Posted on Leave a comment

Piercing apprenticeship in a UK APP studio.

6 months into my 3 year piercing apprenticeship.

It’s officially been 6 whole months (and a bit) since I started my piercing apprenticeship here at Rogue, so I’m writing this blog detailing my time so far here. Mainly so I can document how far I’ve come and what I’ve achieved, but it’s also good for those of you wanting a piercing apprenticeship to really know all the stuff that goes on, even before you pick up a needle. Piercing apprenticeships (especially good ones) can involve a lot more than initially expected, and your day to day activities can majorly vary from what you may have considered.

 So let’s start from the beginning, before I was allowed anywhere near the inside of the piercing room there were a million and one things I had to learn, and my first memory was spending an entire day doing the Blood-borne pathogens training. The BBP training was an online video course set up by the APP that I was able to do from the studio and from home. It was 8 hours in total, in which I had to watch videos separated into different topics, such as donning and doffing PPE, the difference between contaminated, clean and sterile, and Epidemiology and Exposure Management and then answer questions about that section. This was my first sort of introduction into keeping myself safe at work, preventing cross contamination, and working in a sterile environment.

My first week also consisted of a lot of shadowing, and watching Aiden prep for piercings, watching the piercings happen and how he uses different techniques. 

I also spent a lot of time with Kat, learning how desk works! At first it started off with doing the post office runs, and learning the aftercare speeches, taking trips out to get stuff for the shop, learning all the different jewelry, even learning how to take photos of jewelry. This also included how to set up the shop in the morning, and close the shop at the end of the day. Everything from doing the helix tests, hoovering and mopping, running the water distiller etc. It was really surprising to find out how much stuff went into everyday life of piercing, without even doing actual piercings! My favorite example piece to talk to people about is changing bins! Because of contaminated waste, there’s a whole procedure to safely change out the clinical waste bins to keep yourself safe, but also prevent any type of cross contamination. It definitely was not something I expected to have to learn. 

The biggest challenge that completely exhausted me, was when I first went through the process of cleaning and sterilizing the jewelry, while doing stock takes, and making sure everything is still in date. It has become a huge part of my day to day work life now here at rogue, but when i first started the task i spent a solid two days doing it, and it was a lot mentally! Now I don’t think twice when doing it, and can do it a lot faster and with greater precision.

The first few months of my piercing apprenticeship were very repetitive as I learned the ropes! Every week I had a new section of information to study and learn, as Aiden had written a sort of learning manual for me! Each week was a new section, which I had to read through, physically demonstrate, and then answer a small quiz! This ranged from lots of things, from sterilizing jewelry and tools, to learning COSHH and MSDS safety protocols! 

My favorite stuff I started to learn along the way, is the ongoing learning of piercing history! The traditions, culture, heritage, and the origins of body piercing. It’s really amazing to learn where piercings have originally originated from in different cultures of the years, how the industry as a whole has made body piercings very westernized, and how over the years it’s slowly started to become more socially accepted. The learning of piercing history is not something you can sit down in a day and learn, it’s an ongoing teaching session through your career, and that is genuinely so fantastic to me. 

The month leading up to Christmas was a very interesting time! Rogue introduced another guest piercer to the shop, which was the lovely Krista! This was my first time meeting another member of the industry outside the studio. This was really interesting to me because Krista is not a UK piercer, she’s a traveling piercer, and a resident in Honolulu, Hawaii! Her whole vibe and atmosphere is so kind, caring, friendly and energetic! Definitely a little bit different to the calmer, quieter, more ‘introverted’ UK atmosphere. It was an absolute pleasure to work alongside someone who works in a slightly different manner, with different experiences. It’s always exciting to meet other industry members and learn new things! 

Krista also repierced my bridge piercing for me, and introduced me to marking piercings as she helped me and let me draw the markings for my own bridge! This was my first proper physical introduction into piercings, rather than just watching and learning, and being really involved in my own piercing was really gratifying. 

Coming back from christmas was very exciting, it was the first introduction of me picking up needles! We originally started with larger gauge needles and sheets of foam, looking at how bevel theory works and how to pierce without removing tissue, just displacing! Working with larger gauge needles initially was very helpful in terms of being able to see what I needed to do and how to do it with the shape of the needles! This then gradually moved on to me piercing bananas and oranges. I pierced the fruit with the skin on and off. This is because it was similar to working with skin in terms of feel and movement. Working with the skin on helped me get a feel for depth of layers in the skin, and also the toughness of skin. 

And then, it was time! I got to do my first ever piercing! Aiden got to be my first ever client as such, and we started off nice and easy with a helix piercing! We did a mid helix, with Neometal high polish threadless balls! He talked me through the entire process, showing me how to mark, how to work with the client, how to check my angles, and where to place my fingers for my own safety! I was definitely nervous, however I also felt super confident thanks to all the gradual training, and when it was done I had every right to be confident! For a first ever piercing, it was super impressive. The angles were super nice, and it came out straight! There was a slight bit of bruising during the healing process due to my technique, but definitely nothing to complain about for number 1!

That first piercing was then followed by a second helix piercing on Kat! I was definitely more nervous for this one, probably due to the adrenaline rush from the first one, but this time it was a much smoother process, and healed even better! And then Gemma also enlisted her trust in me, and she let me do my first ever conch! This was then followed by Gemma piercing my flat for me, learning new techniques! And then later in the week, I got to perform a double lobe piercing on Breo, which was slightly more challenging due to Breo already having stretched lobes. It was a really good bonding moment for the studio.

And then, we got to open my calendar and I started offering apprentice piercings! Starting off nicely with helix piercings, and then conch piercings! It was really great meeting new clients, and previous clients, who trusted me enough to perform new piercings on them!  I was pretty confident from the start, although I definitely did have my nerves, but I think it was mainly because I have such a supportive and knowledgeable team around me! The most nervous I have been for a piercing so far was my first ever pair of nipples! It was my first freehand piercing, and it was also a slightly different technique than I was used to, and it was also one of my close friends! A lot of pressure! It went pretty well, however I did have to re-pierce one as it did not come out horizontally. Thankfully, my client was super amazing about the whole thing and her patience and kindness was highly appreciated. I’m still working on nipple piercings, alongside nostrils and lobes as well. My favorite lobe piercings I’ve done so far are the couple I’ve done working around already existing larger gauge/stretched lobes. I love seeing the second and love adorned with something small and contrasting to the larger piercing! It’s definitely a style favorite of mine. 

Alongside my piercing apprenticeship with Rogue, im currently being tasked with helping the social media accounts! I’m working on weekly instagram reels, in terms of filming, editing and uploading!  If you’ve been a fan of the current How It Works series, then thank you! Having to be the brains behind it was not as easy as I expected. I used a variety of apps when I first started experimenting with the design of how I wanted the reels to look. I’m still playing around with the design, and trying to make them more inclusive! I’ve recently found closed captions which was a really important addition. I’m also working on building a Rogue tik tok account, which I want to make the vibe for this one a little less serious than the instagram! I want it to be a bit more loose and for people toi laugh and have fun, and see the not always so serious side of the shop! 

