home of over 3000 unique original designs, and this collection still continues to grow and evolve every day. They work with 7 different metals (both 14k and 18k Yellow, White, and Rose Gold, as well as the ultimate luxury: Platinum). They also have the ability to offer over 150 different choices of gemstones, from Sapphires and Diamonds to Labradorite and Rose Quartz. You can find a rainbow of colours a dozen times over. There is also additional choices of textured materials, and the different types of finishes and cuts. Choose between hammering or sandblasting? The choice is truly yours.
They are high quality: BVLA are the basis of high quality jewellery and manufacturing. With every single product being designed, handmade and hand polished in LA. Every part of the the process is intrinsically thought out to achieve the best results. Every time they receive a new order, the responsibility is handed to an individual jeweller. This means the jewellers and makers can avoid the boring tedious task of just making the same design over and over again, and can have pride and joy over their creations, while still keeping their brain active and fresh.
They offer a lifetime warranty: This is a huge factor for piercers. From human errors to machine breakdowns, you can never be 100% certain about anything. Especially with body jewellery. Offering lifetime warranty on manufacturers defects is a big bonus. They take such huge pride in their work and are so confident in their craftsmanship that they will repair or replace any item that they have ever made, totally free of charge.
They offer completely custom work: One of BVLA’s most attractive features is their custom work. Every single piece of jewellery they offer can be customised by the client in hundreds of ways. From choosing between hundreds of gemstones and finishes, to redesigning the minutiae of each item, BVLA really provide the opportunity to be creative. But it doesn’t stop here. They also work with piercers and take on custom order projects and custom designs. If you can think it, they can make it! They also offer a service that is incredibly unique and rare in the piercing industry, and that is reworking. They offer the ability to rework and reset gemstones and traditional jewellery into body jewellery. For example, you can no longer wear your family heirloom Diamond ring because of work? They can help turn that classic earring into body jewellery for you. Fancy something a little different? Lets make it into a septum ring!
Why Do Piercers like BVLA?
Of course, BVLA are not the only jewellery manufacturer making high quality pieces, or fancy gold ends, or even working with genuine gemstones. But apart from the previously listed reasons on why they are amazing, why do piercers have such a connection with BVLA?
Well BVLA work very closely with piercers. Each studio that is a stockist of BVLA has their own personal point of contact. For example, Kat (our jewellery specialist at Rogue) has been in touch with the same personal contact (Hi Phoebe!) for the duration of their time at Rogue. Some piercers will work with the same contact at BVLA for decades. Whether that’s talking about previous or existing orders, any questions or quotes, purchased jewellery etc. This helps provide a truly personal feel between BVLA which creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere, rather than being passed from person to person to find answers.
BVLA also recognise their clients (that’s us!). When we place our jewellery orders, sometimes we like to treat ourselves to something new as well. When piercers or counter staff place an order for a personal piece of jewellery, BVLA offer a small discount on that piece. This helps piercers feel recognised and appreciated, and its a really sweet gesture. We are forever grateful!
They also continue to show their support and appreciation of piercers by attending conferences. They attend the APP conference is Vegas quite regularly, and this year they went out of their way to travel to the UKAPP Safe Piercing Conference in Manchester to be a vendor. They also donated 3x generously priced gift vouchers to the piercers raffle, valued at over £10,000. That could be genuinely life-changing for a piercer or studio!
So, why should YOU care?
Overall, BVLA has arguably the highest level of care for their jewellery, clients, and their own staff and future in the industry. They continuously offer the highest quality jewellery, and a high quality service. They are a consistent pleasure to work with. BVLA offer unique services, not just for piercers and piercees (such as reworking and resetting) but they offer unique advantages such as their Future Stars apprenticeship! Their jewellery is potentially the finest and greatest jewellery that is on the market. While being ‘expensive’, (Price and value are truly personal to each person – What is expensive to one person is not for another) their price consistently matches the quality of the item you receive.
If you are interested in learning more please check out more of our blogs! If you would like to place an order for your own piece of BVLA feel free to contact us at email@example.com!
Head to our instagram for a full BVLA lookbook of some of our favourite pieces.
I first met Loreia at the UKAPP 2022 conference and immediately knew she was an incredible person. A hardworking, passionate piercer who owns Unknown Pleasures Piercing in Stuttgart, Germany and travels the world attending and teaching at international conferences. Loreia was kind enough to spend an evening talking with me about her origin story, her career path and her amazing insights into why we do what we do. Loreia is a powerhouse of a person and I am eternally grateful to know her.
Gemma: When did you first become interested in body modification and piercing?
Loreia: It was really early but sometimes you’re not aware that you’re interested in something until later when you find the label for it. As a child I really loved to play around with looks.When I drew myself, also as a little child, I drew myself with a lip ring. I really liked to draw punks and people with coloured hair. So my interests go very far back.
When I was 13, my first piercing was a nose piercing and I just loved it. I really felt badass and from that time, my passion was growing. Early on in my life I became interested in corset training. I really love the way it shapes my body. So I guess this was really my first body mod experience because I had my first corset when I was 15 or 16.
Later, I started playing around with needles.
I wrote my bachelor thesis about why people try to change their appearance. Body modification is not just things like horns, implants, scars or tattoos and piercings. But also like dyeing your hair and playing around with your figure. Clothing could be kind of a temporary body mod because you can totally change your appearance, your height etc.
G: I had no idea about your bachelor’s thesis, what was your experience in education?
L: Yes, I have a Master’s degree in philosophy. My Bachelor thesis was about why people are changing their appearance and what are their motivations behind it. Of course, I examined the classic bodymod scene that we are in, like tattoos and piercing but also the fitness industry, plastic surgery, cosmetics, diets etc. All the things you can do to really change your appearance. I looked at it from a philosophical point of view. It was pretty interesting.
And for my Master thesis, about 5 years ago, I wrote about how to become the person you are – I had a deep dive into Foucault’s philosophical view of the world. Also, Nietzsche a lot. And I looked at the question of how you can live your life as a piece of art. The topic was: “How do I become what I am? – Self love and self care by Foucault based on the Nietzsche’s philosophy of the art of living.
I guess the first step was looking more at the physical appearance and how society affects this – so more an outside observation, and the second step was the personal state of mind and looking at your point of view of the world – inner observation.
G: I have this conversation a lot about how body modification is not just the extremes like tongue splits and branding. There’s so many ways that people modify their bodies. It’s fascinating, humans are strange creatures.
L: Humans are totally strange creatures but so is society – because society labels what is good and what is bad and what is nicely looking and what is not. You cannot complain about the person with the horns when you have lip filler and a boob job, you know what I mean? Because you’re kind of the same!
G: Breast implants, absolutely fine. Horn implants, that person now can’t have a job.
L: Indeed. And it does not have to be this “extreme” look – fun fact: I grew up in the north part of Germany where I experienced people who were a bit more open minded to different looks and I moved to the south about 16 years ago now. Back then I tried to find a job just for the summer and I applied for a job in an ice cream parlour. I had blue hair at that time and people were like “no fucking way you’re working here with that appearance”. This was kind of funny and shocking at the same time.
The thing is, we are living in an oppressive system. Doesn’t matter if we are aware of it or not – we are. And not everybody is able to free their minds and also to accept themselves as they are and their needs and how they want to be. Maybe because they never learned to, maybe they are afraid to face their truth and not to fit in this system anymore.
