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An Introduction To: Nose Piercings

Nose piercings are incredibly popular amongst all ages, all genders, all walks of life. They can be part of self expression, cultural tradition, or self-discovery. We absolutely adore a nose piercing. Here you’ll find an overview of nose piercings, their aftercare, and what to expect in terms of healing and jewellery options!

Placement

There are many places on the nose that can be pierced. Not all are easy, not all are to everyone’s taste, but we love how much of a blank canvas the nose is.

Traditional nose piercings are exactly what most people imagine when thinking about a nose piercing. They sit about 8mm from the edge of the nose, below the nasal crease. Some people will want their nose piercings directly on the nasal crease, but we do not recommend this as it is the thickest part of the cartilage, where two cartilage plates meet. This means that ‘nasal crease’ piercings can be very tricky to heal. Traditional nose piercings are the most common type, and have the largest range of jewellery choices once healed.

Here are my nostrils! All BVLA, all the time.

High Nostril piercings are their own subset of nose piercings, and are easily the most tricky to heal. High nostril piercings are defined as any nose piercing placed above the nasal crease. Some piercers will split them into two secondary categories depending on their height. For example, we would define my (Kat) nostrils as ‘mid-nostrils’ even though technically by our own definition they are high nostrils. High nostrils, when done correctly by a skilled piercer, can be practically against the bone of the nose bridge. High nostrils are not to be taken on lightly and can take upwards of 9-12 months to fully heal. Aiden is incredibly experienced with high nostrils, and has done many sets for other piercers too!

This set of high nostrils was done on the lovely Gemma of Pierce of Art! You can see them in comparison to a set of traditional nostrils below with the black jewellery.

Mantis piercings are a relatively new trend in nose piercings. Otherwise known as ‘forward facing nostrils,’ these are nose piercings that pass through the front or tip of the nose. Mantis piercings can be a trickier heal and are complex to mark and pierce. It is so easy for a tiny discrepancy in angle or placement to throw the whole thing. We would love to do more forward facing nostril piercings if the right client chose them!

Jewellery Choices

Nose piercings have a few options in terms of jewellery. Some are good for fresh piercings, some are good for healed piercings, and some are not great for piercings in general!

Studs

Studs, or flat-back labrets, are the perfect style of jewellery to start nose piercings with. The straight bar means than any excess length for swelling is neatly tucked away, and the healing piercing can drain easily and without issue. Flat-back labrets are very comfortable to wear and look unobtrusive even with extra room for swelling!

Labrets are incredibly secure, and do not carry the same risk of loss that a nostril screw or nose bone do. We will talk about those guys in a minute! Labrets are comfortable, and do not give you that big ‘metal bogey’ sensation. You also can’t see them sticking out of your nose. Winner!

All of our threadless ends are compatible with these labrets, which means you have a huge amount of jewellery to choose from for your initial piercing. You can see our full range of jewellery in-studio, or on our webstore.

You can read more about labrets, the different styles of connection, and the argument of rings vs studs here.

Rings

Rings are a really classic look for nose piercings. It’s usually the end-goal style, and are incredibly popular! However, they are only really suitable for healed piercings. Healed nose piercings do not need extra room for swelling and drainage, and do not need a stopper ‘design’ to avoid irritating your fresh piercing with a seam or hinge. We highly recommend waiting a minimum of three months before swapping to a ring, so your piercing has a chance to heal and settle before changing to this slightly more irritating style of jewellery.

If you chose to start with a ring, it would usually not be the style of ring you imagine! This ring would have to be much thicker in gauge, and larger in diameter, to allow for your initial swelling and drainage of fluids (yummy!). This ring would also mean you are much more likely to snag your piercing, knock it, or rotate and twist it to introduce bacteria. All of these can irritate your piercing and extend your healing time. If you are set on a ring, it’s important to know what you are getting yourself into!

Left: Dainty ring for healed piercings. Right: The style of ring suitable for a fresh nose piercing!

Nostril Screws and Nose Bones

Nostril screws, nose bones and other styles of jewellery are easily lost and made of poor quality materials.

The other options for nostril piercings are nostril screws and nose bones. Nostril screws are those classic ‘corkscrew’ type pieces which you spiral into the piercing and are held in place via the curvature of the post. Nose bones are straight posts with a sharp point or small ball on the inside, so when inserted the ball is pushed through and holds the jewellery in place. We do not recommend either style of jewellery for long term wear, especially nose bones as they can damage your piercing! The main reason these types of jewellery are used is because they are incredibly cheap to manufacture in comparison to high quality threaded or threadless jewellery. There is no real benefit to you as the final customer.

These styles of jewellery lack security, and are the most common cause of lost piercings! They are often made from mystery metals and are cheaply manufactured. We only recommend nostrils screws for well-healed piercings, and only for temporary wear. If your nose piercing is irritated, it is best to swap to a high-quality flat-back labret as a first port of call.

The Piercing Process

Nose piercings are incredibly easy to get, and are not that uncomfortable to get! They do make your eyes water, but this is simply because your eyes don’t need an excuse to water.

The most uncomfortable part of the piercing is usually any clamps and tools that are used. Luckily, we do not use any clamps or tools for nose piercings so they are much more comfortable process for you. For each piercing, we use a single sterile tri-bevel needle, our hands, and your jewellery. Nothing else! This freehand technique is both easier for you, and produces less waste to go to landfill or be incinerated.

Once your nose has been cleaned, marked, disinfected and you are happy with the position, we ask you to lie down. We find that being pierced lying down is much less intimidating for you! Once you are ready, you are asked to take a nice calm breath in. On your exhale is when we pierce you. Once you have been pierced, we pause to insert the jewellery and then you are done! The whole process takes about 5-10 seconds.

Nose Piercing Aftercare

For our full aftercare instructions, click here.

For nose piercings, you want to clean the outside only. The inside of your nose is a self-cleaning location, so you really don’t need to do too much to it at all! The outside of your nose needs to be cleaned just twice a day in the morning and evening, using a sterile saline spray. You want to spritz a little bit onto your piercing, let it soak into any crusties for about thirty seconds, then gently remove any buildup using a piece of folded kitchen roll or nonwoven gauze. Then just pat dry to wick away any excess moisture.

All piercings should be kept dry, which means no bathtubs, hot tubs or swimming for 4-6 weeks. Showers are totally fine though – Just ensure you have some kitchen roll or nonwoven gauze to hand to dry with afterwards!

The final and most important rule is to leave your new piercing alone! You should not be twisting or turning your jewellery, touching your piercing, fiddling with the jewellery or any other action that can disturb your piercing or introduce bacteria.

The Healing Process

Noses are relatively straightforward to heal! We strongly recommend booking a check-up after roughly 4-6 weeks in order for us to downsize the length of your jewellery and check your healing is going well!

You can change the jewellery yourself at home after about 12 weeks if you have been healing well, and you can expect a full heal in about 6 months!

The main cause of issues on nose piercings is overcleaning your piercing and snagging your jewellery, so do just be careful with it and let your body do it’s thing! Getting your downsize at 4-6 weeks is super important to the health of your piercing.

So there you go, an easy overview of nose piercings! There are so many ways to wear them so you can really make them your own. If you have any issues with your nose piercings, please do book a checkup or get in contact so we can help you troubleshoot.

Contact Us

kat@roguepiercing.co.uk

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Septum Stretching 101

It’s pretty common to stretch your lobes – It’s difficult to walk into a tattoo or piercing studio without seeing at least a few people with stretched lobes! However did you know it’s possible to stretch most piercings? Today we will talk about another piercing that can be stretched. Septums.

Firstly, we should talk about the anatomy involved in a septum piercing. Septum piercings are through the ‘sweet spot.’ This sweet spot is a thin, membranous section of the nasal vestibule which is often high and tight to the tip of the nose. This means that a correctly performed septum piercing does not pass through any thick cartilage. However, this thin section of tissue is still not soft and elastic like lobe tissue is! The septum is quite a robust area of anatomy, which makes stretching a unique challenge.

A 3.2mm or 8g septum suits this gentleman perfectly. Sometimes larger jewellery is just the better choice, especially if it is complimenting stronger or more masculine facial features.