We’re currently moving forward to opening my calendar up one day a week for junior piercings! This means I’ll get to work 1 on 1 with clients, without full supervision as I’d have completed my training on these piercings with the current technique! And that’s not the only exciting thing to look forward to this year. In September we are heading to the UK APP conference which is very exciting! It’s going to be a really great opportunity to meet new piercers across the industry and make connections, and to learn so much more stuff! The future is definitely looking shiny.

Good piercing apprenticeships can be very hard to come across, and they’re not necessarily what you think they might be! There’s so much information that really helps further your training than you would think. A good piercing apprenticeship should take between 2-3 years, with a very experienced mentor. If you’d like to understand why, read our other blog post detailing why they take a long time!

Posted on Leave a comment

Interview with a Rogue – Jay Abell

Tell us about your first experience with piercing?

My first ever experience with piercing was when I got my lobes pierced, but I was too young to remember, so my first actual experience was when I got my helix pierced. I think I was around 14, and my mum had got her daith pierced, and I begged her to let me have my ear done. Knowing what I know now, it probably wasn’t the safest piercing I ever had, but it was a new experience and I kind of just didn’t stop from there.

What’s your favorite piercing you have?

My favorite piercing I have currently is the one in my chin, probably because it’s more of a “fun” piercing, very short term and not viable. It’s a fun challenge to see if I can heal it, but in the meantime it’s just really cute! I love watching people’s reactions when they see I have a piercing in my chin! 

How did you get into the industry?

I got into the industry through gaining my apprenticeship with Rogue. To be honest, I was extremely lucky with how I landed it. I left university and came home to Nottingham, got a local bar job, followed by a second job at a cafe. During this time I started visiting Rogue and slowly started to upgrade my jewellery to brands like neometal. (I was wearing a lot of odd sizes, and different materials like plastic). Upon talking to Kat and Aiden, I told them I was wanting to become a piercer, but I was working other jobs. I interacted with the studio online, but I also did a lot of home research. I started learning more about the APP and UK APP, and how they work and things like that.

I actually had a folder at home, with lots of their stuff printed out!

From there I got offered an interview with the studio, spoke about Harry Styles and One Direction a lot, and was just honest the entire time about what I  liked, what I knew and didn’t know and fortunately, got offered the apprenticeship.

What’s your favorite thing about working at Rogue?

Probably the environment. The clients are absolutely lovely and always make you so excited to work with them. There’s no pressure to wear anything I’m uncomfortable with, I can be myself, I can also have a couple of biscuits with my tea if I want to. There’s the right level of pressure, do your job and do it well, make sure your stuff is done, keep moving forward and working and aspiring harder. 

What are you most proud of in your career so far?

To be honest right now I’m just proud of making it this far. Every single day I learn something new, or I do something new and it’s all so exciting. Honestly, I’m just super proud of how far I’ve come since a year ago. 

Jay’s first ever piercing, performed on Aiden

What does the future hold for Jay?

The future probably holds a lot for me but to be honest I hate thinking about it! I find if I make any sort of long term plans it always changes by time I get there! Plus I just really struggle to think that far in advance. I like to take every day, and every week as it comes by, and I just work with what I’ve got and what’s coming.

What are some challenges you’ve faced as a modded person?

To be honest, I’ve been extremely lucky when facing any challenges. I wouldn’t say I’m heavily modded or anything like that, although I suppose I might stand out a bit more in a crowd than your average person. I’ve been extremely lucky with working jobs where heavy makeup, and short dyed hair, and piercings were never an issue. They’ve also been a great conversation starter for people as well! My biggest issue has been with people asking if there’s other places I have pierced that they can’t immediately see, or purposely pointing out tattoos on my legs and chest which can be quite uncomfortable. Either that, or remarks from family, or people slightly older telling me I’d look much nicer without it all.

How did your family/friends react when you became a piercer?

I first wanted to be a piercer when I was 17 and was going to leave sixth form. My mum was really supportive and was behind me pursuing what I wanted to do. She’d just make sure that I knew what I was doing and that I had back up plans! For example, I was working a part time job as well. And then when I told my family I was dropping out of university to pursue it, again everyone was really supportive and happy that I was doing what I wanted to do. They’ve been really proud of me every step of the way, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Top 3 movies?

That’s such a nightmare question, I don’t watch movies a lot, and when I do I can never remember them afterwards! 

What’s on your playlist?

The song I’m obsessed with rightnow is ‘Friendly Sex’ by Caity Baser. But overall it’s a really weird mix of 80s, 90s, and early 2000/2010 love songs. Although if you ask me again in about a week it’ll probably be something completely different!

What advice can you offer to aspiring and established apprentices?

Be yourself, and work hard. When wanting to be a part of a world that thrives on ‘being yourself’ it can be really easy to be swept up with trends, or what other people might be doing. It can be really easy to lose yourself when trying to fit in, and in the long run it doesn’t benefit anyone. You’ve got to stick to your guns, and be unapologetically yourself.

You’ve also got to work hard, whether that’s at your apprenticeship or the other stuff you’re doing. I worked two jobs before I gained my apprenticeship, and dropped out of uni when truly realizing it’s what I wanted to do, but every step of the way I continued to work hard. I finished my year at uni, taking every last exam and meeting, even though I knew I was leaving. Working hard is a really good way to prove your commitment to things, but also if and when you do eventually leave, it’s always good to keep those connections in life.

What’s some of the most valuable advice you’ve been given so far?

“It’s amazing what you can learn when you stop talking and start listening”

What’s your favorite snack?

I really struggle with having favorite things, I just normally fixate on something for a few weeks and then never touch it again! My latest one is probably magic stars. wonderful.

Favorite drink?

Obviously redbull.

If you weren’t a piercer, what would you be doing? 

That’s a tricky one. I think if I’d never had realized I wanted to do piercing, I’d probably still be at university studying acting. However, if I’d never have gotten my apprenticeship when I did, I don’t think much would be different. I’d still be working in the pub and the cafe, still trying to gain one!

Posted on Leave a comment

Interview with a Rogue – Breo Hoek

Hey Breo! Can you tell us about your first experience with piercing?

My very first experience with body piercing was when I was 17. It was on my left nipple, and indeed, a bad idea. It never settled down after years due being pierced in the wrong spot with wrong jewellery. I’ve learnt, like most. the hard way.

How did you become a piercer?

The tattooist doing my rib piece in my hometown told me he would pay for my initial courses and certificates if I agreed to join him at the new studio he was about to open. This was in 2006/2007. I traveled to Madrid and Barcelona to do a couple of courses and I started right away. Not the best way, but back then we had no social media and the access to piercing information was almost unreachable for us, so learning by trial and error was the main resource we had.

What was your experience like coming to the UK?

It was a little bit random. I was living in Barcelona, I had no job at that time, and a friend of mine offered me to go to work in London. I didn’t hesitate, I needed a change, I wanted to work speaking English (that would give me the opportunity of working anywhere in the world in the future), and it was very clear I had to do it alone, for self growth. I’d been in London for 3 years. After that, I worked in Shrewsbury, at a shop called Adorn. I was there for 4 years. Then, the pandemic hit us, and I started working abroad with a jewellery company called Maria Black. Here is where I traveled more than ever in my life. And since about a year ago, after several months as regular guest at Rogue, I became a resident piercer officially at the beginning of this year. It’s been a hell of a journey, but I wouldn’t change a single thing even if I could.

