I think one of the most common questions we get, aside from ‘How much is a piercing?’ is… ‘Can you numb it?’
It’s a fair question. Especially for those inexperienced with piercings, it might feel like a daunting experience! It’s completely understandable that you would want to make it as pain-free as possible. But what kind of numbing is available? And why are they unsafe?
The History of Anaesthetics
Since the dawn of time, for as long as human beings have experienced pain, we have been looking for ways to avoid it. The ancient Babylonians may have been using anaesthetics up to 4,000 years ago. The earliest accounts of anaesthetics pop up in the early 1200s, where physicians would use sponges soaked in opium to relieve the pain of surgery. However, the first general anaesthecia was not implemented in a surgery until October, 1846!
Numbing creams did not become popular in the tattoo and piercing scene until the late 90s and very early 2000s, with the rise of Emla cream. That means that piercing anaesthetic is still very much in it’s infancy.
Anaesthetics and the Law
It’s very important to stress that piercers are not licensed or insured to provide any anaesthetics, including numbing creams. Numbing creams are licensed, prescription-only medications that require a special license in order to use. Tattooists and piercers who are administering numbing creams to their clients are committing a crime, which can result in fines, jail time, and loss of license.
The administration of local anaesthetic injections by persons other than medically qualified practitioners (doctor/dentist) is illegal, and therefore not permitted. External application of topical anaesthetics (creams/gels/sprays) to clients can be deemed an offence under the Medicines Act 1968. The legislation stipulates that only persons who hold a product licence (generally pharmacists) may supply these products for use in medical applications. Their administration by Body Piercers, Tattooists or Therapists on clients for cosmetic purposes can therefore be deemed an offence.
Even with consent from the client, you are reminded that the use of any anaesthetic, be it by oral, injection or topical application, may leave the user open to prosecution under the Medicines Act 1968 or Health & Safety at Work Act 1974.
Piercing Anaesthetics – How Do They Work?
The most common ingredients in numbing creams are lidocaine, benzocaine and prilocaine. These are active ingredients that work by blocking Na+ (Sodium ion) and K+ (Potassium ion) channels in your nerves, preventing them from firing properly. This nerve effect can cause lidocaine toxicity when improperly used – For example, by an unlicensed piercer. Symptoms of lidocaine toxicity include:
Shaking and tremors
Of course, lidocaine toxicity from a piercing would be quite rare, however…
Lidocaine and it’s derivitives are common allergens. 2.5% of people may experience anaphylaxis from the introduction of lidocaine to their bloodstream – And you may not know about this allergy until it is too late.
Aside from anaphylaxis, allergic contact dermatitis and skin irritation are very common. This means that you may experience an angry rash, itching, or bleeding after applying a numbing cream. This can be exacerbated if numbing cream comes into contact with broken skin, such as a body piercing.
Freeze Sprays – A Bad Alternative
Another popular, and equally terrible, option are ‘freeze sprays.’ These are unlicensed, meaning that anyone can use them and it is not classed as an offence. You have probably seen them in youtube videos or instagram reels – They look like they are spraying deodorant onto the piercing spot.
Freeze Sprays work by spraying a liquified gas or chemical onto the skin – This is often ethyl chloride. As the gas evaporates, it rapidly cools the skin until the nerves are no longer able to fire properly. This gives a temporary numbness to the top layer of skin.
These sprays, although legal, are highly problematic. The freezing action can toughen the skin, causing excessive trauma to the piercing site. Secondly, if used on or near mucousal membranes, it can severely damage the skin. Finally, and most importantly, freeze sprays can (and do) cause chemical burns and tissue necrosis. Freeze sprays are unregulated and often used by piercers who have no idea what they are doing. This means that misuse is criminally common.
The product itself is not sterile and can therefore potentially cause an infection.
To have a good numbing effect, the spray must be applied in quite high doses to reach the nerve fibres below the skin. This presents the likelihood of burns being caused to the skin, particularly in cases of smokers and diabetics, which opens the way for infection.
The product has been shown to be a respiratory irritant, particularly when used on or near the face.
The product is highly flammable and must therefore be considered carefully in terms of health & safety during usage, storage etc.
We will attach an image below, taken at Rogue, of a navel piercing that we unfortunately had to remove due to a severe chemical burn from a freeze spray. This was of course not pierced at Rogue.
This client, who has given permission for this image to be shared, had to have their navel piercing removed by ourselves. This piercing was only 6 weeks old, but you can still see the scarring and damaged skin surrounding the navel that was caused by a freeze spray. This is a classic result of a chemical burn caused by a freeze spray. We hope that this piercing will heal, this scar will fade, and next year we will be able to give them the beautiful navel piercing they deserve!
…Do They Even Work?
Ironically, even if you do take the risk and apply a numbing cream before a piercing without your piercers knowledge (we do not recommend doing this!!), you would hope that your risk would pay off by giving you the painless piercing you want. You may be disappointed in the results, as numbing creams are ineffective at numbing piercings! Why is this? It is because lidocaine can only act where it is applied, aka the thinnest surface layer of the skin. This means you may only get numbness for the first 0.00001 seconds of a piercing before we are piercing non-numbed skin!
What Should You Do Instead?
There are so many non-anaesthetic options for minimising the discomfort of a piercing.
To a certain extent, we can minimise the pain of a piercing through technique. We minimise the use of tools or clamps, we import the highest quality teflon-coated needles, and pierce using a smooth and gentle technique. That being said, all piercings naturally come with a certain level of discomfort. We are piercing you, after all.
If you are stressed, tired, hungry, hungover, or generally not feeling your best, then a piercing is going to feel more uncomfortable. The best way to have the best experience is to look after yourself! Treat your piercing like a medical procedure – Ensure you are well-fed, hydrated, and coming in after a good nights rest. You will be amazed how much basic self-care can make a piercing more manageable.
Breathe It Out.
We are not a hippy studio. We don’t normally subscribe to breathing techniques! However, there is scientific evidence that slow, deep breathing can help patients with acute pain. A total of 11,968 studies were screened in this review, showing that deep breathing techniques significantly lowered pain scores. That is not to be sniffed at! This effect is called Respiratory Hypoalgesia. The baroreceptor system (The sensing system that includes the lungs) detects changes in blood pressure and heart rate during the respiratory cycle. Deep breathing changes the signals that are relayed to the brain by the vagus nerve, which then provides an analgesic effect through the parasympathetic nervous system.
At Rogue, we practice deep breathing techniques before, during, and after the piercing. As a piercee as well as piercers, we can absolutely tell the difference. It is magical.
So there you have it! Anaesthetics may sound like an excellent option, however they are unsafe and ineffective. Please never apply numbing creams without your piercers knowledge, and never attend a piercing studio that offers numbing as they are breaking the law.
