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How to Plan Piercing Curations

Today we’ll be discussing a common question – ‘I want to curate my piercings, but I have absolutely no idea how to start!’ We will cover the concept of a piercing curation, how to start planning them, and what to expect from the process!

This White Gold curation is one of our favourites. Everything is custom ordered to fit our clients unique taste.

What is a Curation?

A curation is a thoughtful collection of piercings that were high-quality jewellery in a cohesive style. Some curations are themed, some are more eclectic, but what connects each curation is a singular line of thought that expresses your personal style.

Some people say that curations are only for ears, and should only be done in solid Gold. This is absolutely not the case! As in my previous definition, there is zero mention of a sky-high budget or fancy ears at all. A curation is simply a considerate collection of good jewellery, worn in well-placed piercings. Our most common curations are actually produced in Titanium! Curations can involve the ears, the face, or the entire body. It all depends on what you want from your curation.

This dinosaur themed curation is super cute!

How do I plan a Curation?

The best way to plan a curation is to first see what you already have, and look at your personal style and what you want from your curation. The best way to do this is to book in for a jewellery consultation with us, so that we can provide you with an expert curation experience.

There are so many questions to ask! Do you have lots of existing piercings? Do you have a few piercings? Are they well-pierced, well-placed, or would you be open to removing or repiercing a few of them to improve the overall effect? Another major thing to consider is what you want to see from your curation. You can scroll instagram for hours and hours looking at other peoples collections, but a curation is a truly personal process. Do you prefer Gold, or Titanium? Do you like Yellow, White or Rose Gold? Do you like the look of anodised Titanium? Do you like gemstones, or no gemstones? If yes, then which gemstones or gem colour schemes do you like? Do you like a more masculine look, or a more feminine look? Are you a fan of big, chunky jewellery (our favourites!) or do you like a smaller, more dainty pieces? This all needs to be considered when planning out a full curation.

Noses are a great place to start your curation. When it comes to the centre of your face, why not wear beautiful jewellery?

As important as what you do like, is what you don’t like! We love to see what you don’t like – What doesn’t fit your style. Showing us both what you do and don’t want to wear gives us a really good idea of where to go with your curation.

Once we have a rough idea of what you would like, we can go onto picking out individual piercings and individual jewellery. The best thing to do is to plan out a couple of statement pieces, and then work around them with complementary items. Centring your curation on a handful of piercings is a really nice way to ground the look. The best thing to do next is to head to the websites of our jewellery companies and have a good old scroll! We perform curations using BVLA, Anatometal, and Neometal. Keep in mind that every single piece of jewellery is handmade to your specifications – Choose the gold colour, the gemstones, the size, everything! If you are unsure as to what exactly you’d like to wear, Kat can give you a huge range of suggestions that you can start to choose from.

This sounds like a lot, but honestly it is an incredibly easy process when you have the support of the Rogue team!

Getting creative with Titanium is a fab way to get a cohesive, thoughtful piercing curation.

Getting a Curation

We think the most exciting part of the piercing curation is actually ordering, receiving and installing the jewellery. Depending on the jewellery maker, this can take anywhere from 6 weeks to 6+ months to arrive. When it comes to curations though, the wait is always worth it. Having your perfect jewellery takes time, but that time will pass anyway!

Depending on the jewellery you have ordered, we will sometimes recommend getting the healing process started before your final jewellery arrives. This is especially important with longer-healing piercings such as daiths, rooks, and cheek piercings. However sometimes we recommend waiting until your final jewellery has arrived so that we can place it absolutely perfectly! This is especially the case when it comes to big, chunky ends or unique placements. It all depends on what you have ordered and what your end goal is.

Lip piercing curations are an absolute favourite of ours. We would love to do more of them!

With curations, it definitely falls into the ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day!’ category! Depending on which jewellery brands you want to wear, wether the gemstones are semi-precious or precious or synthetic, and a huge amount of variables can impact the pricing. Some curations can range between £300-£15,000. We absolutely work within more limited budgets – Titanium curations can be so neat and beautiful and can be super affordable too. Even plain Titanium beads can look impactful when skilfully used! The main thing to keep in mind is that a piercing curation is a patience game – You don’t need to buy everything all in one go, or even in one year. Some clients build collections over the course of many years and this is often the best way to do it!

We have a full blog post detailing the custom order process which you can read here!

So there you have it, a full rundown of curations. How they work, how you go about it, and what to expect. Plus links to other blogs where you can continue to learn!

If you would like to book in for a jewellery consultation with Kat, head to our booking system. We can also do remote curations via email! Head to our instagram for a whole lot of inspiration.

-Kat

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Lobe Piercings in the UK

Lobe piercings are probably one of the most common piercings in the UK, and more than likely one of the first ever attempted piercings on mankind. Piercings have been around for thousands of years, and there’s much debate about the oldest ever one. There have been many sources stating mummies dating back to 5000 years ago have been found with their ears pierced (however some sources can date back to 12,000 years ago), or even stretched! Archaeological evidence of the mummy Pharaoh Tutankhamen shows that he had his ears pierced, and many pairs of earrings were found alongside him in his tomb.

Different cultures have different reasons why they choose to pierce their lobes, and different methods by which they do it. Ancient civilizations across the world, from Africa to Asia, have been known to use body modifications to determine social status or function as spiritual protection. The oldest mummified person, Otzi the Ice Man, had pierced earlobes. Some of the first documented lobe piercings were among native African and southeast Asian tribes that pierced for spiritual purposes. Wearing metal ear piercings was believed to prevent bad spirits, due to the belief that spirits and demons were repelled by metal. Ancient Romans were also believed to have worn studs in their ears.

Of course, lobe piercings were not the only piercings that date back across eons, but in this blog post I’d like to look more into how lobe piercings became commonplace in the UK, and how they became so popularized. 

William Shakespeare

Christianity had a huge impact on body modification, with the church considering it to be pagan and against God’s image. This view contributed to body piercings in the western world becoming underground. At some points in history, only those on the outskirts of society had their body adorned with such metal and jewelry. However the tradition of lobe piercings in the western world can be sourced back to being symbols of wealth, power or status. During the renaissance era, men started to adorn their ears with earrings to show their nobility. Every nobleman would have at least one piercing, and typically larger diamonds and pearls were worn to show off one’s wealth. This was a really good way to become known on the marriage market. On a famous portrait painting of William Shakespeare, you can clearly see a golden ring threaded through his lobe, and even portraits of male monarchs at the time, such as Charles 1, you can see beautiful earrings, such as pearls.

