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Tongue Piercings 101

Tongue piercings are very popular piercings – One of our most popular oral piercings aside from philtrum piercings! In today’s blog I will give an overview of the tongue piercing, the anatomy of the tongue, the anatomical limitations of this piercing and some of the red flag tongue piercing options which should absolutely be avoided.

Tongue Anatomy

The tongue is an incredibly mobile and active collection of muscles. There are a few major parts to note that are important to piercing. 

  1. The Two Major Muscle Groupings

All the muscles of the tongue are paired structures, split in the middle by the lingual septum. The intrinsic muscles are responsible for changing the shape of the tongue and controlling its movement. Working together, the longitudinal, transverse and vertical intrinsic muscles control the movement of your tongue. They can do this by working in isolation, or by working together depending on the motion required. These muscles should not be impeded by a piercing, or there can be serious consequences for the mobility of your tongue and your ability to eat and speak. We will get to that later…

  1. The Median Lingual Septum

The Lingual Septum is the thin, fibrous membrane that separates the paired muscles either side. Although this is an internal structure, you can locate it by looking out for the longitudinal midline groove that runs down the middle of your tongue. A traditional tongue piercing sits somewhere along this midline groove, and passes through the lingual septum. Like with a nasal septum, piercing through the thinnest section of membrane makes your tongue piercing much easier to heal and reduces your risk of problems. The existence of this lingual septum is what makes traditional center-line tongue piercings so safe. 

  1. Major Blood Vessels

The major blood vessel feeding the tongue is called the Lingual Artery. Because the tongue is such a thirsty and active muscle grouping, the lingual artery is large and branches out into lots of smaller vessels which make sure the tongue is always well fed with oxygen. The most important branch of the lingual artery is the Deep Lingual Branch. This is the largest branch of the lingual artery, and passes through the base of the body of the tongue. If you lift your tongue, you may be able to see it sitting just behind your lingual frenulum (where a tongue web piercing would go). Sometimes you will have one central branch, however some people have two either side. Some people have two that cross over in the middle. This is all really important information that a piercer should be looking for before they pierce your tongue. If we cannot see it, or it crosses over itself base of the tongue, we will normally discourage you from getting this piercing. The Lingual Artery feeds directly from the Carotid Artery – That’s a direct bloodflow from your heart. This is a serious business! 

The Healing Process

Tongue piercings are incredibly low-maintenance and heal very quickly. Here you can find an overview of their aftercare.

You want to clean your tongue piercing a maximum of 5 times a day with an alcohol-free mouthwash for the first 4 weeks. These 5 times are generally after brushing your teeth in the morning and evening, and after your three main meals. If you need to snack, smoke, or have sexual contact using your mouth (including kissing!) try and group those in with these 5 mouthwashes, however if you need to do them at other times of the day we recommend simply rinsing your mouth out with water afterwards. 

Aside from this cleaning, we recommend leaving your new piercing alone entirely! No touching or fiddling, or fidgeting with your jewellery. Don’t get in the habit of playing with it! It’s best to avoid super spicy or hot foods for the first 4 weeks, but aside from this you are welcome to eat whatever you find appetising and is most comfortable for you.

Downsizing is the most important part of maintaining your oral health. After your swelling goes down, you need a shorter bar installing to avoid harming your mouth. This is usually after the first 7-10 days. After this downsize, you may need another at the 3 month mark so do keep in touch with your piercer. If you do nothing else with your tongue piercing, get it downsized!

Types of Tongue Piercing

  1. The Traditional Tongue Piercing 
You can’t miss this one! You can stretch most piercings, including the tongue. This is a great example of a central, midline tongue piercing though, even if it a bit more nontraditional!

The traditional tongue piercing is the classic tongue piercing everybody thinks about when the words ‘tongue piercing’ are mentioned. It’s placed along the midline of the tongue, behind the apex or ‘tip’ of the tongue. The most important part of this placement is that it should not be so close to the tip of the tongue that it risks coming in contact with your teeth, or the gum-line on the back of your teeth. On the other hand, it should not be so far back that it irritates the lingual frenulum or digs into the bottom of the tongue. You can have one midline tongue piercing, or multiple one behind the other depending on your anatomy.

These tongue piercings are relatively simple to have and heal – You are fully healed within 8 weeks! 