Stay safe, stay healthy!
If you have any questions, please drop us an email or instagram message! Keep an eye on our blog as we post a new one every single Friday!
We are not currently offering a piercing apprenticship at Rogue. Please do not contact us to ask for one!
If you know anything about Rogue, you know we love a bit of data! Over the past 8 weeks, we have sent out a survey to over a hundred international piercers to fill out in order to gather data on the current state of piercing apprenticeships.
We all know that there are very few piercing apprenticeships being offered internationally – But why is a very big question! We don’t like to just give people a flat no, and we think its important that would-be apprentices know what they’re up against if they want a great start into the industry.
Of all the responses from the questionnaire, a huge proportion of piercers are active within the UK and USA. This means that any data collected will the skewed towards a more eurocentric response!
Most of the responses came from experienced piercers with close to, or over a decade of, professional experience. This means that the data comes from a place of knowledge.
This is where it gets interesting. Of the respondants, over 3/4 believe that there are not currently enough high-quality piercers offering apprenticeships to train the next generation. So… Why is that? The following questions were designed to ask why particular piercers, even those with over a decade of experience, do not take on an apprentice.
Despite a resounding cry for high-quality apprentices, with over 75% of responses saying that not enough apprentices are being trained, only 8.7% are currently looking to take one on!
Interestingly, 20% of the piercers who responded stated they would never take on an apprentice. The majority were planning on taking an apprentice sometime in the future – Within 5 years. This is really heartening to know! Even if the current climate is difficult, there is still hope for the future.
This is where it gets interesting. We asked why piercers weren’t taking on an apprentice, and the results were surprising! Very few simply didn’t fancy taking on an apprentice. Most were interested in taking on an apprentice in the future, however due to personal, experience, or financial reasons were unable to.
Some of the responses were:
“There currently isn’t enough work for us to justify taking on another piercer – plus, training can be super exhausting.”
“I hate 99% of people and couldnt imagine working with anyone.”
“We only train piercers when we are looking for new staff and can offer a job at the end of the apprenticeship. I think there’s too many people willing to train up people and then they’re left with no career at the end of it.”
“I don’t have enough of a consistent work load to be able to offer a full time position to someone once they have completed an apprenticeship. I could really use a second piercer for a few months of the year when it is the busy summer season but other than that my workload is really slow paced. I don’t think it would be fair of me to take on an apprentice for a few years then not have work for them to be able to support themselves at the end of it. It wouldn’t really be financially viable for me either.”
“My Studio isn’t up to standard.”
These are all really valid reasons not to take on a piercer. As much as we stress researching your potential mentor and making sure they are experienced enough to teach you, its also really important to remember that piercers are only human. Piercing is a business. Taking on an apprentice is often a huge financial risk, and to do so ethically requires a lot of forethought and financial planning.
Employment and business structure is a huge reason why many piercers don’t take on an apprentice. Of over 100 piercers, almost half are employed by another person. This means that frequently the decision to take on an apprentice is out of their hands. Even if they wanted to take on an apprentice, their boss may choose not to for a number of reasons.
And again on the other hand, if a piercer is self-employed, they may struggle to finance an apprenticeship. Especially in the current economic climate, many self-employed folks are feeling the squeeze. They are not paid a set wage each month, rather are often paid a proportion of any turnover. Splitting that money with another person may not be financially viable. Even if an apprenticeship is unpaid, many apprentices will still cost the business money in one way or another.
Something that came up a lot in this questionnaire, and in further dialogue with indivudual piercers, is the concept of ‘The Blind Leading the Blind.’ Given the boom in piercing over the last few years, many people joined the industry in a short space of time. A huge proportion of would-be mentors are still in the infancy of their careers themselves, and are passing down their bad education or bad habits without even knowing it. In addition to this, younger piercers are less likely to have the experience and skill to teach the vital ‘unusual’ piercings, like genital work, large-gauge piercings, and surface piercings. This means that over time, these skills can very easily be lost and die out. We are already experiencing this as it is!
Something to consider as well is the Dunning-Kruger effect. In our experience, younger piercers are more likely to consider themselves ready to teach well before they are ready because they simply don’t know what they don’t know yet. This is why we recommend considering both the portfolio of your potential mentor and the years they have served. A healthy mix of both is ideal. The majority of responses to the questionnaires recommended a mentor should have at least 4-10 years of experience before taking on an apprentice. Here at Rogue, we sit in the decade club where we believe that a solid 10 years of piercing experience makes for a much better educator. Mature piercers will often have travelled and attended conferences http://safepiercing.org, and have excellent links within the industry. It’s often not what you know, but who you know that can allow your career to take off!
Final Thoughts from the Piercers
Here we choose to share some of the thoughts of the piercers interviewed, in order for you to see exactly what they are thinking when they think of apprenticeships.
“I feel it (whether they take an apprentice on or not) depends how the piercing apprenticeship is approached. I had never considered teaching someone. My soon-to-be apprentice has been working with us for 2 years as Saturday help & Receptionist. She has always wanted to learn and we became friends over the past couple of years and so I started to consider helping her. She will continue to work in the studio to earn a wage. To start with I will be training her out of hours meaning she won’t be paid but neither will I. It’s all about both putting in the time. Once she starts piercing, however long that may take I would offer her a portion of the total. We will then continue on from there to ensure that she is well looked after and gets every bit of experience she needs of the next few years.”
“I wish more reputable piercers were taking apprentices. We are lacking a quantity of reputable piercers, my studio is currently looking for one but we haven’t found anyone just yet who fits our criteria but quite a lot of half trained people who either had poor, unfinished apprenticeships or they did a piercing course.”
“Safe and ethical apprenticeships are key, and not every apprenticeship is effective or healthy. After meeting an apprentice at another studio near me, it feels important to bring up that there are apprentices in some studios that have fulfilled their training requirements in unpaid positions, who are manipulated into thinking that they still must work for free. Apprenticeships are the most effective way for someone to learn our trade and it is unfortunate that some abusers use the dynamic of piercing apprenticeship to lure and trap their victims.”
The biggest issue I see here in our industry is that being a good piercer does not make you a good teacher or mentor (same with business ownership). All too often I see these roles interchangeable – where they are each in their own right, different skillsets. I’m not about gatekeepers whatsoever and am a firm believer in paying it forward, it does however need to make good financial sense for a studio but also the potential mentor needs to have good training skills (as well of course as being a good piercer). The other issue I see a lot of is students teaching students – basic fundamentals that mentors don’t have down, yet are passing these gaps in knowledge down to the newer generation.”