How has the industry changed since you joined?

When I started, the lack of information was the main issue we all had. Piercers would never help you, I guess because the fear of being judged. Poor jewellery quality, poor aseptic techniques, poor customer service and worse work quality. Shops with loud heavy metal music, dirty walls and aggressive looking staff was the average thing. It was just a matter of being able to go through with a needle and fit something through after. 

Nowadays, EVERYTHING counts. From how you look, to how you express yourself, from what you use and how you use it when you do a piercing procedure, every single detail counts. Nowadays we only call them piercings once they’ve healed. Before that, it’s just the ‘project’.

How does the UK industry compare to the Spanish one?

The british piercing community is bigger than the Spanish one, and more active. 

Not too long ago, the Spanish piercing scene was split into two groups. The ones that care about the body piercing as a community, and the ones that didn’t. Nowadays, I’m seeing spanish young piercers with really high standards from the start of their careers, and that makes me really proud. It means that those winds of superiority are long gone and the willingness to learn from each other is bigger and stronger than ever.

You have LOTS of certificates, can you tell us about them?

To me, they only tell you that you attended seminars and classes. It is true that the more certs you have on your walls, the more obvious it is to clients that you have put time into your education. They will show how much you care about what you do, and those that can read in between the  lines can appreciate it. But what counts the most to me is the trajectory. It’s all about growing not only as a piercer, but as a human.

What accomplishment are you most proud of in your career so far?

I’m proud of my determination. I have been living in several places around the globe, always because my job, and there is not a single decision that I have taken and regretted after. I am a person with very strong convictions and perseverance. So if I decide something, I’ll do anything that is possible to achieve it.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as a piercer?

Traveling alone is a challenge most of the times, but the biggest one was the fact that I have to live far from my family and old friends because of my job. After all these years, sometimes it feels like you are from nowhere, but luckily the close people to me always remind me that I’m loved here and missed everytime I go away for a little, making me wanting to come back soon every time :’)

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as modded person? (does that change from country to country?).

I am lucky enough to be modded and most of the times respected, regardless of my appearance. But I remember once that I was called a distraction at a wedding in a church, for having visible tattoos. Nothing serious, it made me laugh.

Tell us about your experience traveling.

I’ve been a traveler since I decided to be a full time piercer. I traveled all around Spain, UK, Denmark and some other European cities. All my travels made me stronger, maturer and wiser.

I have attended countless seminars all over Europe, sometimes several times a year, just to keep myself updated about how to do my job better, and I plan to keep doing so forever. Self growth is essential as human beings, and one of the best ways to do so is traveling.

What’s your favourite piercing you have?

I think it’s my philtrum piercing. I can’t imagine myself without it anymore.

What’s your favourite piercing to perform?

I love conch piercings. I literally could spend the whole day doing them.

What’s your top 3 favourite movies.

Top 1: Gozu

Top 2: Akira

Top 3: Brother, where art thou

Favourite thing to snack on.

I love cookies. And gummies.

How do you take your tea/coffee.

My tea is green and raw. My coffee has to be thick, I want my spoon standing up, mayonnaise-like texture. Jokes aside, I like it strong and just one sugar, with oat milk preferably

What’s on your playlist.

I’m probably the most eclectic person I know in terms of music taste. I keep enjoying the same music I used to listen to 15 years ago. I think it’s easier to tell what I dislike: Latin music/reggaeton (I can’t deal with it, sorry not sorry🙃), techno, or anything that sounds comercial and for the masses, like pop music, dance, etc. 

What are some of your hobbies outside of work? 

I love videogames. I used to play PUBG Mobile at a competitive level, but now I just play for fun. If you like the game and want to add me to your friends list, let me know!

I also started enjoying the gym, it feels good and rewarding after exercising.

Do you believe in unicorns? 

If you do not believe they exist, you are a horrible person without a meaning in this world. Unicorns are rare, not imaginary. 

What’s your favourite part of working at Rogue? 

The best at Rogue is, of course, the team and the customers. I love being part of this team of weirdos, always motivated and full of positive energy, and I love the city because every year we meet new people due being a university town. We know people from all around the globe and that’s awesome!

Check out more of Breo’s work over at Instagram by clicking here

Posted on Leave a comment

Curved Problems

With our changeover of basic range just around the corner we thought we should highlight how much effort and investment goes into producing the high quality body jewellery we stock. It may come as a surprise but the humble curved barbell and circular barbell throw up the biggest problems for jewellery makers. This blog will show some of the solutions to these problems by jewellery design and the processes and machinery used in curved jewellery production.

Disclaimer: These are not the only methods to produce these items. There are many ways to make everything.

Shape

Circles aren't as simple as they seem. Who doesn't love a bit of radial geometry!
Circles aren’t as simple as they seem. Who doesn’t love a bit of radial geometry!

Body jewellery may look like simple pieces of metal but the exact shapes have been refined over decades to create designs that promote a smooth, healthy heal and lifetime. Sadly not all body jewellery is made equal and a lot of the time lower quality pieces come from aiming to create the cheapest item possible rather than creating the best.

Geometry seems simple on paper but making a finished piece of jewellery from a drawing is made much more difficult due to implant grade Titanium being notoriously difficult to work with.

Curves or Bends?

The key word in curved barbell is “curved”. High quality curves are made to be an arc from end to end. Having the same profile and curve the entire length of a wearable is required so jewellery can move through a piercing without stretching and irritating the piercing channel (as shown in fig 1 and fig 2 below). Lower quality curves are bent in the middle which will put more pressure on the centre of the piercing channel as well as stretch the piercing channel as it passes through (as shown in fig 3 and fig 4 below).

Bends

A “bent” barbell is just that; A barbell which has been bent. The bend can be applied manually or by using machinery such as a hydraulic press. In both methods the barbell is held in a vice or jig (fig 5), a lever is placed over the barbell and then force is applied (fig 6). Ideally some form of go no-go gauge for manual or a pressure gauge for hydraulic would be used to create standardised bend. These methods are fast and low cost but require lots of operator time and there is a high chance of variations in the final pieces.

Curves

As a curved barbell is a full arc and it is generally made from a coil, full ring, part ring or straight bar blank. Whichever blank (a piece of material prepared to be made into something (such as a key) by a further operation) is chosen there is going to be material wastage. This material waste goes onto the final price of the piece so it is already going to cost more than the bent barbell. Coils create the most wastage but can also increase the speed (And therefor cost) of the cutting, drilling and threading stages. Full rings are less expensive in material costs but are more manually intense due to not being able to create batches. Part rings are generally made from coils and full rings or machines such as CNC wire benders can be used. CNC wire benders are very specialised and very expensive pieces of machinery. Curves minimise the material wastage but due to the high cost of CNC wire benders and a specialist skilled operator being required they increase the setup cost significantly. Bar blanks will be pressed into a custom jig to form them in a hydraulic press.