How to Stretch

We highly recommend finding a reputable piercer to help you stretch your septum. It can be a sore process, so it’s best to let a professional make the experience as smooth as possible. Find your nearest UKAPP or APP member studio and enquire as to wether this is a service they offer! Septum stretching is difficult, and not something that is ideally done at home.

Septums should be stretched using a taper and plenty of water-based lubricant. Ideally, your insertion taper should be exactly the same thickness as your jewellery to avoid discomfort during the jewellery installation process. Your piercer will be able to order and install implant-grade or body safe jewellery in the correct size and design for you, using safe and sterile tools to do so. Please no

Your piercer may ask you to lie down or sit up for the stretch itself. As with a piercing, you will be asked to take a slow breath in, and a long breath out while the taper and jewellery are inserted.The stretch itself takes mere seconds, and then jewellery is installed immediately.

Here is a standard Anatometal 16g ring in comparison to a 6g ring! It would take roughly 18 months to stretch between the two sizes. Patience is a virtue when it comes to stretching!

How Often Can You Stretch?

As mentioned above, this is not like stretching an elastic lobe piercing. Septum piercings are more similar to cartilage piercings, and as such cannot be safely stretched relatively quickly. We recommend waiting at least 6-8 months between stretches and only stretching by 0.5mm at a time to avoid seriously damaging your piercing. Stretching septum piercings can take a lifetime if you want it to!

If you know you want to go large, you want to jump-start the process and save yourself a bit of time, then it is definitely worth getting a large-gauge initial septum piercing. We can comfortably pierce septums up to 4mm or 6g if your anatomy is suitable. To stretch from 16g to 6g, leaving the recommended 6-8 months in between, can take roughly two and a half to three years. To have a fully healed initial 6g septum, it can take just 6 months from your initial piercing!

Stretching vs Stacking

Stacked Septum

There are two main ways of stretching – Traditional stretching and stacking! Traditional stretching means inserting a single, larger piece of jewellery. Stacking is the process of inserting more and more small rings into your piercing. This does make a difference! The main difference between the two is that the end shape of your piercing will be dramatically different. When stretching with a single piece of jewellery, you are stretching in every direction with equal pressure so you end up with a perfectly round hole. When stacking with rings, each ring will want to sit behind the one in front and so the pressure will only extend to one direction. This means you end up with a shape more akin to a slot than a circle. You can see some excellent, highly artistic diagrams that I have drawn to illustrate this point.

Traditional Septum

Stretching a septum with a single piece means that you have a perfectly circular hole, whereas a stack gives you in effect a septum coinslot. There is no real benefit to either style, but it does make it trickier to switch between styles. If you try and stack lots of rings into a circular hole then it is tricky to fit as many rings in as you would in a stack as they will all jumble together. If you try and wear a single large piece in a septum stretched using the stacking method, then you can experience discomfort as you distort the inevitable scar tissue caused by the uneven pressure of this method.

Jewellery

The jewellery options for stretched septums is pretty much the same as a standard septum piercing, with some fun additional extras! We love wearing glass in large-gauge piercings. Kat has quite the collection of Gorilla Glass septum pincers, which are the perfect everyday items as they are smooth, comfortable and not super obtrusive.

How Big Can You Go?

There really isn’t a hard and fast upper limit for septum piercings. It really depends on your anatomy, the placement of your existing piercing, and how much time and effort you are willing to invest! Some septums can be stretched to 15-20mm, some are happier around 5mm. If your piercing is poorly placed or your anatomy is not ideal, then a smaller stretch is probably a better idea. This is something that can be assessed by your piercer as you start or continue your stretching journey.

One thing to keep in mind is that the ‘sweet spot’ is only so large. This means that as you stretch, you will eventually run out of space within the sweet spot and begin stretching in to true cartilage. Cartilage doesn’t stretch, so septum stretching does become a war of attrition. This stage of stretching can be very uncomfortable and extends the time needed between stretches! I have now personally reaching that point at 4mm, but everyone is different. The best thing to do is stay in contact with your piercer! This stage of stretching is definitely best left to the professionals.

Septum stretching is a long but rewarding process. It’s cool to see the jewellery you used to wear in comparison to what you wear now.

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For any inquiries about jewellery, contact Kat at kat@roguepiercing.co.uk

For piercing inquiries or general questions, contact hello@roguepiercing.co.uk

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What is an Infection?

When performed correctly, a primary infection is incredibly rare. But what is an infection, and when should you see your doctor? Piercings should be performed in a clean environment by an experienced and hygienic practitioner.

To a layperson, it is very easy to see totally normal parts of a healing piercing as signs of an infection. Let’s start by describing what a normal, healing piercing might look like!

We know we use this photo all the time, but it is a perfect example of a piercing that is only a few days old. This is totally normal!

What is Normal

It is totally normal for a healing piercing to drain a clear, yellow or pale green fluid. This liquid can dry into a crust. The liquid itself is lymph – a mixture of plasma, immune cells, serous fluid, platelets and red blood cells. This lymph is a positive part of the healing process, and is often seen in the first few weeks of a new piercing as the initial swelling floods the piercing site with fluids and immune cells. You can read more on that here!

A healing piercing is also expected to be red, and swollen. We have just made a new hole in you, after all! This swelling can be uncomfortable, but will go down in time. This swelling can be exacerbated by your lifestyle. You might be increasing your swelling by playing with the piercing, eating a low-nutrient or high salt diet, or by taking certain medications. Swelling can also be a little more intense during very hot weather! 

Pain, although not fun, is part of a healing piercing. You may expect a throbbing sensation for a few days afterwards, and depending on the piercing you may experience pain or discomfort for a few weeks. This pain is totally normal! 

Here is a great example of what a fresh or healing piercing can look like. Swelling is totally normal, along with discharge and warmth.

We cannot stress how rare it is for an infection to be caused by a competent piercer using an aseptic technique. Here at Rogue we specialise in infection control and aseptic techniques. Each stage of the sterilisation process is carefully controlled, verified, and logged to prove your jewellery has been handled safely and sterilised correctly. Each piece of jewellery undergoes a three-step sterilisation process, and we wear sterile gloves when piercing. The piercing itself is performed using entirely sterilised needles and tools. You can ask to see our sterilisation logs, where each sterilisation cycle is timed, dated, logged and stored alongside the chemical integrator that proves the cycle was successful in sterilising. Each Statim or other autoclave undergoes rigorous daily testing to make sure it is working perfectly! All of our equipment undergoes annual third-party testing, and the certification of this can be seen in each room. We are confident in these protocols and in our ability to perform an aseptic piercing.

Infections can be caused by a number of things, including submerging the piercing in stagnant water, touching your piercing with unwashed hands, working in a dirty or contaminated environment, wearing dirty clothing or using unclean headphones or stethoscopes. Secondary infections like this are the most common form – An infection introduced after the piercing has been performed, not by the piercing process itself. What does an actual infection look like, and what should you do about it?

What Can a Piercing Infection Look Like?

Infections can look different depending on the causative bacterium or fungus. An infection commonly looks like:

  • Intense swelling and spreading redness across the ear, neck and face (or relevant body area).
  • A thick, cottage-cheese textured liquid that may be white, yellow or brown, oozing from the piercing. This discharge is often foul-smelling.
  • Flu-like symptoms including sweating, shivering, clamminess, and feeling unwell.
  • A fever of 38 degrees or above.
  • Swollen glands in your neck, armpits and groin.
  • An infection will be obvious – You will know what it looks like as an infection is a serious medical issue. 
Infections are dramatic – You will be acutely aware of it. Irritations are much more common, and easily solved with the help of your piercer!

What to do about a potential infection?