The result of that is that they often have a lot of anger, stress and real tension. I see people and they are maybe fascinated by someone who is living their life modified in some way, and I guess an inner voice tells them “you are not able to, or you’re not allowed to [have that piercing or hair colour or tattoo]” and then the anger really hits and this stored bad energy comes out.
I really believe if people would, take care of their needs, like really see what they want and what they want to be and what they need and what they don’t and not give that much of a fuck about what societies want them to be – we would live in a more peaceful world.
G: What was it like growing up in northern Germany? Was your alternative aesthetic accepted?
L: I was an outsider. I grew up in a very religious family so I’m the black sheep. My parents split up when I was 13 and they sent me to a boarding school. Before that I really had a hard time at my school. In the boarding school I had a fresh start, I didn’t want to be there but It was the best thing that could happen to me when I look back now. It was a boarding school for talented kids, there was a wild mix of gifted children and sports elite.
G: What was your career path like?
L: When I was in the boarding school, at 18 I thought “fuck this shit. I’m out of here. I don’t need any education at all.” I started an apprenticeship and after a year I met my now life partner. Because of different things that happened before in my life, I needed a fresh start so I moved to the south of Germany where I could continue my apprenticeship in another place and start a life with my partner. But over the summer I decided to throw that path away, finish school and go to university. I had to finance myself and I started to do different mini jobs. I worked at Lush for a while, I worked in a creative market for paintings. I also did a lot of photo shoots, make-up and modelling.
This went on and I became friends with a photographer and his girlfriend. She worked in a BDSM dungeon and I started working there with her while I studied. There, I actually started playing around with needles and also learned to work sterile because when you do, for example, a catheter, you really want to be sterile.
This is where I really began to be interested in piercing and a friend of mine in Munich at that time, she said she could show me some piercing things, as she worked in a piercing studio there.
I’m totally self taught and this is also why I aim for more and for higher and for better. I had been to several studios in my area, but I didn’t like how they treated me as a customer. I knew I should be definitely better.This is how I came to professional piercing, I guess.
After a while I had the idea in my mind to open up my own shop and when I have an idea I’m normally going to do it.. So I reached out to a nail salon, actually that had a spare room in the basement and that’s how I opened my shop.
G: I love that you became a professional piercer because of your experience in the kink world because those two industries are so intertwined.
L: I had the luck that sterile working was a natural thing for me because the ladies in the dungeon came from a medical background and so I was aware of the dangers working with needles and blood. This was a good start for me. Before I opened my piercing studio, I read a lot of anatomy books and internet forums. I was always on the hunt for better quality, nice looking jewellery and equipment. I did a lot of research but it was not that easy.
My first contact with other professional piercers was the BMXnet conference in 2012. There I also met Mark from Neometal and he introduced me to safe jewellery and materials. I was so proud when I brought back my first little bag of high quality piercing jewellery.
Back in those days I also met Thomas Stolte, online first, who worked with jewellery from Industrial Strength – I emailed him and he was super friendly, super kind and he really helped me to get things going. He explained to me what to look for and what to aim for and how to make a proper order. To place an high quality order back then was a bit like trying to cast a spell – you had long lists with ordering codes and put it all together by yourself including all the specifics of colours, gauges etc, crossed your heart three times that you did it all right and waited like a child for Christmas to get these shinies. Today everything is a lot easier with the online systems and lower wait times.
G: Tell me about your conference experiences.
L: The first conference you are going to, is often the one that has the most impact because you don’t know shit and then you’re aware that you didn’t know shit. Jane Absinth phrased this really nicely, she said when she was at her first conference, she really wanted to go back and just burn her whole studio. I really understood that.
I’m really grateful for the many people I have met through conferences and for the ideas that have helped me to grow and find my path in the community to better my career.
In 2015 and 2016 I was a scholar for the APP conference and it was my first time going to the “big one”. I applied first for the Al D scholarship [now legacy scholarship]. I was refused in the last round and I applied for the No Excuses Scholarship, which I got. Las Vegas was really, really overwhelming for me. It was really tough shit, but more on a personal level (is there anything “real” in Las Vegas?!).
I’m really grateful for the peers that made it possible for me to attend twice as a scholar to the APP Conference. I really worked hard to get to that moment. But at the beginning of 2016 my mother had passed away and I had to attend to those matters, the community came together and I was granted the scholarship for a second time.
Conferences are very important, networking is very important, but most important are the conversations you have in between and after classes. I’m an extroverted introverted person (INFJ) but I actually met my best friend for life, Jane, at my second APP conference in Las Vegas.
She met me sitting a bit aside at the pool party and we started nerding out all evening. We got into some really deep talks about everything. This is what I appreciate about conferences: you have the opportunity to speak with people over days about topics that are in your daily life and maybe they can also change your point of view or give you a bit more inspiration
G: What was the No Excuses Scholarship?
L: I really wanted to desperately go to Las Vegas and I was so sad that I was denied from the APP at the last moment. I guess it is my personality but when I don’t reach a goal, I get motivated to try and try again. Back then, to apply, I had to send a huge PDF with my reference letters and answers about who I got inspired by in the industry and why, and who am I and why do I need this and why do I need to go. So a committee of piercers decided that they wanted me to go. I thought it would be like the Al D scholarship and I would be part of a volunteer team but it wasn’t. I wanted to be there to work so I sneaked myself into the volunteer group and said “I’m here so I am working.”
G: Was that your first time outside of Europe?
L: Yes and I am very grateful for the scholarship because it was a shit ton of money I had to spend for the flights so this was a really huge deal for me back in 2015. I had my shop, of course but I also did my studies and worked at the dungeon. I worked at my shop, appointment only, but I wasn’t booked all the time. I had to work out how to have enough money to manage all that.
G: It sounds like you’ve always been one of those people that has a goal and will work endlessly to achieve it.
L: I guess it depends on what you’ve experienced in life. And if you have been able to make some decisions. When I graduated, I could have studied political science because I was very good at it and it would lead to a career. But I thought, I won’t do that, I will study philosophy to do what I am really interested in because I can earn money in whatever way I want. There was a point in my life where I decided I just wanted to do the things that fulfil me. I will not sell myself and will not do stuff that I don’t want to do because I experienced that a lot in my childhood and also in my teenage years And so, when I made the move to the South, I built myself a new life.
Of course, this sounds really powerful, but you know, sometimes you have to be powerful to keep yourself alive and protect your sensitive self.
G: You’re an incredible woman. How did you get involved with the VPP (Verband Professioneller Piercer)?
L: The VPP was the brainchild of Thomas Stolte and me. I was aware of the Ask a Professional Piercer group on Facebook and I wanted to do something similar in German. In this conversation, the idea was born to start an association that isn’t only about educating piercers but clients as well. I really love the idea to connect people, share some knowledge, grow with each other to set some standards and to avoid trouble for the client
We spoke to Andre about the idea and we started writing down our standards and guidelines. But to start an association, you need more people to be on board. So this is where other people came in to start the process.
G: You also host Now We Talk seminars at your studio, how did that start?
L: Actually, the NowWeTalks are clients aimed. Piercers are totally welcome, but they are client focused. I started with the hashtag #pussybling, because I did a lot of vulva piercings and I was so sad because I had so many wonderful women sitting with me who never ever had a proper look at themselves. I explained to them their anatomy and then explained how beautiful they are. Then I thought, okay, I have to do something. The first NowWeTalk was about vulva piercing and what is possible but most of the work I do is around educating clients about anatomy.
