of Desire Piercing FAQs ~
Rings of Desire Studio FAQs ~
The good ol' number one question asked by millions:
1. Does it HURT to get pierced?
The answer I give to you when you come to me and look me in the eye, is, "No, not really."
There may be some momentary discomfort experienced as pinching, or pressure, or perhaps a burning or stinging sensation. This depends primarily on the placement of the piercing. The relevant factor (when you get your piercing done by me) is that the experience is extremely brief. The piercings are so quickly, gently and skillfully performed, that whatever sensations you experience are so fleeting; it is too quick to be all that bad. I literally have observers say, "I blinked, and I missed seeing the whole thing!" My piercings are virtually instantaneous.
I pierce all over the body, all the time, and the quote from piercees I hear most often is, "That's it?! That is what I was so worried about? That was nothing. It didn't hurt at all!"
The only pain or agony from a piercing done by me is the mental torture you put yourself through thinking it will be really bad. The physical reality is easy! Folks often come in anxious and scared and when it is done they say, "Wow, that was really fun!"
I certainly hear enough terrible stories about unskilled and/or inexperienced piercers out there in the world so unfortunately I can't honestly say it is this painless and easy unless you come to me get pierced. If you can't come see me, check the referrals page.
2. Does it hurt after the piercing is done ?
Most piercees say they are in no discomfort (and certainly no pain) whatsoever once the piercing session is over. Clients often report that they are "aware of something being there" but that is about it. Some folks experience some intermittent tingling, slight stinging or a pinching sensation for a while afterwards. This can range from minutes to a few days.
Tenderness is to be expected from most piercings during the first few cleanings (See Aftercare), and if you bump it, or handle it roughly (which you aren't supposed to do anyhow!).
None of the piercings are debilitating. You can walk, go to work, exercise, etc. I do advise "listening to your body" and taking it easy if that is what seems like you need, but most folks aren't slowed down much, if at all.
3. How is the piercing done ?
All of the piercings are done using sterile disposable piercing needles. For many of the placements I use forceps, which are applied to hold the area securely for the piercing. These may also help to numb the region by reducing the circulation. Certain areas, such as the nasal septum, Prince Albert, and vertical clitoral hood piercings use a device called an NRT for needle receiving tube. These are locations where forceps are not practical or necessary, nor comfortable or safe.
The actual piercing is made using an extremely sharp beveled piercing needle, which is specifically designed for this purpose. (Though if you aren't looking, you would be very unlikely to guess that anything needle-like was involved!) It just takes a second.
Immediately following the piercing, the jewelry is inserted, essentially pushing the needle out as the jewelry goes in. (This is a maneuver in which skill and experience can make a big difference regarding your comfort!)
This process allows me to insert appropriate jewelry, as opposed to "earrings" which don't belong in other body parts. It also allows for the use of sterile disposable equipment.
4. Why can't you use an ear piercing gun ?/ Why can't I use earrings in body piercings ?
The plastic reusable ear piercing guns cannot be sterilized between uses. Often they aren't even cleaned between customers! This makes them dangerous, and highly unsuitable in terms of hygiene.
Further, the guns insert studs which are not designed for body piercing. In fact, they are poorly designed even for ear lobe piercings. The studs are too short for anything other than an earlobe, and even some lobes are too thick for the studs to fit without pinching.
Ear studs are also too thin for body piercings. Wiry jewelry has a tendency to be treated by the body as a splinter, and be ejected to the surface. Also, if skinny jewelry were to be pulled (either accidentally or for fun) it would tend to cut. Think of the way a cheese slicer works: it is a skinny wire that cuts easily with little force. Thicker jewelry (than ear studs) is better accepted by the body, and much less apt to be rejected or ripped out.
The body jewelry I insert is sized specifically to fit poperly and allow room for any swelling and for cleaning. Body jewelry is also smooth and has no poking posts or wing nut backings and is therefore far more comfortable in piercings than the usual stud style earrings. Earrings aren't even very well designed for ears, it turns out! I use rings or small barbells instead, for greater comfort and safety and superior healing.
For more information, refer to the Association of Professional Piercers' Position on Stud Guns.
5. Will it bleed ?
Any break in the skin can bleed, which includes some body piercings. Most piercings I perform don't bleed at all. Though some bleed a little, and a few bleed quite a bit, usually just immediately following the procedure. Certain piercings, such as Prince Alberts tend to bleed off and on for several days. This is perfectly normal.
When folks inquire if their piercing will bleed, my reply, "If you're lucky," may sound facetious, but it isn't meant that way.
Certain areas are more vascular (have a richer blood supply) than others. Those are the areas that tend to bleed, and also to heal the fastest. In vascular locations the body can bring nutrients to the area, take waste products away easier, and "process" the piercing faster.
Other areas, such as the tongue (which is very vascular and quick to heal) don't usually bleed, but do tend to swell as a normal part of the healing process.