  1. Paired Vertical Tongue Piercings

The second most popular type of tongue piercing are the paired vertical tongue piercings. Otherwise known as ‘venom’ piercings, these are sets of two tongue piercings that sit either side of the midline of the tongue. These are super anatomy dependent and are much more complex piercings to get than the standard, so pick your piercer very carefully. Paired tongue piercings take slightly longer to fully heal as they do pass through the actual muscles of the tongue as opposed to just the lingual septum. You are fully healed within 12 weeks, which is still relatively quick for the human body! Paired tongue piercings are the best way to get the look of the piercings mentioned below in a safe way.

Paired Vertical tongue piercings are both adorable and very safe. They are anatomy dependent though, so do have your anatomy checked by a skilled piercer. This set was done by the wonderful Kitty of Holier Than Thou – We cannot recommend their studio enough if you are in the Manchester region.
  1. Unsafe Tongue Piercings

For some reason, tongues seem to be the current place to get unsafe piercings. There are two major styles of tongue piercing to avoid, and they will be discussed below. Please bear in mind that some of the photos below may be graphic, but it is important to know how seriously dangerous these piercings can be and appreciate the immense damage they can cause to your body. 

As discussed above, tongue piercings are no joke. The tongue is highly innervated and has large blood supplies to it which means any issue can soon become medically critical. So why are some piercers still offering these two styles of piercing?

Snake Eye Piercings

You can already see the pressure this snake-eyes piercing is putting on the tongue. Rejection is unfortunately a matter of time.

Snake eye piercings are piercings that pass horizontally through the apex, or tip of the tongue. They either use a straight or curved barbell. Neither style of jewellery makes this a safe, sane or sensible piercing. As previously discussed, the tongue is made of paired symmetrical muscles that need to be able to work independently in order for you to have full movement of your tongue. 

A piercing passing through both sides of your tongue horizontally binds these two muscle groupings together and can cause serious damage. Every time you eat, move your tongue or speak, these two muscle groups are fighting against and pulling on your jewellery. This means it is only a matter of time before the jewellery is rejected, causing permanent splitting and scarring of the tissue. 

The other major issue with Snake Eye piercings is that the tip of your tongue is constantly touching your teeth or gums. Pay attention to wear your tongue is sat at rest – it is tucked up behind your front teeth. Try talking for a second – the tip of your tongue flicks against the back of your teeth to form the ‘dental’ and ‘interdental’ phonetic sounds. Imagine having a piece of jewellery in that part of your tongue! It spells disaster for the health of your teeth and gums. Gum recession and tooth loss are irreparable so keep this in mind before choosing to have this unsafe piercing.

Surface Tongue Piercings

It’s ridiculous to choose such a dangerous piercing, when paired vertical tongue piercings look identical.

Surface tongue piercings, or tongue ‘scoop’ piercings, are just as bad as they sound. These are piercings that pass horizontally through the surface of the tongue in the same way as a surface tragus or other surface piercing. The main issues with tongue scoop piercings are the same as with snake-eyes. Rejection, splitting, and scarring. 

Surface piercings can be successful in areas of low movement if you understand that the definition of a ‘successful’ surface piercing is 6-12 months. The tongue is not a low moment area. It is one of the most motile parts of your body. This, along with the binding of two muscle groups together, means that rejection is guaranteed in as little as a week. 

The body of the tongue is full of nerves – that is what allows you to control your tongue alongside tasting food. Surface tongue piercings risk severing these nerves, leaving you with loss of sensation at best, and paralysis at worst. It is simply not worth the risk.

It is not often we take such a strong stance on ‘good vs bad’ piercers. We would like to believe that all piercers are working for the common good of their clients, however in this case we take a very black-and-white stance. There is no such thing as a good piercer who offers these two types of tongue piercing. If your piercer offers these piercings, they are neither good piercers, nor safe piercers, nor do they have your safety and quality of life in mind. 

So there you have it! A good overview of tongue piercings. We love them here at Rogue, and are proud to offer them in a safe and skilled way. 

If you have any questions, then you are welcome to contact us via our instagram, or email us!

See you next week for another piercings 101!