It’s more for empowerment. I host female identified-only evenings but I also had a version where couples could come in, so that both can ask questions. It was really really nice, I started inviting other speakers like Andre or a friend from my philosophical study to talk on different topics and it grew from there
G: Especially in the UK, education around genital anatomy is so lacking. It’s really amazing that you are empowering people to learn more about themselves.
L: What I realised pretty early, and this is something I’m really grateful for, I was able to listen to Elayne Angel and also speak with her – she always talks positively about genitalia and anatomy. And this is really something that I grabbed and started doing myself. I had more than one client who was tearing up because nobody had ever spoken that nicely about their anatomy before.
G: I think a lot of people with vulvas are made to feel like their anatomy is “wrong” because it doesn’t look a certain way.
L: A client of mine, she came in with inverted nipples and she was really nervous about getting them pierced. We had a few appointments where we discussed it and when she finally had the piercings, I really had to stop her from running out of the piercing room to show her friends. She was so proud! At her aftercare appointments she said “I should have done this so much earlier. I’m so confident.” I really love what piercing can do to you and how it can help you to really find peace and find beautiful things in your body.
G: There’s a lot of crossover between empowerment, piercing, kink, reclamation, gender identity etcetcetc. Can we talk about the links between your career as a Dominatrix and a Professional Piercer?
L: I had the luck to work in a nice BDSM studio with a lot of really awesome ladies – a matriarchal bubble. And what I learned there for life, is to embrace yourself and embrace the way you are. That you don’t have to be ashamed of your body, you don’t have to be ashamed of your feelings, you don’t have to be ashamed of your sexuality. I had the wonderful opportunity to learn all that and this shaped me. It taught me that naked bodies are just bodies and of course, it can be arousing when you’re in a private setting but beside that, it’s just a body, you know?
And this acceptance of bodies and being totally okay with however you are, is what I try to give to my clients of whatever gender. It also taught me about accepting that you don’t have to be friends with everybody, you don’t have to be like everybody, but you can accept the differences and you can see what you have in common and work with that.
The bottom line for both industries is acceptance and taking proper care of people’s needs. You’re the one in power, as the piercer or as the Domme. You are the one who is leading and who is responsible for a safe environment, for a safe experience. You guide a person through the process. And these are totally different processes but you’re guiding them through it.
You have to be really aware of your responsibility and to make the experience as nice as it can be. And “nice” can be defined differently, of course. In the piercing room, I do not want my client to feel pain at all. I try to breathe with them, I try to guide them, I really like to calm them. But when I work with my guests, of course it’s different but it’s all about trust. It’s not like, “oh yeah, I’m a sadistic person, so let me stick needles into you.” That is not what’s happening in either room.
In any setting, as a professional, you need to be aware of yourself and the different aspects of your personal needs and also your work environment needs.In both. In the piercing room or the dungeon room, you’re totally confronted with people that already have an opinion of you without knowing you.
For example, I’m highly educated. But when you tell random people that you are a piercer, people often assume that I must not be educated. I was a problem child with dyed hair who pokes people for fun, because there is no other option possible career-wise.
G: I never considered it that way, but it’s true. When you tell people you’re a body piercer, they immediately make an assumption about you.
L: So I work piercing appointments only and of course people are asking me what I do the other days. A new client came in and she was referred by a friend. She heard that I work as a nurse when I’m not in the studio. I was like, “I do, but not as you think.”. It’s funny what people make up because they really, really need to put you in a box. It’s something we definitely have to stop because it helps nobody to have predefined opinions of someone.
G: How has the body modification scene changed in Germany?
L: Well, it changed for good. This is what I can say. In Germany, there are more followers than leaders. People are more inclined to keep working and piercing the same way they have for the past 20 years and not update things. There’s also more education available for clients and I’m really happy to see how in the last few years things have changed. The new generation of piercers are aiming in the right direction and connecting to each other
There was a time when piercers only connected to shit talk others piercers. And this is something I never liked. It’s now one of the VPP guidelines: “Der VPP kann nur als Einheit bestehen – dementsprechend ist kollegialer Umgang untereinander die Grundvoraussetzung. Dies beinhaltet konstruktive Kritik anzunehmen, wie auch geben zu können ohne dabei persönlich zu werden.”
“The VPP can only exist as a unit – accordingly, collegial interaction with one another is the basic requirement..This includes accepting and giving constructive criticism without becoming personal.”
Unfortunately there are a lot of people offering body modification services in Germany, using bloody and graphic IG posts and live streams to promote. Please, please use your brain and stop this! This can really fuck up things for the whole industry. Bodymod is more accessible in Germany but it’s not necessarily a good thing – so it is always important to choose the person that is allowed to modify you wisely!
I had a conversation about this at the APP conference, that all Germans are so modified and all are so extreme. We’re not. It is just as always: what you’re looking for, you will see.
G: Especially in American and UK media, we’re presented with this “extreme” image of the German alternative scene. If it’s some freaky fetish hardcore shit, it’s probably German.
L: Actually this is something that gave me a hard time as a young woman to be okay with identifying myself as a FemDom, because I had all these false impressions/assumptions in mind. I was trying to find who I was but basing that on these impressions of what I should be (or better what I definitely do not want to be).
There’s social constructs everywhere. It doesn’t matter if you go to the supermarket, if you’re thinking about how life should be, if you’re thinking about how a relationship or sex should be. Or how the alternative scene should be – you face these ideas and impressions that have been constructed for you.
I’m quite often asked why I don’t have a lot of facial piercings when I am a piercer. I have piercings for aesthetics, and this is, at the moment, the aesthetic I’m aiming for. More subtle, I still know my shit, I know how to modify your body more than you can imagine. I just choose right now to modify myself more subtly for my own aesthetics.
Humans have this concept of people in their mind, and we really have to lose it because it doesn’t make sense at all. Preconceptions give you a hard time, but it also gives the other person a hard time.
Another example, when I started piercing, I just worked one day a week because of all the other stuff going on and because we have a health insurance policy that says you’re not able to work that much as a student or you lose your health insurance. A lot of piercers, and this is something that really happened often in my career, would question if I am a “real” piercer because my studio was only open one or two days a week. They’d say I would never sell only high quality jewellery because the customers wouldn’t want it. They’d tell me that appointment-only studios would never work.
People really had this concept in their mind, how the (piercing) world should be and how it works. And didn’t believe that there would be anything outside of that.
I’m a living, happy example of being able to work two to three days a week with my clients in person in my shop. I’m happy that this allows me to really concentrate on my clients and connect with them and also be a little bit of part of their lives. I have a good work-life balance where I can focus on myself and my needs as well as those of the people around me.
G:That is really fucking aspirational. You do a lot of ear curation projects, can you tell us about that?
L: This is the beautiful thing about body piercing, self expression can be wherever you want. It could be genitalia work, getting your navel pierced, facial symmetry, heavy mod work. But it can also be a finely curated ear with specific pieces and placements to suit that person’s anatomy. This is really beautiful because you can help people to be how they want to be and they are deciding the path. They decide what and they decide how to treat themselves for just being themselves. And as a piercer, you are a part of that.
This is what I really love, I really love this kind of piercing client that is going for a concept. An artistic curation.
I’m on the high sensitive spectrum. I can really feel what people feel. In both of my careers, I can enjoy the joy that people are having. And it’s really like flowing through me. For example, a client gets really excited about a piece, I’m really getting excited about a piece. I’m really thankful for all the trust that people put in me and my work and also my taste.
