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The Basics Transition

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

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

So, What’s Different?

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

Chemistry Test

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

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

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

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

Mill Certificate

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

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

Important points to note on a mill certificate are:

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


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

DFARS – Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement

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

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

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

Czech RepublicJapanSweden
EstoniaNetherlandsUnited 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.


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

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

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

Thread Quality

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

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


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.


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Why Are We Appointment Only?

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

For You

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

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

For Us

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

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

No Shows

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

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

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

See you next week for another new blog!

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Shadowing and Guesting: Why is it Important?

Shadowing and Guesting might seem like a piercer jolly but it is much more important than you may realise. You may have noticed that over the last month there have been some friendly new faces around Rogue. All of these lovely piercers have been here to guest spot or to shadow.

Guest Spots

Guest spots are when a piercer goes to work in a different studio than their usual resident studio. These piercers can sometimes be permanent travelers or just heading to a single studio. Guest spots can be helpful to a studio for multiple reasons, with the most common reasons including holiday cover, illness cover and studio growth. Aiden was a permanent travelling artist before setting up Rogue and had spent 2.5 years globetrotting across the UK and Europe. Guesting and working in new studios can really push you to try new techniques to fit with that studio’s style, and increases the speed at which you learn. Guest spots are often well-paid and you are expected to be piercing the entire time. It’s a great way to earn money and travel across the world! Guest spots are often for highly-skilled piercers who have the flexibility to work in whatever situation they find themselves in.


Shadowing is the process by which piercers will attend another experienced piercers’ studio in order to specifically learn a new technique. It’s like a mini-apprenticeship! For example, Rae has been with us for the past three days to learn new techniques for forward helixes, tragus and daith piercings. Shadowing means that the learner watches everything the experienced piercer is doing, and the new techniques are explained in detail. This is a great way to brush up on new skills and confirm your own knowledge. It’s so important to realise that most piercers work alone and do not often have the chance to share knowledge or improve their techniques without visiting other studios.

We welcome piercers of all experience levels to shadow at Rogue. Get in touch via if you would like to shadow us!

Who’s visiting?

Marianne has been our main guest this last month, and has been spending her Fridays and Saturdays working alongside us in our second piercing room. It’s been lovely to see her confidence grow! Marianne has been piercing for 9 years. She was trained just down the road from Rogue in Pierce of Art in Alfreton, so that’s the necessary Nottingham connection. Mari is currently in the process of opening her own studio in Bangor, North Wales!

Rae has been spending much of this week shadowing Aiden to hone her skills. She has been piercing just south of Cardiff for 7 years, but felt it was valuable to come and see another experienced piercer work. While she was here, we happily pierced a set of supremely high nostrils on her! We are looking forward to seeing these heal over the coming months.

We used a set of princess-cut London Blue Topaz ends from BVLA for these high nostrils for Rae. What a treat!
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How To Spot a High Quality Piercing Studio

Since the original boom of piercing in the late 1990’s, there has been a second huge explosion of piercing popularity. This popularity has been fostered by the internet and the online presences of studios. There seem to be a new high quality piercing studio popping up in every town and city across the UK. Some of them may even stock high-end and luxury brands! This must be a great thing… Right?

Unfortunately, sometimes the online presence of a studio and it’s actual quality do not match up. They may post photos of ears adorned with luxurious jewellery, but never follow up and post photos of the angles, or photos of the piercing healed. They might have a sleek studio that looks good on first impression, but don’t have hand-washing facilities or the ability to safely process piercing equipment. So, when you go to a studio, what should you actually be looking for?

We won’t be showing off fancy jewellery in this post. We’ll only be focussing on what matters – A good piercing!


Hygiene should be the number one thing on your list of boxes to tick. No matter how pretty a studio, if it is not hygienic and clean it is not safe. 

Here you can see Jess processing jewellery. All piercers should be naked from the elbow down to prevent cross-contamination!

First thing to do is check all the surfaces. Are they non-porous and easily disinfected? A red flag at this point would be carpets, curtains and other soft furnishings that cannot be cleaned in the clinical areas. Over time these items can become intrinsically contaminated with blood, cleaning supplies and other contaminants. The studio itself should be uncluttered and clean above all else.