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Piercing Retainer 101

Now that school is back in session and everyone is back in work, we are being asked ‘what is the best way to hide my piercing?’ We also frequently get asked what to wear when undertaking medical procedures such as MRIs and surgery. There are a few different options to consider in terms of piercing retainer, and we will discuss them today.

The MRI Machine was invented in Nottingham. One of our little claims to fame!

Do I Even Need a Retainer?

The biggest thing to consider is, do I actually need a retainer in the first place? There are a few things to consider in this case. Firstly, how old is your piercing? A well-healed piercing can usually sustain itself without jewellery for a short while, such as for the duration of an MRI which usually lasts between 15 and 90 minutes. For MRIs and other short procedures, it is recommended to remove your jewellery just before the procedure, and reinsert it as promptly as possible afterwards. You may need an insertion tool or taper to help you do this, which we recommend buying in advance. If you are not confident in changing or reinserting your jewellery yourself and have a medical procedure coming up then please get in touch! We are more than happy to help you remove and reinsert your jewellery absolutely free of charge in the case of medical procedures. You do need to book this, so give us a phone call to avoid paying the checkup fee.

If your piercing is still relatively young, or is in a placement that closes more quickly such as an oral piercing, it is best to choose a retainer in advance of when you need it.

The Gold Standard Retainer

Even though our jewellery is ASTM F-136 Titanium or solid 14k and 18k Gold which are all totally MRI safe, a lot of medical practitioners will ask you to remove your jewellery before procedures regardless. If you feel confident in doing so, you can self-advocate to your MRI technician and medical team. We are happy to provide you with the paperwork required to prove your jewellery is MRI safe if you need it. However if you do need to remove your jewellery, for example if your procedure is on your head or face, then do consider a retainer. If your procedure is longer than an hour, we’d recommend purchasing glass jewellery as a retainer. Glass is the perfect retainer piece, being inert and transparent so as not to leave an afterimage on any x-rays or imaging work you have done. Lead-free Borosilicate Glass is also totally nonporous and body safe – It is truly the gold standard. If you have a procedure coming up, we highly recommend contacting us to organise ordering glass retainers for any piercings that you are worried may close. 

Glass is one of the best materials for body piercing and is usually the material of choice for stretching amongst professional piercers, although you do not need to stretch your piercings to wear it. Glass jewellery is available in every size and thickness! One of the biggest advantages of glass for piercing jewellery is its non-porous, extremely smooth surface. This allows for easy and frictionless insertion and removal of the jewellery. It also means that the jewellery can be easily cleaned and will not collect bacteria as with a porous structure such as acrylic, plastic or wood.

Aside from being great for medical reasons, glass is also a handy way of concealing piercings for work or school. Glass is shiny though, so do consider Neometal ‘Freckle’ Discs if you want something extremely subtle. 

Glass jewellery is not only beautiful, but a perfect material to wear as a retainer.

The Unsafe Piercing Retainer

Retainers, although intended for short term wear, should still be implant-grade and body safe. Anything that is inserted into the body needs to be safe to wear. So where does plastic jewellery stand? Plastic jewellery is pervasive in the piercing industry. Whether that be under specific brand names, in the form of flexible a plastic ‘retainer’ or classic acrylic jewellery, plastic jewellery is everywhere. So why do we not stock it here at Rogue? What is the issue with flexible plastic jewellery?

Here you can see a plastic retainer under an SEM electron microscope. Bacteria will live and grow very quickly in this cozy matrix of holes. Your body will be permanently irritated by the rough texture, too.

The main issue with plastic jewellery is that plastic is porous and rough in texture, and made from unregulated mystery polymers. When something is porous, it means that it is covered in small holes that allow liquids to pass through. This means that bacteria and other nasties have crevices in which to grow. This biofilm can cause severe irritation to a piercing, alongside causing nasty odours and excessive crusting. The roughness of the texture of plastic also means that it is constantly rubbing the inside of your piercing like sandpaper. This can cause irritation bumps, scar tissue formation, and can significantly damage the inside of your piercing. There is little research into plastics that act as an implant such as in piercings, however a study performed in 2016 showed that plastic or teflon jewellery was found to carry up to ten times more bacteria and biofilm than the same type of jewellery made from highly-polished Titanium, (Borges et al, 2016). This study also viewed the different jewellery under a microscope to visualise the difference in surface finish and bacterial buildup (yummy!).