  1. Go to your doctor. A genuine infection can be solved with a round of antibiotics. However, it must be noted that doctors are not piercers, and will often prescribe antibiotics for any redness and swelling that a fresh piercing can commonly have. Doctors may not be educated on what a healing or irritated piercing looks like, and will jump to ‘infection’ as a knee-jerk response. They will often diagnose you with an infection whether it is an infection or not! It is vital that you ask your doctor to take a swab sample to send off to the lab. Only this lab testing can prove an infection exists, and gives your doctor the information they need to accurately prescribe suitable medication. You may need to argue this with your doctor, but it is vital you make sure they do their job properly. The overprescription of antibiotics is a major global problem, so do ensure your doctor actually confirms it is an infection first! Once the infection is confirmed, your doctor can prescribe antibiotics in order to solve the issue. We recommend not removing jewellery during this time, as this can trap the infection inside the body and the piercing channel will quickly seal at both ends. Head to your piercer and they can fit longer jewellery as required to allow for your swelling.
  1. Contact your piercer. Regardless of if it is an infection or not, it is important to contact your piercer with any issues you may have. If it is a genuine infection, your piercer should be informed so that they can check their sterilisation and aseptic protocols. If it isn’t an infection, they can help troubleshoot the cause of your irritation and make sure your piercing is happy and healthy.
  1. Do not try at-home remedies. It is very important that you follow safe aftercare advice – DIY cures can only make things worse.

Infections are rare, but with speedy diagnosis and treatment they can be solved and you can keep your piercing. We are always working at the highest levels of cleanliness and are always willing to help you, whether you were pierced by us or not.

-Kat Henness

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Piercing Troubleshooting FAQ

Healing a piercing is a delicate balance, and due to the general stresses of life sometimes this balance is disrupted and an issue arises. We receive dozens of messages a week from distance clients who cannot troubleshoot their piercings in person, so here you can find a general troubleshooting piercing FAQ!

When an issue arises with a piercing, there are generally 4 reasons. We will cover each here, and link to other blogs we have written which can go into more detail. To troubleshoot, start with the first point and move through. If anything jumps out at you that it could be the issue causing your irritation, start there with your solution. 

What is Normal

Piercings can take upwards of 6 months to fully heal, depending on placement. You may have times in this healing period where they feel totally fine. Sometimes they will be more irritated through your lifestyle and have minor flare-ups. Troubleshoot them using this piercing FAQ.

Within the first 4-8 weeks it is totally normal to have swelling, redness, and clear or slightly yellowed discharge. This is lymph fluid, which is an essential part of the healing process. You will experience some discomfort if the jewellery is touched or moved, and during the cleaning process. 

Within the first 3 months, it is totally normal to have redness around the piercing and discomfort when pressure is applied. You will still have minor crusting around the piercing which will need to be cleaned away as and when it appears. At this point, your cleaning routine can be reduced to once daily, or once every other day depending on your lifestyle and judgement. Small bumps can appear at this time if you experience a snag or knock, or through prolonged pressure overnight. These small bumps can go away in time!

After 6-8 months, you should have a nicely healed piercing. At this point, discomfort should only arise during a snag or knock.

What May Need Attention

It is important to keep in mind that if you have gone to an accredited and high-quality studio, your piercer has done everything in their power to produce a high-quality, safe piercing using a completely aseptic technique. 

Unusual signs would be spreading heat and redness around the piercing, thick and creamy discharge, and prolonged burning discomfort. Infections in piercings are incredibly rare, but this is something to keep an eye out for. If you think you may have an infection, then head to your GP or pharmacy. Your piercer is not a doctor, but can often tell the difference between a simple irritation and a genuine infection. 

Common causes of irritation include snags and knocks. If you have had an incident where you have caught your jewellery and caused a touch of damage, you may experience redness and swelling, and have the potential for your body to produce small bumps in response. This is totally normal, and is just your body’s way of protecting you! With gentle care and cleaning, this issue will resolve by itself. It is always important to check in with your piercer though, as we can guide you through the healing process. 

We have discussed keloids and irritation bumps in their own dedicated post which can be read here! Keloids are a very rare medical condition, and will not go down on their own. Irritation bumps can change in size and shape, and can shrink or grow. Keloids will only ever increase in size.

Troubleshooting Issues

  1. Angle

In order to heal correctly, a piercing must enter and exit the tissue at a perpendicular angle. It must be straight. This is the foundation of a good heal, and without the piercing starting as straight then it will have issues no matter the quality of the jewellery or your aftercare.

There are two ways that angle issues can arise. 

The first would be a poor angle from the start. Your piercer should be competent and skilled in producing a straight piercing before they pierce you. If your piercing is poorly angled from the get-go, then this is not a good sign that you will have an uneventful and easy heal. 

The second way of a poor angle arising is through prolonged pressure. If you are sleeping on your piercing overnight, then this can distort the angle of your piercing. This is an unfortunate side-effect, and not something that can be easily corrected. To avoid this, we recommend a travel pillow at night and seeing your piercer after 2-4 weeks for a downsize once your swelling has diminished. Long bars are the most common cause of your piercing angle becoming distorted. 

Below you can see examples of straight piercings.

Straight Piercing
Here you can see a straight piercing. It sits perpendicular to the tissue and is not too close to the edge of the ear!

If yours looks more like the poorly angled piercing then unfortunately there is little that can be done for that piercing. The best option would be to remove the piercing and let it heal for 6 months before getting re-pierced by a more experienced and skilled piercer and carefully following the recommended aftercare routine and downsizing protocol.

If your piercing is straight, then you can move to the next point!

  1. Aftercare

How you take care of your piercing is very important. This is the part that trips up most clients as there is such a huge amount of misinformation and well-meaning but incorrect advice floating around. 

Make sure you are following APP aftercare guidelines, which can be found on our website here.

Keep it clean – Clean twice daily with a sterile saline solution. Spray the solution onto the piercing and let it soak in for 30 seconds. Gently clean away any crusties or skin buildup with a clean piece of nonwoven gauze or kitchen roll. Pat dry to ensure the piercing does not have any excess moisture surrounding it. 

Ensure you are not overcleaning, as this can be a source of irritation. Cleaning more than twice a day is not recommended, unless you have introduced significant and visible dirt.

Keep it dry – This means you must not submerge or soak your piercing in any bodies of water including bathtubs, swimming pools, oceans, or homemade saltwater. This soaking action can introduce bacteria from dirty water, and prevent your piercing from draining correctly. This soaking can produce circular ‘donut’ bumps around your piercing fistula. 

Do not move your jewellery – High quality jewellery does not need to be twisted, turned or played with. This constant movement can very easily irritate your piercing and slow down your healing process. 

The most important thing to avoid with any piercing is prolonged pressure. This could be you sleeping directly on your piercing, or wearing tight clothing over the piercing. To avoid this, wear loose comfortable clothing for the first 12 weeks or use a donut-shaped travel pillow at night. Prolonged pressure can change the angle of your piercing, and a poorly angled piercing will produce bumps on both the front and back to return the entrance and exit points to a perpendicular angle. 

You should avoid harsh or outdated aftercare advice such as DIY hot salt water soaks, antiseptics, oils and pastes which can cause contact dermatitis and damage your piercing. Sterile saline solution is the only aftercare product that we recommend. Avoid saline with added ingredients – 0.9% NaCl and distilled water should be the only ingredients. These products often cause more problems than they solve, and don’t have a place in the modern piercing industry! 

If you’re using gentle aftercare as described, you can move to the next section of the piercing FAQ.

  1. Jewellery Quality

Jewellery quality is incredibly important, as poor jewellery will cause irritation and bumps and prevent you from healing properly. You can read more on how to spot quality jewellery here.

The main points of your jewellery will be:

Safe metals – Your jewellery should be verified implant-grade ASTM F-136 Titanium, or solid 14k or 18k God, lead-free borosilicate Glass or 99.99% solid Niobium. Your jewellery should not be plated, coated or coloured with unsafe paints or platings. 

Sizing – Your jewellery should be of the correct length and gauge for your piercing. We will discuss length and downsizing below! The gauge or thickness of your jewellery is very important. If it is too thin, then it will be causing irritation through adding pressure over a small surface area. 

For lobe piercings, nose piercings and forward helix piercings, the thinnest acceptable gauge is 18g or 1mm. For cartilage piercings including conches, helixes, daiths and other piercings, the thinnest acceptable gauge is 16g or 1.2mm. 14g or 1.6mm is also totally acceptable and often preferred in certain placements.

