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Large-Gauge Piercings 101

Rogue has become quite the hub for large-gauge piercing work in the UK! With a combined experience of over 30 years, the piercing team at Rogue can offer pretty much all body piercings at a larger gauge than standard. So, what is a large-gauge piercing and how do we do them?

What is a Large-Gauge Piercing?

We define large-gauge as anything pierced initially at 10g (2.4mm) or higher. Large-gauge piercings can also be achieved via stretching, however this is a much longer and more labourious process that can take many years to achieve.

Most piercings can be performed at a large gauge, the most popular being:

  • Lobe Piercings
  • Septum Piercings
  • Lip Piercings (Labret, Philtrum, Snakebites and many more)
  • Genital Piercings
  • Cartilage Piercings (Conch, Helix, and Daith)
  • Nipple Piercings
  • Navel Piercings
Fresh 6mm septum piercing – Note that no tissue is being removed!

What is the process?

We always recommend booking in for a piercing consultation before any large-gauge work – This is for two reasons.

  1. Depending on the piercing, we need to perform an anatomy check. This is done to ensure you have the appropriate anatomy for the piercing you would like, and to double-check that your intended piercing size is suitable.
  2. We also like to talk to our large-gauge piercing clients in advance, as there are sometimes multiple methods available for some piercings. In addition, we always want to talk to our potential clients about what to expect, and ensure that you are ready to choose a large-gauge piercing.
The process of a large gauge navel piercing by Aiden.

How is a Large-Gauge Piercing Done?

Large-gauge piercings are performed the same as most other piercings – We simply use a larger needle, and custom-made jewellery. As previously mentioned, there are sometimes alternative methods available which can be discussed.

  1. To prepare for your appointment, we recommend eating a good meal with complex carbs and protein involved. We also strongly discourage drinking alcohol for 24/48hrs before your appointment.
  2. At your appointment, we will firstly double-check the anatomy and decide on an appropriate placement for you. Depending on the piercing location, we will also discuss this placement with you. Some piercings have ‘wiggle-room’ for placement, such as conch piercings, whereas others really require precise placement. We are happy to chat about this with you to make sure you’re happy!
  3. We will then clean the piercing placement again. We use a double-cleaning method to first clean and secondly disinfect the location.
  4. We usually pierce you laying down – This ensures your comfort and prevents extra movement. It’s also good for clients who might feel a little faint due to the piercing process!
  5. Once we are happy with the marking, we will don our sterile gloves. We use sterile gloves for all piercing procedures for optimal hygeine and cleanliness.
  6. We may then take a short time to decide on our positioning, so there may be a short 2-3 minute wait while we prepare ourselves to pierce. This is to ensure the piercing itself is the quickest, smoothest process.
  7. Once we are ready, and you are ready, we will instruct you to take a nice deep breath in. On your exhale, this is when we will pierce you!
  8. It is super important to keep your breathing relaxed and even. Holding your breath and clenching your torso can only make the process feel more intense and increase any feelings of panic. Nice, even, deep breathing is key.
  9. Once the piercing is performed, we then insert the jewellery. The entire piercing process itself will take less than a minute.
  10. You are more than welcome to take a break at this stage – There is no rush to jump off the piercing bed and take a look! We will always move at your pace.

Large-Gauge FAQs

Why Pierce and not Stretch?

This is a super common question we get! There are two main reasons that you might want to pierce (or repierce) at a larger gauge instead of simply stretching a standard gauge piercing.

Firstly, it can expedite the process and allow you to get to your goal size a lot faster. For example, if your end goal is an 8g septum piercing, that might take upwards of 2-3 years to achieve by stretching a 16g piercing. That’s 6 months post-piercing before you can make your first stretch, and then 2 years of stretching a single size at a time with the recommended 6 month wait time in between. You can read more about septum stretching in more detail here. This is a very long time indeed! That time can be shortened significantly if you choose to get pierced at 8g – You are immedietely at your goal size.

Secondly, it is less traumatic to your body. This may seem counterintuitive, but I hope I can explain this fully! Each time you stretch a piercing, even if you do so under ideal conditions using perfect technique, you can cause the generation of scar tissue. This scar tissue is a lot less elastic than normal tissue, and we need to wait for this scar tissue to soften before you make your next stretch. This is one of the reasons why you need to take stretching really slowly. That being said, even if you wait forever, some scar tissue will still remain from your previous stretches, and this can begin to accumulate. The maximum size that your body can accomodate will depend massively on the amount of scar tissue you generate during your stretching process – After a certain point, your scar tissue will not allow you to stretch to a larger size without damage occuring. If you simply got pierced at a larger size, you can avoid the scar tissue that would have otherwise been generated during the stretching process. For example, if your goal size for your earlobes is 1/2″ (approx 12mm), that is usually 12 stretches that you will need to do. 18g to 16g, 16g to 14g, 14g to 12g and so on. That is 12 opportunities for scar tissue development, even under ideal conditions. And who among us can claim to have always stretched their piercings absolutely faultlessly? Very few indeed. So, if your goal is 1/2″, you can skip 50% of the stretching process by getting pierced at 6mm (2g). This means that a) Your stretching process is shorter and b) You will usually end up with healthier, happier earlobes at the end.

Thirdly, (I know I only said two, but here we are), piercing at or near your goal size allows you to control the final look and placement of your piercing a lot more. When you stretch, you are naturally causing the distortion of tissue. Inserting larger jewellery forces the tissue around it to move and adapt. Over time, especially in body piercings such as navels and nipples, this can sometimes result in thinning tissue or a wonky piercing. Getting pierced at a larger gauge minimises issues with migration, and can prevent a ‘stretched out’ look. This can be especially important to consider in oral piercings like labret piercings, where some people do (and others really don’t!) want the super stretched up distorted look.

A final addition to this answer would be a financial one! Stretching piercings, especially genital or other body piercings, can be expensive. You will usually be expected to purchase multiple sets of jewellery that you will be wearing for a relatively short time before discarding. If doing this properly and wearing high quality jewellery, this can easily cost many hundreds of pounds. Getting pierced at or near your goal size will save you a heck of a lot of money, and who doesn’t appreciate that!

Where Does the Tissue Go?

A classic question! Many people are under the impression that needles remove tissue. So, when you push the needle through, there is a little chunk of flesh on the inside that is no longer a part of your body. Nobody likes a flesh thief! However, this is absolutely untrue and is a bit of a classic piercing myth. So, what happens when you get pierced with a needle? This short video gives you a good idea of what happens.

Does it Hurt More?

Excellent question! Having experienced large-gauge piercings, performed many hundreds, and worked alongside them for many years, we can confidently say that they are never as intimidating as you are expecting. Yes, they can feel a little pinchier than a standard piercing, but they are performed just as quickly and leave no long-term discomfort. They often heal better than standard gauge piercings, too!

I have an existing piercing. Can I be repierced at a larger gauge?

Yes, you totally can! What you need to do to prepare depends on the piercing location and the method by which we repierce you. As a general rule, we usually recommend removing your existing piercing, and waiting at least 12 weeks before booking in for your large-gauge piercing.

Repiercing hurts no more than an initial piercing, and the healing time is not usually extended by doing so.

How Long Do They Take to Heal?

This really depends on the placement. That being said, most large-gauge piercings only take about 10-15% longer than a standard piercing to heal. So for example, if a standard lobe takes 6 months, then a large-gauge lobe will take 7 months. This varies from person to person, but they are not going to take years and years!


Large gauge piercings can be a really, really useful tool in your piercing toolbox. Sometimes they are the only way forward (such as in most genital work), or they can be an excellent option depending on your piercing goals!

The most important thing to know is that you have a lifetime of support from the team at Rogue. We are large-gauge and genital specialists, meaning that we always have a member of the team on hand every day of the week to answer your questions. Don’t hesitate to get in touch via instagram or email, and make sure to head to our booking system to get booked in for your next piercing project!

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Aftercare 101 – Prince Albert + Reverse Prince Albert

Prince Albert piercings and variations thereof are one of the most common intimate piercings we offer – We often do 2-3 a week! Although we go through aftercare advice multiple times beforehand, we know it can be quite a nervewracking time and so it’s always handy to have a written aftercare advice to refer back to. The aftercare leaflets we provide are pretty bare-bones, as each intimate piercing can have very different care requirements!