The next thing would be to check the piercing room itself. Does it have a hand-washing sink with a hands-free tap? Is the bed nonporous and easily disinfected? Does it look clean, tidy and organised? A good studio is neat and meticulously cleaned multiple times a day. You should not see loose jewellery floating around, or piles of items on any work surfaces. Personal items such as bags and phones should not be allowed on any clinical surfaces! 

During the piercing process, do they use sterile gloves? Sterile gloves are an important part of keeping you safe. If they are touching your piercing or jewellery, then they risk contamination if they don’t use sterile gloves.

If there is a sterilising machine such as a Statim autoclave in the room, can you ask to see its’ annual service certificate and sterilisation log? A good studio will include an indicator in each cycle to prove that the items have been correctly sterilised, which are then logged individually and stored in a logbook for easy access. If they can’t prove that your jewellery has been sterilised, then you can only assume it hasn’t been! We are more than happy to show you our sterilising process and the behind-the-scenes parts that most people don’t see!

This one is a basic rule of thumb – Do you see studio employees cleaning? If you can’t see or hear things being cleaned during your appointment, then it’s a potential red flag. Of course, a huge amount of the cleaning and sterilising we do is behind the scenes! However if you have ever paid a visit to Rogue, you’ll know the cleaning never stops. All surfaces are disinfected with hospital-grade disinfectants between every client, and you’ll often hear me saying that I’m just popping out to sterilise your jewellery before your aftercare speech!

Design and Ethics

The studio should have a few things – These things are green flags that your piercer is reputable and you can begin to place trust in them. 

When you walk in, you should be able to see your piercers license and insurance certificates displayed on the wall. In Rogue, ours are displayed behind the front desk! If you can’t see a license or insurance displayed, this is a big red flag. Piercing without a license is illegal in the UK, and Public Liability Insurance is a part of your licensing agreement!

Here are our licenses and insurance certificates! Underneath you can see my Blood-borne Pathogens certification and a few Covid-specific training courses I have taken.

Your piercing should always be performed in a private area. Your piercing is not a show for strangers to watch – It is a personal experience. This private piercing room should either be a fully walled room, or have sturdy walls a minimum of 8ft high. Curtains and room dividers do not count! The walls are there for privacy, and to prevent contamination of the area with dust, bacteria and other nasties that can be aerosolised.


If you are looking for a good piercer, you should ask them how they were trained. You can read about apprenticeships here, which are the absolute gold standard for piercing education. Red flags at this point would be if your piercer has attended a piercing school, or has less than 3 years of education and experience. Apprenticeships last three years for a reason, so anyone piercing unsupervised with less than 2-3 years of education may not give you a piercing to the standard that a paying client deserves. Piercing schools are not valid forms of education! We would be rehashing old articles if I delved too deep into that topic here, which is why it has it’s own dedicated article. 

Piercing safety organisations such as the APP and UKAPP require all piercers and every other staff member (like me!) to be fully trained in Blood-borne Pathogen control. This is vital education for everyone involved in this industry as we are exposed to potential hazards every day. Ask your piercer if they can produce an in-date BBP certification from a reputable source. If they cannot provide this, then they may not have the education to safely work in a piercing environment without risking cross-contamination and potentially spread pathogens between clients and themselves. Another level of training which is ideal for piercers is first aid training. Here at Rogue, and many other high quality studios across the country, we are all fully trained in First aid and CPR. This training is refreshed every single year. This is not required as a piercer, but is a requirement for joining organisations such as the APP and UKAPP. This is valuable education which allows your piercer to be more confident and means they are prepared for any situation that may arise. It is our hope that we never need to use this training!

Continuous education is a vital part of piercing. Piercing, especially in the UK, is a constantly evolving industry with new information arriving all the time. If your piercer has been piercing for 10-15 years, that sounds great! However, if they have not kept up with continuous learning and moved with the newest information, then the chances are that they are not the best piercer and could be using outdated, uncomfortable techniques and low-quality jewellery. The best piercers are the ones who have led the way with new techniques, safer materials and high-quality jewellery! The best way for piercers in the UK to keep up with education is by being members of the APP or UKAPP. Annual conferences, meet-ups and seminars are available for members to learn from. Look and see if your piercer has certificates of attendance for any classes or seminars! 