A CNC wire bender in action

A part ring would now be ready for drilling and threading. Coils and full rings will need to be cut down to the correct length first and this will require using specialist jigs to hold them and either a power saw/grinder or a milling machine. If a milling machine is used then it can also be used for the threading section too. All of these machines add cost. A saw/grinder setup would be the cheapest setup cost but has an ongoing cost due to the manual nature of this method. A milling machine would add a large setup cost but has a much lower ongoing manual cost as batches can be setup so the milling machine can keep running on its own.

No two body jewellery companies make their curved barbells to the same radius. As piercers this variation can be useful as no two bodies are the same but does mean stocking multiple brands.

Circulars or Horseshoes?

Just like curves, the keyword in circular barbell is circular A circular barbell will move through the piercing channel smoothly and with minimal resistance (fig 7 and fig 8). A common slang name for circular barbells is horseshoes, but a horseshoe shape isn’t ideal for body jewellery. Horseshoes cause similar issues to bent barbells as they also distort and stretch the piercing channel during movement (fig 9 and fig 10). This distortion can lead to irritated piercings. The extended legs on a horseshoe also bring the attachments closer together which gives a different aesthetic and increases installation difficulty.

Horsehoes

A horseshoe is basically an arc with extended legs on each end. The legs are a symptom of the production method and process order. A horseshoe will be drilled and threaded before it is formed. The forming can be completed in a manner of ways but the most common would be to use a custom jig and a hydraulic press. A barbell would be placed into the jig (fig 11) and then the press would apply force to wrap the bar into a U shape (fig 12). A second stage jig and/or press would be needed to push the legs in towards each other (fig 13). The initial setup cost for this method would be much less but the ongoing manual cost would be high.

Circulars

Hydraulic press 10 ton
A hydraulic press with pressure gauge.

A circular barbell would use some of the same machinery and blank shapes (albeit in a different diameter) as curved barbells. Coils and Full Rings would follow the same process as curves and Part Rings could also be produced using the CNC wire bender or by using a hydraulic press and custom jig.

Threading

Threading creates the biggest problem for high end curved and circular barbells. This is because the threading must be added after the shape has been formed otherwise the thread will be distorted and will not work (fig 14). All of the lower quality curves and circulars can have the threading added first as they have straight sections on the end that doesn’t distort during forming (fig 15). The straight end section uses faster processes, less steps and lower skilled operators so is much cheaper.

Adding a thread inside a small curved item adds an extra level of accuracy. Drilling a straight thread inside a curve doesn’t leave much space for error and can cause a weak point in the jewellery (fig 16). The accuracy required to avoid this can be achieved using machinery and skilled operators but this significantly increases the cost.

Some of the machinery that can be used to thread our circular and curved barbells is cutting edge technology. CNC 5 axis milling machines can be used to batch produce items using specialised jigs, CNC lathes can be used for single item manufacture but both of these methods are high manual intensity for highly specialised skill sets. Cutting edge technology comes at a cost though.

We love the amount of effort and perfectionism that goes into the body jewellery that we sell. Having suppliers that care as much about the jewellery that goes in your body as we do at Rogue really makes us happy. The items we use at Rogue are made to last a lifetime without harming your body, all while looking amazing. We hope that this blog has helped you see that simple looking items can be anything but simple to produce.

Posted on Leave a comment

Repiercing 101

We are often asked if it is possible to pierce in the same spot as an old piercing. There seems to be some misinformation floating around that says that if you have had a piercing in X location, you can never have a repiercing in the same place! This is not the case and we will explain why, but also talk about which conditions need to be met in order for your repierce to go smoothly.

What Is Scar Tissue?

Your piercing scar is made of scar tissue. Scars are a natural and unavoidable product of your wound healing response – There is little you can do to prevent the growth of scar tissue! Healing a piercing is a careful balance of healing a scar in a certain way to support jewellery. A piercing is a wound, after all. That scar tissue is avascular (has no blood vessels) and is made mostly of collagen. The collagen is not assembled into the organised layers that undamaged skin is, but is quite jumbled and rigid. This is why you might feel a little solid ‘lump’ where your old piercing used to be – That is the scar tissue that formed the piercing channel of your old piercing. As your scar matures, the amount of collagen drops by as much as 20% and you can feel the scar get softer and softer, until you might barely even notice it. This is what we are waiting for when we ask you to remove your jewellery and wait for a re-piercing!

Everyone heals at a different rate. There is no set time frame for when your old piercing has settled enough to repierce. Interestingly, it may take longer for young people to be ready for a repierce as our immune systems are too good at healing! The re-epithelialisation stage of wound healing is when the collagen for the scar tissue is produced. The younger you are, the more energetic this response is and the more collagen you produce. The more collagen you produce, the heavier the scar tissue will be and the longer it will take to settle and be ready to repierce. People over the age of 50 tend to scar less, as their immune response is lower and they do not undergo such an overproduction of collagen. You can read more about the healing process here!

When Am I Ready To Repierce?

This is different for everybody. The best way to know if you are ready to be pierced in the same spot is to head to your piercer and allow them to assess the area. We know what to look for in a scar! Is it hard and granular still, or has it softened enough to repierce?

Repiercing before you are ready can cause issues. Like I mentioned earlier, scar tissue is avascular. This means that if we repierce before the scar tissue has diminished, then there will likely be less blood flow and nutrients to the area which can significantly extend the healing time of your repiercing. Not only would your healing time be extended, but piercing through hard scar tissue is not fun! If the old piercing fistula is still open, you can also have issues where the new and old piercing channels interact and cause issues with draining of fluids.

As a general rule, we recommend waiting:

  • At least 8 weeks to repierce soft tissue like a lobe or navel piercing.
  • At least 12 weeks before repiercing ‘soft cartilage’ like a nose or septum piercing.
  • At least 6 months before repiercing hard cartilage, such as daith, helix or conch piercings.

This is not a hard and fast rule though. Everyone is different! Check in with your piercer if you are unsure, and always wait longer than you think you need to. There is no rush to repierce! A good piercer will produce a great piercing that will last you the rest of your life.

A beautifully settled and repierced second lobe piercing. When done well, you wouldn’t even know that this has been pierced before!

Taking Care of Your Piercing Scar

After removing your old piercing, you shouldn’t need to do anything special to it. No special cleaning, no lotions and potions. The piercing itself will shrink down and seal over fairly quickly, and needs no special care even if the piercing was very new when you removed it.

If your scarring is particularly obtrusive, we recommend that after you remove your jewellery you begin a daily routine of very gentle massage. Use a non-scented natural oil such as Jojoba oil to lubricate the skin, and gently massage the scarring between thumb and forefinger. This can effect how the scar remodels over time, and can break up the scar into softer, more pliable, tissue. There is not a huge amount of evidence (besides anecdotal evidence, which should always be taken with a grain of salt!) that scar massage is super effective, but keeping the area moisturised and stimulating blood flow will not hurt you either. If you have excessive scarring, like in keloid formation or large hypertrophic scarring, then a trip to the dermatologist wouldn’t go amiss. There are lots of things modern medicine has to offer such as laser, silicone patching, corticosteroid injections, and lots of other treatments that can soften and minimise scarring. A standard repiercing shouldn’t need all this special attention though! Time is the greatest healer of all.

As a side note, there is no discount in piercing fee whether it be a new piercing or a repierce. We use exactly the same tools and it takes exactly the same amount of time as a fresh piercing!