For most piercings, we recommend ASTM F-136 Titanium labrets. These flat-back pieces are smooth, comfortable and easy to clean. For daiths, we recommend 16g or 14g BCRs. Curved barbells are not appropriate for this placement! Butterfly back costume jewellery should not be worn in any piercing.

If you are unsure if your jewellery is appropriate, then send us an email or DM us on instagram with some clear photographs. The best way to guarantee quality jewellery is to buy from trusted studios who stock recognised brands such as BVLA, Neometal, Industrial Strength and Anatometal.

  1. Downsizing

High-quality studios will give you excess room on the labret or barbell to allow for your initial swelling. This length should not be extreme – 2mm of extra space is often more than enough. Your piercer should advise you to return in 2-4 weeks for a checkup, where they can downsize the length of your jewellery to be snug front and back. Excessive length on your jewellery can cause added irritation by acting as a lever. This length also increases your risk of snagging or pulling on your jewellery!

If you see excess length may be your issue, then head back to your nearest quality studio to have snug jewellery installed. 

Irritation is a part of life – We are all only human after all! Your piercer has the knowledge to spot the problem and work through solutions with you. This post covers the basics of what we would ask you, so is a great place to start when looking for what might be the source of your issue. If you have worked through all of the above points and cannot see any obvious points which may be the cause of your irritation, then you are always more than welcome to book an in-person checkup with us and discuss your piercings. For distance clients, we require multiple clear photos of your piercing and a description of it’s history. We are always more than happy to help!

Often once the source of irritation is gone, the irritation quickly goes away and you can enjoy a beautiful piercing again!

-Kat Henness

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Female Intimate Piercings

Isn’t this embroidered vulva so beautiful? It was made by the lovely Jenny of Holier Than Thou. If you are in the Manchester region, there is nobody better to perform intimates than HTT.

Here at Rogue, we are one of only a handful of studios in the UK who have the skills to perform intimate piercings. Today we will be talking about female intimates!

As in our previous Male Intimates blog, we will be using the term ‘female intimates’ to describe any person with AFAB parts or a vulva. If you have had gender confirming surgery or are undergoing hormone therapy, we are more than happy to pierce you as well! We are a studio welcoming to everyone from all walks of life.

Female Anatomy

Although these piercings can colloquially be known as ‘vaginal piercings,’ we do not pierce the vagina itself. Female intimate piercings are performed on the inner and outer labia, the clitoral hood and the mons pubis. Below you can see a handy dandy diagram of a few female intimate options!

Most female intimate piercings pass through thin, highly vascular membranes such as the clitoral hood and inner labia. These piercings are therefore incredibly fast to heal and require only very minimal and gentle aftercare. There is an intimate piercing suitable for every walk of life and every lifestyle! Every intimate piercing is anatomy dependent. Every person is different! We require a full consultation before any intimate piercing so that we can check that your anatomy is suitable, and so that we can discuss the piercing and make sure you are happy, educated, and prepared for your piercing. If you have your consultation, there is no pressure to then book for your piercing if you don’t feel ready!

Female Intimate Piercings Options

The VCH

The VCH, or Vertical Clitoral Hood piercing, is one of the most common and popular piercings that we perform here at Rogue. This piercing sits on the top of the clitoral hood, and a curved barbell is worn that touches the clitoris. Although this piercing may be known to enhance sexual pleasure, we cannot make any such claims – We pierce for aesthetic reasons only! All this aside, the VCH is a hugely popular piercing and a great jumping-in point for those looking to experiment with intimate piercings.

These piercings heal fully within 3 months!

The HCH

The HCH, or Horizontal Clitoral Hood piercing is the sideways version of the VCH! This piercing is often performed with a BCR ring as opposed to a curve, and the aim is for the bead to sit close to the clitoris. 

This piercing is suitable if you find that your hood is visible when you stand up – This means there is space for the jewellery during everyday life! 

As with the VCH, the HCH fully heals within 3 months.

Inner and Outer Labia Piercings

Inner and Outer Labia piercings are often paired with other intimate piercings as part of a larger curation, but are also fantastic when working solo. These piercings are not suggested to have any sex-enhancing features, but can look absolutely awesome especially when paired with glamorous jewellery! 

Inner labia piercings are, again, super fast piercings due to the soft membrane. These piercings require a BCR ring to start with, as curves or other unevenly weighted jewellery can pull through the stretchy tissue. Inner labia piercings are quite easy to stretch, so larger gauge jewellery can be easily inserted.

Inner labia piercings take as little as 6 weeks to completely heal!

Outer labia piercings can be trickier to heal, but look great when they do. Outer labia piercings are again purely decorative, and can wear either BCR rings as initial jewellery, and can swap to curved barbells if preferred when fully healed.

The jewellery at Rogue is both suitable for intimate piercings and safe to wear for a lifetime.

Outer labia piercings take between 2 and 6 months to fully heal, depending on your anatomy and lifestyle.

Triangle Piercings

Triangles are female intimate piercings that pass through the clitoral hood, and behind the clitoral shaft itself. These are advanced piercings, which should only be performed by highly experienced piercers. The Triangle was pioneered by Elayne Angel in the 1990s, and has been quietly popular ever since. The correct jewellery for a Triangle is a circular barbell, often a minimum of 12g thick in order to provide adequate stability for this piercing.

We do not offer Triangle piercings here at Rogue, but if you are willing to travel then Helen at Holier Than Thou in Manchester is a master and we place full faith in her ability. 

Aftercare

The piercing itself is incredibly quick- This is to make it more comfortable for you as a client. We do everything on our side to make these safe and sterile piercings, but healing piercings is a team effort between studio and client. These piercings often pass through thin membranes, and so a sterile saline solution is adequate to clean with. You don’t need to soak these piercings at all. For our full aftercare advice, click here.

We recommend bringing a panty liner to your appointment, as you can expect a slight spotting of blood afterwards. You can wear panty liners for the next 7-10 days, changing them twice daily. This is more for your comfort! In terms of clothing, we recommend underwear that is loose and comfortable.

Simply spray a small amount of saline onto the entry and exit points, and use a piece of folded kitchen roll or nonwoven gauze to gently remove any softened crusties. This should be done twice a day in the morning and evening.

Swimming and bathing are strictly forbidden for a minimum of 4 weeks too!

You will feel a bit sore, so we recommend avoiding sex for at least a week. After this rest period, you can slowly reintroduce your sex life. Condoms and dental dams should be used for the first 4-6 weeks, as foreign fluids can cause an immune response and ultimately lots of irritation! As with everything in life, you should be gentle and listen to your body. If it hurts, or you just don’t feel up to it, then stop! Once you are fully healed, 3-6 months, you can go back to your normal lifestyle.

Female Intimate Piercing and the Law

In 2015, newspapers reported that the UK Government updated their Female Genital Mutilation or FGM laws to include body piercings known as female intimate piercings as a crime. This was not the intended purpose of this law, but we were unfortunately caught up in the knee-jerk reactionary stance that the government took. If you want to read more about the concept of FGM and body piercing, I highly recommend reading this article from the APP. Body piercing studios in the UK practically stopped piercing female intimates overnight, as any doctor or nurse who saw these piercings such as during a pap smear, would be compelled to report the incident to the police.

The UKAPP was formed, in part, to fight this legislative oversight. We campaigned to allow adult women to have full control of their bodies in the same way that adult men can. We can confidently say that we have had confirmation that the grey area that female intimate piercings occupied for several years has now been clarified, and consensual body piercing of an adult woman is now recognised as legal in the UK. We still work closely to the law and require a minimum of 24 hours cooling off period before intimate piercings as part of our studio policy. Part of the consultation that we require is also used to discuss the piercing and make sure you are happy and confident to have it pierced and heal it.

This blog only serves as a diving off point for learning about intimate piercings – If you want to learn more about intimate piercings we strongly recommend booking a consultation with us or sending us an email.

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Male Intimate Piercings

Intimate piercings might be one of the most fascinating parts of the piercing industry. They are part of our history, culture and the reason that the modern piercing industry looks the way it does. 

During this post I will be using the term ‘male’ to discuss AMAB, or assigned male at birth anatomy. These are piercings of the penis and surrounding anatomy. This also includes trans folks who have had gender affirming surgery (“bottom surgery”) and now have a penis! If you have undergone HRT, but not had gender affirming surgery, we recommend coming in for a consultation so we can discuss your anatomy and see which piercings can work for you.