What To Expect After Your Prince Albert Piercing

Bleeding – You may expect bleeding from the piercing for 3-5 days afterwards. This is totally normal! The most important thing is to keep calm. It will stop on its own. We recommend purchasing a pack of fragrance free sanitary towels to wear to protect your underwear. Please ensure that you are changing them regularly – At least once every 6 hours!

Urination – We recommend over-hydrating for the first few weeks. This means drinking plenty of water! As urine is slightly acidic, it can be a little bit stingy to go to the bathroom for the first couple of days. Staying super hydrated dilutes your urine and makes urinating much more comfortable. It also helps keep the inside of your piercing nice and clean!

Adrenaline – Having a rush of adrenaline is part and parcel of having any piercing, but this rush can be a little bit more intense with intimate work. We always recommend leaving your schedule free for the day of your piercing, so that you can take your time and take any rest you might need. You may feel a little tired or drained afterwards – Make sure to bring a carby, sugary snack and a sugary drink to sip on after your piercing.


You need to clean your new Prince Albert piercing 2-3 times a day for the first 2 weeks. We recommend a warm saline soak twice a day – morning and evening, and an optional quick clean at midday with Neilmed saline spray.

To clean your piercings, we recommend a STERILE SALINE SOLUTION. Normally, we would recommend Neilmed specifically, however due to the nature of the piercing and the method of cleaning we advise it wouldn’t be the most effective option. For this piercing, we recommend a salt water soak using 4.5g of non-iodised sea salt to 500ml of boiling water. This will give you a 0.9% saline concentration. We recommend a warm soak to clean your piercing, due to the fact that part of the piercing is internal inside the urethra, and a warm soak is the best way to soften any crusties on the inside.

To clean your piercing, first wash your hands. Fill a clean cup with enough saline solution to cover your piercing. We recommend warming it in the microwave until it is warm – about bath temperature. Be careful that the saline is not too hot! It should not be uncomfortable!

Once the soak is prepared, soak your piercing in the warm saline for 3-5 minutes. This gives the saline time to soak in, soak up the urethra, and soften any crusting.

Once your soak is complete, you need to wipe away any crusties on the outside of the piercing and the jewellery with some clean paper towel. To flush the inside of your piercing, we recommend urinating immediately after soaking.

At midday, you may want to give the piercing a quick clean if there are any uncomfortable crusties forming on the jewellery. This won’t clean the inside of the piercing, but can help relieve any discomfort. Simply spray a small amount of Neilmed onto the piercing and the jewellery, wait for it to soften any crusties (30-60 seconds), and then gently wipe away any buildup and dab the piercing dry.

Keeping the Piercing Dry

We recommend avoiding soaking and submerging the piercing in still or stagnant water for 4 weeks after getting pierced. This means no swimming, bathing in bathtubs, or other water-based activities.

It is highly recommended you shower as normal – Clean running water is a great way to rinse away any buildup in a very gentle way. The only thing to keep in mind is that you want to avoid any harsh or strongly scented shower gels – These can cause irritation.

When you are finished in the shower, it is best practice to dry the piercing site with paper towel. Avoid the area with your bath towel – Snagging the jewellery on a fresh piercing is not fun!

Did you know that a single litre of pool or sea water can contain up to 1 million bacterial cells?

Leave It Alone!

This rule is the cover-all that prevents undue damage to your new piercing.

Clothing, Lifestyle and Bad Habits

  1. Do not touch, fiddle with, or twist the jewellery.
  2. Do not pick at, itch or scratch the piercing!
  3. Wear loose, comfortable underwear and outer clothing. You may want to change your underwear twice a day for the first week to maintain extra cleanliness.
  4. Do not touch your piercing with dirty hands!

Sex and Masturbation

In order to heal well and last a lifetime, it is vital to avoid mistreating your new PA/RPA in its first few weeks of life. Even if the piercing feels good and comfortable, it is not fully healed yet! Having sex or masturbating can cause serious damage to the piercing.

Do not have sex or masturbate for at least 4 weeks after getting pierced.

After four weeks, you may feel comfortable and ready to have sex. Please, take it slow. Wear a condom to prevent sharing body fluids, and listen to your body. If it hurts or is uncomfortable in any way – Stop!

And most importantly… COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR PARTNER(S). What might feel good for you might not feel good for them, and vice versa. Be a considerate partner.

It’s super important to practice safe sex using a barrier. Sexual fluids (even if you have been with your partner for many years!) can cause irritation.

Healing Times

Checkup – 2 Weeks

We recommend booking a checkup 2 weeks after your Prince Albert piercing. At this stage, any swelling you have will have come down and you may need a smaller or larger diameter ring. We need your feedback on where the jewellery is touching the urethra. If the jewellery is rubbing the top edge of the urethra, you need a smaller diameter ring. If the jewellery is rubbing the underside of the urethra, you may need a larger diameter ring.

Fully Healed – 8-12 weeks

After 8-12 weeks, you can expect your piercing to be fully healed. This is obviously just an estimate, as many things can impact your unique healing journey.

Ready to Stretch – 6 months

Many people aim to stretch their Prince Albert /RPA to a much thicker size. We can pierce (your anatomy allowing) up to 5mm thick. If you wish to stretch your PA, you must wait at least 6 months before doing so. This allows any scar tissue inside the piercing to heal, soften, and become more elastic. You may even notice that after 6 months, your piercing has naturally stretched and the next size up can simply slot in without any problems at all!

Keep In Contact

Keeping in touch with your studio is so important! We are open 7 days a week and always have an intimate piercing specialist available on the team. If you have any issues with your piercing, any problems or anything isn’t looking quite how you expected, then you are always welcome to contact us or book in for a checkup.

No matter how far along your healing journey you are, we are always there to support you. That’s what makes Rogue such a great studio!

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Kat’s Three Year Anniversary

Well, well, well. Time absolutely flies.

Monday, March 20th marks my three year anniversary at Rogue! If you want to take a trip down memory lane with me, just scroll through the gallery above to see me go from a tiny baby punk to a grizzled, old manager! I’m allowed to indulge myself in some reminiscing, if you can keep your eyes open long enough to read it…

In the Beginning…

I first found Rogue after getting my conch pierced at another studio in Nottingham city center. Once I let it heal for a bit, I really wanted to find some new jewellery for it as they didn’t have anything on offer except plain ‘Titanium’ balls. A few months after getting it pierced, I went back to that studio and asked if they had anything nicer. The lovely lady behind the desk was really sweet (and honest!) and told me that a new studio had just opened a week or so earlier, and that I was best to check there for nice jewellery. I did a quick google, went down the wrong lane (as most people do!) and ended up walking through the doors at Rogue for the first time in September 2019!

It was very quiet. I think I might have been the first person through the door all day! The joys of opening a new business in a new city, I suppose. I immedietely knew I was in the right place. A couple of days later and I was booked in for a few new piercings, and the week after I had my first ever piece of BVLA for my conch piercing! That was quite possibly the upgrade of the century.

I found University quite a struggle. Being Autistic, I had a hard time connecting with my peers. Strangely though, being in Rogue felt like home. I was in and out of the studio a lot after my first visit, not necessarily being pierced but always asking questions. The jewellery really drew me in – I’ve always been a bit of a magpie! I already had an inkling that I’d be spending a lot of my free time here.


Just after that first Christmas at Uni, I popped into Rogue and Aiden mentioned that he was hosting a suspension event. I was quite frankly mind-blown. I’d only ever heard of suspension through the internet, (thank you, years of unsupervised internet access!) and I didn’t think people actually did it. I couldn’t say no!

So in March, I went down to the studio with a friend who had offered to take professional(ish) photos and had my mind officially melted. This was also my first time meeting quite a few people from the industry (shout out to everyone that I met!) and I had never felt so at home. I look back and realise I was the most awkward, uncomfortable looking creature on the planet, but it was absolutely worth it. Also a most excellent afterparty, where at one point I ended up having to scale a 12ft fence and emerge from some bushes to catch an uber. You clearly had to be there.

Cannot believe this was the only photo taken that day!