Charles 1

Its also noted that around the same time and possibly even earlier, earrings were also worn by sailors. There’s many theories surrounding why; including it helped their eyesight, to signify their bond with the sea (like a marriage), and also being a symbol of accomplishment of sailing the world. Another one was that because they were solid Gold rings, they could fund their funeral after they died.

A famous portrait showcasing lobe piercings, is the oil painting by the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, commonly known as the girl with the pearl earring. 

But when, why, and how did lobe piercings become as popular and as normalised as we know them to be now, especially among women and young girls? Well, all eyes are on Queen Victoria for starting this trend. The pre-Victorian era saw a general decline in earrings due to the changing fashions of the time, as chic coiffures (headscarves) began to cover the ears. However, Queen Victoria began to adorn her ears with pendant style drop earrings, and long earrings set with many luxuriant gemstones. Because the Queen had significant power and influence across Europe, she had a huge direct effect on fashions of the time. we soon saw lobe piercings once again be in vogue, with the pendant drop especially favoured.  She reintroduced this practice during her Coronation as she wanted to wear a pair of very rarely used earrings from the Royal collection and so had her ears pierced for the occasion. 

Much later on, after World War 2, around the 1950’s there was a boom in the economy and women started spending more money and time focusing on their looks, and this is where we see another surge in the ear piercing trend. Typically it was a single lobe, and surprisingly it was a lot of clip on piercings. Over the years the trend of ear of single lobe piercings stayed, (whether real or fake), and choices of jewellery saw a demand in larger, showier pieces. Rings in the lobes were also a hugely popular choice.

During the late 70’s and 80’s ear piercings started to become more popular in general, especially amongst gay men and teenage girls. This is where we see a trend of multiple lobe, and upper ear piercings become in demand. The large statement pieces became replaced with much smaller earrings made of gemstones and pearls. During this decade was when we saw another increase of men having their lobes pierced. George Michael is an excellent example, as he adorned his piercing with a simple gold ring. 

However there was a lack of brick-and-mortar piercing studios during this time, and at-home piercings were quite the norm. Over time, piercing studios began to pop up around the UK and become more normalized. The second ever piercing studio in the UK was the London Piercing Clinic. The founder and owner was the famous Mr Sebastian – The father of the UK body piercing industry. Despite not being the first, they were the first ever studio to have a high street presence and address. Set up in May 1988, it helped to make waves not just across the piercing industry, but in popularising and normalising body piercings across the UK and in popular culture.

Since the rise of social media since the late 2000s, body modification and especially body piercings are becoming more and more accepted and popular every day. It doesn’t take long once walking out of your front door to spot someone with their ears pierced, whether they be a man or woman. Often you might notice multiple lobe piercings, or even multiple or various piercings scattered across the ears. And here at Rogue, we perform lobe piercings on people as young as 8, and our eldest client was 92. Lobe piercings are becoming more versatile as we go along, with a huge range of jewellery and placements now available. Gone are the days of a standard single lobe piercing – Now we are getting creative with stacks, triangles and other styles of ear curations.

You can book your appointments via our website – Click HERE to book!

You can also follow us on instagram.

Thank you for reading! We will be back next Friday with another blog 🙂

— Jay <3

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Nipple Piercings 101

Some folks may be surprised to learn that nipples are among the most common piercing we perform here at Rogue, and we’re not alone! Most people that you see out there, in their suits and ties, with their fancy frocks and briefcases, they’ve got a barbell-shaped secret under their shirts.

So, why would anyone want to pierce their nipples? Lots of reasons! Although they’re quite a private piercing as they’re not on public display as much as nostril or ear piercings for example, they are definantly a piercing that can help people to feel empowered. A piercing that is just for them and whoever they choose to share it with. We are always honoured to be a part of that experience for someone. Of course, nipple piercings can also serve a sexual purpose and as such should never be performed on anyone under the age of 18.

History Time

It is difficult to confirm when nipple piercings became popular in the West. There are many stories online of Bavarian monarchs piercing their nipples in order to accessorise extravagant dresses. Or sailors using them to mark a particularly long voyage. There is some evidence presented in ‘The English Mechanic and Word Science’ magazine in the form of letters written in 1880’s that provide insight into the opinons people had at the time regarding these piercings and also the experiences that (in particular) women had when travelling out to Paris to have these “operations” performed. In response to a lady teling of her desire to get gold rings pierced into her nipples, someone writes “it is incredible that in this enlightened 19th century any Englishwoman should wish to mutilate herself in a way that is utterly without sense or reason”. Needless to say, it appears that his opinon is a lot less common today. Throughout the discussion on “The English Mechanic”, several writers express concerns about the practically of breast feeding, even today we continue to bust the myth that a correctly performed nipple piercing will prevent breast feeding in the future. You can read more about that here.

We also have Jim Ward to thank for documenting his first experience with nipple piercings and how they were popularised throughout the underground fetish and LGBTQIA+ scene of 1960’s America. That’s right, we have kinky gay men to celebrate for bringing piercings to the mainsteam world! In his book “Running the Gauntlet”, Jim describes how he was fascinated by the idea of piercing his nipples after discovering “the erotic pleasures of nipple play”. He had small gold rings made up by a watchmaker and used them as his inital jewellery (we live and learn through the trials and tribulations of piercings pioneers such as Jim, thin gauges are definantly not recommended these days in order to heal a nipple piercing well!)

Nipple piercings were almost exclusive to gay men involved in the leather and BDSM community, underground and often unsafe by modern standards. However, thanks to the rise in acceptance and education of these marginalised groups, nipple piercings are incredibly common. Worn publicly by celebrities such as Rihanna and Kendall Jenner, nipple piercings have become a strong fashion statement for people to wear with tight shirts and no bra. In the year 2022, we have the privelege of performing many nipple piercings each week here at Rogue, from the standard 14g all the way up to 8g for those who are a fan of heavy gauge work (anatomy dependent of course!)

NOTE: Sources used to research the history of nipple piercings come from documents written in English and are therefore bias to English perceptions. If you have any information regarding piercing history from anywhere around the world, in any language, please feel free to reach out to us at hello@rougepiercing.co.uk – we always love to learn!

Anatomy of the Nipple

A common problem we see with nipple piercings, is placement. The piercing should pass through the nipple itself and not the areola surrounding the nipple. If you take a look at the diagram below, you can see that the nipple is it’s own delinieted tissue with a clear boundary between it and the aerola (the often slightly darker skin that sits around the nipple).