Male intimate piercings have tribal roots. They are often used as a rite of passage from boyhood to adulthood. In the modern day, male intimate piercings are more of a subcultural endeavour. The modern piercing industry was founded by 6 gay men, who came together due to a love of intimate piercings. We would not be the industry we are today without these piercers! One of those 6 men was Mr Sebastian. You are welcome to read more on this fascinating man, and I’m sure we will write more about him in the future. Aiden has these piercers in his lineage, and is incredibly proud of that.

Here at Rogue, our head piercer Aiden is an intimate piercings specialist. He has over 11 years of piercing experience, and has performed a huge number of intimate piercings in both the UK and abroad during his life as a travelling piercer. If you choose to come to us for your intimate piercing, know you are in safe hands.

Sadly, intimate piercings are dying out in the UK due to a lack of passing the knowledge on to our apprentices. We want any adult who wants an intimate piercing to be able to come to us and have a safe piercing that is performed by an experienced expert. This is why we are proud that our apprentice Jess wants to follow in Aiden’s footsteps and learn to pierce intimates as well as all the more standard piercings! This means that if you are pierced by us, you have the option to let Jess assist in the piercing procedure to aid her training. 

Male Anatomy

It’s important to know the internal anatomy for any shaft piercings, such as Prince Alberts, Deep Shaft piercings or Reverse Prince Alberts.

It’s important to take into account the internal anatomy of the penis when discussing male intimates, and how different piercings will feel and heal. There are minimum gauges that each piercing must be pierced at to avoid issues- This is often quite large. For Prince Alberts and other similar piercings, we pierce at a minimum of 10g, but will recommend larger depending on anatomy and lifestyle.

Hafada and Lorum

These are truly the easiest intimate piercings. They are piercings on the scrotum! There are pierced with BCR rings. The scrotum is the easiest part of the male anatomy to pierce and heal. The scrotum is soft, stretchy and does not contain any major blood vessels, so the piercing itself and the healing process is very simple. These are a good piercing to start with if you want to explore the world of intimate piercing!

Prince Albert and the Reverse Prince Albert.

These piercings work with some of the bar or ring sitting inside the urethra, which you can see sits low in the underside of the penis. The most important part of any male intimate piercing is to be aware of the blood vessels that run through the shaft and to be confident that you aren’t hitting any of them when piercing. The main blood vessels are the Deep Dorsal Vein and the Pudendal Artery. These are major blood vessels! This is why a piercer must be incredibly experienced and confident in their ability before performing these types of piercing.

Any piercings that pass through the lower part are less complex and are good beginner intimates. A Prince Albert is quite a good beginner male intimate as it passes out of the bottom of the penis, and so you can see doesn’t actually pass through as much tissue! The Reverse Prince Albert, however, passes through the top of the penis and passes through quite a bit of tissue, including the corporal tissue. This makes the RPA a much more advanced piercing – You really need to put your trust into an expert!

If you want to read more about the Prince Albert and it’s surrounding mythos, then click here.

Ampallangs and Apadravyas

Ampallangs and Apadravyas are piercings that pass through the head of the penis. Ampallang piercings cross the head horizontally, whereas Apadravya piercings cross vertically. These, along with most male shaft piercings, have the intended purpose of increasing pleasure during sex. This is often the reason for getting these piercings alongside the aesthetic effect. However, we cannot guarantee any improvement to sexual experiences- We pierce for aesthetics only.

Consultations

We require a consultation before any intimate piercing so we can check your anatomy and fully discuss the procedure, aftercare and the full experience. Once you have had your consultation and are happy to proceed, you are more than welcome to book for your appointment!

There are so many options when it comes to male intimate piercings, and that means that there is a piercing for every person and every lifestyle. If you know you want an intimate piercing, but aren’t sure which one, you are more than welcome to book a piercing consultation with Aiden where we can discuss what will work for you. We would love to pierce more intimate curations, where we pierce a project of many piercings over time.

Intimate Piercing Aftercare

Aftercare for these piercings varies greatly, depending on location. If they are more surface-level piercings such as lorum, hafada, frenum or pubic piercings, we recommend a standard aftercare approach of twice-daily cleaning with sterile saline solution. If the piercing passes through the shaft such as with a PA, RPA, or Deep shaft piercing, then we recommend saline soaks. The reason we recommend soaks with these piercings is because they pass through a significant amount of internal tissue and cleaning the outside only doesn’t quite cut it! You can’t clean the inside very much, so a good soak allows the saline to reach the inside and reduce your discomfort during the healing period.

Intimate piercings are quite straightforward to heal. The tissue is soft and has an excellent blood-flow, which means they heal very fast! You are looking at three months for a complete heal, inside and out. We ask you pop back for a checkup after 2 weeks as we may need to alter the jewellery once your swelling diminishes. After this downsize, you are set and do not need to do anything if you don’t want to!

Stretching

Male intimate piercings can be stretched to larger gauges, and this is quite a common practice. Commonly stretched piercings include the Prince Albert, Reverse Prince Albert, and trans-scrotal piercings – Although any piercing can be stretched!

We recommend waiting at least 6 months after piercing before stretching, just to make sure that the piercing is fully healed and settled. Stretching can be done at home, but we recommend letting us stretch these piercings for you if you are at all unsure! Stretching involves using a lubricated tapered insertion tool to gently introduce the new jewellery. This allows your body to more easily accept the new jewellery!

So there you have it. A good overview of penis piercings! We understand that this is a huge topic to tackle and we can’t do it justice in a single post, but we hope we have enlightened you to a bit of the topic. If you would like to have an intimate piercing, get in touch via email or instagram and we can begin the process for you!

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Piercing Guns.

The piercing gun. They are unanimously reviled within the professional piercing industry, and are an area of hot debate. It is quite an emotional subject for a lot of us. But why are piercing guns so bad, and why are there petitions by piercers to get them banned in the UK?

I want to preface this by saying that there will be no mention of piercing gun brands, or shops that use them in this post. This is not a callout post, or an emotionally-driven piece of slander. I will be talking specifically about the gun itself and the mechanism by which it pierces, and about the general standard of hygiene and training that surrounds the piercing gun. This is an educational article above all else. 

Pros of Piercing Guns

If piercing guns are so unanimously hated, there must be a good reason why they are still used in a lot of places. 

The obvious pro of a piercing gun is the speed at which the piercing is performed. The piercing gun forces the jewellery through, and the butterfly backing is pushed on in the same motion. The whole thing may take less than a second. For some people, this might be seen as a major bonus.

The other obvious pro for any business owner is that the piercing gun can be used with minimal training. You don’t need to train your staff on how to reprocess tools or how to use clamps, cannulas or blade needles, or anything surrounding bevel theory. This means that the worker using the piercing gun is a much more affordable option than hiring a fully trained piercer and either installing a sterilisation room or going fully disposable with blade needle piercings. Piercing guns and their associated cartridges are incredibly cheap, and so the profit margin of that business can be substantially increased.

Cons of Piercing Guns

Training

The piercings highlighted in red were pierced with guns. The accuracy of a gun is nonexistent, which leaves room for wonky piercings that are hard to correct. This photo was kindly offered to us by Esther, who can be found in Irvine!

Piercing guns do often come with instructions, so the piercing itself can be performed using the gun. These instructions are just for how to discharge the gun cartridge though, and nothing else. Aside from this, there seems to be huge discrepancies between stores of the same company in regards to training. Some employees describe a week’s worth of training and lots of practice, and others say that the piercing gun was thrust into their hands on their first shift. Either way, there are simply not enough hours in the day to learn everything there is to know about piercing safety and hygiene within one week. This training often excludes bloodborne pathogen training completely, which should be cause for concern for anyone. As piercers, we are exposed to bloodborne contamination on a daily basis, and the amount of training we do in order to safely work in that environment is extreme. We recertify this training every single year. Bloodborne pathogens have been known to have been spread by untrained staff using piercing guns, (W.E Keene, 2004). In this incident, Pseudomonas aeruginosa was spread between at least 18 clients. This is down to a lack of training in regards to simple cross-contamination – Something you learn on your first day at any quality studio. It was lucky that this incident involved only a bacterial strain. If one of those clients had HIV or another bloodborne illness, then the story could have been much more tragic. This is one of many reasons we work using ‘Universal Precautions,’ where we assume every single client has a bloodborne pathogen.