And then, just a few days after the last suspension event… Some global calamity happened. I’m sure none of you remember it, it was super casual and only lasted two weeks…

My uni flatmate moved home and I was suddenly left on my own in Nottingham! No close family, no uni friends… But I did have Rogue. And Rogue became my reason to get up every morning! It was during this time that I learned a lot of what I know about piercing and jewellery. In that first few months, we recieved an influx of jewellery from another studio but none of it was labelled – It was up to us to inspect every single piece and decide what it was! This is kinda where I fell in love with BVLA as well. Not only is their jewellery beautiful, but it has real recogniseability! So I spent weeks and weeks with the macro lens, looking at the fine details of prong-set Swarovski crystals to try and determine whether they were manufactured by Industrial Strength, Neometal, or Anatometal. If that sounds like fun, then you definitely need to get out more! The hardest things were the labrets – It’s funny though, I can still tell an Anatometal threadless labret from a Neometal one, and a WBJ labret from an Anatometal threaded labret just by looking at the side profile of their disc. And who said piercing doesn’t give you transferrable skills!

The part that always makes me laugh is when I first started at Rogue, Aiden asked me if I was familiar with Excel and spreadsheets, because there was a LOT of spreadsheets involved. I said ‘Yes, I love spreadsheets! I am super good at them!’ Y’know. Like a liar. So I had to secretly give myself an aggressive crash-course in Excel/Google Sheets in order to maintain that lie for the first few weeks! In all fairness, I do now love spreadsheets.

Since I lived alone, I ended up in a bubble with Aiden and Anna, who graciously adopted me as a lightly feral nephew-type-deal. I’ll always be grateful for that. So I spent a lot of 2020 on a narrowboat, which was definitely not how I planned my year going.

I was clearly coping very well.

The best and strangest part of my start at Rogue was that I didn’t actually speak to or interact with an actual client until I had been working there for a good few months! Because we were classed as a close-contact service, we were very late to be allowed to reopen. The first time I actually had a client come through the door, it felt slightly illegal. Face-to-face interactions with customers are still my favourite moments though. As much as I enjoy being huddled behind a screen with my spreadsheets and order schedules, talking to real people is the highlight of my day.

At the time I didn’t really know how perilous things might have been, but looking back I am amazed that Rogue survived that time! Since reopening, it feels like Rogue has gone from strength to strength.

Raising the Baby.

Since reopening, it feels like the last few years have gone by in an absolute blur. I’m nearly in my mid-twenties now (I’m sure anyone 30+ is groaning – It feels old to me, ok!), and I’ve ended up as a manager (some may describe me as Supreme Overlord…) with 4-ish employees, a very large business to care for, and a never-ending headache of a jewellry collection! When did that happen?!

I don’t know the exact moment when Rogue became my baby, but it really has. I feel like I’ve definitely poured some of my cold, blackened soul into it and it has repayed me with a career that most people can only dream of (If they know it even exists!) I’ve watched it grow from a one-man show into one of the biggest UKAPP member studios in the country. I’ve been there for the good days and the bad – But I can say with certainty that there’s never a boring day at Rogue!

Since then, I twisted the UKAPPs arm to create a new membership category for non-piercer Associates (of which I was the first!), I’ve taught a fully-packed seminar at the annual UKAPP conference in Manchester, and I’ve won (and immedietely deferred) the Lynn Loheide Front of House scholarship for APP conference 2024 in Las Vegas. International travel may terrify me, but I will be getting on that plane even if someone has to hit me over the head with a rubber mallet first! I feel like I might need to take an actual holiday at some point…


Nose to the Grindstone

I remember very clearly the day I finished my last undergrad exam. I was sitting it at the front desk at Rogue on my laptop, since everything had moved online. I remember closing the laptop and saying, “Thank Christ it’s over. Never again.”

Famous last words…

So, after taking a year to forget how vaguely awful my undergrad was, I applied to and successfully got a place on my dream Masters! MSc Hons Microbiology and Immunology. A bit of a mouthful but incredibly interesting.

And that’s where I’m at now! Just trying to balance my baby with my degree, while still aiming for 6+ hours of sleep a night. It’s definitely hard work, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have my own little found family in the Rogues, and I get to wake up every morning and do something I love.

This blog has definitely just been me indulging myself in ramblings, but it’s been a whirlwind of a three years and I’m really looking forward to what the next three years looks like. If the last few years are anything to go by, it’ll be worth sticking around to find out!

Thank you everyone for coming to Rogue, letting me have fun and be creative with your jewellery, and just generally making my passion into something genuinely fulfilling, that can actually pay my bills at the same time!

Back to our regularly scheduled interesting blog posts next week…

-Kat < 3

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Titanium – The Gold Standard?

As the piercing industry moves into the future, we are constantly looking for the best, most biocompatible materials to manufacture and use in body jewellery. So, why have we settled on Titanium as the best metal? And what pitfalls are there when looking for safe titanium jewellery?

The History of Titanium

Titanium, known by the chemical symbol Ti, was first discovered in Cornwall in 1791 by minerologist William Gregor. Named for the Titans of Greek mythos, the element is found in almost all living things. Titanium has wide-reaching uses, from aerospace engineering right down to the Titanium Dioxide compounds found in sunscreen and makeup products. The element is known for it’s high level of corrosion resistance, and its incredibly high strength to weight ratio which is the highest of all the metallic elements. This lightweight, strong metal is therefore a prime candidate for biomedical implantation.

It was not until the 1950s that Titanium implants were first manufactured into medical or surgical implants however. First introduced into dental implants in the 40s, it would take another decade to reach internal implantation. It is now by far and away the most common material used in all kinds of prosthetics, bone conduction hearing aids, spinal fusion cages and joint replacement implants.


The terms ‘Biocompatible’ and ‘Body Safe’ are commonly bandied around within piercing. Just look on low-grade jewellery websites and you will see everything from Silver to Gold to ‘Surgical Steel’ sold with as a “biocompatible” material. Biocompatibility is an intentionally ambiguous term – It has no defined meaning. We will be using the term biocompatible to specifically designate certain materials as safe to implant following years of rigorous chemical, animal, and clinical testing following strict ISO 10993 regulations. Unless there is evidence to prove that the material meets these standards, then ‘biocompatible,’ or ‘body safe’ is a completely meaningless term.

The properties of Titanium that allow it to be a ‘biocompatible’ material are its corrosion resistance, surface texture, steric hindrance, and hydrophobicity that allow the metal to result in an ideal, low-grade cellular response. The main reason that Titanium-based alloys are commonly used in body jewellery is that Titanium is highly corrosion resistant and non-toxic. The most commonly used Titanium alloy is ASTM F-136 Titanium, which is made in using a very stringent safety protocol and is alloyed with 6% Aluminium, and 4% Vanadium. This is why you might see some jewellery brands talking about TiAl6V4 – That is a specific alloy!

Rogue exclusively stocks verified ASTM F-136 Titanium jewellery, such as this large-gauge BCR from Anatometal.

Implant Grade?

So, where does the term ‘implant-grade’ come into things? Implant-grade is, again, a very specialised term that has been co-opted. These days it is more often used as a sales buzzword by disreputable brands as they know it is something that more educated customers will be looking for. As much as we wish it was as easy as googling ‘implant-grade Titaniun’ and being able to trust that what you buy is going to be safe, the vast majority of Titanium body jewellery on the market is unverifiable and does not meet any grade of safety. We need to look at what ‘implant-grade’ actually means, and how a material can get to that point!

‘Implant Grade’ is a coverall term for any materials that meet certain ASTM designations. There are multiple implant-grade ASTM designations, including (from most to least common): ASTM F-136, ASTM F-1295, and F-67. There is also an implant grade designation for Steel, which is ASTM F-138.

The ASTM (American Society for the Testing and Materials) is an international standards organisation that (as only a part of its work) ensures that any materials that are to be used in surgical implants meet specific standards of safety. The ASTM scope covers the chemical, mechanical and metallurgical requirements of the material and ensures that it is safe to be put inside the human body. This standard is almost like a recipe – How the Titanium is alloyed, heated and cooled, how it is stored and how it can be further processed into useable items. This standard (which is many pages long!) is what the Titanium manufacturers must meet in order to sell their metals as ASTM F-136 or otherwise compliant. As you can imagine, this can be quite an expensive process. This means that any ASTM F-136 Titanium brought to market will be considerably more expensive that non-ASTM F-136. For some jewellery manufacturers, it is simply cheaper and more profitable to purchase unverified Titanium and manufacture jewellery from it than it is to purchase safe materials. When your customers are only looking for the word Titanium, and aren’t checking the ASTM or ISO standards of it, then why would you bother? In some cases, jewellery manufacturers or Titanium manufacturers will even go as far as to falsify this documentation – This has happened before! This means that the jewellery market is awash with ‘Titanium’ that may be marketed to clients as safe to wear, when it is anything but.