There is so much more biofilm present on the plastic jewellery – This porous surface allows buildup and irritation.

All this aside, the number one reason why Rogue does not stock plastic jewellery is because we simply do not know what it is made from. There are seven main categories of plastic, however there are thousands of different plastic polymers with their own composition and characteristics. No plastic jewellery manufacturer is willing to divulge the exact plastics they use. With every single piece of jewellery we stock, we receive certification that it is A) What it says it is, and B) Made from a material proven to be implant-grade and safe to wear. We simply do not have this information for plastic jewellery. Some plastics have been shown to release carcinogenic or toxic compounds at body temperature, such as when ingested. All plastic jewellery degrades over time, and can cause issues at any point. It’s our prerogative to provide our clients with safe jewellery that can last a lifetime, which is why plastic is not offered at Rogue. If you do have plastic jewellery as a piercing retainer, do use it as a last resort and remember that it is only recommended to wear for a maximum of 8 hours before being discarded. Plastic is not at all made for long-term wear.

The main takeaways from this are that we are here to help! If you cannot get jewellery back in after a procedure, we can help you. If you need a piercing retainer for long-term wear then we can order items in for you too. We just want to see happy and healthy piercings out there! 

Contact Us

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hello@roguepiercing.co.uk (General Enquiries)

kat@roguepiercing.co.uk (Custom orders, Jewellery Enquiries.)

References

Borges, L.P., Ferreira-Filho, J.C.C., Martins, J.M., Alves, C.V., Santiago, B.M. and Valença, A.M.G. (2016). In VitroAdherence of Oral Bacteria to Different Types of Tongue Piercings. The Scientific World Journal, [online] 2016, pp.1–6. Available at: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2016/7349371/ [Accessed 23 Sep. 2021].

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An Introduction To: Nose Piercings

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

Placement

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jewellery Choices

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

Studs

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

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

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

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

Rings

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

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

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

Nostril Screws and Nose Bones

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

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

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

The Piercing Process

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

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

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

Nose Piercing Aftercare

For our full aftercare instructions, click here.

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

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

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

The Healing Process

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

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

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

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

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kat@roguepiercing.co.uk

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Septum Stretching 101

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

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

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

How to Stretch

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

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

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

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

How Often Can You Stretch?

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

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

Stretching vs Stacking

Stacked Septum

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

Traditional Septum

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

Jewellery

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

How Big Can You Go?

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

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

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

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

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

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What is an Infection?

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

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

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

What is Normal

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Can a Piercing Infection Look Like?

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

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

What to do about a potential infection?

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

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

-Kat Henness

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The Best of April

Well, what a welcome! You have all be utterly wonderful and we cannot thank you enough for being so supportive, kind and generally lovely during this first week of piercing.

Today I’ll be giving you a highlight reel of some of the piercing work we have done this month! We have experienced everything from the excitement of first lobe piercings, to the more unusual including vertical scaffolds and intimate piercings. 

Aiden

A perfect bridge piercing with a mirror-finish Titanium barbell.

My personal favourite piercings that Aiden has done this month are the weird and wonderful. Anything to do with big needles makes me so happy! Large-gauge lobes are the perfect way to skip the hassle of stretching lobes. We can pierce up to 5mm, and clients often find it easier than standard stretched lobes to stretch up to 8-10mm once healed. You can see some photos of these badass guys and their cool new additions below!

Vertical scaffolds are so fun! This one is now happily healing out there in the world.

We have also had a run on bridges recently. We think it’s due to the currently mask mandate. It’s one of the few facial piercings we are offering right now, and one of the few that are visible when you wear a mask! Bridges are a complex piercing to perform simply because they have to be aligned and even in three planes of view.

Jess

Jess has been working hard on her apprentice piercings for the last three weeks! She has been doing an amazing job working on rooks, navels, forward helixes and scaffold piercings. She still has a few slots left for apprentice-rate navel, scaffold and forward helix piercings! Get in touch via her work account to claim your slot. There are only a limited quantity of each, so get in quickly!

Aside from apprentice work, Jess has been working with some beautiful anatomy recently. We love that every single client is different. It’s what makes this line of work so exciting! Gold jewellery has been very popular this week, and you can see a stunning example below. 