Piercings should never pass into the areola tissue

Biologically, male and female nipples devlop the same way. Begining in utero at around the fourth week of development, each fetus begins to grow breast tissue. During puberty and extending to early adulthood, female breast tissue will continue to grow as estrogen levels rise in the body. Lobules inside biologically female breast tissue transport milk through the nipple ducts when stimulated to do so by hormones released after giving birth.

Nipples and Surgery

There are two main types of surgery that effect the nipple: Breast augmentation, and a mastectomy or top surgery. Both can impact your anatomy and wether we can pierce you!

We recommend having a discussion with your surgeon before the procedure about your piercing aims, so that they can give you as much information as possible. The general advice that we give clients is to wait a full year post-surgery before booking in for nipple piercings. Surgery takes a large toll on your body, and we do not want to take energy away from your healing body to heal your piercings. In addition to this, it’s important to keep in mind that the scarring from surgery (especially methods that involve full nipple removal and re-attachment) can change in shape and size over time and again needs to be fully healed and settled in place before we pierce through them. If pierced whilst the body is still healing and regenerating, we cannot guarantee as good a heal, or a straight piercing. Patience is definitely the name of the game with this! It is always better to wait longer than you think, than go into it too soon and have less-than-perfect results.

What to Expect

At Rogue our aim is to always make you feel as comfortable and safe as possible, regardless of where you’re getting pierced. You’re always welcome to bring a chaperone for moral support and we will talk you through each step of the process as we go, answering any questions/concerns/queries you may have along the way.

When you arrive for your nipple piercing (which you can book here), we will initally do an anatomy check and measurement of the nipple to discuss placement and provide you with your initial and healed sizes for jewllery. Then comes the fun part, picking your jewellery! We carry a range of options for you to choose from and we’re always happy to help with recommendations, you can check out some of barbell ends here (remember, these are sold seperately to the barbell itself which can be purchased here). As your new jewllery sterilises, we will chat to you about how to care for your piercings.

Aftercare & Healing

As always, follow the three Golden Rules for piercing and click here for a more detailed post about that!

  1. Keep it Clean
  2. Keep it Dry
  3. Leave it Alone!

Clean with sterile saline twice daily, pat dry with clean kitchen paper/non-woven gauze and avoid soaking/submerging your piercings.

Some healing times to consider:

  • 4 – 6 weeks – come see us for your check up & downsize, you can book that here
  • 3 – 4 months – you’re about halway there! you can safely change your jewellery at home and potentially swap to rings
  • 6 – 9 months – that’s your full heal! everything should be back to normal and fully settled at this point

If you every have any concerns about your piercings, pop in to see us for a check up and we will help troubeshoot with you 🙂

When it comes to getting your nipples pierced, we will always endevour to make you feel at ease, we understand that this piercing can be an intense one and bringing along some moral support is always recommended if you’re feeling a little nervous. Never hesitate to ask for reassurance (or a cuppa!)

In Conclusion

We love nipple piercings here at Rogue, no matter the size or shape, they’re certainly an empowering piercing for everyone with a wonderful and weird history behind them. Whether they’re for functional, sexual or aesthtic purposes – pierced nipples are a great way into the world of body piercing and they’re far more common than you might think!

Special thanks to Dr Matt Lodder for his research guidance, much appreciated!

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Piercing Myths

Today we will be tackling a broad and fascinating subject, and something we have to hear about fairly often working in a high quality studio. There are so many misconceptions surrounding piercing, especially as most people find their aftercare advice or do research for their piercings online. As we all know, the internet is a great and terrible place for misinformation and myths! We will be covering 6 of the most common piercing myths we hear, and explain what, if any, truth comes from them!

Nipple Piercings prevent you from breastfeeding.

This is quite a common one we hear! This is based on the fact that some people believe piercing a nipple can damage all of the milk ducts. The nipple contains on average 9-20 milk ducts, and a 1.6mm needle will never be able to permanently disable all of them. Clients with nipple piercings can definitely still breastfeed after a nipple piercing, and it does not affect your flow of milk! Keep in mind that we do recommend removing all nipple jewellery during the breastfeeding time period as it constitutes a choking hazard for your baby.

White Opal Nipple Barbell, available to purchase on our webstore.

Infections are Common.

It is fairly common for clients to mistake normal healing symptoms as symptoms of infection. It is also really common for irritated piercings to be called infections as well! This is definitely a myth, and a misconception that we are trying to change. Infections are in fact extremely rare – One in 10,000 if not more rare. Irritated piercings can be red, swollen and produce a small amount of clear/yellow/green discharge. This is entirely normal! However, when googling your symptoms you can cause yourself an unnecessary panic! We have a whole blog dedicated to irritations vs infections, which you can read here.

Infections are a serious medical matter – Thankfully practically unheard of in high-quality piercing studios!

Cheek Piercings Give You Natural Dimples

There are lots of myths surrounding cheek piercings, but this is the one we hear most often. The myth goes that you can get your cheeks pierced, heal them for 3-4 months, and then when you take them out you are left with beautiful natural looking dimples. This is far from the truth! Aside from the obvious fact that cheeks are a very complex and fairly high-risk piercing (read more on that here!), the main issue with this is that the scarring caused by cheek piercings is often unpredictable and almost never give perfect nor symmetrical results. Cheek piercings are a lifetime commitment and not something to be pierced on a whim. The best way to get dimples is to consult a facial plastic surgeon, not a piercer.

Nose Piercings can Paralyze You.

This is an odd one that we occasionally hear! We are not sure where this myth originated, but we do sometimes hear of it from clients. This one is 100% a myth and definitely nothing to be concerned about when booking for your piercing. On very rare occasions you may feel a small amount of mild numbness around the piercing site – This is due to initial swelling and is not permanent. This piercing myths may originate from viral news articles where a handful of people have had severe infections due to unsafe piercing practices that have resulted in long-term health issues. We work to the highest standards of safety and hygiene, and if you correctly follow our aftercare advice you have absolutely nothing to worry about!

Nose piercings are by far the most popular facial piercing that we offer.

The (insert ear here) side is the gay side!

This is one of the most common piercing myths that we hear! We have actually written a whole blog explaining its origins. This myth originates from the early days of the piercing industry, when it was still a very gay underground operation. Piercing was seen very differently then, and often was used as a method of silent communication between gay men and general piercing enthusiasts. We love this side of our history and are very proud of our roots, but this has definitely changed since the 1980s and we would not say that any piercing has any specific gay connotations anymore. If anything, all piercings should be considered gay as this is where our industry started!