Aside from the healthcare side of training, the physical skill of piercing cannot be taught with a piercing gun. Rule number one of piercing is to get that piercing straight, and perpendicular to the tissue. With a piercing gun you may as well close your eyes while piercing – The angle at which the piercing comes out is down to luck more than anything. A badly angled piercing has little chance of ever healing. Why leave that to chance? 

Hygiene

An alcohol wipe does not provide any protection from bloodborne pathogens, including MRSA.

The piercing gun is often made from a hard plastic casing, with the spring-loaded system tucked inside. This plastic case is not autoclave safe, which means that if an attempt was made to sterilise it, the gun would melt. This shows that the piercing gun is not being sterilised or cleaned between clients. The fact that any item is reused between clients without proper reprocessing is a cause for intense concern. The guns are normally wiped down with an alcohol-based disinfectant which is ineffective at killing pathogens such as Pseudomonas spp. and Staphylococcus spp. This contamination is easily spread from person to person, and this is especially concerning given the increasing resistance of these bacterial species to antibiotics, (Begeurie & Petersen, 2017.) This recent paper discusses a case in which a scaffold piercing was performed using a piercing gun, and a Pseudomona aeruginosa infection was confirmed by the hospital after 48 hours. This infection was strongly resistant to frontline antibiotics. Not only this, but the transmission of bloodborne infections such as Hepatitis have been noted as a risk when reusing piercing guns, (Tweeten et al, 1998.) 

Trauma

Piercing guns use blunt force to tear a hole in the tissue with the end of the jewellery. This causes excessive swelling which the jewellery cannot allow for, vastly increasing the risk of embedding.

As Rogue is a science-led studio, we need to use scientific papers in order to form opinions. Everyone has seen those videos of needles vs piercing gun studs, but unless there is data to compare the two then the exercise is meaningless. There is only one paper to read when discussing piercing gun trauma, which is that written by van Wijk et all in 2008. In the past this paper has been used to prove that gun piercings and needle piercings are equally as traumatic. However, on in-depth reading, this becomes hard to believe. The study actually proves the opposite.

This paper is the only one to perform actual, real-world experiments testing the hypothesis that ear piercing guns cause excessive trauma. The summary is interesting, to say the least. There is a lot to unpick.

Firstly, it’s important to know that the gauge of a piercing gun earring is 24g or 0.8mm. The average cannula needle is 16g or 1.2mm. It is interesting that even with this size difference, the trauma caused was the same. To quote the original paper, “A comparison between the different piercing methods did not show any significant difference in perichondrial damage, total chondral tears or chondral shattering, despite the fact that the design and diameter of the tip of the piercing instrument varied greatly, as well as the force applied to pierce the ear.” This means that the cannula needle was FAR LESS traumatic than a piercing gun earring. In other words, if the cannula needle was the same gauge as the earring, it would be vastly less traumatic when compared to the earring. This brings me on to the kicker of this argument…

The paper goes on to note that a much better method of piercing might involve a highly sharp needle that was the same diameter as the jewellery that is inserted thereafter. “…The fact that the needle, having a much larger diameter than the other studs, showed the same amount of damage suggests that the best results can be expected from a sharp piercing instrument with a relatively small diameter. Maybe results of the needle piercings can be improved by removing the (relatively blunt) i.v. catheter, to introduce the stud in the needle instead.” The blade needle fits this exact description! This paper was written in 2008, and the scientists involved had no concept or knowledge of blade needles, tapers, needle blanks, or unaided transfer. Although this paper compared guns and cannula needles, it still proves that blade needles are the best in terms of reducing trauma to the tissue.

In addition to all of this, there is one more important thing to note. These experiments were performed on cadavers. This was noted in the discussion section of the original paper, and means that a lot of the arguments both for and against piercing guns cannot use this paper as evidence. The study is unable to follow through with any wound healing, jewellery sensitivities, or infections caused by each method. 

To conclude this section, piercing guns do cause excessive trauma which causes excessive swelling. Blade needles are the least traumatic piercing method, and I hope you can all appreciate that extra smoothness when being pierced at Rogue!

Jewellery

The jewellery used in piercing guns is low quality. There is no way around this. The design itself is poor. These items are designed to be manufactured as cheaply as possible, with little regard for the safety of the person who has to wear them.

The standard piercing gun earring is 24g or 0.8mm thick, which is way too thin to produce a stable fistula. If you have issues with gun piercings constantly trying to close up, then this may be the reason why. 

I feel like this needs no caption. This was worn in a fresh gun piercing for only two weeks. The body has attacked the jewellery and corroded it almost to the point of snapping.

Aside from those guidelines setup by the UKAPP, there are almost no laws covering the metals used in piercing gun earrings. Often these are some alloy of ‘stainless steel’ or ‘Gold plated.’ These metals are not safe to wear in piercings and, when exposed to fluids such as blood and lymph and the heat of the human body, will quickly degrade. The butterfly-back clasp at the back of the earring is a magnet for filth. These clasps quickly get encrusted with dried blood, lymphatic fluid, sweat, and shed skin cells. This will quickly begin to decay at body temperature and is a hub for infection. 

The surface finish of gun jewellery is incredibly poor. This rough texture allows debris and bacteria to build up quickly and increases risks of infection, (Tweeten et al, 1998.) The roughness also means that the healing fistula can grow into the jewellery, meaning that the jewellery is physically stuck to your skin. This is why you are advised to twist gun jewellery- To tear the fistula off the jewellery itself. This is obviously extremely traumatic to a fragile piercing and significantly extends your healing time. The body jewellery used at Rogue and other high-end studios is verified implant-grade and is designed to be easily cleaned, with a mirror-finish. This is jewellery that can last a lifetime of wear.

Finally, and most importantly, gun jewellery is ‘One size fits none.’ What we mean by this is that the jewellery has no room for swelling, which means that the chances of the tissue swelling over the jewellery and embedding within it is all too high, (Muntz et al, 1990. Wang et al, 2017. Macgregor, 2001.) Here at Rogue we have lost count of the number of butterfly backs we have had to remove from inside people’s ears. I have had personal experience of this with my first ever lobe piercings which were done many years ago with a gun – It is not fun. At all. 

Aftercare

More important than all of the above is the aftercare advice often distributed by shops that use piercing guns. You may be familiar with this. Twist the jewellery twice a day, clean with aggressive chemicals such as surgical spirits, TCP, and/or tea tree oil. The aftercare advice is incredibly harsh and outdated. It causes more harm than good. Good aftercare should be gentle and not disturb the natural healing process. This can be read up on here, and a more in depth discussion is found here.

A piercing performed here at Rogue. Note the jewellery is of the correct gauge and length to allow for swelling. The jewellery itself is of the highest quality and is easy to clean and maintain. This piercing will heal perfectly and last a lifetime.

So there you have it. All the pros and cons of piercing guns. You will note that the single pro of a piercing gun to the client, its speed, can be matched by a skilled piercer. You’ll know this if you have ever been pierced by Aiden! The other benefits of a piercing gun are only felt by the owner of the establishment, who can increase their profit margins by using untrained staff and cheap guns to make money. The cons, well. They speak for themselves. 

If you have more questions, message us on instagram or contact us via email.

Citations:

Beguerie, J.R. and Petersen, A., 2017. Pseudomona Chondritis and Ear Piercing Pseudomona and Piercing.

Keene, W.E. (2004). Outbreak of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Infections Caused by Commercial Piercing of Upper Ear Cartilage. JAMA, [online] 291(8), p.981. Available at: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/198238 [Accessed 26 May 2021].

Macgregor, D.M., 2001. The risks of ear piercing in children. Scottish medical journal, 46(1), pp.9-10.

Muntz, H.R., Cui PA-C, D.J. and Asher, B.F. (1990). Embedded earrings: a complication of the ear-piercing gun. International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, [online] 19(1), pp.73–76. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/016558769090197Y [Accessed 26 May 2021].