Here are some of Aiden’s certificates from attending international and national conferences! These are also certificates from classes he has taught at conferences in the USA, Germany and UK.

As much as we are enjoying the popularity of piercing at the moment, it’s really important not to get sucked into the glamour of branding. Yes, the studio you are looking at may stock BVLA, Anatometal and other more affordable Gold brands. But if they don’t have the basics of hygiene and the experience to perform a good piercing? Well… You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. We would rather you get a good piercing with basic Titanium jewellery than be sucked into having a poorly placed, unhygienic piercing with a Diamond in it.

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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


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? 


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.) 


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!


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. 


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.


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: [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: [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: [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.


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.


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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Reopening Under-The-Mask Procedures

Hi folks! The day has finally come, and it’s an exciting one. We are reopening all under the mask procedures from Tuesday, the 18th of May! You can book for these piercings through our online booking system from Saturday, 15th of May. We are so excited to be able to offer nose piercings again alongside all of our other orofacial options.

This means we will be offering:

  • Nose piercings
  • Septum piercings
  • Lip and cheek piercings
  • Inner oral piercings such as tongue, smiley, and frenulum piercings.

Why Offer Nose Piercings etc. Now?

We are a data-led studio, so we chose not to reopen these procedures as soon as we reopened. We simply didn’t feel it was the right decision to blindly reopen these procedures when we didn’t have enough data to make an informed decision. When we reopened, the infection rate 7-day average was 29,290.3 cases.The most recent 7-day average was 14,000. This is a percentage decrease of 210%! 

This nostril piercing was upgraded to this Industrial Strength ‘Caeli’ captive. What a stunner!

Not only this, but our ability to access the correct level of PPE for under-the-mask services has vastly increased and we now have access to high-level HEPA filters which remove contaminants from the air. We now have three HEPA filters running at a rate that completely filters the atmosphere in the studio 15 times an hour.

We will constantly be reviewing this policy in response to updated infection rates and local governmental guidelines. If we feel it is no longer the responsible choice to offer these services, we will close these options again until the data says that it is safe. 

Why are we offering inner oral piercings as well as nose piercings?

This diagram shows the connection of the nasal and oral cavities. If you touch one, you are by extent touching the other. The differentiation of the two is completely arbitrary.

We have noticed some studios are offering nasal piercings but not oral piercings. There is no scientific basis for this- It is the same as wearing your mask not covering your nose. The contamination risk is the same. The oral cavity and nasal pathway are a single tract that connect at the larynx to meet the lungs. This means that air expelled from the nose is the same that would be exhaled through the mouth. When choosing to offer under-the-mask piercing, we are already accepting the chance of contamination whether we enter the nostrils or mouth for nose piercings or lip piercings. 

In order to accept this risk, we have increased our handwashing procedures to include the upper forearm right to the elbow in the same way that surgeons scrub for surgical procedures. Our PPE is robust and whether we touch the nose or oral cavity we carry the same level of protection. We are confident in our protocols and policies, and are therefore happy to offer all nasal and oral options.

What are our Protocols?

Rogue is known for our stringent hygiene protocols and strong cross-contamination procedures. As a studio, we have always worked to the highest standards. In order to prepare for under-the-mask services, we haven’t needed to change our protocols that much! For all piercings we already use a single-use medical mask, eye protection, visors and disposable aprons to prevent cross-contamination in regards to bloodborne pathogens. These protocols are fully extended to the coronavirus and other respiratory illnesses. The main change that has allowed us to reopen these under-the-mask procedures is the rising rate of vaccination, reduced infection rates and the installation of HEPA certified air filtration. 

A Jestrum piercing performed with a simple Anatometal curved barbell. The disc on the bottom is super comfortable!

What is Expected from our Clients

Although we are offering under-the-mask work like nose piercings, masks are still mandatory in store for all other piercings. This means you must bring and wear a mask from the moment you enter the studio, and only remove it once you have entered the piercing room and been asked to remove it for a facial or oral piercing. 

We recommend bringing a spare medical mask with you as they can be more comfortable than a tight fabric mask. Once you have had your piercing we recommend using disposable masks for the first 4 weeks as fabric ones can become contaminated. 