Daith Piercings can cure Migraines

This is a difficult subject to discuss, and there are many pitfalls to consider. We will be taking a scientific approach to tackling this unfortunate myth. The daith piercing myth comes from old medical information regarding vagal nerve stimulation. The vagal nerve is said to be able to be medically stimulated to reduce chronic pain, however there is no evidence to suggest that the vagal nerve or any of its subsidiaries pass through the daith region of the ear. Traditional VNS treatments involve an implant in the chest, not the ear. In addition to this, vagal nerve stimulation has only ever been FDA approved for the treatment of epilepsy and depression, not migraines. Even with this approval, the success rate for this treatment has been fairly limited and more research is definitely needed. In terms of daith piercings, there is very little actual research. Most people offering daith piercings as a cure for migraines are relying on anecdotal evidence and small surveys, or reports that are not peer-reviewed or published in any scientific publications.

We really wish a simple ear piercing could be offered as a safe cure for migraines, but there is simply not enough evidence to prove this claim at this moment in time. We would not feel comfortable misleading people suffering from a distressing medical condition that a single piercing will cure them. We can offer a beautiful and safe piercing that can be a really nice adornment to your ear, but we would never want to take advantage of someone in pain. If you come into your daith piercing with an open mind and not put all your hopes into it as a cure, then that is the ideal way to approach it. The placebo effect is an incredibly strong psychological phenomenon, so it may very well work for you! We pierce dozens of daiths every week, and they are beautiful and fairly easy to heal as well. If it doesn’t work for you, you still get an epic piercing regardless!

Daith piercings are absolutely gorgeous, and the array of high-quality jewellery is almost infinite! We love performing daith piercings, so do not be discouraged by this unfortunate piercing myths.

We hope that this has shed some light onto some of the most common piercing myths spread about piercings. As with any topic, new myths and false information will always pop up so we may make this piercing myth post a series!

If you have any questions regarding piercings, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

To book your piercing appointments, CLICK HERE.

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Lip Piercing 101

Let’s explore the world of lip piercings. Where they originate, how they’ve developed, what they’re called and how to care for yours! Lips are one of the most popular facial piercings so let’s talk about the anatomy of the lip and what options are available to wear in your lip piercing.

The History of the Lip Piercing

Lip piercings have a fascinating and ancient history. As far back as 6400 B.C we have evidence of lip piercings being worn in Sudan. Probably the most well recognised ancient piercing practice is the lip plate body modification practiced by the Mursi and Surma women of Ethiopia in which large plates of clay or wood are worn in lip. These can then be decorated with carvings and inks. Traditionally, once the girls reach child-bearing age and are ready for marriage, the lip is either pierced or cut by their mother to begin the lip plate process and then slowly stretched up to the desired size. Lip plates are a symbol of great beauty, worn during ceremonies, times of celebration and when presenting their husbands food. As the tradition is passed down orally to each generation, there is no clear documentation as to why this practice began. Some speculate it may be connected to dowry payments, the larger the lip plate, the larger the payment in exchange for marriage. Others believe it is a symbol of fertility and commitment to the tribe. Regardless of it’s origins, images of tribal members adorning large, decorated lip plates still fascinate people all over the world to this day and contribute to tourism throughout Africa from curious travelers.

The Western world embraced lip piercings throughout the 90’s and early 2000’s, particularly within the alternative scene. Many metal musicians rocked a labret including David Draiman of Disturbed and Benji Madden of Good Charlotte. The most common is the lower lip piercing, worn either in the centre or towards the edge of the lower lip. A paired set of lower lip piercings is known as “snake bites” and these became very popular in alternative teenage circles throughout the early 2000’s. We’ll talk more about placement names later so don’t worry! And here we are, in 2022 and the love for lip piercings is just as strong. With the resurgence of 90’s nostalgia and pop culture, here at Rogue we have been loving the comeback of this classic piercing. In all it’s placements and with all it’s jewellery choices, there’s never been a better time to embrace the tradition and find a lip piercing that works for you and your lifestyle!

Lip Anatomy and Piercing Names

Let’s look at the anatomy of the lip. It’s important to keep the base anatomy in mind when marking and piercing lips!

The vast majority of lip piercings pass through the Orbicularis Orbis – The ring of muscles that encircle the vermillion zone (the lips themselves). The Orbicularis Orbis is actually made from four seperate quadrants of muscles. Top and bottom, left and right. The fibers are split into ‘deep’ and ‘shallow’ sections. The deep allow for chewing and swallowing, and the shallow are used for speech. The main blood supplies that feed these muscles are the superior and inferior labial arteries and veins.

mouth piercings

Because of the vast amount of places on the lips that can be pierced, there are many names that have been coined for each type of piercing. There is a lot of contention surrounding the names of lip piercings and these names can also change culture to culture and country to country. Here is an example of a few.

If you’re ever unsure of the name of the piercing you’d like, don’t worry! You can always show us reference images or simply point to where you want your piercing to be. (Of course we always double check placements with you before the piercing is performed!) The names for lip piercings change so often that it is often tricky to keep up!

No matter what you want to call your lip piercings, we love them all! They’re a great celebration of piercing world history and a fantastic facial adornment. Check out a small selection of the lip piercings we’ve had the pleasure to perform here at Rogue, and some of the beautiful lip jewellery worn by our team.

Click here to see more of our work on Instagram

Oral Piercing Aftercare

Oral piercing aftercare is slightly different to other body piercings as the piercing passes through both a mucous membrane and normal skin. Our usual aftercare advice can be found HERE.

  1. Keep It Clean! –> We recommend cleaning the outside of your lip piercing twice a day with sterile saline solution. Spray a small amount on, let it soak into and soften any crusties, then gently wipe to remove the crusties with a piece of folded kitchen roll or nonwoven gauze. Dab dry. Clean the inside of your lip piercing a maximum of five times a day with an alcohol-free, chlorhexidine based mouthwash. If you snack, smoke, or have sexual contact using your mouth then rinse afterwards with just clean water.
  2. Keep It Dry! –> Avoid soaking and submerging the piercing for 4-6 weeks.
  3. Leave It Alone! –> Do not touch, fiddle, twist or turn the jewellery. Do not rattle the jewellery across your teeth!

Healing Times

Standard Lip Piercings – 12 Weeks

Vertical Labret/Jestrum – 6 months

Cheeks – 18-24 months.

