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Lobe Piercings in the UK

Lobe piercings are probably one of the most common piercings in the UK, and more than likely one of the first ever attempted piercings on mankind. Piercings have been around for thousands of years, and there’s much debate about the oldest ever one. There have been many sources stating mummies dating back to 5000 years ago have been found with their ears pierced (however some sources can date back to 12,000 years ago), or even stretched! Archaeological evidence of the mummy Pharaoh Tutankhamen shows that he had his ears pierced, and many pairs of earrings were found alongside him in his tomb.

Different cultures have different reasons why they choose to pierce their lobes, and different methods by which they do it. Ancient civilizations across the world, from Africa to Asia, have been known to use body modifications to determine social status or function as spiritual protection. The oldest mummified person, Otzi the Ice Man, had pierced earlobes. Some of the first documented lobe piercings were among native African and southeast Asian tribes that pierced for spiritual purposes. Wearing metal ear piercings was believed to prevent bad spirits, due to the belief that spirits and demons were repelled by metal. Ancient Romans were also believed to have worn studs in their ears.

Of course, lobe piercings were not the only piercings that date back across eons, but in this blog post I’d like to look more into how lobe piercings became commonplace in the UK, and how they became so popularized. 

William Shakespeare

Christianity had a huge impact on body modification, with the church considering it to be pagan and against God’s image. This view contributed to body piercings in the western world becoming underground. At some points in history, only those on the outskirts of society had their body adorned with such metal and jewelry. However the tradition of lobe piercings in the western world can be sourced back to being symbols of wealth, power or status. During the renaissance era, men started to adorn their ears with earrings to show their nobility. Every nobleman would have at least one piercing, and typically larger diamonds and pearls were worn to show off one’s wealth. This was a really good way to become known on the marriage market. On a famous portrait painting of William Shakespeare, you can clearly see a golden ring threaded through his lobe, and even portraits of male monarchs at the time, such as Charles 1, you can see beautiful earrings, such as pearls.

Charles 1

Its also noted that around the same time and possibly even earlier, earrings were also worn by sailors. There’s many theories surrounding why; including it helped their eyesight, to signify their bond with the sea (like a marriage), and also being a symbol of accomplishment of sailing the world. Another one was that because they were solid Gold rings, they could fund their funeral after they died.

A famous portrait showcasing lobe piercings, is the oil painting by the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, commonly known as the girl with the pearl earring. 

But when, why, and how did lobe piercings become as popular and as normalised as we know them to be now, especially among women and young girls? Well, all eyes are on Queen Victoria for starting this trend. The pre-Victorian era saw a general decline in earrings due to the changing fashions of the time, as chic coiffures (headscarves) began to cover the ears. However, Queen Victoria began to adorn her ears with pendant style drop earrings, and long earrings set with many luxuriant gemstones. Because the Queen had significant power and influence across Europe, she had a huge direct effect on fashions of the time. we soon saw lobe piercings once again be in vogue, with the pendant drop especially favoured.  She reintroduced this practice during her Coronation as she wanted to wear a pair of very rarely used earrings from the Royal collection and so had her ears pierced for the occasion. 

Much later on, after World War 2, around the 1950’s there was a boom in the economy and women started spending more money and time focusing on their looks, and this is where we see another surge in the ear piercing trend. Typically it was a single lobe, and surprisingly it was a lot of clip on piercings. Over the years the trend of ear of single lobe piercings stayed, (whether real or fake), and choices of jewellery saw a demand in larger, showier pieces. Rings in the lobes were also a hugely popular choice.

During the late 70’s and 80’s ear piercings started to become more popular in general, especially amongst gay men and teenage girls. This is where we see a trend of multiple lobe, and upper ear piercings become in demand. The large statement pieces became replaced with much smaller earrings made of gemstones and pearls. During this decade was when we saw another increase of men having their lobes pierced. George Michael is an excellent example, as he adorned his piercing with a simple gold ring. 