Piercing Apprenticeship Conclusions
That’s a tonne of data and industry information! We genuinely believe that there is hope for the piercing industry if we just pull ourselves together and take the jump. Taking on an apprentice is often terrifying, both for the mentor and learner. It’s a big commitment for everyone involved, and there is no way to predict the outcome. A mentorship is based on mutual trust, respect, and often deep friendship. Having an apprentice can feel sometimes like adopting a child! Not only does your mentor shape your piercing skills, but they will shape your attitude and relationship with the industry. Your mentors reputation can often follow you for the lifetime of your career.
So, what do piercers want would-be apprentices to know? I think the main takeaway is that piercers are human beings. We are just as prone to bias, issues and mistakes as the rest of the population. It’s very easy to see piercers on social media as ultra-cool aliens or internet personalities, but at the end of the day we run small businesses and are often sleep deprived and stressed!
The number one thing that we need to stress is this: We get dozens of messages and emails a week from would-be apprentices asking if we are taking on an apprentice and if they can come and apprentice with us. Sometimes these emails are really polite, sometimes they are straight-up demanding! Especially if you have read through this blog, you will understand how much we care about our industry and how high-stakes taking on an apprentice is. The number one way to get blacklisted by a studio is to send unwarranted, demanding messages asking for an apprenticeship. No high quality studio will take on an apprentice via DM. We need to know you as a person! You can read more about apprenticeships on our dedicated ‘Apprenticeships’ blog category. The blog ‘So You Want To Be a Piercer?’ will also make for great reading. We aren’t saying that you have to come and get pierced every week for three years, or spend £xxxx amount of money with us to ‘earn’ your apprenticeship, but building a relationship with a studio is key. It often can’t be forced, either. You can’t push a friendship and expect an apprenticeship to fall out the other end, y’know? Body piercing is often seen as a ‘casual’ industry, where you don’t need to follow the standard rules of employment. What other industry would you expect to enter via DM? The general opinion is that people who DM studios for apprenticeships are not taking it seriously, and don’t have the professionalism to make it in the industry. Don’t fall foul of this social faux pas.
If you have had a response from a studio when you’ve cold-messaged them on instagram, take a moment to consider what kind of situation you might be putting yourself into. You don’t know them, they don’t know you. Oftentimes they will just be looking for a couple of months of free labour and you will leave with nothing.
So there you have it! Some more thoughts on apprenticeships, backed up with some decent data. If you’d like to read more on the subject, we have plenty of blogs covering all kinds of topics so just hit the link above to go have a deep dive! If you have any questions, you’re welcome to drop us an email. Make sure to follow us on instagram! And final reminder…
We are not currently looking to take on an apprentice at Rogue. Please do not contact us to ask for one!
Since being at Rogue, I have decided to remove three of my piercings and have repierced them for a variety of reasons, and I thought I’d share my experience on them! If you want to know a bit more thorough detail about re-piercing, and not just a personal story, I can highly sugesst giving “Repiercing 101” a read!
The first thing I got repierced at Rogue was my bridge. I had had it pierced about a year and a half previously, with improper jewellery. It was an externally thread curved barbell, which had just created issue after issue, and had never settled down. After having my 19th birthday party at university, I had given up and just decided to retire it as the bumps were just not worth it.
Upon joining Rogue I had discovered the reason it had never settled was due to improper jewellery, and very outdated aftercare advice (homemade salt water). In December, Krista had come to Rogue to do a guest spot, and as an early birthday present from Kat, she repierced my Bridge for me using Peoples Jewellery Titanium Bullet Claw ends with pale Pink Fauxpals. I was obsessed. However, I did not downsize it in time, which caused an irritation bump, and because I am super clumsy I was constantly snagging and catching it on jumpers, my glasses, and even my own hands. I eventually retired it again in March, as I had to take it out for an x-ray on my jaw, and it was just the easier option.
To everyones dismay, I would like to re-pierce it a third time in the future, but we’ll get to that when we get to it.
In 2023 I had another repierce – my jestrum. I initially had it pierced by Aiden about two days after finding out that I was going to be his apprentice. I booked my appointment and already had my heart set on the Neometal flower in fancy purple, and Kat then talked me around to having a Neometal opal on the bottom to match and I was in love! Unfortunately, this guy did not last very long! After already having to reinsert jewellery after a jaw x-ray (wisdom teeth suck…), I woke up one morning to my jewellery gone, and somehow had never found it since – I’m blaming my cats for this one – and despite trying to reinsert a taper in it only a few hours later, the piercing channel had completely closed.
In December 2022, so about 7 months or so after letting it heal, I let Gemma repierce it for me. I was super nervous, as it definitely wasn’t one of my favourites to have originally pierced! Gemma was also super nervous as it was her first jestrum, and I had to reassure her it’s the same as every other vertical lip piercings she’s done, including 2 sets of ‘angel fangs’ (paired vertical upper lip piercings). I had complete and utter trust in her. And she absolutely smashed it. We even made a super cool reel about it. It was definitely a little spicy, but definitely not as bad as I had feared, and I found the healing much easier than the first time around. I only had very minor swelling, and downsized it rather quickly, then about a month or two later we had to downsize again. It’s now sitting pretty well and just waiting for me to insert some super fancy jewellery.
My third re-pierce was my nipples. When I first joined Rogue, I had had them pierced for 3 years. One was beautifully healed, and the other one was just constantly crusting and being annoying. After getting a little bit worried about it, I asked Breo and Kat to take a look, and they advised completely pulling it as it looked like it had started to reject. The piercing itself had orignially been pierced too deep, through the areola, which is why it had never settled. I decided to remove both nipple piercings so I could have them both repierced together to allow them to look more in tune with each other.
And then came the day I asked Breo to do it for me. It was a Monday morning, I’d just had a bad weekend following a break-up and I thought there is nothing that screams ‘move on’ and ‘love yourself’ more than new nipple piercings! After a very eventful day, Breo anodised my barbells pink and got them sterilised. I was super nervous, and after Breo talked to me regarding the scar tissue, and creating a new channel through the scarring, I was definitely a little bit more tense. We did the one that needed the new channel first as I thought it would hurt more, and it honestly hurt nowhere near as much as I thought. It just felt like pressure, with a bit more of a tight pinch on the exit. It was almost like a fresh of breath air, and I was super excited to repierce the second.
…But then, we didn’t! As Breo was super happy with the depth and placement of the original piercing, he decided to test the waters out to see if the piercing channel was still open. He gently fed an insertion pin through the fistula to feel what was happening on the inside. The answer was… nothing. Despite having worn no jewellery for 7-8 months, the piercing was still open, and with a tiny stretch up we managed to reinsert the jewellery straight back in! I then went home to chill and relax, and my housemates cat (Peep) stood straight on it. Not fun!
After they settled, I got to downsize the length of the bars and upgrade the jewellery! After ordering a matching set from Peoples Jewellery, I used the orignial jewellery for my bridge. A pair of pink opal threadless bullet claws, super cute!