Sometimes a body piercing won't bleed at all during your visit, but may bleed later. There is no reason to be concerned. You can apply direct pressure for a few minutes, using clean tissues. Also helpful for bleeding piercings is a dry cold compress. Place some crushed ice cubes in a zip top baggie and then wrap with clean paper products (to keep the condensation from the wound) and apply. For oral piercings, gently sucking on chipped or shaved ice can be effective.
Piercings that swell or bleed tend to be the fastest healers! But please, don't try to do anything to make a new piercing bleed.
6. What is the risk of infection ?
When the piercing is done by me, the risk of infection (if you follow the aftercare precisely as directed) is virtually nil. See the information about my hygiene practices and Sterility.
7. What about "rejection" ?
There is a very minute risk that your body may decline to have a foreign object in the place you select. I do careful screening to be certain that you are anatomically, occupationally, and otherwise well suited to the piercing you select. (For example, if the tissue doesn't pinch up well enough, or if you dive in dirty water, I might decline to pierce you.)
The common piercing placements I do tend to heal very well on virtually everyone. Still, even if I do our job perfectly, and you do your aftercare just right, there is a very small chance (surely less than 1%) that the piercing will "reject."
Generally that means your body ejects the jewelry toward the surface, and eventually all the way out (if the jewelry is not removed prior to coming through on its own.) At times, later repiercing behind the scar tissue will result in success.
If you believe you have a piercing which is rejecting, it is wise to have an expert examine it. In the event rejection is taking place, it is usually best to remove the jewelry, rather than to allow it to come through to the surface on its own. That can result in a split scar, which can be unsightly and may be harder to repierce later. However, if the piercing is believed to be infected, it may be advisable to leave jewelry in, so the infection can drain. Note that many doctors have no training in piercing, and many have little or no experience, and may not know how to best advise you. See our aftercare guidelines for more information.
8. How long do they take to heal ? / What does "healed" really mean ?
See the chart on approximate initial Healing Times for popular piercings.
Initial healing involves cleaning the piercing according to aftercare instructions, with approved products, avoiding bacteria, etc. until your body has the chance to produce cells which form around the inside of the piercing, eventually sealing it off from the body. At that time the piercing is no longer open wound, and it is said to be healed. No special care is required once your piercing is healed.
Note that the freshly healed piercing is comprised of more delicate tissue than the rest of the body, and it is more easily damaged or opened. You must still be careful to some extent, and not be overly rough on your newly healed piercing, or it can turn back into a healing piercing (an open wound) and require additional care.
Secondary healing involves the "toughening up" of the new cells, and the "settling in" of the piercing, so that it becomes more like the rest of your body. After this stage, most areas can withstand fairly rough treatment with no ill effects (and some of it is pretty fun!).
9. When can I leave my jewelry out ? / What if I need an x-ray or MRI?
I suggest that if you like your piercings you leave something in them at all times. Ears tend to stay open well without jewelry on most folks, but the same is NOT true of most body piercings. I do lots of repiercings on people who don't believe me. Removing your jewelry, even if you have had a piercing for years, is a trial and error process. If you don't want the error, don't do the trial.
There is a device called an insertion taper, which I can often use to successfully reinsert jewelry on a piercing that has shrunk, but is still open through and through. It may be impossible for you to shove the jewelry back through, but with the right tools, reinsertion is often possible. Better yet, leave something in. If you need an x-ray, MRI, CAT Scan, Mammogram or other medical procedure, you can use Tygon or PTFE. These are inert plastic options the same thickness as your jewelry that can be inserted in the piercing to keep the hole open in situations where metal jewelry is not acceptable. It works great!
I had a cervical (neck) MRI with 27 pieces of metal jewelry in my head. It worked just fine. My body jewelry is high-quality NON FERROMAGNETIC jewelry that will NOT react in an MRI environment. It won't get hot, and it won't behave in a magnetic way; it is non-magnetic. However, many medical practitioners are still undereducated about body jewelry (and not all body jewelry out there is high quality) and may require the metal be removed. Metal body jewelry will show up on the films as a "density" so if they are diagnostically looking directly in or under the area where you wear jewelry, it is reasonable to change to a plastic option.
10. What about pregnancy and breast feeding ?
Many women leave their body jewelry in place. Some women leave jewelry in during their entire pregnancy and delivery. If, during your pregnancy your piercing(s) becomes uncomfortable, you can replace the jewelry with Tygon or PTFE , which are inert plastics, something like thick fishing line. These will bend with your changing body, and be more comfortable, and are safe to wear. Once your pregnancy is over, you can return to the jewelry.
If there is no discomfort, you can leave the jewelry as it is. There are women who give birth with genital jewelry in place!
Milk ducts are a multiplicity of pore-like openings. In my entire, lengthy piercing career I have NEVER heard of a single case of a woman who was prevented from breast feeding as a result of nipple piercings. The feedback I've gotten, is either that it doesn't change anything at all, or that milk comes from the piercing sites, as well as the milk ducts.