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch via our instagram or email!

Citations

Bond, J.S., Duncan, J.A.L., Sattar, A., Boanas, A., Mason, T., OʼKane, S. and Ferguson, M.W.J. (2008). Maturation of the Human Scar: An Observational Study. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, [online] 121(5), pp.1650–1658. Available at: https://journals.lww.com/plasreconsurg/Abstract/2008/05000/Maturation_of_the_Human_Scar__An_Observational.19.aspx [Accessed 11 Nov. 2021].

Posted on Leave a comment

The Basics Transition

At Rogue we pride ourselves on using the best jewellery, equipment and techniques that we have access to, to give our clients the best service we possibly can. A lot of our regulars will know that I (Aiden) used to be a Mechanical Engineer for the MoD and specialised in metal standards and that this knowledge lead me to be a driving factor in the creation of the Material Standards for the UKAPP. Keeping up with progression is an important part of any piercing studio and any piercers career and the time has come for us to progress again.

Since the beginning of Rogue our basic range jewellery has been produced by a UK based body jewellery manufacturer who has responded well to demands from piercers to keep improving. It has come to our attention recently that this company hasn’t been as open to progression and their quality has been dropping and this has left us in the tricky position of having to change supplier. There currently isn’t another option in the UK working to the standards we require so we are beginning to import our jewellery all the way from America.

So, What’s Different?

For us to be confident to install new jewellery into a fresh piercing we must know a lot of information but by far the most important is the grade of the material. The grade of the material is connected to a standard which tells us exactly what mixture of metals make up the alloy and the exact process for how the material was made. It is quite common for piercers and clients to get hung up on the chemistry of the material but that only tells us part of the picture.

Chemistry Test

An example of a Chemistry test for body jewellery. This example shows how only a tiny sample batch is tested.

A chemistry test is used to prove what the alloy is of a specified piece of metal. A chemistry test isn’t suitable for implanted materials because it only proves the chemistry of the single piece tested rather than the entire batch. We need a higher level of guarantee that body jewellery is safe to go in the body. In the industrial world a chemistry test is fine but as every single piece of body jewellery must be safe for use in the body we need a more detailed form of guarantee.

As the item has to be ground and damaged in order to be tested, it would be unusable after the test is complete.

In the image to the left, note the sentence at the bottom “Samples submitted by customer, results relate only to items tested.”. This means that even the testing laboratory agree that this test is only suitable for the exact test piece rather than the entire batch.

Mill Certificate

Mill certificates tell us the exact process that was used to produce the metal and guarantees that all metal produced in the process will be homogeneous (Definition: Of uniform structure or composition). This is vitally important when installing jewellery into the human body.

The UK piercing industry has been specifically requesting Mill Certificates (not Chemistry tests) from all of our suppliers since the formation of the UKAPP. The reason for these requests is that in the past Titanium sourced from certain mills around the world has been found to have falsified their paperwork for Titanium used in surgical implants. This non-compliant metal only revealed itself to be unsafe when people that had medical implants started to have reactions to the metals and in a few extreme cases the implants were rejected by the body. Legislation for Body jewellery is not nearly as stringent as legislation written for medical implants, but the body can have just as serious reactions to non-safe body jewellery as it would to a non-safe medical implant. As Piercers we want every piercing to be happy and healthy so having a guaranteed safe material is of the utmost importance to us.

Important points to note on a mill certificate are:

  • Material Country of Origin – For DFARS approval
  • Material Grade – To show the designated grade of the material from this melt
  • Melting Process – To show the process the mill followed to produce the material
  • Heat/Melt Number – For batch control and material traceability
  • Material Dimensions – To show which supplied raw material came from the batch
  • Total Material – Shown in either weight or length – To show how much raw material was sourced

DFARS

Multiple Launch Rocket System (M270) | Lockheed Martin
An M270 MLRS (Multi launch Rocket System) produced as a product between the US, UK and French defence industries. The materials used to manufacture this vehicle are all controlled y the DFARS agreement.

DFARS – Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement

Due to some Titanium Mills falsifying their paperwork and producing material not of the grade stated the Body Piercing Industry started to search for a form of guarantee that material sourced is of the grade advertised. There were very few options available for this and the final choice was the DFARS agreement.

DFARS is a system used by the US Defence sector. It was originally laid out to allow the American Defence Industry to source material from outside of the US and still guarantee that the material is of the correct grade. I used to work within a similar framework when sourcing Armour for the British military. As the American Defence sector is incredibly specific about the metals used in their products this was the perfect system for the body jewellery industry. This system may seem like it doesn’t apply to body jewellery but as there aren’t any systems for material guarantees outside for the defence world, the DFARS agreement is currently the best system we have.

Rather than have individual companies or metal mills be compliant with DFARS, different countries will claim compliance. This means that any material sources from these countries will have a guarantee it was produced using a process specified in the material grade. Current countries in the DFARS agreement are:

AustraliaGreecePortugal
BelgiumIsraelSlovenia
CanadaItalySpain
Czech RepublicJapanSweden
DenmarkLatviaSwitzerland
EgyptLuxembourgTurkey
EstoniaNetherlandsUnited Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
FranceNorway
GermanyPoland
Notable nations missing from the DFARS agreement are China, India and Thailand.

The UK is a DFARS compliant nation, but as we have no Titanium Mills here we must source our Titanium from elsewhere. Currently the vast majority of titanium is produced in China but as China isn’t a DFARS compliant country we CANNOT accept this as safe for use in body jewellery. Currently most verifiable implant grade Titanium is sourced from US or Italian mills.

Polish

SHOP TIPS #293 Surface Roughness Finish 1 of 2 tubalcain - YouTube
A Roughness Scale used in industrial applications to compare surface finishes

At Rogue we are constantly shouting about surface finish. This is because there is a direct link between the quality of the surface finish, the ease of healing and the long term health of a piercing. The suppliers we are switching to achieve a much better polish so this will be a big improvement on our current basic range. A better (more shiny) surface finish improves your healing process. We discuss this in lots of details in our dedicated Surface Finish blog!

A super-shiny mirror finish on an Anatometal 18k Dome is a perfect example.

Thread Quality

Screw Thread Terminology Explained | Assembly Fasteners, Inc.
A Diagram of the dimensions required for a screw thread to be produced

The new suppliers we are moving too also have a much tighter Quality Control system. this means that there will be less issues with jewellery coming unscrewed, being lost or being damaged. We would love to live in a world where products are 100% perfect all the time but sadly this isn’t realistic. The companies we are switching to also want to live in a world where products are perfect 100% of the time and we are excited to be working with companies that have such pride in their products.

Cost

With higher quality Titanium, better quality control, international shipping, import tax, inflation and the damage to the supply chain that COVID has caused we will be seeing a price rise on our basic options. We never like having to put our prices up but during this time we are going to have to. We will give all of our clients plenty of notice so we can all prepare for the change.

We are not in the business of changing prices without giving you plenty of notice! We are aiming to change our basic range jewellery to new, higher-quality basic jewellery in January. Any appointments after this day will have a different cost for basic jewellery – Our high-end prices are staying the same!