What an amazing person. I am forever grateful for Loreia’s time, energy and insights. A powerful lady that has a lot to offer of love and passion. Be sure to follow Loreia’s work online and visit her beautiful studio in Stuttgart!
November is a special time in the studio, with us celebrating two birthdays within the team at Rogue. November is also special because there are two November birthstones to represent this chilly month of the year! Topaz and Citrine are the two beautiful birthstones that November babies will have the difficult decision of choosing between. Which November Birthstone would you pick?
Many months of the year have between 1-2 birthstones that represent them, and a select few even have three! But why is this?
For the months that are lucky enough to have more than a singular birthstone, these are separated into two lists: Modern and Traditional. The more common of the two is the modern birthstones, which were defined in 1912 by the Jewelers of America in an attempt to standardise (and commercialise) birthstones. This was further updated in the 1950s, to include gemstones such as Citrine for November, or Alexandrite for June. Modern stones are based on what’s easier to sell in large quantities (making it the more affordable choice). Topaz was the original birthstone for November, however most Traditional birthstones have become too rare in the modern market, making them much less accessible.
The good news for our November babies, is that most Topaz and Citrine are affordable priced!
Topaz is the original November Birthstone. It is known for its variety of hues which include colourless, yellow, pink, blue, orange, brown and in rare instances, red. Topaz is typically a colourless gem but gains its soft and warm hues from compounds or metals trapped in the crystal structure. You may have heard of Mystic Topaz, which has a brilliant rainbow effect with a deep colour of purple. This is actually created by coating a colourless piece of Topaz with a thin artificial metal film. Most blue Topaz seen is also a colourless crystal that is treated with heat and radiation. Blue Topaz is extremely popular across the market, but is incredibly rare to be formed naturally.
Throughout the eras, the gemstone had been confused and mixed up with many others. However, it was first believed to be discovered in Germany in 1737, shortly followed in 1740 in Brazil.
Topaz’s main source has been Brazil, where it has been being mined for over two centuries. However Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nigeria and many other countries are also leading countries in the sourcing and mining of Topaz.
This beautiful gemstone has a great history of belief surrounding it too. Many people believe it comes from the Sanskrit word ‘Fire’. On the other hand, it has also been traced back to the Ancient Greeks, who believed it to give strength to its wearer. Between the 1300’s – 1600’s Europeans believed it to relieve anger and break magic spells. And for centuries in India it has been believed that Topaz worn above the heart (such as in a necklace) would provide long life, beauty and intelligence. In the modern day, Topaz is the symbol of love, warmth, and affection. Blue Topaz is the gem for a 4th wedding anniversary, while Imperial Topaz is the gem for those celebrating their 23rd year of marriage.
On The Mohs Scale of Hardness, Topaz comes in at an 8 which is quite a hard and longwearing gemstone. Care is needed when wearing and cleaning to avoid chips and cracks. To clean your Topaz gemstones or jewellery, a mild solution of warm soapy water works best. A soft polishing cloth can also be used. Harsh or abrasive cleaning products, such as bleach, should be avoided when cleaning. High heat or sudden temperature changes can cause internal breaks in Topaz, so it is recommended to avoid using steam cleaners or ultrasonic cleaners at home to clean this November Birthstone.
Citrine is the modern gemstone for all you November Birthstone babies. This cutie is the transparent yellow to orange variety of Quartz. The hues of this gem can range from a very pale yellow colour all the way to a deep honey orange tone. Since the yellow hues are so similar to the yellow-orange hues of Topaz, they often get mistaken for each other. Citrine actually gets its yellow tone due to the presence of iron in the Quartz. The colour of Citrine is dependent on the concentration of iron found. The more iron, the deeper and richer the colour. The golden shade of Citrine is the most prized by collectors. Natural Citrines are incredibly rare, therefore in todays market most Citrine is heat treated Quartz.
Natural Citrine can be found in the Ural Mountains of Russia as well as Madagascar, Bolivia, Madagascar, Mexico, Spain and Uruguay. Most heat treated Amethyst-Citrine are mostly mined in Brazil, although other sources include France and the USA (particularly North Carolina, California and Colorado). The history for this gemstone though, dates back several hundreds years between 300-150BC Ancient Greece, where they used the gems as talismans. During this time, it was also found on the handles of swords and daggers in Scotland. It was believed to be ‘first’ discovered in the 1600s by a Spanish Conquistador in a Bolivian mine, where he found large deposits of Citrine and also Amethyst.
It is no surprise that Citrine shares many beliefs with Topaz, due to its shared mistaken identity throughout history . It’s warm colour is said to be a gift from the Sun, which is perfect to keep you warm during this chillier season. It is believed to help ground its wearer, while bringing warmth and happiness as well as prosperity. For some its considered a ‘healing’ gemstone, with its ‘calm and soothing’ powers. Or if you’re more of a creative mind, it is also said to spark imagination. Today though, Citrine is known as the ‘Merchants Stone’ which brings forth wealth and success. Of course, there is no scientific evidence of any of this.
Citrine comes in at around 7 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, but often ranging between 7-7.5 due to Citrine often being a form of Amethyst. This means they are quite a hard stone, but care should still be taken to ensure it isn’t knocked too hard, as this can lead to chipping and cracks. It is best cleaned with warm and mild soapy water, alongside a soft cloth or a toothbrush with soft bristles (such as a baby toothbrush). Steam cleaning is not recommended, as using such a high heat can risk damage, but using an ultrasonic is usually okay.
Becoming pregnant is probably one of the most exciting and daunting things you can do! Not only is it mentally intense, but physically it can take a toll on your body. So why should you think about piercing while pregnant? You might not even be thinking about your piercings, but read this blog and find out what to expect when you’re expecting as a pierced person!
Can I Get Pierced Whilst Pregnant?
The short answer is no! Absolutely not, with no exceptions! The longer answer is…
As you probably know, your growing foetus will be sharing everything with you – Your oxygen, your nutrients, and any bacteria or infections you may have. This means that there is a risk of transferring bacteria to your baby if you receive a piercing during your pregnancy.
This risk is small, especially when you are receiving high quality piercings from a safe studio such as Rogue, however this is not a risk we would ever want to take when there is a tiny human life involved! Not only is it a morally grey area, but no insurance policies in the UK will cover the piercing of a pregnant person, and no piercing licenses allow it either. It is simply not worth it.
Can I Get Pierced Whilst Breastfeeding?
Again, the best option is to avoid it. The chances of passing infections through breastmilk is pretty low but not impossible! Most licensing councils will not allow piercing studios to pierce people who are breastfeeding simply to turn this risk from small to zero.
The main reason that we do not want to pierce pregnant or breastfeeding people is because your body is already under a huge amount of strain! Whilst pregnant, you are growing an entirely new person! And when breastfeeding, you are probably going to be tired, sleep deprived, and physically drained. Your tiny new person is going to be taking up a large part of your time and brain-space, and it is always best to be able to focus on the new kid on the block as opposed to having to care for a new piercing.
We are open all year round, seven days a week. We will definitely still be here when your little one is weaned and you can sleep through the night!
Pregnancy and Your Existing Piercings
Something that few people consider is that your existing piercings might get a bit grumpy when you are pregnant! The reason for that is…
Hormones play a huge role our bodies. From dictating when we wake up and fall to sleep, to our menstrual cycles, to our stress responses! Unsurprisingly, our hormones go absolutely nuts when we are pregnant.