Tweeten, S.S.M. and Rickman, L.S., 1998. Infectious complications of body piercing. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 26(3), pp.735-740.

**van Wijk, M.P., Kummer, J.A. and Kon, M. (2008). Ear piercing techniques and their effect on cartilage, a histologic study. Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery, [online] 61, pp.S104–S109. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1748681507003348 [Accessed 26 May 2021].

Wang, T.C. and Chan, K.C., 2017. An embedded earring backing in the tragus. Ear, Nose & Throat Journal, 96(7), pp.236-239.

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The Truth about Cheek Piercings

Here you can see Aiden’s cheek piercings, wearing a pair of Industrial Strength claw-set Amethysts. These are over 10 years old now and fully settled.

Cheek piercings are one of those things that you rarely see in person, but are one of the most eye-catching sets of piercings a person can own. Cheeks are often considered a “piercer’s piercing” due to their complexity and difficult nature. Here at Rogue we love cheek piercings, with two sets already living in the studio and more on the way! However, they are not a beginner piercing. Heck, they aren’t even a tricky piercing. They are one of the most difficult piercings to have, heal and maintain. Here’s a deep dive into what makes them so tantalising, beautiful, and laborious.

Placement

The first thing to consider with cheek piercings is their placement. There is a lot going on within the cheeks themselves, not to mention taking into account the dental deliberation on top of that. There are four main things to think about when choosing the placement of cheek piercings.

The Vascular System

All the blood vessels that feed the lower part of the face originate from the External Carotid Artery (ECA), which sweeps up from the neck across the point where the jawbone meets the skull just underneath and forwards of the ear. The ECA then splits into the Maxillary artery, and also into the Transverse Facial artery and the Buccal artery. These are the main blood vessels that pass through the cheeks. Clearly, we cannot pierce through these! Your piercer will use a strong torch and inspect your cheeks to find where these arteries lie and work around them.

The Muscular Map

In terms of muscles, there is a lot going on in the cheeks! Cheeks contain a number of different muscles, but the main ones to consider are the Buccinator (Fantastic name!) and the Risorious. These are major muscles, and placement has to be very precise in order to work well with them. Muscles are made of long fibres, and when you pierce through a muscle, the whole fibre that you pass through will atrophy. This may change the shape of your face slightly after you have your cheeks pierced. Most cheek piercees will experience some thinning of the face and a slight ‘sunken’ effect, even once the piercings are removed.

These muscles are constantly flexing and moving when you talk and eat, which is why cheek dermals or anchors are not a suitable alternative to proper cheek piercings. Surface piercings must be placed in an area of low movement if they are to have any chance of healing, and cheeks are simply not that place. Cheek dermals may seem like an attractive option especially if you are concerned about dental damage, but the chances of them lasting more than 2-4 months are slim.

The Nervous System

The nerves involved with cheek piercings start at the Trigeminal Nerve which sits at the temple, and split out into the Opthalmic, Maxillary and Mandibular nerves. The ophthalmic and maxillary are not super relevant and are sensory nerves only. However the V3 Mandibular nerve runs directly through the cheeks and is both a sensory and motor nerve so your piercer must be very careful when selecting placement. The Mandibular nerve is the one that controls the muscles that allow you to chew food. We always recommend heading to a highly experienced piercer for cheek piercings.

The Good

Cheek piercings are only suited for experienced folks who are prepared for the demanding healing process.

Cheek piercings have an irreplaceable look. There is simply nothing like them. They are almost universally flattering on both men and women, and the jewellery choices for them are almost endless as you can go as big and bold as you like! There is no such thing as a ‘dainty’ cheek piercing because they are so naturally bold. Cheek piercings are the perfect statement piercing and they send an instant message to the people who meet you that you aren’t the standard. Cheeks can also host some of the most gorgeous Gold ends and look incredible with large gemstones. Cheeks will also always have that punk side to them, no matter how fancy their jewellery. We love them so much!

The Bad

Cheek piercings are a lifestyle piercing, meaning you will probably have to change aspects of your life in order to manage them properly. This means no makeup for up to a year amongst other things. Because they are such a commitment, we require a full consultation beforehand and an at least 24-48 hour cooling off period. 

Cheek piercings are a huge financial investment. We charge what we charge in order to filter out those who are getting cheek piercings on a whim, and on top of that you have to consider the cost of multiple downsizes and upsizes over the lifetime of your piercing. When we say multiple downsizes, we mean between 3 and 6 pairs of shortening bars to allow you to heal properly without causing dental damage. When each pair is £20-40 for our basic minimum, you are looking at a cost of between £60 and £240 minimum on basic jewellery alone! We often will take payment for these downsizes in advance to make sure the client is willing to outlay the cost of proper care. 

The Ugly

Cheek piercings are not something that we will perform on everyone that enquires about them. They are notoriously hard to heal, can get stuck in seemingly endless cycles of swelling, and leave large scars directly on the face. Cheeks are problematic because they do sit in the middle of a large muscle group and are a wet-dry piercing that has one side in a moist mucous membrane and another faces out from normal skin. 

Swelling is very extensive, and takes many months to fully dissipate. You will look like a chipmunk for a good month at least! Cheeks are what we would consider a piercing for only the most experienced people and this usually means almost exclusively other piercers and intense piercing enthusiasts. You need to be incredibly confident in your ability to care for and heal these piercings, and need to be able to be adept at diagnosing issues and correcting them at any time of day or night. If your cheeks suddenly swell at 2am and risk embedding, you need to be able to get in there and sort them out yourself. This swelling and irritation can come back at any time, for seemingly no reason! Great care and attention must be taken in order to heal cheek piercings properly. They can take upwards of 18 months to settle somewhat.

Conclusion

The piercing industry would not be the same without cheek piercings. They are a status symbol, a sign of dedication, and a statement that you aren’t part of the crowd. We love them very much and would hate to see them slowly die out. Our head piercer Aiden has over 10 years of high level experience, and has pierced many sets of cheeks over the years. We can’t think of anyone better to place your trust in. These are definitely piercings worth travelling for! If you aren’t within travelling radius, we can also direct you to your nearest studio that we know and trust. 

If you are a piercer who has no experience with piercing cheeks, we strongly recommend finding an experienced piercer, who has pierced multiple sets of cheeks, to shadow so you can learn to perform them safely. These are not something you can learn without a lot of education and practice first! This post is merely scratching the surface, and is not aimed to be training material of any kind.

We hope this hasn’t discouraged anyone from getting cheek piercings, but education is incredibly important and we need to be both honest and realistic. We love them and hope to pierce many more in the future!

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An Introduction To: Cartilage Piercings

Cartilage piercings are a versatile piercing, and are most people’s first forays into piercing! Besides lobes, cartilage piercings of various types are our most common appointment, and we can see why. 

A lot of people will walk into Rogue and ask for a cartilage piercing. This is not super helpful because the whole ear is made of cartilage! There are many placements that are available to be pierced, and we will be discussing them today. 

Cartilage piercings come in all different places. From the traditional helix piercing, to conches, to faux rooks and flat piercings, there is a lot you can do with cartilage!

Here are a few options of simple cartilage locations. Most cartilage piercings (even the ones with silly names like snonch!) will boil down to these shown above.

Getting Your Cartilage Piercing

After booking your appointment, the first thing to do is fill in your consent form on the morning of your appointment. This frees up time in your slot for extra time choosing jewellery! We stock a huge range of jewellery for cartilage piercings. Choosing your jewellery can be a bit of a long process as we stock over 500 different options. We think it’s totally worth it though as everyone’s personal style and taste is catered for!

A stunning faux-rook, pierced with a singular Neometal Prong.

For cartilage piercings, we strongly advise you to start with a flat-back labret as opposed to a ring. Labrets are comfortable, do not move about during the day and are generally less irritating for your piercing. Initial rings have to be large in order to avoid issues with swelling, and the large diameter introduces its own issues in regards to movement, snagging and the rotation of bacteria into your piercing. Labrets are a much better choice! You can swap to a ring after roughly 6-8 months. 