I also chose to remove my Navel piercing. I had originally had it pierced at The Endless Knot in Hartlepool while I was at university. Originally it had just been pierced with a plain internally thread curved barbell! It was super comfy, a nice heal and I loved it. After moving back to Nottingham I started working at a little pub, and re-wearing high/mid waisted jeans. The constant pressure across my navel caused it to be super irritated and I began battling irritation bumps. Eventually, it did begin to settle and I had a lovely well-healed navel piercing.
So, I decided to stretch it. My long term goal was to have a little ring stack full of charms! I stretched it myself to 2mm (12g)! It was super easy, and I was on my way to a large gauge navel. After a few weeks, maybe a month or two, I was slightly concerned about the placement and where it was sitting. I discussed it with Kat and Gemma who advised to just remove it. It seems like it had started to reject, and it was better to retire it sooner rather than later. Gemma was also super excited, and told me to just let her re-pierce it at a larger gauge. So I did. Eventually…
After Gemma returned from APP conference in Vegas, her first piercing back was my 5mm (4g) Navel! Honestly, it was so much easier than the first time I had it pierced. I’m not sure if this because I had learned how to breathe through the pain or because my pain tolerance was better, but it was such an easy piercing to sit through! I’m absolutely obsessed with it, and I can’t wait to stack it! Also an amazing thank you to Gorilla Glass for this super easy peasy single flare curved retainer!
If you would like to get in touch via repiercing a well healed over piercing, just get in touch with us! You can email us at email@example.com , send us a direct message via our Instagram RoguePiercing, or just book directly with us here.
Thank you for reading! We will be back again next week with another blog, so stay tuned!
Eyebrow piercings have been around for longer than I have! These guys come into fashion every few years, although at Rogue we absolutely love them all the time. These are of course anatomy dependant piercings (like most piercings), and so are a lot of the styles we’re going to show you as there are a variety of different ways eyebrows can be pierced.
During the initial healing period, you may also notice some bruising around the eye/eyebrow. Some people bruise more than others, so the bruising can range in severity from person to person. You can read all about aftercare here!
Traditional Eyebrow Piercing:
Traditional eyebrow piercings are the most common variety of an eyebrow piercing you will see, they are typically pierced around the ‘arch’ of the eyebrow. When checking for suitable anatomy, your piercer is looking for a prominent ‘shelf’ of the eyebrow ridge, that would comfortably support the jewellery and heal well. We’re basically assessing wether or not you have enough tissue to safely and comfortably heal.
Pairs, Doubles and Racks:
People love symmetry, and just like any other piercing, eyebrows have seen to follow the trend of being matched up and we are absolutely here for it! Wether that be two piericngs on one side, or one on each, it is definitely the way to make a statement.
Brow racks are super cool, yet quite rare to come across. Not only are they super anatomy dependant, they’re unfortunately not insanely common. Eyebrow racks are made of of multiple piercings across the ridge of the eyebrow and they look incredible.
Centred/Inner Eyebrow Piercings:
Centred brow piercings are pierced across the centre of the brow ridge, typically pierced inline with the pupil. Inner brows are pierced around the start of the brow, often in line with the inner corner/tearduct of the eye.
These guys are super cool, but super anatomy dependant, as it requires you to have enough tissue across the central ridge of your brow bone. This is less common than traditional brow piercings.
Surface Eyebrow Piericngs:
Now talking about surface eyebrows might be considered a little bit of cheating for this blog, as they dont pass through the defined brow ridge we have spoken about, but rather they sit above or below the ‘tail’ of the brow. They are pierced with a internally threaded surface bar, and can be decorated with a range of jewellery!
These piercings are absolutely classic, and can be pierced in a a variety of ways. To start your own piercing projects, or even to discuss the possibilities before making any commitments, click here to book with any member of Rogue!
I first met Elizabeth around ten years ago when we both worked in a call centre . We bonded immediately over our shared love of piercings, tattoos and all things alternative. Throughout the years, Elizabeth has navigated the turbulent path of ADHD and ASD whilst immersing themselves fully into an industry that they are now thriving in. When we first met, Elizabeth struggled to talk with strangers and now they’re hosting talks at both the UKAPP and Piercer Trade Show events, speaking to rooms full of piercers about Apprenticeships in the UK and Neurodivergence in Piercing! On a personal note, Elizabeth was the first person to encourage me to start piercing and I am eternally and whole-heartadly grateful that they gave me that push and overwhelmingly proud of the person and piercer that they are.
Gemma: How did you get started in piercing?
Elizabeth: I was being pierced a lot as a teenager, then I got normal jobs because I thought that was what you were supposed to do. I started getting pierced again in my early 20s but I’d never been pierced by anyone who wasn’t a tattooist so I never made the connection that it was a job.
Then I saw somewhere advertising for a body piercer and I didn’t get the job there but it was the first time I was like, ‘oh, this is someone’s job and I could do that?!’ I very much hated corporate life. This was maybe 2016 and it all kind of unfolded from there. When clients ask, I tell them I got started by accident.
G: What started your interest in piercing?
E: I was on MySpace for most of my teen years. There were all these ‘scene queens’, with snake bites and septum piercings, and I was like, shit, I want all of those. Then it all kind of went a bit nuts from there.
G:We’ve been friends a long time, I know your piercing career and your journey with mental health and getting your diagnosis sort of began simultaneously right?
E: So I have Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, dyspraxia and depression. I’d been diagnosed in maybe 2014/15. I’d given up work because of what I thought was a mental health crisis and happened to see a GP who was actually understanding. I was like, basically I just need you to give me drugs to get me through this crisis, and then I’ll look for a job again. And she asked if I’d ever considered that I might be autistic. She put that in motion and I saw a mental health nurse, then an autism specialist at a place in Chesterfield. The specialist thought I had ADHD and I laughed at her and said no, that’s not what it is. I’ve been reading about autism and it’s definitely that.
I had an informal diagnosis from the GP initially, but then it took a long time to see a specialist who confirmed what I had already accepted by that point.
G: You’re very open about your experience being neurodivergent both as a person and a piercer.
E: I’m just not ashamed of it. My diagnosis explained a lot about myself and it feels like a big part of who I am. I think it’s a lot of the reason why I’m good at what I do. It’s the reason why I’m not scared to have an opinion.
I have opinions on everything and I think anyone who’s ever talked to me on the internet very much knows. But that’s because I know myself well now, and I think knowing myself well came from a diagnosis. People are often a little frightened to seek it out. It doesn’t really change your life that dramatically if you know, but it’s a nice bit of validation. I don’t think it’s anything to be ashamed of. I don’t think there’s any condition that you should be ashamed of but I understand people want to keep things private.
G: You were diagnosed and then immediately started in the industry under not the most ideal circumstances, how was that for you?