This was a fun one! This conch piercing looks stunning adorned with a BVLA Sophie Tear set with a genuine Diamond.

We love using BVLA jewellery. It adds a special touch to any piercing, no matter how simple. Our next BVLA order deadline is Sunday, May 16th. Get in touch before then in order to secure your place! Custom ordering from BVLA is no more expensive than if the item was in our studio, and you can customise the item to even the smallest minutiae.

Kat

I have been working hard behind the scenes – I may not be a piercer but I have been carefully curating all of our jewellery orders for over a year now. It’s a wonderful feeling to see a client fall in love with a piece of jewellery that you also adore. We have recently received our latest Anatometal order, and I happily chose a few statement pieces that can be purchased both in store and through our website! 

An Anatometal 4-Gem Marquise Fan set with rainbow Swarovski crystals in solid 18k Gold. You can purchase this here!

Again, we can’t believe the wonderful welcome we have received from the lovely people of Nottingham. We might make this a monthly series where you can see the best of that months piercing portfolio!

See you soon,

Kat

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Reopening Rogue and COVID-19

Well, it’s currently Friday the 9th of April and we reopen in 4 days on the 13th. I think it’s fair to say that it’s been a long wait and a very long time in the making. Being closed for another three months means that we have been forcibly closed for a total of about 36 weeks since March last year. It has been touch and go at times but we are proud to have made it out the other side of yet another National Lockdown. Hopefully this is the last long lockdown we have to endure, and we look forward to flourishing in Nottingham in the coming months and years!

Today we’re talking about what the COVID-19 policies will look like in our studio when we reopen. For a short summary, look on our instagram.  We have reopened our booking portal, so click here to book your appointment! We remain an appointment-only studio, so do book to avoid disappointment as we do not take walk ins.

Before Your Appointment

We send out all the consent forms and relevant details to you within your confirmation email. It’s super important you fill these out before you arrive for your piercing, as it takes up valuable time in your appointment which can be used for much more fun things like picking out Gold jewellery! Not only that, but we do need to be precise with our appointment timings in order to avoid overlap with previous or newly arriving clients. Please fill in all documentation before your appointment slot!

We aren’t doing orofacial piercings, but here is some inspo of piercings we can do! A beautiful daith pierced with an Industrial Strength Odyssey Clicker.

As always, we recommend you eat a good meal and drink plenty of water within 4 hours of your appointment. We find it makes the whole process much easier when you are calm, well-fed and alert! This also makes the risk of feeling a bit woozy much smaller, which I think we can all agree is a good thing.

When we reopen, we will not be performing any under-the-mask services. This includes piercings, checkups, jewellery changes and troubleshooting. This is for the safety of our staff and other clients. COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, and we feel it is reckless and irresponsible to be offering these types of oral and facial piercings during the pandemic. We will be closely monitoring the Government guidelines and local infection rates during the coming months, and will make a science and law-driven decision on this policy in the future. We do not currently have a provisional date for the reopening of under-the-mask services.

When You Arrive

We ask that you arrive a maximum of 5 minutes before your appointment. Normally we don’t mind if you arrive early (and bring snacks for us!) but at the moment we cannot have a waiting area and that means you will be turned away until your appointment time. We firmly stick to a one in, one out policy as it greatly reduces the risk of viral cross-contamination and gives us time to fully decontaminate all surfaces, door handles, anything that might have been touched by the previous client. 

Nipple piercings do count as intimate piercings, so you can have a chaperone for them. This pair was pierced with gorgeous Neometal threadless barbells set with Capri Blue Opals.

We also politely ask that unless you are a parent bringing a minor into the studio for their first piercings, or a client arriving for an intimate piercing or intimate piercing consultation, you must arrive alone for any piercing appointment. We do not currently allow groups or friends into the studio unless they are there to chaperone your intimate appointment. If you arrive with a friend or partner, they must wait outside the studio for the duration of your appointment. Please take this into consideration if you have booked 40 minutes of appointments and it is cold outside! If you arrive in a group, all with appointments back-to-back, then we will only allow one client in at a time to select jewellery and get pierced. This is regardless of social bubbles or family groups, this is simply to allow us to be able to socially distance from our clients within the studio and is entirely for the health and well-being of our staff.