Once you have picked your jewellery and received your aftercare speech, it’s time to head to the piercing room! As with all our piercings, we first sit you down and discuss placement. Your anatomy and personal preferences will dictate the piercing’s final location, but there is a lot of wiggle room with this so we like to ask what you want from the piercing! Then, we draw some precise marks on the ear where you would like the piercing to go. Once we double and triple-check the position with you, we are happy to pierce! From there, you lie down for the piercing. We find that a comfortable reclined position helps to stop you from moving about, and prevents that funny lightheadedness that can sometimes occur after you get pierced. Win-win! 

The piercing itself takes literally seconds from beginning to end. We pierce with a super-sharp, high-quality tri bevel needle that makes the process a smooth and pain-minimised experience. Then it’s another quick moment and the jewellery is installed for you. The piercing itself is not overly uncomfortable. It feels like a quick pinch, then you may feel some spreading warmth as your ear has already begun the healing process! You can read all about the stages of healing in my blog post here. Then ta-dah, you have a new piercing! 

Healing a Cartilage Piercing

There are lots of articles on the internet that say that healing cartilage piercings is so hard, so difficult, and really quite fraught with danger. The simple fact is that when you follow the basic rules of aftercare, it is a straightforward process! Healing a cartilage piercing takes anywhere from 6-12 months, depending on the location and how well your body deals with a new piercing. The general rules of healing are to keep it clean, dry and secure. The less you do, the better really! 

Cartilage piercings are a little more sensitive than lobe piercings when it comes to snags, knocks and pressure. Cartilage has little direct blood-flow, so any irritation naturally takes longer to dissipate. The main issue with cartilage piercings and irritation is that people want to feel like they are ‘doing something’ to help themselves heal. This has led to quite a lot of internet cure-alls being touted as ‘magic cures!’ In fact, the best thing you can do is be gentle and let your body do what it does best without the irritation of harsh lotions and potions. You can read more about the causes and cures of lumps and bumps here. 

General Piercing Maintenance 

So you have passed the 6 month mark and your cartilage piercing is healed – Congratulations! You now have a happy and healed piercing that, with good care, will last you the rest of your life. So, now what?

My well-healed conch piercing is currently holding a BVLA Marquise Fan. I remove the end to clean once every two weeks to keep myself a sparkling example to our clients!

Caring for a healed piercing is a lot like caring for the rest of your body. Piercings tend to collect a mixture of oils, skin cells and shampoo residue over time. If you never wash your piercings, things can get pretty gross! Keep it clean by simply rinsing in the shower, occasionally with the aid of a very gentle soap. I like using a gentle fragrance-free face wash because it is much less harsh than body wash. Simply massage a little bit of soapy foam around your piercing, and rinse well. Once you have finished your shower, gently pat dry. And that’s it! 

Every so often you may want to clean the jewellery itself. This can be done either while the jewellery is in your ear, or by removing just the end. We recommend cleaning your healed piercings like this roughly once a month. Simply remove the end (leaving the labret in place) and use a very soft toothbrush and mild soap to polish any residue from the crevices in your jewellery. Rinse well (do not drop it down your sink!) and then return to its home in your ear!

So there you are, a simple overview of cartilage piercings. I adore cartilage piercings because you can go as big or small as you want, and have as many as you can fit!

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you again next week for another blog. In the meantime, check out our social media for more awesome piercings!

Kat x

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An Introduction To: Navel Piercings

Summer is now just around the corner, and that means that people are thinking of ways to jazz themselves up before the season of bathing suits and crop tops! A navel, or bellybutton piercing is a perfect way to do so.

We love navel piercings. Between the three of us (Aiden, Jess and myself), we have 5 navel piercings! They are a brilliant way to add a bit of sparkle to an area that some people are self-conscious of. In my experience, adding a piece of jewellery you love can really help with your confidence.

So, what are navel piercings like? How do you heal one? And finally we will answer the most common query, “But I was told my navel was unpierceable!” 

Types of Navel Piercing

There are three main types of navel anatomy, two of which can be pierced. These two types are both equally common, and the only thing that changes is what kind of jewellery you can wear in it!

A perfect example of a Traditional Navel. Note the obvious upper lip and lack of crease lines either side!

“Traditional Navel” – This is the standard anatomy that you probably have in mind when you think about navel piercings. It has a good ‘lip’ at the top of the navel, and when you bend over the crease that forms will sit well above the navel. The navel itself holds its’ shape when you squish down. This type of navel can easily hold the traditional navel jewellery that comes to mind when you think of navel piercings! Small, cute gem on the top and a larger gem on the bottom. 

A beautiful floating navel wearing a Neometal Purple Opal Cabochon. See how this navel is squishing flat?

“Collapsing Navel” – This is another type of navel, which can also be pierced. This type of navel is also called a ‘floating navel,’ because the jewellery often looks like it is a single gem floating above the navel itself. This is not to be confused with a surface piercing, which is unsuitable for any navel piercing. A collapsing navel, as the name suggests, will squish flat when you bend over. People of all shapes and sizes can have collapsing navels, it is nothing to do with your weight! It is dictated by where your abdomen creases, and in this case the abdomen creases perfectly along the bellybutton. When your navel squishes flat, there is no room for that large gem that traditional navel jewellery has! Wearing traditional navel jewellery in a collapsing navel will cause all kinds of pressure issues and is not conducive to a long-term heal. Collapsing navels are pierced using a strongly curved barbell (Anatometal curves are our favourite for this!), and hold a large gem on the top and a small ball or disc on the bottom. This small ball or disc is much more comfortable, and will not cause issues when you bend over or move!

“Outie Navel” – Outie navels are caused by a remnant of umbilical cord which sticks out of the body. Unfortunately, this is the one type of navel that it is actually unsafe to pierce. A standard navel is pierced through only skin and a little soft tissue, but an outie would be pierced through quite a lot of complex internal tissue. This piercing would be unstable, and any issues could quickly become quite serious. Because of this, we do not pierce outie navels. There are lots of other cool options though, so definitely pop into the studio if you would like to discuss alternative piercings! 

Getting a Navel Piercing

The easiest part of the whole process is the piercing itself. The most comparable piercing is actually your earlobes! It is the same type of soft, flexible skin with a thin bit of soft tissue in between. 

First, we check your anatomy to see which style of navel is suitable for you! Then, we will clean and mark you while you are standing up. This helps us to see where the jewellery will sit, and make sure it is perfectly straight. We do the actual piercing with the client laying down – This is much more comfortable and makes it less scary!

Often the most intimidating part is actually the clamping of the tissue- Some piercers will use a set of clamps to hold the navel while they pierce. This can be quite uncomfortable! At Rogue we don’t use clamps for navel piercings, everything is totally freehand. This means less discomfort for you, and a much easier piercing. The actual piercing takes only a couple of seconds! 

 As with all our piercings we use a very sharp single-use tri-bevel needle, and install implant-grade ASTM F-136 Titanium or solid 14k or 18k Gold jewellery. We have something for every budget and style!

Healing Your New Piercing

A navel piercing is quite a simple piercing to heal, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind. For our full aftercare advice, click here! 

Firstly, you have to avoid putting pressure on this piercing while it heals. Unfortunately this means avoiding tight or high-waisted clothing and tight belts or corsets for the first 8-12 weeks of the healing period. Pressure will irritate your navel piercing, and unfortunately will slightly increase the risk of rejection. So here is your written permission to wear sweatpants for 8 weeks!

The second thing to be mindful of is keeping this piercing dry. This means you must avoid bathing or swimming for a minimum of 4 weeks. Keep this in mind if you are planning to be newly sparkly for a seaside holiday! The most common issue is the collection of moisture underneath the lower part of the piercing. The bellybutton itself is a perfect cup to hold water in, and a wet piercing is easily irritated and can become a breeding ground for bacteria. So after you shower or swim it is really important to dab your piercing dry both top and bottom!

Navel piercings take between 6 and 8 months to fully heal, so in fact the best time to get them is between Autumn and late Spring! This way you can heal them perfectly before they need to be on show. 

So there you are, a quick overview of navel piercings! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We are open for bookings, which you can book here! We are open Tuesday-Saturday, 10.30am-5pm. See you soon!