E: I was newly diagnosed, I’d been masking for most of my life anyway so I’d not quite learned how to drop that completely in a way that I feel like I can do now. I was still very much in that headspace where I’d worked in call centers and a corporate world where I felt like I had no choice but to pretend to be a functional human being.
Masking is exhausting. So it was really hard at the beginning to do it and learn not only how to pierce but also how to interact with people in a customer service setting. Piercing is a customer service industry that happens to have treatments attached to it. But then I also had to learn how not to get too invested.
We talk about imposter syndrome a lot on the internet. People talk about having it a lot and that’s especially true when you’re a neurodivergent person. These people are never gonna forget anything. Every mistake or every weird thing I’ve done in my career, I can remember, I can very much call back to that, but I’ll never remember the good stuff.
That was really hard to balance at first, and now I just dump it all on Paddy and make him deal with the things I’m stressing about
G: Have you found within the industry, there is quite a sub-community of neurodivergent piercers?
E: Yeah, privately a lot of people have reached out and said they’re either neurodiverse and are struggling with it, or they think they might be. But also I just polled the UK Professionals group just to see and yeah, loads of people have various personality disorders,
I think what draws us to this industry is that it’s not necessarily needing to mask all the time. There’s not very many people where I feel like I know they’re not hiding their intentions, but that is true of someone that is neurodivergent. Generally, I know that they’re not hiding their actual intentions because it’s not always something that we can do. Like lying is difficult. Building emotions is difficult, so then you kind of have to be yourself around them. And I think like calls to like in any part of your life. I think neurodiverse people are drawn to each other just because they’re neurodiverse and everyone tends to have a bit of a sense of that in someone else.
G: What advice would you give piercers who are struggling with their own mental health/neurodivergence but also who have clients that are?
E: From a piercer perspective, be kind to yourself and patient with yourself. Understand your own boundaries and recognise what burnout is for you because burnout is not the same for everyone. Give yourself longer appointments. Do whatever it is that makes your life easier.
There’s zero point struggling, particularly when you are in an industry or a job that you have so much control over. I appreciate that not everybody has as much control but particularly if people are diagnosed, autism and ADHD are recognised as disabilities in this country and your employer has a legal obligation to make reasonable adjustments. But you have to know what those reasonable adjustments are. You kinda have to take some ownership of it or advocate someone to speak for you that understands.
My huge, big, giant thing from a client perspective,for anyone who is piercing someone who is neurodiverse, is don’t patronise them. I see so much performative activism on the internet that’s like, ‘oh, we do this thing for our autistic clients.’ It just feels really weird. ‘I’m gonna put lots of different cloud lights in here’. Fuck no. Everyone’s sensory issues are different as well. You’ve just gotta listen to your client. As a client, I just wanna be treated as a person and just be pierced the way that you pierce everyone because I can tell if you are out of your comfort zone as well. I see heaps of people really infantalise people with neurodiversity issues.
I like it when people give the option to have a silent appointment, but again, don’t just assume that your autistic client might want you not to talk to them because my ADHD wants you to chat.
As a piercer, I will try and make those accommodations, but also I can’t make any promises. There’s not always gonna be an option where I can do that either but I’ll try my best. We don’t do small talk in my piercing room. We do big talk. Always big talk. What superpowers would you have? I don’t know how to do small talk.
G: What’s the weirdest superpower someone has said?
E: People tend to just go for the power of flight or invisibility. Some guy wanted to make money with his hands and we ended up talking about economics for like 25 minutes. I always wanna ask people what they’re reading, but then not everybody reads
Another good one that I ask people is, what’s the weirdest fact they know. That’s fun because they are always excited to tell you. Did you know an octopus’s mouth was also its anus? It’s true for squid as well.
G: You’ve been doing some work around piercing apprenticeships in the UK. Can you tell us a bit about that and why you started the UK Piercing Apprentices Facebook group?
E: I wanted there to be piercing specific information for people who were looking to start an apprenticeship either as an apprentice or as a mentor. It’s not a particularly active group, but I think there comes a point where it doesn’t really need to be. I wanted it to be a live-in resource.
I get asked all the time if I’m taking on a trainee and there was nowhere to point people for UK specific information about what a piercing traineeship is. There’s a couple of really good blogs but a lot of them are American so the information wasn’t always relevant to the UK and /UK legislation.
Also it’s a group where people could ask questions in real time. There’s experienced piercers there, there’s piercers who are learning and there’s people who want to be piercers in there. Before I started the group, all the Facebook groups were for professionals only so we’re in these little echo chambers where we’re saying the best way to learn to be a piercer is to do an apprenticeship and learn from another piercer, but we’re also saying it to each other. That information wasn’t getting any further really. Piercers were also saying, you should find a piercer that you like and hang out at their studio, which was creating a huge issue for me personally. I can’t deal with that so I was having to say no to clients wanting to hang out and I came out of that looking like the bad guy even though I had done nothing wrong.
G: Unfortunately, the piercing and tattoo industry has a bad history of apprentice abuse. People would take on apprentices who were maybe naive or vulnerable, not pay them for their work and expect them to just be grateful that they’re a part of the industry.
E: People didn’t know that they were being exploited either and that was the big thing for me. People were being treated appallingly, but they were just being told to expect that because ‘that’s how it’s done, that’s how you learn.’ And it just felt super weird because these people are often women, people of color, disabled people, people who are already vulnerable and who would then be further exploited just for the chance to do something that they enjoyed. I think there’s real ego rooted in it as well, the mentality that a mentors knowledge is enough payment, That won’t pay your bills.
Piercing is a cool job, it’s a fun job and I find myself incredibly lucky that I get to do it every day, but the reality is it’s just not that important. So to abuse someone and treat them poorly, to do that job is bizarre to me. I worked in a McDonald’s and they paid me from day one, even when I didn’t know how to make a Big Mac. Why would it not be the same for piercing training?
We have got away with whatever we’ve wanted as an industry for far too long, and if we don’t sort this apprenticeship thing out as an industry and teach people what they’re entitled to and what they deserve and what they’re legally obliged to have, the government will do it for us.
G: Under UK legislation in 2023, what should a piercing apprenticeship look like?
E: They should be an employed member of staff who’s being referred to as a trainee or a junior member of staff. But they’re not apprentices because they’re not going to college and they will not receive a qualification at the end of it. We’re not an accredited industry. They should be paid at least minimum wage, not an apprenticeship wage. In the UK, an apprenticeship is a lower paid position because you are learning from an accredited source, usually a college, and you receive a qualification at the end of it.
Hairdressers are a really good example of that. It’s gonna be somebody who’s going to college however many days a week, every week, and then they’re going to work in a salon on other days. That salon is being funded to pay for their apprentice, and their apprentice will be on three or four pounds an hour.