As in previous opening periods, we will have our NHS Test and Trace QR code on the door and you must scan this before setting foot in the studio. This means you will need to download the Test and Trace app in advance of your appointment if you have not already. If you refuse to scan this, we also have a manual register on our tablet which you can fill out. 

The wearing of a medical mask is compulsory for the entire duration of your time at Rogue. This means you must not remove your mask for any reason. If you feel breathless or need a minute, we are more than happy to guide you outside where you can have a breather. If you refuse to wear a mask in Rogue, you will be asked to leave. If you have a genuine medical exemption, then please get in touch with us before your appointment and we will see if we can make reasonable alterations to our service. Our general advice in this instance would be, if you are mask exempt, to wait for a time where masks are no longer mandatory before booking for a piercing. Along the same vein, if you are medically exempt, this does not mean we will perform facial piercings on you. The same rules apply to everyone that we will not be performing any oral or nasal piercings on any clients until the laws on close-contact services are updated in the future. 

So there you have it, an introduction to the current policies at Rogue. It sounds like a lot, and it is! We are closely following current Government guidelines, and there is even more regulation that is recommended by the Association of Professional Piercers that we also follow which is more piercer-focussed and behind the scenes. You can put your trust in us as we are going above and beyond to make your visits to Rogue a safe and educational experience.

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The Healing Piercing – The Cellular Level

Caring for a healing piercing is straightforward, but requires patience. I think one of the most common questions we get as a studio is, “Wait, it takes how long to heal??” There is a huge amount of misinformation around piercings that says you can heal and change piercings in as little as 3 weeks. As much as we all wish that was the case, it’s simply not true! I think the easiest way to dispel this myth is to educate our clients on the full healing process from a scientific point of view. We will be discussing fresh piercings, so be aware there will be photos of fresh piercings that contain small amounts of blood.

The skin is a complex net of cells all working together to provide protection, structure and nutrients to the surrounding tissue. When damaged by a procedure such as a piercing, it undergoes three sequential and gently overlapping stages of healing. Our bodies are fantastic healers, and when these stages are allowed to happen as normal we can be healing piercings with little to no problem.

Phase 1- The Inflammatory Phase.

Inflammation is the first phase of healing. It is technically made up of two seperate things that work side by side to help you heal quickly! The inflammatory phase begins almost immediately after your piercing and can last between 3-6 days.

The first thing that happens is ‘Platelet Hemostasis.’ This simply means that the fresh wound will begin to clot almost immediately! Platelets are the second most common cell type found in your blood. When activated by an injury, they stick together to form a plaster over your new piercing which stops contaminants from outside the body getting in, and your blood getting out. 

The other thing that happens is inflammation, hence the name! The first responder to a piercing is your peripheral nervous system, which gives you the sensation of pain and more importantly begins the process of inflammation! Stimulation of the peripheral nerves allows them to release specific neuropeptides (proteins specific to the nervous system) into the tissue surrounding your new piercing. These neuropeptides have three main targets of action. First, they act on your blood vessels to dilate them and stimulate better blood flow. Second, they target the cells in your blood capillary walls to make them more permeable- this lets important things like water and immune cells enter the area around the tissue more easily. Thirdly, they stimulate your Mast Cells to degranulate. Mast cells are immune cells that live in your connective tissue and are full of important chemicals like histamines and enzymes. When they are stimulated to ‘degranulate,’ they release all of these chemicals into their surrounding area to facilitate swelling and to attract other immune cells to the area from your bloodstream.

This triple helix project perfectly displays the inflammatory phase. This photo was taken about 30 minutes after piercing, and you can see mild redness and swelling beginning to form. Jewellery includes a BVLA Slasher, available to purchase here.

All of these things work together to bring about inflammation! “Inflammation” is thrown around as a scary word, but it is really important to the healing process! Without it, your immune cells wouldn’t be able to access the piercing site as quickly and the whole healing process would be slowed down. This is why we pierce with slightly longer labrets- To allow for this important inflammation.

Phase 2- The Proliferative Phase

The proliferative phase is the second thing that happens to a new healing piercing. This phase starts after about two days and lasts about 4-6 weeks. Proliferation is the phase in which the piercing truly begins to ‘heal.’ It has three parts. 