As always we will be striving to be the best piercers we can be and will continue to do the best we can for our clients. That’s it for this week. We’ll be back next week with a blog all about circular barbells. Have a good week everyone!

Thank you for reading. If you have any questions, you can contact us via email or instagram.

Aiden

Posted on Leave a comment

Why Are We Appointment Only?

If you have ever visited Rogue, you will have needed to make an appointment via our website. Since day one, we have been an appointment-only studio – Even before COVID! So why is that?

For You

We find that clients who are willing to make an appointment are less rushed and aren’t getting pierced as an impulse decision. These are the clients who are more thoughtful about their piercings, take better care of them, and have a really good experience!

Booking appointments allows you to organise your day, so you don’t have to queue for a piercing or wait a long time to be seen! If you have ever attended a busy walk-in studio, you’ll know that it can hype you up even further if you have to wait a long time for your piercing. When you have everything planned out, your piercing experience is much more relaxing.

For Us

As a small studio, our time is valuable. With a walk-in studio situation, it is difficult for us to find the time to organise the paperwork, business and general run-around time! When working to appointments, we can control our calendar and the behind-the-scenes running of the studio works much more smoothly.

We also enjoy working to appointment as each client has their own dedicated time- We don’t feel rushed, or like we have to prioritise one client over another. Your booked time is your booked time!

No Shows

As an appointment only studio, there are many reasons why no-shows or appointments that cannot go ahead can be an issue for us as a business. The pre-paid piercing fee covers the piercing itself and all the equipment involved. The most important thing is that it covers our time. When you book a 30 minute appointment, you in effect block that time out so that no other customers can attend our studio. This is awesome for you as a client when you attend the appointment as planned, as you get our undivided attention. However, this can be problematic when you no-show, or attend the appointment without all the prerequisite paperwork, or are late to your appointment. We cannot pierce you safely if the above policies are not followed.

If this happens, we are often asked if you can get your money back. Unfortunately, we can’t offer refunds as we cannot fill appointments with zero notice and if we refund you then we lose a full 30 minutes of work and income. As a small business still recovering from the effects of COVID, we simply cannot lose hours of our day to no-shows and incorrect attendance. We know this is not ideal, but if we have one 30 minute no show a day, that’s 2.5 hours of missed appointments a week. That works out at 10 hours of lost work a month! When we have some days with 2-4 30 minute no shows, you can see how that is untenable for us. This is especially tricky on days where we are fully booked, and we know that we have turned away legitimate clients due to a lack of available appointments.

We love piercing, and we love our clients. You guys are the reason we do this. Working to appointment only improves our service and makes everything run so much smoother.

See you next week for another new blog!

Posted on Leave a comment

Precare for Piercing

As Piercers we talk a lot about aftercare and rarely mention precare. Precare is just as important to your health and the short and long term health of your piercing.

What is Precare?

Precare is all about making sure you are healthy, rested, hydrated, well fed, free from intoxicants and certain medication. We will discuss each of these different aspects in this weeks blog.

Healthy

It might seem an obvious point to make but being healthy is imperative to your piercing healing well. At any given moment your bodies immune system is fighting to keep you healthy. In everyday life we are exposed to bacteria, fungus, viruses and debris that can be harmful to you. The vast majority of these foreign bodies are dealt with before they even have a chance to harm your body. When healing a new piercing you are putting stress on your immune system; if your immune system is already under stress from something else then this will extend your piercings healing time and increase the risk of rejection and migration. It is best to give your body a chance to heal before adding new piercings.

Illness

Precare - Illness
Nobody likes being ill so lets try to minimise spread

If you are ill then getting a piercing is going to a very unpleasant experience for you as your body is under stress and your senses will be heightened. We don’t want to put you through undue pain or trauma so strongly advise you wait until any illness has passed. As well as protecting you we also need to protect ourselves; We really don’t enjoy being ill so much prefer it if you are able to give us enough notice to move your appointment.

Rested, Hydrated and Well Fed

Again these might seem like obvious points but a rested, hydrated and well fed body will both handle the piercing better and heal better. Our immune systems are constantly working hard and they are fuelled and kept in working order by the rest we get and what we put into our body. When you have rested, hydrated and eaten there is a much lower risk of feeling faint; this is because when you get pierced your body will release adrenaline and start using up the sugar in your blood. Our blood sugar is the fuel that keeps our bodies going, as it gets used up the body will divert blood flow and sugars to prioritise different systems. The upset tummy feeling that can occur after a piercing is because the body is focussing resources towards your muscles and healing. Hydration is just as important as food because the liquids that we drink eventually end up in our blood stream and help us to move nutrients and white blood cells around our body. When you are dehydrated you can feel light headed and lethargic, neither of these are good for going into a piercing session.

As Piercers we will look after you and guide you through your piercing but making sure you have a good energy resource is super important.

Intoxicants and Medication

Precare - No Alcohol before piercing
No Alcohol before piercing

There are several reasons why being intoxicated before a piercing is inappropriate. Intoxicants include alcohol, cannabis, cocaine and many other legal and illegal drugs that effect your mental state. Aside from health issues, in the UK you cannot consent to a piercing when intoxicated and this means we cannot legally pierce you.

Intoxicants can cause a lot of changes to your body such as:

Raised Blood Pressure – This will cause you to bleed more and will extend your appointment time. Here at Rogue we wont send you home until we have stopped bleeding as we want to make sure you are fine and healthy. Intoxicants that cause raised blood pressure include stimulants such as cocaine.

Lower Blood Pressure – This will cause you to feel faint and potentially pass out. Rogue is staffed by a full team of first aiders so we can care for you in the case of an emergency but it is a much more pleasant experience all around if our skills aren’t required. Depressants such as Diazepam can cause these effects.

Thin Blood – Much like raised blood pressure, blood thinning will cause bleeds and extended healing times. Blood thinning medication such as Warfarin can make a piercing become a serious issue as the bleed will not stop due to not clotting. This can lead to hospitalisation and causes undue stress to you, your piercer and the hospital staff who will care for you. A very common blood thinner is Aspirin. It is VERY important to tell your piercer if you are taking blood thinning medication.

Heightened Sensitivity – All piercings carry an element f pain. Your piercer will do everything they can to make the piercing experience as smooth and comfortable as possible and minimise any pain. Intoxicants such as Cannabis can increase the sensitivity and therefor a more painful piercing experience. Surprisingly to a lot of people, most piercers don’t enjoy inflicting pain and see it as the worst part of our job.

Increased Heart Rate – Much like blood thinning and raised blood pressure an increased heart rate will cause an extended bleed and a longer appointment. A common causes of increased heart rate is caffeine. We are all caffeine junkies here at Rogue but its important not to over caffeinate before getting pierced.

Even one glass of beer or wine is enough for us to refuse service. We promise you don’t need Dutch courage to get through your piercing, we will be here to help you. If you are unsure if your medication will have an effect on your piercing then it is worth speaking to your piercer and medical practitioner before booking a piercing.

As always we are happy to help you with any stage of your piercing and if you would like more help with precare then you can get in touch with us in the comment box below through Instagram or email hello@roguepiercing.co.uk

Have a good week everyone!