However there was a lack of brick-and-mortar piercing studios during this time, and at-home piercings were quite the norm. Over time, piercing studios began to pop up around the UK and become more normalized. The second ever piercing studio in the UK was the London Piercing Clinic. The founder and owner was the famous Mr Sebastian – The father of the UK body piercing industry. Despite not being the first, they were the first ever studio to have a high street presence and address. Set up in May 1988, it helped to make waves not just across the piercing industry, but in popularising and normalising body piercings across the UK and in popular culture.

Since the rise of social media since the late 2000s, body modification and especially body piercings are becoming more and more accepted and popular every day. It doesn’t take long once walking out of your front door to spot someone with their ears pierced, whether they be a man or woman. Often you might notice multiple lobe piercings, or even multiple or various piercings scattered across the ears. And here at Rogue, we perform lobe piercings on people as young as 8, and our eldest client was 92. Lobe piercings are becoming more versatile as we go along, with a huge range of jewellery and placements now available. Gone are the days of a standard single lobe piercing – Now we are getting creative with stacks, triangles and other styles of ear curations.

You can book your appointments via our website – Click HERE to book!

You can also follow us on instagram.

Thank you for reading! We will be back next Friday with another blog 🙂

— Jay <3

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Piercing Myths

Today we will be tackling a broad and fascinating subject, and something we have to hear about fairly often working in a high quality studio. There are so many misconceptions surrounding piercing, especially as most people find their aftercare advice or do research for their piercings online. As we all know, the internet is a great and terrible place for misinformation and myths! We will be covering 6 of the most common piercing myths we hear, and explain what, if any, truth comes from them!

Nipple Piercings prevent you from breastfeeding.

This is quite a common one we hear! This is based on the fact that some people believe piercing a nipple can damage all of the milk ducts. The nipple contains on average 9-20 milk ducts, and a 1.6mm needle will never be able to permanently disable all of them. Clients with nipple piercings can definitely still breastfeed after a nipple piercing, and it does not affect your flow of milk! Keep in mind that we do recommend removing all nipple jewellery during the breastfeeding time period as it constitutes a choking hazard for your baby.

White Opal Nipple Barbell, available to purchase on our webstore.

Infections are Common.

It is fairly common for clients to mistake normal healing symptoms as symptoms of infection. It is also really common for irritated piercings to be called infections as well! This is definitely a myth, and a misconception that we are trying to change. Infections are in fact extremely rare – One in 10,000 if not more rare. Irritated piercings can be red, swollen and produce a small amount of clear/yellow/green discharge. This is entirely normal! However, when googling your symptoms you can cause yourself an unnecessary panic! We have a whole blog dedicated to irritations vs infections, which you can read here.

Infections are a serious medical matter – Thankfully practically unheard of in high-quality piercing studios!

Cheek Piercings Give You Natural Dimples

There are lots of myths surrounding cheek piercings, but this is the one we hear most often. The myth goes that you can get your cheeks pierced, heal them for 3-4 months, and then when you take them out you are left with beautiful natural looking dimples. This is far from the truth! Aside from the obvious fact that cheeks are a very complex and fairly high-risk piercing (read more on that here!), the main issue with this is that the scarring caused by cheek piercings is often unpredictable and almost never give perfect nor symmetrical results. Cheek piercings are a lifetime commitment and not something to be pierced on a whim. The best way to get dimples is to consult a facial plastic surgeon, not a piercer.

Nose Piercings can Paralyze You.

This is an odd one that we occasionally hear! We are not sure where this myth originated, but we do sometimes hear of it from clients. This one is 100% a myth and definitely nothing to be concerned about when booking for your piercing. On very rare occasions you may feel a small amount of mild numbness around the piercing site – This is due to initial swelling and is not permanent. This piercing myths may originate from viral news articles where a handful of people have had severe infections due to unsafe piercing practices that have resulted in long-term health issues. We work to the highest standards of safety and hygiene, and if you correctly follow our aftercare advice you have absolutely nothing to worry about!

Nose piercings are by far the most popular facial piercing that we offer.