First, Fibroplasia begins. This simply means that Fibroblast cells found living in your connective tissue begin to work on the piercing site to produce a secure structure on which new cells can grow. Fibroblasts produce collagen, which is woven into a new matrix that supports the healing wound.

While this is happening, re-epithelialisation occurs and new skin cells begin to grow on the collagen matrix to surround and protect the fistula (internal hole) of your piercing. 

 As well as this, angiogenesis begins- This means that new blood vessels are grown to feed the cells working on healing your piercing! This is triggered by cells sensing the lack of oxygen surrounding them due to the minor damage to blood capillaries, which then release specific angiogenic growth factors to stimulate new blood vessel growth. Neat, right? Without this process, your piercing would be starved of oxygen and nutrients and would not heal very well.

This photo was taken immediately after piercing, and you can see we have given this client plenty of space to swell and heal properly without complications. You can’t easily heal a piercing with such a long labret though, which is why downsizing is so important!
Here you can see the same piercing downsized after 4 weeks. A snug fit reduces snags and knocks, and can be more comfortable slept on to avoid bumps. This is the best thing for a healing piercing!

This phase takes 4-6 weeks, and at the end of it your piercing has a fragile seal running through it. At this time, swelling has gone down and your jewellery may need a downsize. Experienced piercers can gently exchange your jewellery for shorter ones, but you’re definitely not healed enough to start changing the jewellery yourself! This is why any studio which claims to be able to produce healed piercings in 3 weeks is not telling the truth- Biologically speaking, they’re promising the impossible! We haven’t even gotten to the third and final stage of healing yet!

Phase 3- The Remodelling Phase

The third and final phase of healing is the remodelling phase, in which your fresh and fragile piercing gradually is remodelled into a sturdy piercing with functionally ‘normal’ tissue surrounding it. This phase starts at 4-6 weeks post-piercing and can last up to 2 years! 

In this phase, your tissue is slowly changed from fragile collagen matrices to fully functioning normal tissue, with its own blood supply, nerves, epithelial tissue and dermal layer. During this time your piercing will slowly settle down into a comfortable, boring piercing which feels like you’ve had it forever! 

At Rogue we state it takes between 6 and 12 months for a full heal on any piercing, and this is why- You’ve given it time to settle and become more robust. However if you think of your healing piercing at age 6 months, and then compare it to a piercing you’ve had for over 2 years you can still notice a difference! Your 6 month old piercing may still have some redness and some discomfort when you manipulate it and it may be more prone to irritation than a really mature piercing. Your 2+ year old piercing is mature and durable, and so should have no redness, swelling, discomfort- It will just feel like normal skin! This is what we all aim for with our piercings and this is what can be achieved with proper aftercare following a good piercing.

This conch piercing is a perfect example of a well-healed and mature piercing! You can see no redness, puffiness or swelling. It just looks like skin.

I hope this clears up any misinformation about healing piercings. This is why we preach patience when it comes to your piercings- These things do take time! Interrupting this process by twisting your jewellery, changing jewellery too soon, using strong chemicals, or following improper aftercare will only extend your healing time. If you follow our aftercare well, you will have a well-healed piercing for life! If you have questions, DM us on instagram.

References:

Cañedo-Dorantes, L. and Cañedo-Ayala, M. (2019). Skin Acute Wound Healing: A Comprehensive Review. International Journal of Inflammation, [online] 2019, pp.1–15. Available at: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/iji/2019/3706315/ [Accessed 20 Feb. 2021].

Enoch, S. and Leaper, D.J., 2005. Basic science of wound healing. Surgery (Oxford), 23(2), pp.37-42.

WoundSource. (2016). Phases of Wound Healing: The Breakdown. [online] Available at: https://www.woundsource.com/blog/phases-wound-healing-breakdown#:~:text=Remodeling%20or%20also%20known%20as,and%20fibers%20are%20being%20reorganized. [Accessed 20 Feb. 2021].

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Piercing in the world of CoronaVirus

CoronaVirus update! As you know, the world has changed a little since the last time we were able to open! With new times comes new policies. As you know, we are dedicated to providing the best service we can and we want to update you with some upgrades to our booking system. 

To minimise the risk of further spread of the CoronaVirus, we cannot accept walk-ins and will be working on an appointment only basis. We will only be allowing one client at a time in the studio, but if you bring someone with you then we have a lovely bench outside for them to perch on and a very nice cafè opposite that serves excellent coffee! 