Not to scare everyone off, but if piercing apprenticeship went the same route and we were qualified the same way, it would mean anyone with a teaching degree could teach piercing. My mom has a teaching degree and she was a hairdresser. She refers to labret piercings as chin piercings.
G: So you did a roundtable at the UKAPP conference on apprenticeships and also a class at the Piercer Trade Show, can you tell us what that was like?
E: I kind of wanted to cover both aspects of it. At the Trade Show in Ireland, there was a good mixture of piercers and apprentices already there. For piercers looking to take on an apprentice, I wanted them to know where they could find that information and to make sure that they’re operating within the laws.
In my talks, I try to encourage people to rethink their standpoint on if they actually need an apprentice. Do they actually need a cleaner or maybe a studio manager? Maybe you actually need a cleaner to focus solely on that task. Or if you’re struggling to pierce and run your reception, do you need a receptionist? Because your front of house is actually probably more valuable to your business than any other member of staff because they’re seeing your customers first.
I do talk about Rogue a lot in this because I think you’ve got a really good balance of who does what. Instead of people who take on an apprentice to be a general dog’s body. I think it was Jabba that said this, but he’s totally right, if you’re a piercer who works on your own and you want to take on an apprentice, do you have enough work for two piercers? I want to encourage people to evaluate what they actually want from another member of staff.
In the talks as well, from an apprentices perspective, I just wanted them to know what they were worth and have people understand what exploitation is in the workplace. And for them to know there’s people that have got their back, my inbox is literally always open if anyone wants to talk about it.
Question everything applies to everything. So when we talk about technique or why have we chosen to do internally threaded rather than externally? As an industry, we discuss and we work things out. But that applies to the situations as well. No one deserves to be exhausted for the chance to do the job they want.
G: I think for a long time piercers have just sort of gotten on with piercing and a lot of us tend to keep our opinions to ourselves for fear of backlash. But if we don’t have the discussions, there’s no progress for the industry.
E: I was really scared to speak in the Facebook groups for a really long time, for fear of being told that I was wrong. But also being wrong is really the only way that you learn. I think also not having a fear of being disliked is a hard lesson to learn, but it’s one that I’ve definitely learned a lot in my life.
I understand that, particularly on the internet, I will seem potentially quite abrasive and opinionated and loud, and I don’t think that’s necessarily true in real life. I’m caring and I will fight someone’s corner if I think that they’re being wronged. I don’t mind if industry peers aren’t my biggest fan because my clients are important to me. My friends are important to me, but also I have a life outside of piercing. I think that’s really important that we don’t live in this echo chamber where the only people we interact with are industry peers and the only thing we do is industry events. You have to create a life outside of it or it will consume you.
Particularly again, as we’ll go back to neurodiversity. It’s really easy for me to get obsessed with anything, so I have to work really, really hard to make sure it doesn’t take over my entire being.
G: I’ve known you for nearly a decade and there was definitely a time period of a few years where piercing was your entire life.
E: Yeah. It was constant, All consuming. And it nearly killed me,
I can’t let it do that again. But I think where I am now, I’ve got a really good work-life balance, which was a thing I didn’t think existed. I’ve got a lot of good support.
You’ve gotta make those things for yourself sometimes. Be an advocate for yourself.
I’m so thankful to Elizabeth for their time not only in this insightful and honest chat that we had, but for always being so supportive and caring. It’s been a turbulent decade but I’m very excited to see how much they will continue to grow over the next one! Thank you always.
We always see a lot of ‘red flags’ posts, and what to not look for in a piercing studio, or how to not be a ‘Karen’ or ‘bad client’. But what do these mean? What should we be doing as clients? What are the green flags studios are looking for? We have previously spoken about what you should look for in studios aswell, which you can read here!
The first one is that we are looking for clients to be respectful. This doesn’t just mean we want you to not shout at us and swear at us when something doesn’t go the way you thought it might have, or if a mistake was made. But it also means you’re being respectful in the way you may phrase things. As a high standard studio we may understand that sometimes you may be shocked by our prices, or something is a little out of budget. Instead of saying ‘you’re too expensive’ or ‘I can get it for cheaper’, we are quite understanding if you simply state that it’s out of your budget tellingl us your budget. This means we can work with you to find something equally as amazing in your price bracket! We want to work with you, not against you.
Clients who aren’t afraid to ask questions are also a ‘green flag’. Wether its a question about aftercare, jewellery quality,or piercing possibilities we’re always happy to answer. Quality piercing studios would rather you ask too many questions and be happy and knowdlegable than walk away feeling unsatisfied and confused.
Respecting our time. This is a big one, and especially for studios that are appointment only. We want our clients to be on time to their appointment as we run a schedule. Missing half of your appointment might mean we won’t be able to continue, or run late into the next appointment. Being on time (or even a few minutes early) means your appointment will go smooth, and our piercers aren’t rushing or feeling stressed about time managment.
Understanding that this is our job, and not expecting us to work for free. This slightly follows on from respecting our time. We have set working hours, and it is absolutely fine to message us outside of those times, but please don’t expect a reply after we close. We have personal lives too! This also relates to in studio hours, wether it’s a ‘small jewellery change’, the piercing itself, us sitting with us to talk about curations or jewellery ideas, there may be a small fee! Even though these appointments might be short, it still takes up time in our calenders and our working hours. You woudn’t expect a lawyer to spend 20 minutes discussing work without payment, please don’t expect us to!
Listening to your aftercare advice! Clients who follow our aftercare advice, andcome back for their downsize are often less likely to come back with irritation bumps, or other issues. Please don’t touch, poke, fiddle or play with your piercings, use anything other than a sterile saline solution, or switch out your piercings to early. These are all ‘red flags’ and means your piercings are more likely to take longer to heal, or are more prone to lumps and bumps along your healing journey.
Not assuming we’re also tattoo artists. Now tattoo artists are amazing, and do some quite incredible work, but that doesn’t mean this is the end goal for everybody. Piercing and tattooing are completely seperate worlds, and the work is so different. Body piercers are piercers because they want to be piercers. They enjoy what they do, and they don’t see it as a gateway into tattooing. It’s really disheartening when clients assume we also tattoo, because our work is just as important. (However, if you are visiting Rogue and are interested in some amazing artwork for your skin, please check out Revenant Tattoo and pick up one of her leaflets or business cards.)
We absolutely adore each and every one of ourt clients, wether you only come the once, or you come every single day. We couldn’t do it without you, and you are all very much part of Rogue as we are.
A very common question we get is, ‘You pierced my mum a few months ago, can you reuse her worn jewellery in my piercing?” Sharing body jewellery is a very controversial topic within piercing. Across the board, it is seen as a huge no-no. That being said, there seems to be some discrepancies – Would you wear earrings second-hand? Would you wear something someone else wore in a fresh piercing? Where do plugs, weights and hangers fit into this discussion?