Some jewellery manufacturers will choose not to use ASTM F-136, and instead use other grades of Titanium. A commonly seen grade is G23 – This alloy is (confusingly) also TiAl6V4! G23 Titanium, otherwise known as ASTM B-348 GR23, is not an implant-grade metal, and is not a safe substitute for ASTM F-136. G23 Titanium has only been designated for use in commercial, industrial and engineering purposes. In other words, this Titanium grade belongs in aeroplanes and space ships – Not the human body! G23 is actually an overarching category that does include ASTM F-136 Titanium, which is a much refined and more heavily tested sub-version. As you can see, the world of safety testing is very confusing and this is part of the reason why certain jewellery companies can get away with misleading their customers.

On the left you can see an externally threaded, poorly finished barbell that began to degrade inside it’s wearer. On the left, you can see a verified ASTM F-136 Titanium barbell from Neometal. Both were marketed as implant-grade… Which one would you choose?

What Is Not Safe?

There are many different metals used to manufacture body jewellery. In fact, many disreputable brands may even use Titanium and market themselves as biocompatible or implant grade. Some jewellery brands will use buzzwords such as ‘Surgical,’ ‘Stainless,’ or ‘Hypoallergenic’ to market unsafe metals such as low-grade steel, Silver, or other materials such as plastic.

  • Unverified Titanium – Unless your jewellery manufacturer can provide adequate paperwork to prove the grade and safety of their jewellery, you must assume that the jewellery is not safe to wear. The easiest way to find safe jewellery is to purchase reputable brands through high quality piercing studios. Why take the risk with the only body you’ll ever have?
  • Surgical or Stainless Steel – Surgical steel simply refers to any steel grades that can be used in a medical context. Often these are basic items such as tools, haemostatic forceps or scalpel handles. As you can imagine, this covers hundreds of grades and alloys of steel. Some steel alloys are safe to implant, such as ASTM F-138 compliant stainless steel, however you should assume that if there is no safety designation then the metal is not safe to wear. Most cheap, low-grade body jewellery is marketed as surgical steel.
  • Silver – Silver, despite it’s historical reputation as being good for ‘sensitive skin,’ Silver is a very reactive metal that is easily corroded by moisture and the pH level of the skin. It can also turn black over time, and tattoo the skin around the jewellery black in a process called Argyrosis. Silver is also a common cause of contact dermatitis and other Type 1 Allergies.
  • ‘Bioplast’ or ‘Bioflex’ – These are the most common plastics sold for piercing use. Again, this is marketed using that lovely ‘biocompatible’ buzzword, without any of the strict medical testing or paperwork to back it up. Yes, there are implant-grade plastics available, however as of 2023, there are no safe plastics widely accessible and available for use in body jewellery. Any brand or studio stocking plastic or acrylic jewellery can be immediately discounted as disreputable and unsafe.
As you can see, plastic jewellery has no place in quality body art.

If you would like to take a further look into what to look out for in terms of safe jewellery, you can read this blog!

The Takeaway

The takeaway is not the most optimistic, I’m sorry to admit! For every good jewellery company that puts the time, effort and investment into manufacturing top-quality jewellery, there are ten times as many low-quality companies willing to risk your health to make a quick buck. It’s important to take your time, and do your research. The best way to purchase safe jewellery is through your local trusted high-quality piercing studio. This way, not only are you guaranteed a high-quality item, but you can also rely on their skills and expertise to ensure you are getting the right size, style and fit for you. There is no such thing as one-size fits-all jewellery!

The most important thing to note is that good quality jewellery is not cheap, and cheap jewellery is not safe! If something looks too good to be true, it often is. In the current economy, you can expect to pay a minimum of £25-£40 per item for safe, high-quality jewellery from a verified company. Investing in yourself and your body is very much a worthwhile endeavour. You only get one body at the end of the day. Why take risks with the only home you’ll ever have?

If you would like help upgrading your existing piercings, you can always book in for a piercing consultation with a member of our expert team. We can guide you through the whole process, making it quick and easy to get yourself to a comfortable, safe jewellery collection in no time! Choosing new jewellery might feel overwhelming if you try and do it alone. Working with a high quality piercing studio makes it so much easier to get exactly what you’re looking for.

Browse the gallery to get some inspiration on what you can do with beautiful, verified safe Titanium jewellery!

Safe Body Jewellery Brands

As previously stated, the best way to guarantee a safe piece of jewellery is to purchase from safe, reputable brands. The below list is not an exhaustive list, but an excellent place to get started if you’re looking to get to a base level with your jewellery collection.

To find a reputable piercer near you, the best way is to find an APP or UKAPP member using these websites!

The UKAPP is the first piercing organisation to publish a list of verified and approved jewellery brands. As proud members of the UKAPP, we stock only the highest quality jewellery that is guaranteed to last you a lifetime.
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Interview with a Rogue – Kat Henness

It’s a Sunday evening after a very busy weekend at Rogue. The weather outside is cold and drizzly but deep in the basement of Rogue, sitting on the floor like goblins, Gemma and Kat have an open and honest discussion about Kat’s journey so far. Kat joined Rogue three years ago and is now the studio manager and jewellery specialist. Growing up in Wales and moving to the big Nottingham city, Kat is now studying for their Master’s degree alongside keeping this Rogue circus going!

  Gemma: Tell me about your first experience with piercing.

Baby Kat with minimal piercings! (a Katten…)

Kat: My first experience with piercing was similar to a lot of peoples, it was at a high street shop with a piercing gun. I was 11. My mum took me there because that’s… just where you went. And I had an awful time healing them. My first piercing at a “real” piercing studio was at a place called Nobby’s in Carmarthen, Wales (Should out to Mike, the piercer there at the time!). The piercing room was in the attic of the studio. It was carpeted, had grimy fabric curtains and I was pierced with non-sterile jewellery directly out of a wet autoclave (with no lid!) that was on a wooden table next to the piercing chair. I asked to get my second lobes pierced and they said they’d run out of jewellery! They gave me the address of a local head shop that also sold piercing jewellery, where I went and bought the jewellery that they then put through the ultrasonic and pierced me with. And of course as an indestructable 14 year old, I healed them like a treat.

My next piercing experience really started when I started uni. I went to a local Nottingham studio and I had an okay experience. There wasn’t really any aftercare advice or customer service. After that, I decided I wanted some fancy jewellery and when I went back to that studio, they recommended I visit a gentleman called Aiden, who just opened a shop in Nottingham a couple of weeks previous. So two weeks after Aiden opened Rogue, I walked in the front door and bought my first piece of BVLA.

G: So you started as a client at Rogue before you joined the team?

Absolutely! I would just come in, get a piercing, upgrade some jewellery, have a chat, hang out, ask questions. And I’m guessing Aiden saw something good in me because he invited me to a suspension event he was holding at the studio. It was literally days before Covid hit. The suspension event was my first taste of the real UK (and international) piercing industry. I met a lot of people I’m now really good friends with. That’s where I met Andre! But I was living alone in Nottingham when the first lockdown was looming. The borders had shut, so I couldn’t go home to Wales and Rogue really was my island in the storm. It was the only thing I had left. So I just kept turning up.

As the lockdowns came, we suddenly had an influx of jewellery from the closure of another high-quality piercing studio, most of which was completely unlabelled in tubs and plastic bags, all jumbled together, different sizes and styles. So it was my job to basically be a detective and try and figure out what was what, what brand, what size. Some BVLA, some Anatometal, some Industrial Strength, and a whole lot of labrets! There must have been 600 to 700 individual items that I had to figure out what they were! That took most of the first lockdown. Then we were photographing it, adding to the web store, building the web store from a very small collection to the absolute monster it is now. And that’s where I learnt a lot of my basic jewellery skills. Just having to look at the fine details between an Anatometal clear CZ and a NeoMetal clear CZ, both prongs, both in titanium. Trying to seperare them out by the little difference. And all the various labrets… Labrets were a nightmare.

G: You’re the studio manager and jewellery specialist at Rogue, what do those roles entail?