Downsizing

As with any oral piercing, wearing jewelery inside the mouth can pose a risk of damage to your teeth and gums and this can be a particular problem if you’re wearing inappropriate jewellery. Your piercer should always endevaour to ensure that they consider your teeth and gums when discussing placement and provide you with adequate information on the assosiated risks.

The most important way to protect your oral health is to downsize the length of the jewellery once your swelling comes down. This is usually recommended to be done 2-3 weeks after your piercing. Jewellery must be longer initially to allow room for your swelling, but that excess length will cause issues when it comes into contact with your teeth. If you do nothing else with your lip piercings, please have them downsized! Once downsized, lip piercings can experience what is called ‘nesting,’ where the disc sits just inside the soft inner oral tissue. This is completely normal and actually ideal as it again protects your teeth and gums from damage.

So there you have it, a good introduction to lip piercings! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

Sources

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/tmi.12812

https://www.icdo.at/the-mursi-tribe-and-lip-plates/

https://www.mursi.org/introducing-the-mursi

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Piercing apprenticeship in a UK APP studio.

6 months into my 3 year piercing apprenticeship.

It’s officially been 6 whole months (and a bit) since I started my piercing apprenticeship here at Rogue, so I’m writing this blog detailing my time so far here. Mainly so I can document how far I’ve come and what I’ve achieved, but it’s also good for those of you wanting a piercing apprenticeship to really know all the stuff that goes on, even before you pick up a needle. Piercing apprenticeships (especially good ones) can involve a lot more than initially expected, and your day to day activities can majorly vary from what you may have considered.

 So let’s start from the beginning, before I was allowed anywhere near the inside of the piercing room there were a million and one things I had to learn, and my first memory was spending an entire day doing the Blood-borne pathogens training. The BBP training was an online video course set up by the APP that I was able to do from the studio and from home. It was 8 hours in total, in which I had to watch videos separated into different topics, such as donning and doffing PPE, the difference between contaminated, clean and sterile, and Epidemiology and Exposure Management and then answer questions about that section. This was my first sort of introduction into keeping myself safe at work, preventing cross contamination, and working in a sterile environment.

My first week also consisted of a lot of shadowing, and watching Aiden prep for piercings, watching the piercings happen and how he uses different techniques. 

I also spent a lot of time with Kat, learning how desk works! At first it started off with doing the post office runs, and learning the aftercare speeches, taking trips out to get stuff for the shop, learning all the different jewelry, even learning how to take photos of jewelry. This also included how to set up the shop in the morning, and close the shop at the end of the day. Everything from doing the helix tests, hoovering and mopping, running the water distiller etc. It was really surprising to find out how much stuff went into everyday life of piercing, without even doing actual piercings! My favorite example piece to talk to people about is changing bins! Because of contaminated waste, there’s a whole procedure to safely change out the clinical waste bins to keep yourself safe, but also prevent any type of cross contamination. It definitely was not something I expected to have to learn. 

The biggest challenge that completely exhausted me, was when I first went through the process of cleaning and sterilizing the jewelry, while doing stock takes, and making sure everything is still in date. It has become a huge part of my day to day work life now here at rogue, but when i first started the task i spent a solid two days doing it, and it was a lot mentally! Now I don’t think twice when doing it, and can do it a lot faster and with greater precision.

The first few months of my piercing apprenticeship were very repetitive as I learned the ropes! Every week I had a new section of information to study and learn, as Aiden had written a sort of learning manual for me! Each week was a new section, which I had to read through, physically demonstrate, and then answer a small quiz! This ranged from lots of things, from sterilizing jewelry and tools, to learning COSHH and MSDS safety protocols! 

My favorite stuff I started to learn along the way, is the ongoing learning of piercing history! The traditions, culture, heritage, and the origins of body piercing. It’s really amazing to learn where piercings have originally originated from in different cultures of the years, how the industry as a whole has made body piercings very westernized, and how over the years it’s slowly started to become more socially accepted. The learning of piercing history is not something you can sit down in a day and learn, it’s an ongoing teaching session through your career, and that is genuinely so fantastic to me. 

The month leading up to Christmas was a very interesting time! Rogue introduced another guest piercer to the shop, which was the lovely Krista! This was my first time meeting another member of the industry outside the studio. This was really interesting to me because Krista is not a UK piercer, she’s a traveling piercer, and a resident in Honolulu, Hawaii! Her whole vibe and atmosphere is so kind, caring, friendly and energetic! Definitely a little bit different to the calmer, quieter, more ‘introverted’ UK atmosphere. It was an absolute pleasure to work alongside someone who works in a slightly different manner, with different experiences. It’s always exciting to meet other industry members and learn new things! 

Krista also repierced my bridge piercing for me, and introduced me to marking piercings as she helped me and let me draw the markings for my own bridge! This was my first proper physical introduction into piercings, rather than just watching and learning, and being really involved in my own piercing was really gratifying. 

Coming back from christmas was very exciting, it was the first introduction of me picking up needles! We originally started with larger gauge needles and sheets of foam, looking at how bevel theory works and how to pierce without removing tissue, just displacing! Working with larger gauge needles initially was very helpful in terms of being able to see what I needed to do and how to do it with the shape of the needles! This then gradually moved on to me piercing bananas and oranges. I pierced the fruit with the skin on and off. This is because it was similar to working with skin in terms of feel and movement. Working with the skin on helped me get a feel for depth of layers in the skin, and also the toughness of skin. 

And then, it was time! I got to do my first ever piercing! Aiden got to be my first ever client as such, and we started off nice and easy with a helix piercing! We did a mid helix, with Neometal high polish threadless balls! He talked me through the entire process, showing me how to mark, how to work with the client, how to check my angles, and where to place my fingers for my own safety! I was definitely nervous, however I also felt super confident thanks to all the gradual training, and when it was done I had every right to be confident! For a first ever piercing, it was super impressive. The angles were super nice, and it came out straight! There was a slight bit of bruising during the healing process due to my technique, but definitely nothing to complain about for number 1!

That first piercing was then followed by a second helix piercing on Kat! I was definitely more nervous for this one, probably due to the adrenaline rush from the first one, but this time it was a much smoother process, and healed even better! And then Gemma also enlisted her trust in me, and she let me do my first ever conch! This was then followed by Gemma piercing my flat for me, learning new techniques! And then later in the week, I got to perform a double lobe piercing on Breo, which was slightly more challenging due to Breo already having stretched lobes. It was a really good bonding moment for the studio.