The (insert ear here) side is the gay side!

This is one of the most common piercing myths that we hear! We have actually written a whole blog explaining its origins. This myth originates from the early days of the piercing industry, when it was still a very gay underground operation. Piercing was seen very differently then, and often was used as a method of silent communication between gay men and general piercing enthusiasts. We love this side of our history and are very proud of our roots, but this has definitely changed since the 1980s and we would not say that any piercing has any specific gay connotations anymore. If anything, all piercings should be considered gay as this is where our industry started!

Daith Piercings can cure Migraines

This is a difficult subject to discuss, and there are many pitfalls to consider. We will be taking a scientific approach to tackling this unfortunate myth. The daith piercing myth comes from old medical information regarding vagal nerve stimulation. The vagal nerve is said to be able to be medically stimulated to reduce chronic pain, however there is no evidence to suggest that the vagal nerve or any of its subsidiaries pass through the daith region of the ear. Traditional VNS treatments involve an implant in the chest, not the ear. In addition to this, vagal nerve stimulation has only ever been FDA approved for the treatment of epilepsy and depression, not migraines. Even with this approval, the success rate for this treatment has been fairly limited and more research is definitely needed. In terms of daith piercings, there is very little actual research. Most people offering daith piercings as a cure for migraines are relying on anecdotal evidence and small surveys, or reports that are not peer-reviewed or published in any scientific publications.

We really wish a simple ear piercing could be offered as a safe cure for migraines, but there is simply not enough evidence to prove this claim at this moment in time. We would not feel comfortable misleading people suffering from a distressing medical condition that a single piercing will cure them. We can offer a beautiful and safe piercing that can be a really nice adornment to your ear, but we would never want to take advantage of someone in pain. If you come into your daith piercing with an open mind and not put all your hopes into it as a cure, then that is the ideal way to approach it. The placebo effect is an incredibly strong psychological phenomenon, so it may very well work for you! We pierce dozens of daiths every week, and they are beautiful and fairly easy to heal as well. If it doesn’t work for you, you still get an epic piercing regardless!

Daith piercings are absolutely gorgeous, and the array of high-quality jewellery is almost infinite! We love performing daith piercings, so do not be discouraged by this unfortunate piercing myths.

We hope that this has shed some light onto some of the most common piercing myths spread about piercings. As with any topic, new myths and false information will always pop up so we may make this piercing myth post a series!

If you have any questions regarding piercings, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

To book your piercing appointments, CLICK HERE.

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Lip Piercing 101

Let’s explore the world of lip piercings. Where they originate, how they’ve developed, what they’re called and how to care for yours! Lips are one of the most popular facial piercings so let’s talk about the anatomy of the lip and what options are available to wear in your lip piercing.

The History of the Lip Piercing

Lip piercings have a fascinating and ancient history. As far back as 6400 B.C we have evidence of lip piercings being worn in Sudan. Probably the most well recognised ancient piercing practice is the lip plate body modification practiced by the Mursi and Surma women of Ethiopia in which large plates of clay or wood are worn in lip. These can then be decorated with carvings and inks. Traditionally, once the girls reach child-bearing age and are ready for marriage, the lip is either pierced or cut by their mother to begin the lip plate process and then slowly stretched up to the desired size. Lip plates are a symbol of great beauty, worn during ceremonies, times of celebration and when presenting their husbands food. As the tradition is passed down orally to each generation, there is no clear documentation as to why this practice began. Some speculate it may be connected to dowry payments, the larger the lip plate, the larger the payment in exchange for marriage. Others believe it is a symbol of fertility and commitment to the tribe. Regardless of it’s origins, images of tribal members adorning large, decorated lip plates still fascinate people all over the world to this day and contribute to tourism throughout Africa from curious travelers.