Aiden

Posted on Leave a comment

Tongue Piercings 101

Tongue piercings are very popular piercings – One of our most popular oral piercings aside from philtrum piercings! In today’s blog I will give an overview of the tongue piercing, the anatomy of the tongue, the anatomical limitations of this piercing and some of the red flag tongue piercing options which should absolutely be avoided.

Tongue Anatomy

The tongue is an incredibly mobile and active collection of muscles. There are a few major parts to note that are important to piercing. 

  1. The Two Major Muscle Groupings

All the muscles of the tongue are paired structures, split in the middle by the lingual septum. The intrinsic muscles are responsible for changing the shape of the tongue and controlling its movement. Working together, the longitudinal, transverse and vertical intrinsic muscles control the movement of your tongue. They can do this by working in isolation, or by working together depending on the motion required. These muscles should not be impeded by a piercing, or there can be serious consequences for the mobility of your tongue and your ability to eat and speak. We will get to that later…

  1. The Median Lingual Septum

The Lingual Septum is the thin, fibrous membrane that separates the paired muscles either side. Although this is an internal structure, you can locate it by looking out for the longitudinal midline groove that runs down the middle of your tongue. A traditional tongue piercing sits somewhere along this midline groove, and passes through the lingual septum. Like with a nasal septum, piercing through the thinnest section of membrane makes your tongue piercing much easier to heal and reduces your risk of problems. The existence of this lingual septum is what makes traditional center-line tongue piercings so safe. 

  1. Major Blood Vessels

The major blood vessel feeding the tongue is called the Lingual Artery. Because the tongue is such a thirsty and active muscle grouping, the lingual artery is large and branches out into lots of smaller vessels which make sure the tongue is always well fed with oxygen. The most important branch of the lingual artery is the Deep Lingual Branch. This is the largest branch of the lingual artery, and passes through the base of the body of the tongue. If you lift your tongue, you may be able to see it sitting just behind your lingual frenulum (where a tongue web piercing would go). Sometimes you will have one central branch, however some people have two either side. Some people have two that cross over in the middle. This is all really important information that a piercer should be looking for before they pierce your tongue. If we cannot see it, or it crosses over itself base of the tongue, we will normally discourage you from getting this piercing. The Lingual Artery feeds directly from the Carotid Artery – That’s a direct bloodflow from your heart. This is a serious business! 

The Healing Process

Tongue piercings are incredibly low-maintenance and heal very quickly. Here you can find an overview of their aftercare.

You want to clean your tongue piercing a maximum of 5 times a day with an alcohol-free mouthwash for the first 4 weeks. These 5 times are generally after brushing your teeth in the morning and evening, and after your three main meals. If you need to snack, smoke, or have sexual contact using your mouth (including kissing!) try and group those in with these 5 mouthwashes, however if you need to do them at other times of the day we recommend simply rinsing your mouth out with water afterwards. 

Aside from this cleaning, we recommend leaving your new piercing alone entirely! No touching or fiddling, or fidgeting with your jewellery. Don’t get in the habit of playing with it! It’s best to avoid super spicy or hot foods for the first 4 weeks, but aside from this you are welcome to eat whatever you find appetising and is most comfortable for you.

Downsizing is the most important part of maintaining your oral health. After your swelling goes down, you need a shorter bar installing to avoid harming your mouth. This is usually after the first 7-10 days. After this downsize, you may need another at the 3 month mark so do keep in touch with your piercer. If you do nothing else with your tongue piercing, get it downsized!

Types of Tongue Piercing

  1. The Traditional Tongue Piercing 
You can’t miss this one! You can stretch most piercings, including the tongue. This is a great example of a central, midline tongue piercing though, even if it a bit more nontraditional!

The traditional tongue piercing is the classic tongue piercing everybody thinks about when the words ‘tongue piercing’ are mentioned. It’s placed along the midline of the tongue, behind the apex or ‘tip’ of the tongue. The most important part of this placement is that it should not be so close to the tip of the tongue that it risks coming in contact with your teeth, or the gum-line on the back of your teeth. On the other hand, it should not be so far back that it irritates the lingual frenulum or digs into the bottom of the tongue. You can have one midline tongue piercing, or multiple one behind the other depending on your anatomy.

These tongue piercings are relatively simple to have and heal – You are fully healed within 8 weeks! 

  1. Paired Vertical Tongue Piercings

The second most popular type of tongue piercing are the paired vertical tongue piercings. Otherwise known as ‘venom’ piercings, these are sets of two tongue piercings that sit either side of the midline of the tongue. These are super anatomy dependent and are much more complex piercings to get than the standard, so pick your piercer very carefully. Paired tongue piercings take slightly longer to fully heal as they do pass through the actual muscles of the tongue as opposed to just the lingual septum. You are fully healed within 12 weeks, which is still relatively quick for the human body! Paired tongue piercings are the best way to get the look of the piercings mentioned below in a safe way.

Paired Vertical tongue piercings are both adorable and very safe. They are anatomy dependent though, so do have your anatomy checked by a skilled piercer. This set was done by the wonderful Kitty of Holier Than Thou – We cannot recommend their studio enough if you are in the Manchester region.
  1. Unsafe Tongue Piercings

For some reason, tongues seem to be the current place to get unsafe piercings. There are two major styles of tongue piercing to avoid, and they will be discussed below. Please bear in mind that some of the photos below may be graphic, but it is important to know how seriously dangerous these piercings can be and appreciate the immense damage they can cause to your body. 

As discussed above, tongue piercings are no joke. The tongue is highly innervated and has large blood supplies to it which means any issue can soon become medically critical. So why are some piercers still offering these two styles of piercing?

Snake Eye Piercings

You can already see the pressure this snake-eyes piercing is putting on the tongue. Rejection is unfortunately a matter of time.

Snake eye piercings are piercings that pass horizontally through the apex, or tip of the tongue. They either use a straight or curved barbell. Neither style of jewellery makes this a safe, sane or sensible piercing. As previously discussed, the tongue is made of paired symmetrical muscles that need to be able to work independently in order for you to have full movement of your tongue. 

A piercing passing through both sides of your tongue horizontally binds these two muscle groupings together and can cause serious damage. Every time you eat, move your tongue or speak, these two muscle groups are fighting against and pulling on your jewellery. This means it is only a matter of time before the jewellery is rejected, causing permanent splitting and scarring of the tissue. 

The other major issue with Snake Eye piercings is that the tip of your tongue is constantly touching your teeth or gums. Pay attention to wear your tongue is sat at rest – it is tucked up behind your front teeth. Try talking for a second – the tip of your tongue flicks against the back of your teeth to form the ‘dental’ and ‘interdental’ phonetic sounds. Imagine having a piece of jewellery in that part of your tongue! It spells disaster for the health of your teeth and gums. Gum recession and tooth loss are irreparable so keep this in mind before choosing to have this unsafe piercing.

Surface Tongue Piercings

It’s ridiculous to choose such a dangerous piercing, when paired vertical tongue piercings look identical.

Surface tongue piercings, or tongue ‘scoop’ piercings, are just as bad as they sound. These are piercings that pass horizontally through the surface of the tongue in the same way as a surface tragus or other surface piercing. The main issues with tongue scoop piercings are the same as with snake-eyes. Rejection, splitting, and scarring. 