And then, we got to open my calendar and I started offering apprentice piercings! Starting off nicely with helix piercings, and then conch piercings! It was really great meeting new clients, and previous clients, who trusted me enough to perform new piercings on them!  I was pretty confident from the start, although I definitely did have my nerves, but I think it was mainly because I have such a supportive and knowledgeable team around me! The most nervous I have been for a piercing so far was my first ever pair of nipples! It was my first freehand piercing, and it was also a slightly different technique than I was used to, and it was also one of my close friends! A lot of pressure! It went pretty well, however I did have to re-pierce one as it did not come out horizontally. Thankfully, my client was super amazing about the whole thing and her patience and kindness was highly appreciated. I’m still working on nipple piercings, alongside nostrils and lobes as well. My favorite lobe piercings I’ve done so far are the couple I’ve done working around already existing larger gauge/stretched lobes. I love seeing the second and love adorned with something small and contrasting to the larger piercing! It’s definitely a style favorite of mine. 

Alongside my piercing apprenticeship with Rogue, im currently being tasked with helping the social media accounts! I’m working on weekly instagram reels, in terms of filming, editing and uploading!  If you’ve been a fan of the current How It Works series, then thank you! Having to be the brains behind it was not as easy as I expected. I used a variety of apps when I first started experimenting with the design of how I wanted the reels to look. I’m still playing around with the design, and trying to make them more inclusive! I’ve recently found closed captions which was a really important addition. I’m also working on building a Rogue tik tok account, which I want to make the vibe for this one a little less serious than the instagram! I want it to be a bit more loose and for people toi laugh and have fun, and see the not always so serious side of the shop! 

We’re currently moving forward to opening my calendar up one day a week for junior piercings! This means I’ll get to work 1 on 1 with clients, without full supervision as I’d have completed my training on these piercings with the current technique! And that’s not the only exciting thing to look forward to this year. In September we are heading to the UK APP conference which is very exciting! It’s going to be a really great opportunity to meet new piercers across the industry and make connections, and to learn so much more stuff! The future is definitely looking shiny.

Good piercing apprenticeships can be very hard to come across, and they’re not necessarily what you think they might be! There’s so much information that really helps further your training than you would think. A good piercing apprenticeship should take between 2-3 years, with a very experienced mentor. If you’d like to understand why, read our other blog post detailing why they take a long time!

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Interview with a Rogue – Jay Abell

Tell us about your first experience with piercing?

My first ever experience with piercing was when I got my lobes pierced, but I was too young to remember, so my first actual experience was when I got my helix pierced. I think I was around 14, and my mum had got her daith pierced, and I begged her to let me have my ear done. Knowing what I know now, it probably wasn’t the safest piercing I ever had, but it was a new experience and I kind of just didn’t stop from there.

What’s your favorite piercing you have?

My favorite piercing I have currently is the one in my chin, probably because it’s more of a “fun” piercing, very short term and not viable. It’s a fun challenge to see if I can heal it, but in the meantime it’s just really cute! I love watching people’s reactions when they see I have a piercing in my chin! 

How did you get into the industry?

I got into the industry through gaining my apprenticeship with Rogue. To be honest, I was extremely lucky with how I landed it. I left university and came home to Nottingham, got a local bar job, followed by a second job at a cafe. During this time I started visiting Rogue and slowly started to upgrade my jewellery to brands like neometal. (I was wearing a lot of odd sizes, and different materials like plastic). Upon talking to Kat and Aiden, I told them I was wanting to become a piercer, but I was working other jobs. I interacted with the studio online, but I also did a lot of home research. I started learning more about the APP and UK APP, and how they work and things like that.

I actually had a folder at home, with lots of their stuff printed out!

From there I got offered an interview with the studio, spoke about Harry Styles and One Direction a lot, and was just honest the entire time about what I  liked, what I knew and didn’t know and fortunately, got offered the apprenticeship.

What’s your favorite thing about working at Rogue?

Probably the environment. The clients are absolutely lovely and always make you so excited to work with them. There’s no pressure to wear anything I’m uncomfortable with, I can be myself, I can also have a couple of biscuits with my tea if I want to. There’s the right level of pressure, do your job and do it well, make sure your stuff is done, keep moving forward and working and aspiring harder. 

What are you most proud of in your career so far?

To be honest right now I’m just proud of making it this far. Every single day I learn something new, or I do something new and it’s all so exciting. Honestly, I’m just super proud of how far I’ve come since a year ago. 

Jay’s first ever piercing, performed on Aiden

What does the future hold for Jay?

The future probably holds a lot for me but to be honest I hate thinking about it! I find if I make any sort of long term plans it always changes by time I get there! Plus I just really struggle to think that far in advance. I like to take every day, and every week as it comes by, and I just work with what I’ve got and what’s coming.

What are some challenges you’ve faced as a modded person?

To be honest, I’ve been extremely lucky when facing any challenges. I wouldn’t say I’m heavily modded or anything like that, although I suppose I might stand out a bit more in a crowd than your average person. I’ve been extremely lucky with working jobs where heavy makeup, and short dyed hair, and piercings were never an issue. They’ve also been a great conversation starter for people as well! My biggest issue has been with people asking if there’s other places I have pierced that they can’t immediately see, or purposely pointing out tattoos on my legs and chest which can be quite uncomfortable. Either that, or remarks from family, or people slightly older telling me I’d look much nicer without it all.

How did your family/friends react when you became a piercer?

I first wanted to be a piercer when I was 17 and was going to leave sixth form. My mum was really supportive and was behind me pursuing what I wanted to do. She’d just make sure that I knew what I was doing and that I had back up plans! For example, I was working a part time job as well. And then when I told my family I was dropping out of university to pursue it, again everyone was really supportive and happy that I was doing what I wanted to do. They’ve been really proud of me every step of the way, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Top 3 movies?

That’s such a nightmare question, I don’t watch movies a lot, and when I do I can never remember them afterwards! 

What’s on your playlist?

The song I’m obsessed with rightnow is ‘Friendly Sex’ by Caity Baser. But overall it’s a really weird mix of 80s, 90s, and early 2000/2010 love songs. Although if you ask me again in about a week it’ll probably be something completely different!

What advice can you offer to aspiring and established apprentices?

Be yourself, and work hard. When wanting to be a part of a world that thrives on ‘being yourself’ it can be really easy to be swept up with trends, or what other people might be doing. It can be really easy to lose yourself when trying to fit in, and in the long run it doesn’t benefit anyone. You’ve got to stick to your guns, and be unapologetically yourself.