The main hormone that will affect wound healing during pregnancy is oestrogen, or estrogen if you are a terrible American. Pregnancy causes oestrogen levels to skyrocket, which can negatively affect your natural wound healing process. This means that any minor knock, bump or snag to your piercings that under normal circumstances you may not even notice, can cause irritation!
Your immune system in general is dampened during pregnancy, meaning that you might experience irritation and general ‘grumpiness’ of your existing piercing while pregnant during those months. If you are experiencing this, definitely book a checkup appointment so that we can assess your piercings, and help you to make them as comfortable and happy as possible.
Navel and Nipple Piercings
Another really common question we get is: Can I wear a pregnancy navel bar and avoid having to take it out? Should I get nipple piercings if I am planning on breastfeeding later down the line? Will nipple piercings stop me from being able to breastfeed?
Lets answer these questions one by one!
Pregnancy Navel Bars
You can buy them pretty much anywhere. Extra long, often soft and flexible plastic barbells that will keep your navel piercing while pregnant open as your body expands. They are often a terrible idea for a few different reasons!
Firstly, we have covered the topic of plastic body jewellery time and time again on our blog. In short, there are no safe plastic jewellery options available on the market. Plastics are unsafe, can release toxic chemicals when exposed to heat and moisture, and can cause serious irritation to your piercing.
Secondly, it is never a good idea to wear jewellery in a piercing that is going to be placed under a huge amount of stress and expansion. As your pregnancy continues, the skin will stretch. Wearing jewellery in your piercing during this time will put a lot of pressure on the piercing channel, and seriously increases your risk of rejection or tissue splitting. Even if your piercing remains relatively healthy, there is a very high chance that it will be left very thin, fragile, and most likely off-centre or crooked in some way.
The best step to take is to remove your piercing in the early stages of pregnancy, and wait until you have finished breastfeeding. At this stage, you will be nice and ready to be repierced and have a beautiful, well-placed navel piercing!
Can I breastfeed if I have had nipple piercings? The answer is of course, yes! You can definitely still breastfeed if you have had nipple piercings. The common myth is that nipple piercings will damage your milk ducts, but this is simply untrue. You have hundreds of microscopic pores for milk to be expressed from, and a nipple piercing will only impact on a handful. You will still be able to breastfeed completely as normal.
That being said, should you breastfeed with jewellery? The answer is no, definitely not. Nipple barbells pose a significant risk to your infant. Not only are they a choking hazard and can damage your infants mouth, but having jewellery in the way might stress your infant out and discourage them from latching correctly. We always recommend removing jewellery during the breastfeeding process.
So do you have to retire your nipple piercings entirely during breastfeeding? Generally, yes… Hypothetically, you could definitely remove and reinsert your nipple jewellery every few hours for feeding time, but this is probably not going to be at the top of your list with a newborn baby in the house! Having spoken with breastfeeding parents before, the nipple can become chapped, irritated and very sore. Fiddling with nipple jewellery sounds like an added problem that I would not personally want to deal with…
So yes, we probably recommend retiring your nipple piercings and having them reopened or repierced once you have finished breastfeeding.
Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Genital Piercings
Less commonly, we are asked by parents with intimate piercings what the jazz is – Are they ok to be left in? Will my Obstetrician be ok with them? Will I be judged for having intimate piercings? What do I do with my intimate piercing while pregnant?
It’s a tricky question to answer, and depends a lot on the intimate piercing in question. Most intimate piercings are totally fine to be left in place for your pregnancy, however some may pose a problem when it comes to delivery. Most piercings in the area such as Christina piercings, VCH and HCH piercings, and outer labia piercings, will not cause any issues during pregnancy. However, be prepared to answer innocent and/or curious questions from your Obs and Gyns team! It’s always best to mention the piercings beforehand, and have some jokes or one-liners prepped to make the process more entertaining.
In general, we would recommend removing inner labia piercings, fourchette piercings, and Princess Albertina piercings well in advance of your due date. These are the piercings that are closest to the vaginal canal, and are the piercings that are most likely going to get ‘in the way’ during the delivery! Given the huge physical demands of childbirth, your vulva and vaginal canal are going to be rearranged in ways that are a little intense, and having jewellery in place could increase risk of tearing. In addition, if you have to undergo any interventional procedures such as an episiotomy, your fourchette piercings and other vaginal-canal-adjacent piercings will need to be removed to allow the delivery procedure to continue.
The most important thing however, is to seek medical opinion. Depending on your piercings, and your birth plan, your team may recommend total removal of all piercings. It is better to know in advance as opposed to being surprised on the day!
So there you have it! A pretty good overview of what to expect from piercing while pregnant. Most of all, if you are pregnant and reading this, congratulations!
We hope this has helped you make informed decisions about your body, your piercings, and your pregnancy. It’s a big change for anyone, whether it is your first child or your fourth! If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us via email, or through our professional Instagram page.
I’ve officially finished my second year as a a ‘piercing apprentice.’ So I thought I’d use this chance to talk about all of the fun and exciting things I’ve done in my second year.
The first thing I got to do was my first-aid training. Now, first aid certificates are valid for 3 years, but the UKAPP requires that you retake your first aid training every single year. It helps keeps your memory fresh, so if anything does happen, you can be prepared! This year, we did ours with the wonderful Olly Todd of Cognition BAE. It was his first ever time doing a first aid course, and he did a wonderful job! We got to practice with some dummies for CPR, while roleplaying what to do in emergencies. We also got a vest with a ‘diaphragm’ that had a foam peanut in it, and we got to enact more roleplaying scenarios in event of someone choking. Overall, it was a very fun and educational day.
AND THEN CHRISTMAS ARRIVED! If anyone knows me, they’ll know I absolutely love Christmas, and this year I got to be the official party planner for the official staff Christmas party, and it was epic. I put together google questionnaire after google questionnaire that got emailed to everyone to fill in. That way everyone got to voice opinions on what they wanted to do, where they wanted to eat, what day worked better for them etc, etc. Eventually, I managed to pull it all together and we had pizza from Suede followed by an evening in Pirates Play Centre. It was magical. We got to invite friends as well, and it was a great night out. Being in charge of organising an event was definitely quite stressful, but I enjoyed it so much, and it was so worth it to see everyone have such a great time! I started planning this years party all the way back in April!
I then turned 21, and spent the day in pyjamas on the sofa, and ordered a Chinese takeaway. Absolutely fantastic.
Around February, I got to witness my first suspension event. This was the first ever time I’d physically ever been around and seen suspension, rather than just looking at photos or videos online. It was… a lot. In a good way. The air was tense, and warm, and it just gave you the chills. It was really inspiring watching people (especially those who had gone up for the first time) completely embrace and enjoy what was happening. There is absolutely no words that could describe the atmosphere, or anything that anyone was feeling. It is its own kind of liminal space. It definitely made me feel something new.
March was an absolute whirlwind, I don’t even think I registered it pass by. The first two weeks were all about moving into my own space. I officially moved into my own flat with a very good friend, and it was a lot to take in! I then gained my UKAPP official membership! After piercing for an entire year, and already working under the high standards of membership requirements, I officially became a member. I got to hang my own certificate on the wall, alongside everyone else’s.
I then headed off to the Piercer Trade Show at Manchester, alongside the Tattoo Tea Party Convention. This time though, I went alongside Inari Organics as a vendor instead of a piercer! It was definitely a weird experience being on the other side of the table, and selling jewellery rather than buying it, but it was an experience I’d 100% do again. I’m definitely classing it as part of my training in the industry. I still got to attend some amazing classes, such as David Angeles ‘Better Basics,’ and Elizabeth Moore’s ‘Neurodivergence in Piercing.’ I even got to come away with a gorgeous new Linear Cluster with Pink CZ’s from Inari!