K: There’s a bit of everything. Staff management, jewellery management, stock control, free therapist… Managing clients, being Aiden’s personal assistant, organising guest artists and flights and hotels and UKAPP membership, writing blogs, organising the social media. In about two and a half years, I’ve helped to grow the Rogue social media accounts from about 1000 to nearly 10,000 followers. It’s been hard work and I think a lot of it has been down to consistency and the quality of the content. I know a lot of studios where it’s quantity, not quality and that means they can really struggle to build the following. But also, the following isn’t that important. It’s the people who walk through the front door that counts.

The vast majority of the people who follow us on Instagram aren’t even in the UK . But I think people can look at our Instagram and get a sense of not just the work that we produce, but who we are as people That is something I’ve always struggled with though, because we do “sell” a lot of ourselves as part of our work. We could put up way bigger boundaries and not get so personal on the social media. But I feel like it’s a personal service and you have to give a little bit of yourself for people to trust you.

G: As the first Associate Member of the UKAPP, I know you get asked this a lot but, why aren’t you a piercer?

K: I feel like piercing is the least interesting part of being in a piercing studio. I feel like although there’s a lot of techniques you can learn and there’s loads of different ways to put that jewellery into someone, you can still have a much wider impact on the industry by running a good business and managing a good studio. And I think actually piercing people would ham up a lot of my time that could be better spent elsewhere. I love talking to people about jewellery, I love working with clients and making the sales. That’s the bit I enjoy.

G: You’ve got a BSc Hons degree in Biology and you’ve recently started your Masters in Microbiology and Immunology. How’s that going?

K: It’s going really well. I feel like I’m a lot more mentally prepared to tackle the workload this time around. I have a lot more self-discipline. I no longer think that getting up at 7AM to go to a 9AM lecture is that hard. I no longer look at 3 hours worth of lectures in one day and think “oh my god, I can’t do this!”

I would consider myself quite a “modified person” and now that I’m studying for my Master’s, I can absolutely see why some people make a choice between pursuing higher education and pursuing their body modification journeys. It’s a difficult topic to talk about, but the fact that I have a 6mm chunk of metal in my face has no bearing on how well I can learn. I would love to see what further education and academia looks like in 20 or 30 years because… the amount of students we pierce? – some of them have to keep ’em in. My academic achievements aren’t recognized by piercers and they aren’t recognized by academics because of my modifications. It’s quite frustrating sometimes.

It’s very difficult, but I do feel like if I was to pursue a career in academia, I would face significant challenges because of the body modification work, the piercings, the tattoos. A huge amount of your funding and your career mobility is down to face-to-face interviews or who you know within academia. And if those people don’t want to know you because you look like a certain way, you are stuck. And that is really annoying. In my master’s degree so far, I’ve felt like I have to work three times as hard as everyone else to prove myself.

Graduating in 2021, BSc Biology (Hons).

G: You taught a class at UKAPP this year about Piercing Wound Healing Dynamics, do you have plans to teach again now that you’re back in education?

K: My class this year went better than I possibly could have expected. I did a lot of public speaking when I was younger during my college years and my first year of uni but because of Covid, I felt like my confidence was knocked quite a bit. But as soon as I got up on that stage and opened my mouth, it was like I’d never stopped! It was so much fun, the engagement was good and I think I pitched it at the right level. I would absolutely love to teach again. I think I will be constantly editing and updating the class to make sure it’s dialled in and accurate to current scientific understanding. But I would love to also teach about infection control and aseptic technique and what an infection actually is and how/why your body’s reacting to it the way it does. I think that would be super interesting.

G: As a very active member in the online piercing industry, have you faced any difficulties because you’re not a piercer yourself?

K: Absolutely, I have. It’s not normally to my face, but I do hear about people discussing my relevancy within the industry and whether my opinion’s actually worth anything. Some piercers think I’m disrupting people who are very comfortable doing things a certain way, because they’ve always done it that way, and they haven’t seen issues from their methods. For example, non sterile gloves for piercing procedures, poor hand hygiene, wearing watches, rings, acrylic nails. I want to ban them! People have issues with that because they don’t see the effects, and they think I’m being pedantic or splitting hairs. But it’s someone’s body. It’s somebody’s health. Being pedantic is kind of the point. And if you’re not being pedantic about hygiene, you shouldn’t be piercing people. If you didn’t know any better, that’s one thing, but if you know better, you should do better.

Kat’s class at UKAPP 2022

When I’m trying to educate people, I will always try to come at it like they are trying their best because nobody wakes up in the morning and thinks “I’m gonna mess people up today and I’m not gonna wash my hands while I do it.” Every person out there is doing the best they can with the knowledge and the resources that they have. We are not here to gatekeep information. We’re here to try and make sure everyone’s doing the best they can. If every piercing studio in the UK was working at our level, I wouldn’t be bitter about it. I would be immensely proud, and then look at ways we can go further.

G: You’ve been really vocal about your neurodivergence, how do you balance that with managing Rogue and studying for your Master’s degree?

K: It’s a struggle sometimes. It’s not easy and it’s not always fun. It’s mainly about knowing when to communicate when you’re struggling. Everyone at Rogue is super supportive and everyone here wants everyone else to be doing their best all the time. It’s about knowing your limits. And I’m not good at that, but I’m working on it. I think when I first started, I wanted to prove myself and I wanted to prove that I could do it and that I was worth the money being spent on me. But I was consistently (and without fail) pushing myself to burnout on a weekly basis. Now I’ve been at it a while and I think I’m finally getting to a point where I know my limits. My autism can make communicating difficult and I don’t enjoy talking about things sometimes but it’s definitely worth doing.

G: If you could change anything about the UK piercing industry, what would it be and why?

K: I wish piercers were more open-minded. I feel like if people were more willing to learn and change, the industry would be in a much better position overnight. It doesn’t matter where you’re at. If people were more open minded to actually listening and enacting change, the industry would be light years ahead.

Another thing I’d change, let’s stop this massive push towards everyone being self-employed and running their studios. Not every piercer can possibly be qualified to run their own business successfully. And there is absolutely no shame in admitting that. There’s lots of benefits to being employed! Like sick pay, holiday pay, and you have people to bounce ideas off and learn from. One of the main benefits is you’ve got massive amounts of support. Even if it’s something as tiny as forgetting to open something but you’ve already got sterile gloves on – you can always ask for help and you have that support. And that shit happens all the time. It could be something small as that. It could be something like, ‘I need someone to help me assist on this genital piercing.’ Or something hasn’t gone quite to plan and even if something goes wrong, you have 1 – 4 people around who are all specifically trained in what to do in that moment.

Kat, Jay and their chunky septums.

It also helps with your general learning and your confidence as a person. And because we work as such a dynamic team and we have that support at all times, we can offer piercings to people who other people might feel uncomfortable with. For example, we do a lot of genital piercings at Rogue. Obviously, genital piercing and kink have a huge history. Because we work in a team, there’s multiple people around and you are never alone with that client. The vast, vast majority of clients are just excited about a process that they’ve potentially been looking forward to for 30 years. We’re very privileged to be able to offer a huge amount of intimate work to a huge amount of different people across many, many walks of life for many different reasons. A lot of what we do is because we are super proud of the history of body piercing! You wouldn’t get BVLA, Anatometal, NeoMetal, you wouldn’t get the tiny little gold tri-bead in a nose piercing, you wouldn’t get to pierce a kid’s first lobes at nine – without the hefty kink and genital work of the past. And I feel like if you just focus on one of those things without at least acknowledging the presence of the other, you’re doing the industry a disservice.

And that’s another benefit of working in a team. We have piercers who offer a range of services. Not every piercer will perform every piercing that is available on our menu. It’s just about working with different skill sets and where people excel and playing into their strengths while working to improve their weaknesses.

G: You wear a lot of BVLA, if you could design a piece what would it look like?

K: I honestly think I’d want to design wedding bands and engagement rings over body jewellery. BVLA have got body jewellery down, they know what they’re doing and if you can imagine it, they’ve probably made it already. I really love their classic designs, the ones that are statement pieces but still very mature. ‘Afghans’, ‘trillions’, ‘marquise fans’. Pieces where the gemstones really speak for themselves. If I had to choose though, I’d love to see more work with channel settings because they’re really lovely.

G: A lot of people have full BVLA piercing curations thanks to you and your artistic vision, talk us through the curation process.