You’ve also got to work hard, whether that’s at your apprenticeship or the other stuff you’re doing. I worked two jobs before I gained my apprenticeship, and dropped out of uni when truly realizing it’s what I wanted to do, but every step of the way I continued to work hard. I finished my year at uni, taking every last exam and meeting, even though I knew I was leaving. Working hard is a really good way to prove your commitment to things, but also if and when you do eventually leave, it’s always good to keep those connections in life.

What’s some of the most valuable advice you’ve been given so far?

“It’s amazing what you can learn when you stop talking and start listening”

What’s your favorite snack?

I really struggle with having favorite things, I just normally fixate on something for a few weeks and then never touch it again! My latest one is probably magic stars. wonderful.

Favorite drink?

Obviously redbull.

If you weren’t a piercer, what would you be doing? 

That’s a tricky one. I think if I’d never had realized I wanted to do piercing, I’d probably still be at university studying acting. However, if I’d never have gotten my apprenticeship when I did, I don’t think much would be different. I’d still be working in the pub and the cafe, still trying to gain one!

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Interview with a Rogue – Breo Hoek

Hey Breo! Can you tell us about your first experience with piercing?

My very first experience with body piercing was when I was 17. It was on my left nipple, and indeed, a bad idea. It never settled down after years due being pierced in the wrong spot with wrong jewellery. I’ve learnt, like most. the hard way.

How did you become a piercer?

The tattooist doing my rib piece in my hometown told me he would pay for my initial courses and certificates if I agreed to join him at the new studio he was about to open. This was in 2006/2007. I traveled to Madrid and Barcelona to do a couple of courses and I started right away. Not the best way, but back then we had no social media and the access to piercing information was almost unreachable for us, so learning by trial and error was the main resource we had.

What was your experience like coming to the UK?

It was a little bit random. I was living in Barcelona, I had no job at that time, and a friend of mine offered me to go to work in London. I didn’t hesitate, I needed a change, I wanted to work speaking English (that would give me the opportunity of working anywhere in the world in the future), and it was very clear I had to do it alone, for self growth. I’d been in London for 3 years. After that, I worked in Shrewsbury, at a shop called Adorn. I was there for 4 years. Then, the pandemic hit us, and I started working abroad with a jewellery company called Maria Black. Here is where I traveled more than ever in my life. And since about a year ago, after several months as regular guest at Rogue, I became a resident piercer officially at the beginning of this year. It’s been a hell of a journey, but I wouldn’t change a single thing even if I could.

How has the industry changed since you joined?

When I started, the lack of information was the main issue we all had. Piercers would never help you, I guess because the fear of being judged. Poor jewellery quality, poor aseptic techniques, poor customer service and worse work quality. Shops with loud heavy metal music, dirty walls and aggressive looking staff was the average thing. It was just a matter of being able to go through with a needle and fit something through after. 

Nowadays, EVERYTHING counts. From how you look, to how you express yourself, from what you use and how you use it when you do a piercing procedure, every single detail counts. Nowadays we only call them piercings once they’ve healed. Before that, it’s just the ‘project’.

How does the UK industry compare to the Spanish one?

The british piercing community is bigger than the Spanish one, and more active. 

Not too long ago, the Spanish piercing scene was split into two groups. The ones that care about the body piercing as a community, and the ones that didn’t. Nowadays, I’m seeing spanish young piercers with really high standards from the start of their careers, and that makes me really proud. It means that those winds of superiority are long gone and the willingness to learn from each other is bigger and stronger than ever.

You have LOTS of certificates, can you tell us about them?

To me, they only tell you that you attended seminars and classes. It is true that the more certs you have on your walls, the more obvious it is to clients that you have put time into your education. They will show how much you care about what you do, and those that can read in between the  lines can appreciate it. But what counts the most to me is the trajectory. It’s all about growing not only as a piercer, but as a human.

What accomplishment are you most proud of in your career so far?

I’m proud of my determination. I have been living in several places around the globe, always because my job, and there is not a single decision that I have taken and regretted after. I am a person with very strong convictions and perseverance. So if I decide something, I’ll do anything that is possible to achieve it.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as a piercer?

Traveling alone is a challenge most of the times, but the biggest one was the fact that I have to live far from my family and old friends because of my job. After all these years, sometimes it feels like you are from nowhere, but luckily the close people to me always remind me that I’m loved here and missed everytime I go away for a little, making me wanting to come back soon every time :’)

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as modded person? (does that change from country to country?).

I am lucky enough to be modded and most of the times respected, regardless of my appearance. But I remember once that I was called a distraction at a wedding in a church, for having visible tattoos. Nothing serious, it made me laugh.

Tell us about your experience traveling.

I’ve been a traveler since I decided to be a full time piercer. I traveled all around Spain, UK, Denmark and some other European cities. All my travels made me stronger, maturer and wiser.

I have attended countless seminars all over Europe, sometimes several times a year, just to keep myself updated about how to do my job better, and I plan to keep doing so forever. Self growth is essential as human beings, and one of the best ways to do so is traveling.

What’s your favourite piercing you have?

I think it’s my philtrum piercing. I can’t imagine myself without it anymore.

What’s your favourite piercing to perform?

I love conch piercings. I literally could spend the whole day doing them.

What’s your top 3 favourite movies.

Top 1: Gozu

Top 2: Akira

Top 3: Brother, where art thou

Favourite thing to snack on.

I love cookies. And gummies.

How do you take your tea/coffee.

My tea is green and raw. My coffee has to be thick, I want my spoon standing up, mayonnaise-like texture. Jokes aside, I like it strong and just one sugar, with oat milk preferably

What’s on your playlist.

I’m probably the most eclectic person I know in terms of music taste. I keep enjoying the same music I used to listen to 15 years ago. I think it’s easier to tell what I dislike: Latin music/reggaeton (I can’t deal with it, sorry not sorry🙃), techno, or anything that sounds comercial and for the masses, like pop music, dance, etc. 

What are some of your hobbies outside of work? 

I love videogames. I used to play PUBG Mobile at a competitive level, but now I just play for fun. If you like the game and want to add me to your friends list, let me know!

I also started enjoying the gym, it feels good and rewarding after exercising.

Do you believe in unicorns? 

If you do not believe they exist, you are a horrible person without a meaning in this world. Unicorns are rare, not imaginary. 

What’s your favourite part of working at Rogue? 

The best at Rogue is, of course, the team and the customers. I love being part of this team of weirdos, always motivated and full of positive energy, and I love the city because every year we meet new people due being a university town. We know people from all around the globe and that’s awesome!