The Western world embraced lip piercings throughout the 90’s and early 2000’s, particularly within the alternative scene. Many metal musicians rocked a labret including David Draiman of Disturbed and Benji Madden of Good Charlotte. The most common is the lower lip piercing, worn either in the centre or towards the edge of the lower lip. A paired set of lower lip piercings is known as “snake bites” and these became very popular in alternative teenage circles throughout the early 2000’s. We’ll talk more about placement names later so don’t worry! And here we are, in 2022 and the love for lip piercings is just as strong. With the resurgence of 90’s nostalgia and pop culture, here at Rogue we have been loving the comeback of this classic piercing. In all it’s placements and with all it’s jewellery choices, there’s never been a better time to embrace the tradition and find a lip piercing that works for you and your lifestyle!

Lip Anatomy and Piercing Names

Let’s look at the anatomy of the lip. It’s important to keep the base anatomy in mind when marking and piercing lips!

The vast majority of lip piercings pass through the Orbicularis Orbis – The ring of muscles that encircle the vermillion zone (the lips themselves). The Orbicularis Orbis is actually made from four seperate quadrants of muscles. Top and bottom, left and right. The fibers are split into ‘deep’ and ‘shallow’ sections. The deep allow for chewing and swallowing, and the shallow are used for speech. The main blood supplies that feed these muscles are the superior and inferior labial arteries and veins.

mouth piercings

Because of the vast amount of places on the lips that can be pierced, there are many names that have been coined for each type of piercing. There is a lot of contention surrounding the names of lip piercings and these names can also change culture to culture and country to country. Here is an example of a few.

If you’re ever unsure of the name of the piercing you’d like, don’t worry! You can always show us reference images or simply point to where you want your piercing to be. (Of course we always double check placements with you before the piercing is performed!) The names for lip piercings change so often that it is often tricky to keep up!

No matter what you want to call your lip piercings, we love them all! They’re a great celebration of piercing world history and a fantastic facial adornment. Check out a small selection of the lip piercings we’ve had the pleasure to perform here at Rogue, and some of the beautiful lip jewellery worn by our team.

Click here to see more of our work on Instagram

Oral Piercing Aftercare

Oral piercing aftercare is slightly different to other body piercings as the piercing passes through both a mucous membrane and normal skin. Our usual aftercare advice can be found HERE.

  1. Keep It Clean! –> We recommend cleaning the outside of your lip piercing twice a day with sterile saline solution. Spray a small amount on, let it soak into and soften any crusties, then gently wipe to remove the crusties with a piece of folded kitchen roll or nonwoven gauze. Dab dry. Clean the inside of your lip piercing a maximum of five times a day with an alcohol-free, chlorhexidine based mouthwash. If you snack, smoke, or have sexual contact using your mouth then rinse afterwards with just clean water.
  2. Keep It Dry! –> Avoid soaking and submerging the piercing for 4-6 weeks.
  3. Leave It Alone! –> Do not touch, fiddle, twist or turn the jewellery. Do not rattle the jewellery across your teeth!

Healing Times

Standard Lip Piercings – 12 Weeks

Vertical Labret/Jestrum – 6 months

Cheeks – 18-24 months.

Downsizing

As with any oral piercing, wearing jewelery inside the mouth can pose a risk of damage to your teeth and gums and this can be a particular problem if you’re wearing inappropriate jewellery. Your piercer should always endevaour to ensure that they consider your teeth and gums when discussing placement and provide you with adequate information on the assosiated risks.

The most important way to protect your oral health is to downsize the length of the jewellery once your swelling comes down. This is usually recommended to be done 2-3 weeks after your piercing. Jewellery must be longer initially to allow room for your swelling, but that excess length will cause issues when it comes into contact with your teeth. If you do nothing else with your lip piercings, please have them downsized! Once downsized, lip piercings can experience what is called ‘nesting,’ where the disc sits just inside the soft inner oral tissue. This is completely normal and actually ideal as it again protects your teeth and gums from damage.

So there you have it, a good introduction to lip piercings! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

Sources

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/tmi.12812

https://www.icdo.at/the-mursi-tribe-and-lip-plates/

https://www.mursi.org/introducing-the-mursi

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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!

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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!

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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

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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].