K: Honestly, it’s the most fun part of my week every single time. When you book in, it’s about 20 minutes, but it depends on how long you’ve got. If you’ve got an hour and a half to spend talking jewellery, I’ll sit and drink tea and talk jewellery with you for hours.

Talking about jewellery with clients is really personal, we get really into it. Especially with long-term curation projects, you can be in communication with people for a long time, sometimes over a few years and you really get to know those people over that time. Body jewellery is such a personal thing and sometimes you’re designing a curation that someone will wear for the rest of their life. You have to know that person well enough that you can make suggestions about what they would like. The most important thing is communication and being able to get your ideas onto paper and make sure that they know exactly what they’re getting when you translate that into concept into body jewellery and then that jewellery into a reality.

Oftentimes, people are spending thousands on curation and in order to ensure that it is a worthy investment, you have to make sure they’re confident in you every step of the way. There shouldn’t be any doubts in their mind that you are using their money wisely to create a life-long piece of art that they can wear forever.

G: What’s in the future for Rogue?

K: Taking over the world, obviously… I feel like me and Aiden are always doing plans and plots. In the next 18 months I’d love to be able to launch a Patreon with piercer educational content. Because, as many people have so kindly pointed out, some of the content that I want to put out into the industry isn’t super relevant to the blog system that we already have. And I feel like, especially with the knowledge that I have and the qualifications I have behind me, and the experience of the studio and the opinions that we wanna share as well… It is worth sharing that on a different platform.

The blog is still gonna keep going and it’s still going to have all of the information that it has on it right now. But I think it would be nice to do a few series of things that are very specific to piercing studio staff and not necessarily information that general clients particularly need or might want. Apart from that, we’re always looking to expand to more piercers. Maybe a new premises, maybe a new city, but that’s a long way in the future and very vague at the minute. We’re working with local jewellers to create custom lines. There’s all sorts in the works.

G: Any advice you want to give to apprentices/front of house/people that are just starting?

K: Number one thing, leave your ego at the door. Especially if you’ re new in the industry, you are gonna make mistakes, you are going to do bad piercings and you are going to embarrass yourself and you need to not have an ego about it. You need to be able to humbly ask people who know more than you questions and take their answers on board without getting shitty about it. It’s the Dunning-Kruger effect; the relationship between confidence and competence. So when you know almost nothing, but you know a little bit, you are at the peak of mount stupid and that’s where you think you know everything and you are super confident about it.

Don’t run into this industry, all guns blazing. Be quiet, listen, and then open your mouth. Don’t open your mouth and then start arguing with people. It’s so important to never stop asking questions. Always question why you’re doing things because so much of what you do generally becomes part of a routine. And if you can’t think about why you’re doing things, you’re gonna struggle to improve later on. Learn from your mistakes and if someone points out your mistakes, don’t get defensive.

I also wish more people understood that front-of-house doesn’t just have to be a stepping stone to an apprenticeship. front of house is a career in itself. In America, front-of-house is a recognised, respected career and that is something that we need to definitely bring over here because a good front-of-house can be life or death for studios.

Shout out to David Angels for supporting my nonsense and making sure I was sane enough to present at UKAPP and giving me the confidence that I needed to nail it. And thank you to Aiden for allowing me to continue to exist in this horrifically weird industry in the sense that I do and for supporting me non-stop the whole way. You mean the world to me.

Kat Henness, 2022
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Costume Jewellery vs Body Jewellery

We often get the question – I bought this costume jewellery from a jewellers. It’s solid Gold, and it’s set with a genuine Diamond. Why can’t I wear it permanently in my helix? There are so many different styles of jewellery out there, and it can be hard to know what is and isn’t safe to wear. So what’s the difference between traditional jewellery and body jewellery?

Permanent Wear

The main difference between costume jewellery and body jewellery is that body jewellery is intended to be worn permanently without being removed. This alters the design of the jewellery, and means that the materials used in body jewellery must meet much higher standards than costume jewellery.

Costume jewellery is often (but not always) more affordable, and is made from materials that are not often intended to be worn in the moist organic environment of a piercing for extended periods of time.

Costume Jewellery – Note the thin wearable area, butterfly back, and low quality material.


Body jewellery that is designed for permanent wear will often look quite different to costume jewellery. The main points are the thickness, available lengths, and smooth streamlined design. The design of costume jewellery is unsuited for permanent wear, which is why we do not recommend costume jewellery even if it is made from a high quality material such as 18k Gold!

Body jewellery is at minimum 18g or 1mm thick, although some piercing placements benefit from the added thickness of 16g (1.2mm) or 14g (1.6mm). The increased thickness of body jewellery means that any pressure put through the piercing is spread across a larger surface area, minimising the chance of irritation or damage.

Costume jewellery is often much thinner in gauge to save on material cost, often 0.8mm or 0.6mm thick. This thin gauge multiplies any force put through the piercing (for example when sleeping on the piercing, or during a snag or knock) and can cause a lot of irritation.

Body jewellery is designed to be worn permanently and as a result comes in a huge variety of different lengths. Imagine if shoes were one-size fit all – Most people would not comfortably fit the standard size! The same can be said for body piercings. Nobodies ears, noses, nipples or navels are the same and we shouldn’t expect one size of post to comfortably fit them all.

In comparison, costume jewellery often comes in a single size. They are often 6mm long, which is very short and can cause irritation when compressed into a piercing that doesn’t fit. Improperly fitted jewellery is the most common cause of issues we see!

Body jewellery has a smooth, streamlined design to allow for it to easily kept clean. Body jewellery is often a labret design, with a smooth flat back. This is incredibly comfortable to wear permanently, and does not collect skin, fluid and blood in the same way that a butterfly back does. Costume jewellery is not designed for fresh piercings or permanent wear in the same way, and can often have stamps or makers marks on the wearable portion that can scratch or irritate the inside of the piercing. Butterfly backs are also very unhygienic, and are very difficult if not impossible to keep clean. We always recommend wearing specially designed body jewellery in any piercings.

Body jewellery is designed to be worn permanently, and so is designed to have a smooth uniform wearable portion and comfortable flat back. It comes in a variety of lengths and thicknesses in order to fit your body perfectly.


Body jewellery has to meet very strict safety protocols in order to be safe to wear permanently. Costume jewellery does not have to meet any standards, and so is often made from poor quality materials like sterling silver, 9ct Gold, stainless/surgical steel or acrylic. We have a full blog dedicated to body jewellery materials here, if you would like to read more into it! Low-quality costume jewellery can degrade in the body over time, releasing harmful chemicals and seriously irritating your piercing. Wearing costume jewellery is a sure way of causing damage to your piercings. Costume jewellery can be made from quality materials, sometimes solid 18k Gold, however the alloy of costume jewellery can contain nickel (a common allergen) and this can cause irritation.

Body jewellery must meet implant-grade standards set by the ASTM or via DFARs agreements in order to be safe to wear. Brands like BVLA, Anatometal, Inari, Neometal and Industrial Strength (and others!) all work with the highest quality implant-grade materials such as ASTM F-136 or ASTM F-1295 Titanium, ASTM F-138 Steel, pure Niobium or nickel-free solid 14k or 18k Gold. These materials do not degrade over time in the body like low-grade materials do. Ensure you are wearing materials that are implant-grade, or they may impact on the health of your piercings and yourself in general!

This piercing is a perfect example of what can happen when costume jewellery is worn in a piercing. Note the migration of angle, and collection of skin and fluid trapped in the design. This is not comfortable or safe!
This is the back of a helix piercing wearing well fitted, high quality body jewellery. The difference is obvious!

When To Wear Costume Jewellery

So when is it suitable to wear traditional jewellery? Obviously, costume jewellery can be a fun way to match your piercings to your outfit without spending hundreds on new items. They can be quirky, and a good way to test the water with a new colour scheme. We recommend wearing costume jewellery in healed piercings only. That means piercings that are 6+ months old, and are no longer sore, red, or easily irritated. We also recommend wearing costumed jewellery only in lobe piercings. The soft tissue of earlobes is a lot more forgiving of thin jewellery, and of butterfly backs. Finally, we recommend wearing costume jewellery for a maximum of 8 hours at a time. This means you must remove the jewellery and reinsert high quality jewellery to sleep in!

So there you have it, a good overview of why costume jewellery and body jewellery are NOT the same!