Worn Jewellery Degradation
Jewellery degrades over time. This is true of all things – Entropy comes for us all! This is not necessarily a cause for concern – Titanium labrets age very well and do not tend to cause issues to the wearer. Issues only tend to arise when an attempt is made to reprocess, sterilise, and re-implant the jewellery into a new person. Please read the below figures as they are super interesting!
We do not have any data specifically from body jewellery (yet!), however Titanium alloy implants from dentistry and osteology are an excellent (and well-studied) source of reference. As you can see, the surface of the implants can become scratched, dented etc through normal wear. This worn surface causes no problems in a healed piercing as the piercing is settled and robust. This is not a surface that should ever come into contact with a fresh piercing, as jewellery is stored appropriately at the studio to avoid damage and a damaged or worn labret is never used in a fresh piercing.
Using a worn post in a fresh piercing is cause for concern- that imperfect surface can scratch and irritate the fresh piercing. The main issue with this though is the fact that it is impossible to fully sterilise this item. The cracks, folds and imperfections can collect biological material which is difficult to remove from the surface. Introducing this into a fresh wound is not hygienic and should not be done by any professional piercer.
The above images shows the presence of biological contamination – This can be carbon residues, proteins, biological cells, all of which are permanently adhered to the surface of the implant. Testing has shown that since the surface cannot be completely cleaned, there is a high risk of prion residue. Prions are proteins found on the surface of cells, which can become damaged and misfolded. These prions can then cause Prion diseases such as CJD. Although very rare, the potential existence of prions on the surface of worn jewellery is enough of a risk that we would never reuse worn jewellery in a fresh piercing, especially not across different people.
A common argument I hear is ‘But we’re related!’ This argument is moot. Pathogens, as far as we are aware, do not discriminate between related and unrelated individuals. Even if they did, the contaminants and biological matter would still cause an immune response and opens you up to potential infection.
Jewellery needs to be appropriately sterilised to be used in a fresh piercing. Putting a worn piece of jewellery into our autoclaves would potentially contaminate them with biological matter, which is inappropriate and opens up the risk of spreading contaminants across clients! This risk is obviously low due to strict reprocessing protocols within the studio, but the safest risk is the risk you don’t take in the first place.
Healed piercings are generally robust and not as vulnerable to infections from worn jewellery. The issue with this to us as professionals is that spreading biological contaminants between people is always too high of a risk. Biological swabs of worn earrings showed that up to 485 colonies of bacteria can be found on a single piece of jewellery, with species including Staphylococcus and Bacillus. Some species of which are responsible for Staph, MRSA and Meningitis. 1 in 30 people are thought to be asymptomatic carriers of MRSA – Inserting jewellery contaminated with their microbiome, skin cells, sebum and other debris leaves you at risk. For example, if you are sharing stretching jewellery and cause any microtears during the insertion process, this leaves you very vulnerable to infection.
You would hope that worn jewellery being sold online would at least be sterilised, but it is difficult to prove this and many listings simply skirt around the topic of hygiene. The average reseller simply does not have access to the type of machinery required to reprocess and resterilise jewellery. This is a very concerning thing to see from a professional studios point of view as you do not know the health status of the previous wearer, and cannot assume that the jewellery is safe to wear even if the seller claims it is ‘pre-loved, but in great condition!’ This is one of many reasons why we do not use jewellery purchased outside the studio in fresh piercings.
In general, we would recommend extreme caution when purchasing worn or preloved jewellery, even for healed or stretched piercings. The risk is far too high. It is unhygienic – Comparable to wearing someone else’s used underwear or sex toys!
To conclude, we know it’s really tempting to go down the worn jewellery route. High quality jewellery, especially Gold jewellery, weights and hangers, are quite expensive and it can seem like a savvy financial decision to find them second-hand. However, the risk of infection, bloodborne pathogens, and irritation to your piercings is too high for it to be a sensible choice. We always recommend finding your nearest high quality piercing studio and purchasing brand new jewellery for all of your piercings – Your body is worth it! You only ever have one body, so treat it well. High quality does not always mean high cost – Neometal offers a wide range of high quality body jewellery with a very accessible price tag. You can also find Glass jewellery for stretching on our website!
Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or queries you have! Don’t forget to follow us on social media to ensure you don’t miss any posts or announcements.
Esta es mi primera vez escribiendo un blog para Rogue, pero espero que sea la primera vez de muchas! Estoy escribiendo este texto originalmente en castellano, mi lengua materna. Gemma hara una traduccion a ingles de este texto. Trabajo en equipo!
This is my first time blogging for Rogue, but I hope it's the first of many! I am writing this text originally in Spanish, my mother tongue. Gemma will do an English translation of this text. Teamwork!
Las perforaciones corporales no son algo que hayamos inventado en el mundo contemporaneo. El ser humano ha estado adornando su cuerpo para representar un status social, marcar un antes y un despues en un momento de su vida, como parte de rituales de varios tipos, o simplemente como adorno desde tiempos inmemoriables.
Body piercings are not something that we have invented in the contemporary world. Human beings have been adorning their bodies to represent a social status, mark a significant moment in their life, as part of various rituals, or simply as an ornament since time immemorial.
Hoy en dia hacemos una distincion clara entre body piercing ‘tribal’ y body piercing contemporaneo. Y enfocandonos en este ultimo, podemos clasificar los motivos por los que la gente se perfora en cuatro grandes grupos, respetando los motivos personales de cada individuo:
Today we make a clear distinction between 'tribal' body piercing and contemporary body piercing. And focusing on the latter, we can classify the reasons why people get pierced into four large groups, respecting the personal reasons of each individual:
1- Motivos culturales y espirituales (Cultural and spiritual reasons):
En este grupo figuran los individuos que se hacen perforaciones corporales como parte de una creencia religiosa o espiritual. Un claro ejemplo se puede ver en la cultura hindu y nostril piercings, que aunque haya pequenhas diferencias en los motivos por los que se perforan la aleta de la nariz (dependiendo de la region y la cultura local de cada lugar), mayormente se hace por herencia familiar. La futura esposa hereda la joyeria mas cara y valiosa de la familia como garantia economica en caso de que sea necesario venderla en caso de necesidad). Tambien se perforan para mostrar que estan en edad de contraer matrimonio, o simplemente para hacer saber que ya lo han contraido. La region en la que vivan o de la que procedan definira el motivo por el que llevan la aleta de la nariz perforada con elaboradas piezas de joyeria hechas a mano en oro y piedras preciosas.