April was surprisingly a quiet month, well at least at work. With Aiden being on his annual leave for a couple weeks, it was left up to us guys to run the studio and ensure it didn’t burn down, and I’d like to say we did a pretty alright job. During this time, not many people had booked in for apprentice piercings, but the day he came back and we were doing our first day together, the entire day had filled with apprentice piercings, it was like everybody just knew! I got to start working on forward helix piercings, and really started coming into all the fiddly ear work which was super exciting!
May and June were surprisingly chill. As students started exam season and preparing to go home for the summer, my apprentice piercings slowed down. Gemma returned from Vegas APP conference and of course on her first day back I asked her to pierce my navel at 5mm! I am currently still healing it – it is not as easy at it seems!
In July we started thinking about conferences in September, and we booked our tickets for the UKAPP conference. I then got the confirmation that I would be flying to Berlin for BMXNET. July was then focused on trying to pack a weeks worth of stuff (and more) into a “small” bag, and researching all the tips and tricks on how to nail my first trip out of the country!
It was the start of the summer holidays in August for plenty of young children across Nottingham, which mean full days of piercing kids lobes. Piercing kids is always a nerve-wracking experience. Personally, whether I’m piercing or just doing paperwork and jewellery choices, I just want to make sure they have the best experience possible.
In September, conference season was upon us! This year I had the privilege to attend both BMXNET in Berlin, Germany and the UKAPP Safe Piercing Conference in Manchester.
Attending BMXNET was a little bit of a whirlwind. It was my first time ever leaving the country, and I couldn’t be more excited at my destination. I had 4 full days of classes packed in over my time there! I took some really nice and light classes such as the basic ‘Anodising is Awesome’ with Brian Skellie, which dove into all the necessary basics that I needed to know about anodising! I came back to the studio super excited to share my knowledge with clients! I increased my knowledge with Jane Absinth and Andre Berg’s ‘Cartilage 101’ class, which discussed all the basic cartilage piercings, such as nose/conch/helix piercings and much more. It took a dip into different ways to mark, what to look for, placements, anatomy etc. I also took a lot of history classes. I absolutely love learning about the history of the piercing world and across different cultures too. One of my favourite classes was by Jason D’Souza which was ‘The History of Body Mod in India’ discussing how piercing rituals, suspension and scarification has travelled through the time of India for thousands of years all the way up into the current day. I also got to do a little sightseeing of my own. I took the Saturday morning off and travelled into Alexanderplatz to have a small walk around and do some tourist-ing.
A week and a half after being back into the UK and back at work, I was off travelling to Manchester for the annual UKAPP conference. I travelled on the Saturday by train to go visit Holier Than Thou for a quick piercing anatomy check, and got to talk to a few of the guys about pre-conference nerves and excitement. I then headed off the the Edwardian Hotel where the conference was being held. Because I was super early I offered a free hand to the volunteers and helped get a few things ready before heading off to my hotel room for a couple hours of rest and salted pretzels! A few more of the Rogues arrived slightly later that night and we headed off to Brewdog to find more piercers and have a cheeky drink.
And then Sunday morning, it was time for registration and to attend as many classes as possible. This conference I got to take many more technique classes and learned so many new things. One of my favourites was definitely ‘The Advanced Fundamentals of Lobe Piercings’ delivered by Jef Saunders. I personally am not the biggest fan of lobe piercings, and so I thought if I could learn something new or see them from a different perspective, I might have some more fun with them. And I was right! I came away with a whole new understanding of them, and ready to try out many new things. I also took Luis Garcia’s class on bridge piercings, because they’re always super tricky and complex, and I definitely came way feeling a little bit lighter with some newfound knowledge.
Something different about this conference was that I was also attending as a vendor. This was my second time assisting as a vendor at a piercing event, and I can honestly say I do really enjoy it. This time myself and Gemma were alongside Queen Of The Ashes Jewelry. Their stuff is absolutely gorgeous, from teeth to rats to nice and simple hammering textures there’s definitely something for everyone.
One of my favourite parts of conference is definitely the outside the classroom activities. On the Sunday night I went and Karaoke-d with the awesome guys from Neilmed and Peoples Jewellery, as well as the super talented Sam Holmes (she can SING!). And on the Monday night the guys from Junipurr and That’s The Point had set up a firewalking event. The theme of the annual party this year was wrestling, so of course me and Gemma did a fabulous couples costume and ended up doing a super fun fire walk dressed as Dominik Mysterio and Rhea Ripley. It was fabulous.
October rolled around and finished up quite quickly to be honest. I decided to use some annual leave and take a couple of weekends away from the studio. Visiting Manchester (yet again) to go and see Blink-182, visiting Matlock Bath Illuminations, and spending some much needed quality time with the family.
This year has been so fast, and I feel like I’ve done everything and yet nothing all at the same time. It’s a scary thought to think that I am in the final year of my apprenticeship, and that soon I’ll be standing completely on my own two feet holding myself up and forward, but with a team like Rogue, I couldn’t ask for better support.
If you have ever been pierced at Rogue, or had your piercings troubleshooted, or even just asked for some help for your aftercare you may have noticed that we highly recommend Neilmed. But who are they and why do we recommend them so highly?
Who or what are they?
Neilmed Piercing Aftercare is a product from Neilmed Pharmaceuticals. You may have seen or recognise their other products from your local pharmacy, such as their Sinus Rinse Kits. After the company was founded in 2000 it wasn’t long before they became the largest manafacturer of saline nasal irrigation systems in the world, and that was when they realised they could make an easy and logical transition into the piercing world.
They realised there was a small gap in the market shining for a high quality product that helped make that cleaning process much smoother and easier for everyone involved. So they began talking to the professional piercing industry, and collaborated together to create their shining new product: Neilmed Piercing aftercare – FINE MIST.
They are also located in over 40 countries, from the UK to Hong Kong, or from Jersey to Finland, you can find Neilmed all over the world.
Why is their product so recommended to clients?
Neilmeds piercing aftercare is a highly recommended and sought after product for a vast variety of reasons.
It’s sterile: Neilmed uses a ‘Bag-On-Valve’ technology which ensures your product stays sterile once opened and used. The solution itself is stored inside of a bag (in the can) which is directly attached to the nozzle to spray out. This means that when you use pressure to spray it onto your piercings (like a deodorant can), any air or bacteria entering the can, cannot mix with solution. This further means you are not spraying any potential dirt or harmful bacteria onto or into your healing piercings throughout the entire cleaning process.
Quality and Recommended Ingredients: The piercing solution is made of two ingredients. Pharmaceutical grade water, and sodium chloride. Pharmaceutical grade water means the water used has no added substances and meets all the required testing for purified water. Sodium chloride is more commonly known as salt. And that is it, there is no added chemicals, or substances that may cause harm to the body. The reason it is difficult to home make salt solution though (despite being able to make and keep it sterile) is because it is incredibly hard to mix the right amount of each product to be beneficial. Too much salt can dry out the skin and cause flakiness and irritation. Too much water can cause excessive moisture, which can cause those pesky red and wet looking irritation bumps. Manufacturers have all the right equipment to ensure the product is perfect.