Picture your friend on a bench with a coffee…

There are also small changes to our consent form system. As before, you need to book online; but rather than fill in your consent form in the studio, it now gets emailed to you upon booking. Here you can click all the boxes and provide us with some contact information online, which needs to be done before coming for your piercing. If you don’t do this, we can’t pierce you! To book for your piercing, head to our website here https://roguepiercing.co.uk/book-now/

If you have had a piercing with us before, you may be familiar with the questions on the consent form. But we have added a new section requiring information on whether you have had any symptoms of COVID-19 and have been free of symptoms for a minimum of two weeks. If this applies to you, then we are happy to pierce you 🙂 

You must wear a mask when coming in for your appointment. If you don’t have one, masks will be available by the door alongside a hand sanitizing station to keep your hands as sparkly and clean as your new piercings will be! The mask must be worn throughout the appointment to keep it the safest for both you and staff. Unfortunately this means that we cannot pierce below the mask for now.

The new COVID-19 box

As always, we maintain medical standards of hygiene and cleanliness in the studio, now more than ever. All staff have been trained in bloodborne pathogens from the APP as well as infection prevention, hand hygiene precautions and PPE in the world of CoronaVirus provided by the World Health Organisation. 

What hasn’t changed is our commitment to providing the best service we can. We have had a lot of new jewellery come to the studio and now there is more choice than ever for you to pick from to get you on your way to feeling a little more ‘you’. Please keep an eye out for new announcements as we have something we are all very excited about sharing with you as soon as we can!

Thank you for reading, we are all so excited to get back to piercing and have been looking forward to this for a long time! 

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Myth Busters: The Prince Albert

Prince Albert apparently wasn’t compensating for anything when he had the Royal Albert Hall named after him

Welcome back to another blog in the Myth Busters series! It is here that we will be looking at common piercing myths. This week features the history of the Prince Albert piercing and where it got its name.

When it comes to intimate piercings, the Prince Albert, or the PA, may be the first male piercing you think of. Placed on the underside of the head of the penis and through the urethra, generally with a ring, it is notorious in the modification industry for having quick healing times and desirable results. The Prince Albert was popularised in modern piercing in the early 70’s by Jim Ward, an influential body piercer based in Los Angeles (he also features in our blog post here https://roguepiercing.co.uk/2020/06/05/myth-busters-which-side-is-the-gay-side/). But where did it get its infamous name? Doug Malloy, a friend of Ward’s, is said to have created a pamphlet in which he wrote stories of the piercings they performed, but many say they were just urban legends. To look further into this, we must ask – who was Prince Albert, anyway?

Maybe Robert Plant could have done with following Victorian fashion trends in the 70’s

Albert, Prince Consort, was born in 1819 and was married to Queen Victoria of the UK. Together they had 9 children and he supported the Queen throughout her reign. Initially reluctant towards the role of Prince Consort and the lack of power he had, Albert became known for supporting public causes such as educational reform and abolishing slavery! One of the rumours that Malloy wrote in his pamphlets was that Prince Albert invented the legendary piercing to hide his large penis in his tight trousers. If only they thought of this in the 70’s! 

There are many stories about how it got its name, from the theory that Prince Albert himself had Peyronie’s disease and used the piercing to straighten his penis, to the general public tying down their penises to hide their erection from the Queen’s daughters. Legend also has it that Prince Albert used the piercing to pull back the foreskin to keep his member sweet-smelling so as to not offend the Queen. How considerate! 

The Prince Albert is clearly a historical piercing. It is difficult for anyone to say how exactly the piercing got its name, however the most likely theory is that Victorian haberdashers called it the “dressing ring” and used it to firmly secure male genitalia to the more comfortable leg. It was very popular in those days for men to wear extremely tight trousers and the piercing helped minimize visible endowment. 

A banana with a PA

It is most certainly an interesting piercing that has been the subject of a lot of speculation throughout the years. But whatever the reason is, it is a timeless piercing that many people enjoy across the globe, and is just one of many intimate piercings that are available! Please check back again for another blog in the Myth Busters series. If you have any interest in getting an intimate piercing, please give us a call or a message to talk about your options.