Most women do remove their jewelry to breast feed, though others replace their usual jewelry with something very small and secure.
11. What is the best metal to use ?
All of the metals I use are very inert (non-reactive) and highly bio compatible (work well in the body). These metals include:
Implant grade surgical stainless steel--Grade 316 LVM F-138, to be specific. This is the grade of material used in hip and knee replacements, and surgical screws. It is silver in color, but is NOT silver. Sterling silver tends to tarnish, and that is essentially a poison to your body. Sterling silver is too reactive a metal for body piercings. My stainless steel is very inert, and even metal-sensitive indivduals do well with it.
Solid 14k and 18k white and yellow gold--These are sturdy enough to be durable as body jewelry, yet inert enough to get along well with the body. Not all gold is created equal. For example, 14k gold is 14 parts gold out of 24 parts of metal. The other 10 parts need to be alloyed (mixed) with materials that are inert enough to wear in the body, too. This is why some folks can have trouble with certain types of 14k gold--if it is alloyed with the wrong metals (such as nickel or tin) it can irritate piercings or prevent them from healing. The majority of my gold is 18k gold, and it is alloyed only with safe materials.
Gold plated or gold filled jewelry is NOT acceptable for body piercings.
Niobium--This is not an alloy (mixture) but an actual element, with its own place on the periodic table! It is very inert and good for wear in the body.
Titanium--Mine is also of the specific grade ot Titanium that is also used in implant use in the body. Niobium and Titanium can be safely colored using an anodizing process of passing an electrical charge through the metal. This results in an oxide surface layer that reflects light in different colors, depending on the charged used. That surface (color) can be changed by friction or some individuals' body acids, but this is not harmful. It is not dipped or coated in anything, but is simply a change in the surface color of the material itself.
There is no one "best" metal; everything I use is good to wear in the body. You can select the jewelry that best suits your style, and your budget.
But buyer BEWARE! Not all body jewelry is created equal and much of what is on the market is unsuitable for wear in the human body!!! I can show you the difference in high quality products! Read my information about Jewelry Quality to learn what is different and better about the jewelry I sell (there REALLY IS a difference!)
12. What size and style of jewelry should I use ?
I will assist you in the selection of the appropriate size and style for your piercing and your body. For initial piercings I have guidelines for minimum sizes (diameter and gauge) that should be used for safety and comfort during healing. They are based on my many years of experience and many thousands of piercings. (Naturally, differences in individual anatomy will impact the sizing. This is more applicable for certain areas than others.) The jewelry must also be sized to allow for thorough cleaning, and in some areas for swelling. After the healing is complete, jewelry can be changed to other sizes and/or styles.
Rings style jewelry, including bead rings, captive bead rings, and circular barbells are used for starting many of the body piercings such as:
Outer and inner labia
Bar style jewelry includes straight and bent bars, and is usually used for:
It can also be used in:
Vertical Clitoral Hood
13. How do I take care of a healing piercing?
The detailed care guidelines for facial and body piercings can be seen here. And for oral piercings, here
Information about a new, natural product for piercing care is available here (note that it is not a vegan or vegetarian product).
14. How can I learn to pierce? Will you take me as an apprentice?
I am no longer operating a retail business (and I've moved to Mexico) so I am no longer training any apprentices. But please read on:
I have had a great deal of experience during my lengthy piercing career in training my employees to pierce. I can tell you that it takes perhaps a year or longer, and literally hundreds of piercings done under close and constant expert supervision before someone is a skilled piercer.
There are several folks offering training courses in piercing. The bad news is that they are a few days, or perhaps a week long, which will NOT produce a trained, qualified piercer. They will teach you about how much more you need to learn.
The most respected and responsible of those offering training courses is:
David Vidra at Health Educators in Cleveland, Ohio at (216) 623-0744
A "how-to" video will NOT !!! do it, and a kit is extremely inappropriate. (Doctors don't sell appendectomy or tonsillectomy kits!) Any break in the skin is a very serious matter, especially with all of the hepatitis going around these days. There is a great deal to know.
Some piercers will take on an apprentice for a fee, and train them for a month or longer. This could be better than a course that lasts only a few days. The problem I've seen is that many of these folks don't actually have much training, experience, or skill themselves, and therefore don't have a lot of good information to pass along. It can cost $1500-$5000.
I have never taken an apprentice for money. That is, I trained my staff, and I paid them to work for me. After all that, I wanted them to stay--and they did. So I didn't have apprentices, per se, but long-term employees. My first New Orleans apprentices/piercers, Bryan Civello, and Pat Roig each worked for me for over 10 years!
Anyway, the upshot is, piercing is a competitive field, with many neophytes (pretending to be experts) so learning how is difficult.
Feel free to peruse the web site for the Association of Professional Piercers for lots of valuable information on piercing health, safety and education.