If you are wearing costume jewellery in any of your piercings, just get in touch or book a jewellery consultation, and we can work with you to upgrade your jewellery to comfortable, high-quality body jewellery. We can work with any budget – Safe jewellery does not have to break the bank!


Don’t forget to follow us on instagram for the latest updates!

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Surface Piercings 101

Although not super common, surface piercings are a really really fun addition for the dedicated piercing enthusiast. So, what is a surface piercing? What kind of jewellery do they use? Where can I have one? Surface piercings definitely garner a lot of attention, and plenty of questions! Here we will endevour to give a solid overview of the concept, and give you enough information to make an informed decision on wether a surface piercing is right for you.

What Is A Surface Piercing?

Surface piercings are a class of piercing that includes both surface barbells and microdermals. The defining characteristic of a surface piercing is that it sits inside the skin, and does not exit the back of the tissue like a traditional piercing does. It is held in place either by a baseplate (microdermals) or a long flattened barbell (surface bar) that the skin and underlying tissue heals into.

A classic placement is the cheekbone microdermal. This one has healed a treat!


Surface work is not limited in placement like ears, noses and navels! You can be much more creative with the placements and have a lot more free reign. That being said, there are some very important rules when it comes to surface work placement.

Low Movement

In order to be successful, a surface piercing must not undergo high amounts of movement. The constant rocking motions, folding and bending that come with certain placements means that your surface piercing is more likely to reject in a shorter amount of time. Areas of high movement include the eyebrows, forehead, wrists, cheeks, chest (especially on larger chested folks!) and stomach. This does not mean that the surface piercing is a definite no-go – It is important to have your desired placement assessed by a skilled piercer. For example, our apprentice Jay has a very successful forehead microdermal. This is not a placement that I would be able to get as my forehead is much too expressive and mobile! There is generally a placement that works for everyone, you just need to be particular and informed before choosing it.


The absolute priority of any surface work is safety. Every piercer should have your health as their number one goal! This means there are certain placements that are absolutely not recommended. These include the neck, inner wrists, legs, hands, feet etc. If you are thinking of an unusual placement that you have never seen before, think critically about it. There is usually a reason…


And finally, you need to take into account your lifestyle. Even if you are anatomically suited to a particular surface piercing placement, that does not mean your lifestyle will allow for it! Think about your usual daily routine – Your clothing choices, your accessories, the positions you usually spend your day in. For example, if you are thinking about chest surface piercings but spend your days behind the wheel of a car, then maybe you will need to alter the placement as seatbelts are not your friend! Or consider the ever-popular lower back microdermals. They look awesome, but if you wear jeans, belts, or spend the majority of your day sitting down, then they may not be for you. Unless you are willing to significantly alter the way you live your life in order to support a surface piercing, you’ll need to think carefully!

Appropriate Jewellery

The main issue we see with surface piercings is the use of improper jewellery. There are many styles of jewellery, only two of which are suitable for surface work. To understand this, you need to understand the basic concept of piercing healing: A piercing will only heal correctly if the jewellery enters and exits the body at a perpendicular angle to the tissue. A piercing that exits at 90 degrees to the skin will minimise pressure points, and allows the tissue to heal appropriately around the jewellery. That means that a surface bar or microdermal must exit the skin perfectly straight!

As you can see from this diagram the use of straight, curved, flexible (bioplast) and 45 degree surface barbells should be absolutely avoided! Ask your piercer what they use, and make an informed decison on wether your piercer is educated on surface work and able to perform a long-lasting, sustainable piercing for you. Here at Rogue we exclusively use ASTM F-136 Titanium microdermal plates and surface bars from Anatometal – The highest quality jewellery on the market. In addition to this, our head piercers have a combined experience of over 30 years! Our aim is to provide the highest quality service to give you the best possible result.


Aftercare for surface piercings varies greatly from standard aftercare. The main thing to note is that until the surface piercing is fully healed, it is incredibly fragile! The aim is to keep the area relatively clean whilst minimising tugging, pushing, pulling and lifting motions. We recommend cleaning the piercing once or twice a day, choosing either a sterile saline compress or a hot shower. For example, if you shower in the evenings then you will only need to actively clean the piercing using a sterile saline in the mornings!

Sterile Saline is the only thing we recommend using on your piercings. To clean your surface piercing, spray a small amount of saline onto the piercing and let the moisture soak in and soften any crusties you have underneath the top. Take a clean piece of nonwoven gauze or paper towel, and gently use it in a flossing motion underneath the top to remove any crusties. If the crusties don’t want to come away after a few seconds, do not be tempted to get rough with it! Let the crusties be. Once you have finished gently cleaning, dab the area completely dry using a dry piece of nonwoven gauze or paper towel.

Neilmed Saline Spray
Purchase Neilmed Here.Neilmed Sterile Saline Solution

In the shower, it is a simple enough process. Simply allow warm water to run over and underneath your surface piercing to gently wash away any buildup. Again, be super gentle when drying the piercing!

We recommend covering the surface piercing overnight for the first 4 weeks using a disposable plaster. This is to hold the jewellery in place while it heals, as it is quite unstable until the 4 week mark where the skin starts to repair itself. Ensure the jewellery is not touching the sticky part of the plaster! This can cause unnecessary damage to the piercing when you go to remove it.

Surface Piercing Maintenance

Surface piercings do require maintenance in order to look good and stay healthy throughout their lifespan. The main thing to keep in mind is that the piercing generally needs to be actively cleaned through it’s life as skin cells can build up underneat the jewellery top and are tricky to remove! To keep the piercing squeaky clean, the best thing to use is a dental floss pick. After you have a shower, simply take the pick, tuck the floss underneath the surface piercing top, and use it to carefully extract any buildup. As you live with your surface piercing, you will start to get familiar with how often you may need to do this. Some may need cleaning like this every few days, and some may require this more active cleaning only once a month. The most important thing to keep in mind is the less you have to manipulate or move the surface piercing, the more likely it is to last a long time!

An awesome microdermal piercing on our apprentice Jay using an Anatometal 14g threaded Gold Heart!

Surface Piercing Jewellery Options

Aside from the appropriate jewellery style, there is so much you can do with a surface piercing. The main thing to know is that surface work is always 14g/12g threaded. No threadless options here! That is due to the ever-present motion and tugging that your skin experiences that would not be easily combated by a threadless pin. So. What do you want to wear? There are so many options!

Omni or Unidirectional?

You have two choices in the initial design of your microdermal top. Do you want it to be omnidirectional – Symmetrical in all planes like a disk, dome, or circular design? Or do you want it to be unidirectional – Moons, stars, hearts, and a huge amount of other designs are unidirectional. The main difference is that unidirectional pieces much be pierced with initially, or have the threading checked to ensure that when threaded onto the post that they sit in the desired orientation. For example, if Jay wanted to swap her Anatometal Heart for another design, theres nothing to say that when she puts another asymmetrical piece on top that it won’t thread in upside down! We generally recommend circular or symmetrical pieces if you are looking to upgrade an existing microdermal to avoid this issue.

You can view all of the jewellery appropriate for microdermals here! We also love to custom order jewellery for surface work – Simply email to start the process. This way you can guarantee your absolute perfect piece – Choose from a range of thousands of designs!

Thank you for reading this weeks blog! If you want to book in for a surface piercing, click here to book your appointment.

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Sharing Jewellery

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!

Brand new Titanium alloy implants, ready for use in medical patients.

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.

The same Titanium alloy implants after wear in the body. Note the scratches, dents etc.

Biological Contamination

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.

Biological debris still clearly present on the implants after cleaning and sterilising.

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.

Equipment Contamination

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

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.


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Piercings and the Seasons

As Autumn and Winter roll back around, it’s time to talk about how you should protect your piercings through the year! As your environment changes, so does the care your piercings need. This is especially true for exposed piercings such as ear and nose piercings, and definitely true for stretched piercings like lobes and septums! So, how do you care for your piercings in winter?