Easy To Use: The bottle comes with a fine mist spray tip. This helps create a gentle stream of the solution from the bottle to the piercing. The fine mist allows a much more controlled and quicker way to directly clean your piercings. The bottle is also able to spray in any position, including upside down, which can make it easier to reach those trickier placements.
PH Friendly: At Rogue we offer and perform many intimate piercings for our clients. This means we needed to be able to offer a product that was safe to use in those intimate places, especially four our clients with Vulvas (which are much more sensitive to products). Neilmed saline solution is very safe to spray onto any new piercing, including those in much more hidden places.
Available in two sizes: The Neilmed saline fine mist is available in both 75mm and 177ml. The 75ml version was released in 2016, which allowed for clients to clean their piercings effectively while travelling without breaking their regime or changing products.
So why do piercers like Neilmed?
Over the years, there have been hundreds of different piercing aftercare products, from sprays to soaps, to natural herbal products, homemade salt solutions, lotions and potions. You name it, it’s been done. So why do we find Neilmed so important? Surely they’re not the only sterile saline solution on the market?
And that’s true. There are other reputable brands that we can also recommend, Neilmed however have a close relationship with their clients (us, the piercers), and they take the time out to listen to us.
Even from entering the piercing aftercare market, they have consistently made sure they had the best product available and that the quality remained high. They listened to consumer demands and shortly after releasing the fine mist spray, they came out with a full stream version which allowed that classic ‘full on’ application to clean your piercings. They persistently emphasise their commitment by listening to consumer feedback. Any problems, questions, concerns or idea are listened to and taken on board with immediate changes and improvements when needed.
As stated previously, they also released a smaller version of their product in 2016 which benefitted both client and piercer, followed by a brand new item in 2023: The Neilmed Sterile Saline Wipes. Piercers use saline wipes on a daily basis to help manage clean and pierce their clients. Having easier access to a higher quality product that has shown consistent loyalty to their clients was definitely appreciated.
Neilmed have also been frequent visitors and vendors at piercing conferences across the world. They make the annual trip every year to help support piercers during their education times and also take part in each conferences raffle. This year at the UKAPP conference they donated 2x full cases of their saline solution.
Their team of staff are also wonderful. They consistently go out of their way to be friendly and go above and beyond for their clients. The UK representative, Damien, is constantly in touch with his clients and establish and maintains good relationships with piercers both professionally and as friends. This year both him and his team member Terri were absolutely wonderful at the UKAPP conference, and even got some piercers together for a fun evening of karaoke. It’s small acts like this that makes Neilmed not just a great product, but a great business to work with.
So why should you care?
Overall, Neilmed is one of the greatest companies that piercers have ever worked with. They have repeatedly shown consistence with their products, as well as commitment and loyalty to their clients. Neilmed made changes in the world of piercing aftercare to benefit piercers and piercers clients (you!) Their piercing aftercare is truly one of the greatest aftercare products on the market while also being super affordable. Simply, we do not believe that you can get better.
I would also like to extend a thank you personally to Damien, the UK Neilmed Representative. You have have been an absolute pleasure to work with, talk to, and sing karaoke with. You always go above and beyond for all of us piercers across the UK, and further. You are truly a gem to both Neilmed and professional piercers.
I think one of the most common questions we get, aside from ‘How much is a piercing?’ is… ‘Can you numb it?’
It’s a fair question. Especially for those inexperienced with piercings, it might feel like a daunting experience! It’s completely understandable that you would want to make it as pain-free as possible. But what kind of numbing is available? And why are they unsafe?
The History of Anaesthetics
Since the dawn of time, for as long as human beings have experienced pain, we have been looking for ways to avoid it. The ancient Babylonians may have been using anaesthetics up to 4,000 years ago. The earliest accounts of anaesthetics pop up in the early 1200s, where physicians would use sponges soaked in opium to relieve the pain of surgery. However, the first general anaesthecia was not implemented in a surgery until October, 1846!
Numbing creams did not become popular in the tattoo and piercing scene until the late 90s and very early 2000s, with the rise of Emla cream. That means that piercing anaesthetic is still very much in it’s infancy.
Anaesthetics and the Law
It’s very important to stress that piercers are not licensed or insured to provide any anaesthetics, including numbing creams. Numbing creams are licensed, prescription-only medications that require a special license in order to use. Tattooists and piercers who are administering numbing creams to their clients are committing a crime, which can result in fines, jail time, and loss of license.
The administration of local anaesthetic injections by persons other than medically qualified practitioners (doctor/dentist) is illegal, and therefore not permitted. External application of topical anaesthetics (creams/gels/sprays) to clients can be deemed an offence under the Medicines Act 1968. The legislation stipulates that only persons who hold a product licence (generally pharmacists) may supply these products for use in medical applications. Their administration by Body Piercers, Tattooists or Therapists on clients for cosmetic purposes can therefore be deemed an offence.
Even with consent from the client, you are reminded that the use of any anaesthetic, be it by oral, injection or topical application, may leave the user open to prosecution under the Medicines Act 1968 or Health & Safety at Work Act 1974.
Piercing Anaesthetics – How Do They Work?
The most common ingredients in numbing creams are lidocaine, benzocaine and prilocaine. These are active ingredients that work by blocking Na+ (Sodium ion) and K+ (Potassium ion) channels in your nerves, preventing them from firing properly. This nerve effect can cause lidocaine toxicity when improperly used – For example, by an unlicensed piercer. Symptoms of lidocaine toxicity include:
Shaking and tremors
Of course, lidocaine toxicity from a piercing would be quite rare, however…
Lidocaine and it’s derivitives are common allergens. 2.5% of people may experience anaphylaxis from the introduction of lidocaine to their bloodstream – And you may not know about this allergy until it is too late.
Aside from anaphylaxis, allergic contact dermatitis and skin irritation are very common. This means that you may experience an angry rash, itching, or bleeding after applying a numbing cream. This can be exacerbated if numbing cream comes into contact with broken skin, such as a body piercing.
Freeze Sprays – A Bad Alternative
Another popular, and equally terrible, option are ‘freeze sprays.’ These are unlicensed, meaning that anyone can use them and it is not classed as an offence. You have probably seen them in youtube videos or instagram reels – They look like they are spraying deodorant onto the piercing spot.
Freeze Sprays work by spraying a liquified gas or chemical onto the skin – This is often ethyl chloride. As the gas evaporates, it rapidly cools the skin until the nerves are no longer able to fire properly. This gives a temporary numbness to the top layer of skin.
These sprays, although legal, are highly problematic. The freezing action can toughen the skin, causing excessive trauma to the piercing site. Secondly, if used on or near mucousal membranes, it can severely damage the skin. Finally, and most importantly, freeze sprays can (and do) cause chemical burns and tissue necrosis. Freeze sprays are unregulated and often used by piercers who have no idea what they are doing. This means that misuse is criminally common.
The product itself is not sterile and can therefore potentially cause an infection.
To have a good numbing effect, the spray must be applied in quite high doses to reach the nerve fibres below the skin. This presents the likelihood of burns being caused to the skin, particularly in cases of smokers and diabetics, which opens the way for infection.
The product has been shown to be a respiratory irritant, particularly when used on or near the face.
The product is highly flammable and must therefore be considered carefully in terms of health & safety during usage, storage etc.
We will attach an image below, taken at Rogue, of a navel piercing that we unfortunately had to remove due to a severe chemical burn from a freeze spray. This was of course not pierced at Rogue.