Surface piercings can be successful in areas of low movement if you understand that the definition of a ‘successful’ surface piercing is 6-12 months. The tongue is not a low moment area. It is one of the most motile parts of your body. This, along with the binding of two muscle groups together, means that rejection is guaranteed in as little as a week. 

The body of the tongue is full of nerves – that is what allows you to control your tongue alongside tasting food. Surface tongue piercings risk severing these nerves, leaving you with loss of sensation at best, and paralysis at worst. It is simply not worth the risk.

It is not often we take such a strong stance on ‘good vs bad’ piercers. We would like to believe that all piercers are working for the common good of their clients, however in this case we take a very black-and-white stance. There is no such thing as a good piercer who offers these two types of tongue piercing. If your piercer offers these piercings, they are neither good piercers, nor safe piercers, nor do they have your safety and quality of life in mind. 

So there you have it! A good overview of tongue piercings. We love them here at Rogue, and are proud to offer them in a safe and skilled way. 

If you have any questions, then you are welcome to contact us via our instagram, or email us!

See you next week for another piercings 101!

Posted on Leave a comment

Piercing Retainer 101

Now that school is back in session and everyone is back in work, we are being asked ‘what is the best way to hide my piercing?’ We also frequently get asked what to wear when undertaking medical procedures such as MRIs and surgery. There are a few different options to consider in terms of piercing retainer, and we will discuss them today.

The MRI Machine was invented in Nottingham. One of our little claims to fame!

Do I Even Need a Retainer?

The biggest thing to consider is, do I actually need a retainer in the first place? There are a few things to consider in this case. Firstly, how old is your piercing? A well-healed piercing can usually sustain itself without jewellery for a short while, such as for the duration of an MRI which usually lasts between 15 and 90 minutes. For MRIs and other short procedures, it is recommended to remove your jewellery just before the procedure, and reinsert it as promptly as possible afterwards. You may need an insertion tool or taper to help you do this, which we recommend buying in advance. If you are not confident in changing or reinserting your jewellery yourself and have a medical procedure coming up then please get in touch! We are more than happy to help you remove and reinsert your jewellery absolutely free of charge in the case of medical procedures. You do need to book this, so give us a phone call to avoid paying the checkup fee.

If your piercing is still relatively young, or is in a placement that closes more quickly such as an oral piercing, it is best to choose a retainer in advance of when you need it.

The Gold Standard Retainer

Even though our jewellery is ASTM F-136 Titanium or solid 14k and 18k Gold which are all totally MRI safe, a lot of medical practitioners will ask you to remove your jewellery before procedures regardless. If you feel confident in doing so, you can self-advocate to your MRI technician and medical team. We are happy to provide you with the paperwork required to prove your jewellery is MRI safe if you need it. However if you do need to remove your jewellery, for example if your procedure is on your head or face, then do consider a retainer. If your procedure is longer than an hour, we’d recommend purchasing glass jewellery as a retainer. Glass is the perfect retainer piece, being inert and transparent so as not to leave an afterimage on any x-rays or imaging work you have done. Lead-free Borosilicate Glass is also totally nonporous and body safe – It is truly the gold standard. If you have a procedure coming up, we highly recommend contacting us to organise ordering glass retainers for any piercings that you are worried may close. 

Glass is one of the best materials for body piercing and is usually the material of choice for stretching amongst professional piercers, although you do not need to stretch your piercings to wear it. Glass jewellery is available in every size and thickness! One of the biggest advantages of glass for piercing jewellery is its non-porous, extremely smooth surface. This allows for easy and frictionless insertion and removal of the jewellery. It also means that the jewellery can be easily cleaned and will not collect bacteria as with a porous structure such as acrylic, plastic or wood.

Aside from being great for medical reasons, glass is also a handy way of concealing piercings for work or school. Glass is shiny though, so do consider Neometal ‘Freckle’ Discs if you want something extremely subtle. 

Glass jewellery is not only beautiful, but a perfect material to wear as a retainer.

The Unsafe Piercing Retainer

Retainers, although intended for short term wear, should still be implant-grade and body safe. Anything that is inserted into the body needs to be safe to wear. So where does plastic jewellery stand? Plastic jewellery is pervasive in the piercing industry. Whether that be under specific brand names, in the form of flexible a plastic ‘retainer’ or classic acrylic jewellery, plastic jewellery is everywhere. So why do we not stock it here at Rogue? What is the issue with flexible plastic jewellery?

Here you can see a plastic retainer under an SEM electron microscope. Bacteria will live and grow very quickly in this cozy matrix of holes. Your body will be permanently irritated by the rough texture, too.

The main issue with plastic jewellery is that plastic is porous and rough in texture, and made from unregulated mystery polymers. When something is porous, it means that it is covered in small holes that allow liquids to pass through. This means that bacteria and other nasties have crevices in which to grow. This biofilm can cause severe irritation to a piercing, alongside causing nasty odours and excessive crusting. The roughness of the texture of plastic also means that it is constantly rubbing the inside of your piercing like sandpaper. This can cause irritation bumps, scar tissue formation, and can significantly damage the inside of your piercing. There is little research into plastics that act as an implant such as in piercings, however a study performed in 2016 showed that plastic or teflon jewellery was found to carry up to ten times more bacteria and biofilm than the same type of jewellery made from highly-polished Titanium, (Borges et al, 2016). This study also viewed the different jewellery under a microscope to visualise the difference in surface finish and bacterial buildup (yummy!).

There is so much more biofilm present on the plastic jewellery – This porous surface allows buildup and irritation.

All this aside, the number one reason why Rogue does not stock plastic jewellery is because we simply do not know what it is made from. There are seven main categories of plastic, however there are thousands of different plastic polymers with their own composition and characteristics. No plastic jewellery manufacturer is willing to divulge the exact plastics they use. With every single piece of jewellery we stock, we receive certification that it is A) What it says it is, and B) Made from a material proven to be implant-grade and safe to wear. We simply do not have this information for plastic jewellery. Some plastics have been shown to release carcinogenic or toxic compounds at body temperature, such as when ingested. All plastic jewellery degrades over time, and can cause issues at any point. It’s our prerogative to provide our clients with safe jewellery that can last a lifetime, which is why plastic is not offered at Rogue. If you do have plastic jewellery as a piercing retainer, do use it as a last resort and remember that it is only recommended to wear for a maximum of 8 hours before being discarded. Plastic is not at all made for long-term wear.

The main takeaways from this are that we are here to help! If you cannot get jewellery back in after a procedure, we can help you. If you need a piercing retainer for long-term wear then we can order items in for you too. We just want to see happy and healthy piercings out there! 

Contact Us

Instagram

hello@roguepiercing.co.uk (General Enquiries)

kat@roguepiercing.co.uk (Custom orders, Jewellery Enquiries.)

References

Borges, L.P., Ferreira-Filho, J.C.C., Martins, J.M., Alves, C.V., Santiago, B.M. and Valença, A.M.G. (2016). In VitroAdherence of Oral Bacteria to Different Types of Tongue Piercings. The Scientific World Journal, [online] 2016, pp.1–6. Available at: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2016/7349371/ [Accessed 23 Sep. 2021].