We are so excited to be able to safely offer these piercings again- We adore facial piercings because they are such a simple way to either revolutionise your look or to add a dainty extra to your style. We would love to perform more lip piercings including philtrums, jestrums and paired lip piercings. You can book for these options online through our website, and we look forward to seeing your smiling faces again. In the meantime, keep an eye on our social media for gorgeous inspiration!

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The Importance of Saying No

The importance of saying no in piercing. 

No is a powerful word that we all as a society need to learn to use more, without explanation or argument. However, in piercing it is sometimes difficult to say no, especially to a paying client. Here I will go over what saying no can look like, and more importantly why we might say no to you.

There are a few obvious reasons we will say no to a client- If you are underage, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or if you are clearly under the coercion of another person. These are the most important reasons we will say no. It is for your safety!

The first thing that comes to mind is the idea of anatomy dependent piercing. Anatomy dependent piercings include traditional industrial piercings, traditional navel piercings and most intimate piercings. For these piercings, we specifically ask you to book a consultation where you can come in and spend time with us checking your anatomy is suitable, and chatting about the piercing, what the healing process looks like, and what jewellery options you need for it. 

A custom ball-joint scaffold piercing, using Industrial Strength components. This is a superb option if you don’t have the anatomy for a traditional scaffold piercing. Book yours here.

We say no to more traditional industrial piercings than any other piercing. This is because when pierced on the wrong anatomy, they can cause a large amount of scarring and discomfort for the lifetime of that piercing. Most clients are unaware of simply how dependent on your anatomy a scaffold is- It is not a piercing that everyone can get! However, we have still seen quite a number of incorrect industrial piercings come to our studio looking for advice. Some piercers may find it hard to say no, or simply would prefer to pierce you and take your money for a piercing that deep down they know will not work for you. If we say no to a piercing on anatomical grounds, trust us when we say that it is for the best! At Rogue, it’s important that we only perform safe piercings that have the capacity to last a lifetime. We can’t be swayed into performing piercings that are unsuitable and have a high risk of rejection.  

Another reason we may decline to pierce is on younger clients. We do lobe piercings on clients from 8 years old. We like to bring these clients and their parents in for a quick consultation before their piercing appointment so we can get an idea of how mature the child is, how happy they are to get pierced and if they have any worries about the procedure. We do reserve the right to say no if we feel that your child is not ready to get pierced. Piercings take care and attention to heal, and sometimes it is worth waiting another year or two before trusting your child to properly care for them. Not only this, but the consent of your child is vital. If they get one lobe pierced and decide that they don’t want the other one, we will not pierce the second lobe! Learning bodily autonomy at a young age is really important, and we will listen to your child and what they want. We will always work with the parent on this one, so we are happy to arrange a time in the future for the second piercing when the child is happy to get the other.

This is a beautiful collection, but this takes time! We wouldn’t dream of piercing all of this at once. Patience is a virtue when it comes to collecting piercings.

We may also say no if you already have a plethora of fresh piercings. If we can clearly see that you are already trying to heal 3 or more piercings, then we will at least think twice about burdening your body with another one. We can bend this rule if you are a regular client who we know takes stellar care of your piercings, but as a general rule we won’t pierce you if we can see that you currently have a couple of irritated or fresh piercings. Again, piercings are a long-term commitment and it’s important that they are well cared for and nicely healed before we move on to giving you more. 

We will also say no is due to client behaviour. Inappropriate behaviour towards other clients and our staff is unacceptable and will result in an automatic ban from Rogue. Inappropriate behaviour consists of suggestive comments, asking about unusual or intimate piercings that our staff have, attempts to touch our staff, or attempts to contact our staff on personal social media or in person outside of the bounds of our studio. I’m sure you can all see why this would be the case! Harassment is unfortunately a part of life in the piercing industry, but we want to make that change and really push that it is unacceptable to harass our staff.

So there you have it- A couple reasons why we might say no to a piercing. At the end of the day, your health and well-being is the most important thing for us, and we won’t do anything to compromise that. We are forever appreciative that clients trust us with their bodies, and we are grateful for the opportunity to produce only the best piercings by working with our clients to produce what they want. That trust is vital for a good relationship between piercer and client. That trust has to include trust that your piercer is working with your best interests in mind. So thank you for choosing Rogue and putting that trust into us!

If you have any questions about this article or any others on the site, don’t hesitate to get in touch via Instagram or send me an email at