This client, who has given permission for this image to be shared, had to have their navel piercing removed by ourselves. This piercing was only 6 weeks old, but you can still see the scarring and damaged skin surrounding the navel that was caused by a freeze spray. This is a classic result of a chemical burn caused by a freeze spray. We hope that this piercing will heal, this scar will fade, and next year we will be able to give them the beautiful navel piercing they deserve!
…Do They Even Work?
Ironically, even if you do take the risk and apply a numbing cream before a piercing without your piercers knowledge (we do not recommend doing this!!), you would hope that your risk would pay off by giving you the painless piercing you want. You may be disappointed in the results, as numbing creams are ineffective at numbing piercings! Why is this? It is because lidocaine can only act where it is applied, aka the thinnest surface layer of the skin. This means you may only get numbness for the first 0.00001 seconds of a piercing before we are piercing non-numbed skin!
What Should You Do Instead?
There are so many non-anaesthetic options for minimising the discomfort of a piercing.
To a certain extent, we can minimise the pain of a piercing through technique. We minimise the use of tools or clamps, we import the highest quality teflon-coated needles, and pierce using a smooth and gentle technique. That being said, all piercings naturally come with a certain level of discomfort. We are piercing you, after all.
If you are stressed, tired, hungry, hungover, or generally not feeling your best, then a piercing is going to feel more uncomfortable. The best way to have the best experience is to look after yourself! Treat your piercing like a medical procedure – Ensure you are well-fed, hydrated, and coming in after a good nights rest. You will be amazed how much basic self-care can make a piercing more manageable.
Breathe It Out.
We are not a hippy studio. We don’t normally subscribe to breathing techniques! However, there is scientific evidence that slow, deep breathing can help patients with acute pain. A total of 11,968 studies were screened in this review, showing that deep breathing techniques significantly lowered pain scores. That is not to be sniffed at! This effect is called Respiratory Hypoalgesia. The baroreceptor system (The sensing system that includes the lungs) detects changes in blood pressure and heart rate during the respiratory cycle. Deep breathing changes the signals that are relayed to the brain by the vagus nerve, which then provides an analgesic effect through the parasympathetic nervous system.
At Rogue, we practice deep breathing techniques before, during, and after the piercing. As a piercee as well as piercers, we can absolutely tell the difference. It is magical.
So there you have it! Anaesthetics may sound like an excellent option, however they are unsafe and ineffective. Please never apply numbing creams without your piercers knowledge, and never attend a piercing studio that offers numbing as they are breaking the law.
Stay safe, stay healthy!
If you have any questions, please drop us an email or instagram message! Keep an eye on our blog as we post a new one every single Friday!
October is a super unique and exciting month for birthstones because technically there are two! Opal and Pink Tourmaline are the stars of the spooky season but why do we have two birthstones, and what makes them so special?
There’s no real solid evidence on why we have two birthstones for October, but there are two ideas floating around.
Originally Opal was the sole birthstone for October, however some people argued that it was too feminine, too fragile and it wasn’t durable for everyday wear. This is because Opal is only a 5.5 on the Mohs hardness scale. In comparison, a Sapphire is 9. To give more options for gemstones that could be worn for a lifetime, Pink Tourmaline was added as a secondary option. It is also thought that another reason that some months have more than one birthstone is so that people could still purchase a gemstone if the primary birthstone was too expensive. I’m looking at you, April (Diamond) babies!
Opal is the traditional gem for the October birthstone. It is a classic choice, with a milky white ‘background’ colour and a rainbow of iridescent tones that shine in different lighting. Opals can be found in a variety of hues such as black, pinks, greens, blues and even more! They are mined from sources all over the world, but human-mined Opals were first discovered in a cave in Kenya by famous anthropologist Louis Leakey dating back to 4000 BC. There is also evidence that they were mined in North America 10,000 years ago. However, since the late 1800s, it has been most commonly exported from Australia. Australia is now the most famous exporter of Opals, providing 95% of the worldwide opals with the industry valued at almost 90 million AUD per year.`
The soft but beautiful gemstone also has a really fascinating history all across the world, with multiple beliefs and traditions contributing to its modern popularity. Multiple cultures have credited the opal to have supernatural and/or magical properties. In Ancient Greece, they believed it to give the gift of prophecy and health, such as protection from disease. However in Arabic legends it is believed to have fallen from Heaven during flashes of lightning. They also have past and current symbolisation of hope, and purity.
How are Opals Formed?
Opal is a hydrated armorphous form of silica. This means that it is a solid that contains water, but lacks certain characteristics to be classified as a crystal. It’s water content can sometimes be as high as 21%! Opals began to form in Australia over 500 million years ago, when the land was covered by a shallow inland sea. The sediment that settled aty the bottom of this sea was high in silica, which slowly began to trickle down into clay beds and even fossils. As the silica was deposited, it formed opals.
Because of its water content, and armorphous properties, Opals are very soft and delicate gemstones that should be treated gently, and with care. It is recommended that any opal jewellery should be cleaned with warm water and a mild soap. Please do not use any harsh chemicals on Opal jewellery. You can also use a soft bristled toothbrush or a cloth to gentle polish the stone.
We are often asked why we do not use genuine opals in initial piercings – So lets explain why! Opals are unique within body jewellery in that they contain a very high natural water content; sometimes as much as 21% by weight. Sterilising jewellery involves using an autoclave, which reaches high temperatures and pressures over 130 degrees Celsius. At this temperature, the water content of opals can flash-evaporate which can cause the gemstone to split. That would be an expensive mistake!
Pink Tourmaline is the more modern addition to the October birthstones rota. It is a strikingly beautiful stone known for its range of pink colours. It can be found in a variety of shades ranging all the way from pale pink to rich, deep magenta.
Tourmaline as a category is known for its variety of colours. Depending on which elements are found in its crystalline structure, the colours can range from greens to reds, to blues and pinks. This makes it an excellent substitute for other, often more expensive precious gemstones. For example, Green Tourmaline was found in the 1500s by a Spanish conquistador in Brazil, who washed some dirt from the stone, and due to its vibrant hues of green mistook it for an Emerald. It wasn’t until the late 1800s that it was recognised as its own category of mineral by geologists and gemologists.
Popularity for the gemstome Tourmaline spiked in the 1800s in America, when it wa sold to the company Tiffany and Co, who are infamous for their excellent and early adoption of modern marketing techniques. However, despite the American popularity for Tourmaline, it was actually China that dominated the market for Pink Tourmaline. The Dowager Empress Tz’u Hsi was paticularly fond of the pink tones and purchased huge quanities of the stone. So much so, that when the Chinese government collapsed in 1912, the market for Pink Tourmaline also collapsed!
Throughout history, Pink Tourmaline has had many different attributes associated with it. The Romans used it as a sleep aid or stress reliever, whilst many artists, writers and creatives have used it to stimulate creativity. There are modern beliefs that it renews vitality, can strengthen self-confidence and even enhance sensuality. It is believed to be the stone of love and humanity, and many crystal healers use it for healing. It has strong ties to being an aid for physical and emotional healing, especially to remove the emotional pain from heartache any many forms of abuse. It is a stone for love, passion and joy.
At Rogue we don’t place much merit in these purported magical powers, but it is interesting to read.
Pink Tourmaline is quite a hard stone (7.5 on the Mohs scale), which means it is durable and suitable for everyday wear. To clean your Tourmaline jewellery at home it is recommended to use warm soapy water or an ultrasonic cleaner.
We stock jewellery from brands from across the world, and can source items in all birthstones imaginable! If you would like to treat yourself to some meaningful pieces, just get in contact with us.