Check out more of Breo’s work over at Instagram by clicking here

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Repiercing 101

We are often asked if it is possible to pierce in the same spot as an old piercing. There seems to be some misinformation floating around that says that if you have had a piercing in X location, you can never have a repiercing in the same place! This is not the case and we will explain why, but also talk about which conditions need to be met in order for your repierce to go smoothly.

What Is Scar Tissue?

Your piercing scar is made of scar tissue. Scars are a natural and unavoidable product of your wound healing response – There is little you can do to prevent the growth of scar tissue! Healing a piercing is a careful balance of healing a scar in a certain way to support jewellery. A piercing is a wound, after all. That scar tissue is avascular (has no blood vessels) and is made mostly of collagen. The collagen is not assembled into the organised layers that undamaged skin is, but is quite jumbled and rigid. This is why you might feel a little solid ‘lump’ where your old piercing used to be – That is the scar tissue that formed the piercing channel of your old piercing. As your scar matures, the amount of collagen drops by as much as 20% and you can feel the scar get softer and softer, until you might barely even notice it. This is what we are waiting for when we ask you to remove your jewellery and wait for a re-piercing!

Everyone heals at a different rate. There is no set time frame for when your old piercing has settled enough to repierce. Interestingly, it may take longer for young people to be ready for a repierce as our immune systems are too good at healing! The re-epithelialisation stage of wound healing is when the collagen for the scar tissue is produced. The younger you are, the more energetic this response is and the more collagen you produce. The more collagen you produce, the heavier the scar tissue will be and the longer it will take to settle and be ready to repierce. People over the age of 50 tend to scar less, as their immune response is lower and they do not undergo such an overproduction of collagen. You can read more about the healing process here!

When Am I Ready To Repierce?

This is different for everybody. The best way to know if you are ready to be pierced in the same spot is to head to your piercer and allow them to assess the area. We know what to look for in a scar! Is it hard and granular still, or has it softened enough to repierce?

Repiercing before you are ready can cause issues. Like I mentioned earlier, scar tissue is avascular. This means that if we repierce before the scar tissue has diminished, then there will likely be less blood flow and nutrients to the area which can significantly extend the healing time of your repiercing. Not only would your healing time be extended, but piercing through hard scar tissue is not fun! If the old piercing fistula is still open, you can also have issues where the new and old piercing channels interact and cause issues with draining of fluids.

As a general rule, we recommend waiting:

  • At least 8 weeks to repierce soft tissue like a lobe or navel piercing.
  • At least 12 weeks before repiercing ‘soft cartilage’ like a nose or septum piercing.
  • At least 6 months before repiercing hard cartilage, such as daith, helix or conch piercings.

This is not a hard and fast rule though. Everyone is different! Check in with your piercer if you are unsure, and always wait longer than you think you need to. There is no rush to repierce! A good piercer will produce a great piercing that will last you the rest of your life.

A beautifully settled and repierced second lobe piercing. When done well, you wouldn’t even know that this has been pierced before!

Taking Care of Your Piercing Scar

After removing your old piercing, you shouldn’t need to do anything special to it. No special cleaning, no lotions and potions. The piercing itself will shrink down and seal over fairly quickly, and needs no special care even if the piercing was very new when you removed it.

If your scarring is particularly obtrusive, we recommend that after you remove your jewellery you begin a daily routine of very gentle massage. Use a non-scented natural oil such as Jojoba oil to lubricate the skin, and gently massage the scarring between thumb and forefinger. This can effect how the scar remodels over time, and can break up the scar into softer, more pliable, tissue. There is not a huge amount of evidence (besides anecdotal evidence, which should always be taken with a grain of salt!) that scar massage is super effective, but keeping the area moisturised and stimulating blood flow will not hurt you either. If you have excessive scarring, like in keloid formation or large hypertrophic scarring, then a trip to the dermatologist wouldn’t go amiss. There are lots of things modern medicine has to offer such as laser, silicone patching, corticosteroid injections, and lots of other treatments that can soften and minimise scarring. A standard repiercing shouldn’t need all this special attention though! Time is the greatest healer of all.

As a side note, there is no discount in piercing fee whether it be a new piercing or a repierce. We use exactly the same tools and it takes exactly the same amount of time as a fresh piercing!

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch via our instagram or email!

Citations

Bond, J.S., Duncan, J.A.L., Sattar, A., Boanas, A., Mason, T., OʼKane, S. and Ferguson, M.W.J. (2008). Maturation of the Human Scar: An Observational Study. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, [online] 121(5), pp.1650–1658. Available at: https://journals.lww.com/plasreconsurg/Abstract/2008/05000/Maturation_of_the_Human_Scar__An_Observational.19.aspx [Accessed 11 Nov. 2021].

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The Basics Transition

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

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

So, What’s Different?

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

Chemistry Test

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

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

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

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

Mill Certificate

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

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

Important points to note on a mill certificate are:

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

DFARS

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

DFARS – Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement

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

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

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

AustraliaGreecePortugal
BelgiumIsraelSlovenia
CanadaItalySpain
Czech RepublicJapanSweden
DenmarkLatviaSwitzerland
EgyptLuxembourgTurkey
EstoniaNetherlandsUnited Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
FranceNorway
GermanyPoland
Notable nations missing from the DFARS agreement are China, India and Thailand.

The UK is a DFARS compliant nation, but as we have no Titanium Mills here we must source our Titanium from elsewhere. Currently the vast majority of titanium is produced in China but as China isn’t a DFARS compliant country we CANNOT accept this as safe for use in body jewellery. Currently most verifiable implant grade Titanium is sourced from US or Italian mills.

Polish

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

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

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

Thread Quality

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

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

Cost

With higher quality Titanium, better quality control, international shipping, import tax, inflation and the damage to the supply chain that COVID has caused we will be seeing a price rise on our basic options. We never like having to put our prices up but during this time we are going to have to. We will give all of our clients plenty of notice so we can all prepare for the change.

We are not in the business of changing prices without giving you plenty of notice! We are aiming to change our basic range jewellery to new, higher-quality basic jewellery in January. Any appointments after this day will have a different cost for basic jewellery – Our high-end prices are staying the same!

As always we will be striving to be the best piercers we can be and will continue to do the best we can for our clients. That’s it for this week. We’ll be back next week with a blog all about circular barbells. Have a good week everyone!

Thank you for reading. If you have any questions, you can contact us via email or instagram.

Aiden