This group includes individuals who get body piercings as part of a religious or spiritual belief. A clear example can be seen in the Hindu culture with nostril piercings, that although there are small differences in the reasons why the nose is pierced (depending on the region and the local culture of each place), it is mostly done to protect family traditions. The future wife inherits the most expensive and valuable jewellery in the family as an economic guarantee in case it is necessary to sell it for financial help). They are also pierced to show that they are of marriageable age, or simply to let it be known that they have already agreed to marry. The region they live in or come from will define why they wear their nostrils pierced with elaborate handcrafted gold and gemstone jewellery.
2- Motivos esteticos (aesthesic reasons):
Probablemente este sea el principal motivo por el que la gente se hace perforaciones corporales hoy en dia. La vanidad de enamorarse de una pieza de joyeria que quieres poseer, el booster de confianza que supone verse por primera vez un piercing recien hecho, la popularidad de ciertos piercings que gente famosa lleva y hacen que te intereses por tener algo similar o igual (como ocurrio en los anhos 90 con el piercing en el ombligo, cuando aparecio Paul King perforando uno en un videoclip del grupo de rock Aerosmith). Podria pasarme la manhana enumerando motivos por los que la gente ama el body piercing hoy en dia, pero seria un texto interminable y muy aburrido.
This is probably the main reason people get body piercings today. The vanity of falling in love with a piece of jewellery that you want to own, the confidence booster of seeing a fresh piercing for the first time, the popularity of certain piercings that famous people wear and make you interested in having something similar or the same (it happened in the 90s with the navel piercing, when Paul King appeared piercing one in a video clip of the rock group Aerosmith). I could spend the morning listing reasons why people love body piercing nowadays, but it would be an endless and very boring text.
3- Motivos sexuales (sexual motives):
Hemos hablado varias veces sobre este tema anteriormente, asi que no creo que sea necesario ahondar mucho aqui. Algunas perforaciones pueden elevar la intensidad de las relaciones intimas o sus posibilidades y/o capacidades, y por ello se han hecho tan populares. Aqui en Rogue tenemos el inmenso privilegio de ser considerados como un punto de referencia con especialistas en este campo, con clientes de todos los rincones del mundo viniendo a vernos, interesados en este tipo de practicas. Es algo que nos hace sentir extremadamente afortunados por toda la confianza que depositais en nosotros y el grado de compromiso que muestra toda la gente interesada en piercings de esta naturaleza.
We have talked about this topic several times before, so I don't think it is necessary to delve too much here. Some piercings can increase the intensity of intimate relationships, or alter their possibilities and/or capabilities, and that is why they have become so popular. Here at Rogue we have the immense privilege of being considered a point of reference with specialists in this field, with clients from all corners of the world coming to see us, interested in this type of practice. It is something that makes us feel extremely lucky for all the trust you place in us and the degree of commitment shown by all the people interested in piercings of this nature.
4- Motivos de efecto impacto (shock effect/ breaking societal norms):
Este es con diferencia el motivo menos frecuente, pero de todas formas, uno de los motivos por los que algunas personas se hacen piercings y otros tipos de modificaciones corporales: el efecto shock. Perforaciones que simplemente buscan impactar al espectador. En la mayoria de los casos, las perforaciones unicamente son un complemento de otro tipo de modificaciones corporales mas predominantemente visuales que esteticas. Playpiercing, suspensiones corporales y performances esta dentro de esta clasificacion.
This is by far the least common reason, but still one of the reasons some people get piercings and other types of body modification: the shock effect. Piercings that simply seek to impact the viewer. In most cases, piercings are only a complement to other types of body modifications, more predominantly visual than aesthetic. Play-piercing, body suspensions and performances are within this classification.
En mayor o menor medida, todo el mundo tiene sus motivos personales para decidir hacerse un piercing, y todas ellas son validas mientras sea de forma responsable y por voluntad propia. En cualquier caso, nuestro trabajo no es juzgar el motivo por el que la gente se interesa por ciertos piercings, y aunque nos gusta saber el motivo, jamas juzgaremos a nadie.
To a greater or lesser extent, everyone has their personal reasons for deciding to get a piercing, and all of them are valid as long as it is done responsibly and of their own free will. In any case, our job is not to judge why people are interested in certain piercings, and although we like to know why, we will never judge anyone.
Espero que mi primer blog entry sea entretenido de leer, espero anhadir nuevas entradas en el futuro. Gracias por leerme, hasta la proxima!
I hope my first blog entry is fun to read, I hope to add new entries in the future. Thanks for reading, until next time!
As always, you can contact us via email or instagram with any questions!
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.
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 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 – 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:
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
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.
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!
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.
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.
If you have ever visited Rogue, you will have needed to make an appointment via our website. Since day one, we have been an appointment-only studio – Even before COVID! So why is that?
We find that clients who are willing to make an appointment are less rushed and aren’t getting pierced as an impulse decision. These are the clients who are more thoughtful about their piercings, take better care of them, and have a really good experience!
Booking appointments allows you to organise your day, so you don’t have to queue for a piercing or wait a long time to be seen! If you have ever attended a busy walk-in studio, you’ll know that it can hype you up even further if you have to wait a long time for your piercing. When you have everything planned out, your piercing experience is much more relaxing.
As a small studio, our time is valuable. With a walk-in studio situation, it is difficult for us to find the time to organise the paperwork, business and general run-around time! When working to appointments, we can control our calendar and the behind-the-scenes running of the studio works much more smoothly.
We also enjoy working to appointment as each client has their own dedicated time- We don’t feel rushed, or like we have to prioritise one client over another. Your booked time is your booked time!
As an appointment only studio, there are many reasons why no-shows or appointments that cannot go ahead can be an issue for us as a business. The pre-paid piercing fee covers the piercing itself and all the equipment involved. The most important thing is that it covers our time. When you book a 30 minute appointment, you in effect block that time out so that no other customers can attend our studio. This is awesome for you as a client when you attend the appointment as planned, as you get our undivided attention. However, this can be problematic when you no-show, or attend the appointment without all the prerequisite paperwork, or are late to your appointment. We cannot pierce you safely if the above policies are not followed.
If this happens, we are often asked if you can get your money back. Unfortunately, we can’t offer refunds as we cannot fill appointments with zero notice and if we refund you then we lose a full 30 minutes of work and income. As a small business still recovering from the effects of COVID, we simply cannot lose hours of our day to no-shows and incorrect attendance. We know this is not ideal, but if we have one 30 minute no show a day, that’s 2.5 hours of missed appointments a week. That works out at 10 hours of lost work a month! When we have some days with 2-4 30 minute no shows, you can see how that is untenable for us. This is especially tricky on days where we are fully booked, and we know that we have turned away legitimate clients due to a lack of available appointments.
We love piercing, and we love our clients. You guys are the reason we do this. Working to appointment only improves our service and makes everything run so much smoother.