Ear Piercings in Winter

Ear piercings are particularly sensitive to Winter – The constant changes in temperature from hot to cold, the mild irritation of hats… There’s a lot for your ear piercings to deal with! The main thing to keep in mind is to keep your ears at a steady temperature, and shield them from abrupt changes in temperature. You may have noticed (if you are particularly perceptive) that when you come in from a cold walk in the wintertime, your ears get pretty red and can even swell a little bit. If not properly protected, this can cause excess swelling on a fresh piercing. We recommend wearing a clean loose buff or winter hat, or other gentle ways of shielding your piercings from the cold, dry air. Make sure you are washing your hats, earmuffs etc regularly as they can be a source of bacteria! Soft, lint-free materials are ideal so as not to risk introducing loose fibres to your piercing. As always, be super careful to avoid snagging your piercings on any hats you do decide to wear! Every pierced person knows that a wooley hat can be the nemesis when you have ear piercings, so do be extra cautious.

Nose Piercings in Winter

The main thing that people can be worried about when caring for new piercings in the wintertime is “What if I get a cold?” The winter is known for having higher rates of cold, flu, and even Covid-19. This not because cold temperatures make viruses more contagious, but because we tend not to properly ventilate our homes and workplaces and spend more time in close physical contact with others. A cold or flu will not make healing your new piercing impossible though, so don’t let that put you off! The main thing to keep in mind is that your piercing is more resiliant than you think. Importantly – Be gentle. Blow your nose as needed, keep your piercing clean and dry, and be patient. The best thing you can do is to avoid getting ill in the first place – Keep your home well-ventilated, wash your hands regularly, and make sure you’re eating a healthy diet with plenty of the necessary vitamins and minerals!

The best way to blow your nose with a fresh piercing is… Carefully.

Stretched Piercings in Winter

We will be focussed on stretched piercings in winter that are more likely to be exposed – Stretched earlobes and stretched septum piercings are the most common! Both are susceptible to that cold, dry air. They are a little more fragile than standard gauges, simply because the tissue is thinner and the jewellery often larger or heavier.

With stretched lobes, the best thing you can do is take the opportunity to downsize the gauge of large stretched lobes during the winter. This means that the piercings are not experiencing as much stress, have a better blood flow, and can settle to become more robust in the long run. The process of downsizing and upsizing in time with the seasons can help to thicken thinning lobes as well! We recommend downsizing by 1-2mm on smaller sizes (10mm-14mm), and 2-4mm for larger sizes (16mm+). For stretched lobes smaller than 10mm, you won’t necessarily see any benefit to downsizing.

Stretched septum piercings can be trickier to maintain in winter. They often wear thick, heavy metal jewellery. Although this looks very cool, this style of jewellery can be impractical in very cold weather. Metal jewellery chills quickly in cold weather, transferring warmth from the inside of your septum to the outside where it quickly radiates away. This heat sink effect is uncomfortable, and at worst could cause damage to your piercing by causing a cold burn. In the winter it is best to swap to more tucked away, subtle jewellery such as simple glass plugs or pincers. These act as much less of a heat sink and are a super comfortable way to wait out the cold months. Something that you might not consider when having a stretched septum in the winter is condensation! The moisture on your breath will condense on the jewellery if it is large enough and can even drip down your face! This is another reason to swap to more invisible jewellery.

Large-gauge septum jewellery can act like a heat sink in the winter and this can be uncomfortable. Ensure you wear light, comfortable jewellery!


Summer brings its own special considerations to piercings! The main things that can cause issues are the heat, humidity, and the changes in our lifestyle such as flying and swimming.

Heat and Humidity

The main things that can cause irritation to piercings in the summer are heat and humidity. On extra hot days, we can often expect a bit more swelling especially on very fresh piercings. The best way to combat this is to keep cool, hydrated, and avoid overexerting yourself. Drinking plenty of fresh, cool water is not only good for you, but good for your piercings! If you know you are safe to do so, taking an anti-inflammatory medication such as paracetamol or ibuprofen is a nice way to minimise your swelling. Speak to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about this though.


Summer holidays are the most popular time for international flying! Over 100,000 international flights occur in the 6 weeks of the holidays, so you can imagine how many new piercings there are flying across the world at any one moment! The main thing to keep in mind with flying is that pressure change. We all know that you can swell a little bit when flying, and that is definitely true with new piercings. This is not a reason not to get pierced, but it is important that your piercer is informed of any flying, international travel, holidays etc. This means that we can add an extra millimetre or two of swelling room to account for this.

If we know you’re flying, we’ll add a smigeon of extra swelling room!


The most important thing that you need to consider when getting a new piercing is that you cannot safely swim for 4 weeks afterwards. That means no swimming in the sea, lakes, swimming pools, saunas, jacuzzi or any other bodies of water. And no, just because the sea is salt water doesn’t make it safe to swim in! In a single drop of seawater, there can be over 190 individual species of bacteria. Once you are past the 4 week mark, you can slowly start to swim again! Make sure you rinse your piercing with clean tap water or bottled water afterwards, and dab dry to avoid leaving your piercings waterlogged.


Summer means BBQ season, and BBQ season means the opportunity to enjoy an alcoholic beverage (or four!) with friends. We cannot pierce you if you are under the influence of alcohol, or have had even one unit of alcohol the day of your appointment. Please keep this in mind when booking! Alcohol can thin the blood, which means you can expect a bit of extra swelling and crustiness if you drink the week after you get your piercing. This is nothing to be concerned about, so just clean your piercings as normal. When you are intoxicated, it’s more likely that you will accidentally snag or knock your piercings. It’s all part of being a human being! Don’t punish yourself – Just take the time to look after them when you are feeling back to normal.

If you are struggling with alcohol, please look into support in your area.


It is always really important to protect your skin, however when you have a fresh piercing it is extra important. Burnt skin is damaged skin, which leaves your piercings exposed and vulnerable to infection. Not only that, but a sunburn can slow the healing process, and can even irritate healed piercings! We don’t recommend applying sunscreen to a fresh piercing as the chemicals can cause irritation, so the best thing you can do is cover your piercings in strong sunlight. The main methods of doing so are staying out of the sun, wearing long and loose clothing, and wearing a wide-brimmed sunhat!

Protect your skin, protect your piercings, protect your health!

So there you have it, some of the main ways that the seasons will impact your healing piercings! With winter coming, the main things to remember are: Be careful with winter clothing, and make sure you keep yourself as healthy as is possible for you!

If you have any questions, just get in touch.

Make sure you follow us on social media to see our piercing work and keep up to date with everything that happens at Rogue!

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A Summer Overview

Today I think everyone in Nottingham woke up and noticed the distinct change in the air. Autumn is coming… Folks are prepping for college, university, or thanking the stars that the Primary and Secondary school summer holidays are coming to an end. So, what was summer like at Rogue? Today we’re taking a look back at the last three months!

Excellent Piercings

The last three months have been awesome in terms of piercing. Not only have we used more stunning Gold jewellery than we ever thought possible, but we have also been overwhelmed with the sheer number of amazing people booking in for intimate work of all levels. It’s been a whirlwind, but it’s been awesome. Here are some of our favourites!

Custom Orders

The custom orders in recent months have been absolutely insane. We’re absolutely overwhelmed by the sheer creativity of our clients. Paired with the assistance of an expert team and myself, we’ve been creating some genuinely amazing jewellery! We love BVLA because you can genuinely find their designs nowhere else.

Fun at Work!

The summer is the best time – We have done so many fun things together as a team. The main highlight is always the Summer party, where we spend a long weekend swimming and partying with friends. Not only this, but we have been working on expanding our experiences. For example, this summer Gemma and I have experienced suspension hooks for the very first time. It’s an incomparable experience that really changes your perspective on the human processing of sensation. This is something we might offer to the public in the future…

As a heads up, the below slideshow contains photos from this day which include blood!

The Heatwave!

And then it was July and August in a blink of an eye! We had not one, but 5 days where the temperatures topped 40. It was absolutely incredible. We have never experienced anything like it before in the UK! Nottingham seemed to grind to a halt, and we indeed closed the studio for a day. We were so glad to be back open though, as it was actually cooler at Rogue than at any of our respective homes!

Looking Forward

As Autumn slowly arrives we’re looking towards the future with vague optimism. I’m going back to university next month, the team are learning and growing, and Rogue is looking better than it ever has! We can’t wait to see where the next season takes us. While I have your attention, I may as well let you know what the next custom order deadlines for each brand are going to be!

  • BVLA – November 26th
  • Anatometal – September 10th
  • Neometal – September 1st
  • Gorilla Glass – September 2nd

As always, contact me at to organise your custom orders! I always recommend having a scroll through the brands website and social media to get some ideas, and I can work from there.

See you next week for another blog!


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