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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Tampa chapter.

My basic guide to getting and maintaining piercings.

Hi! My name is Melanie, and over the past three years, I have increased the amount of holes I have in my ears (plus my nose and navel). I currently have 16 piercings and a few more planned in the near–distant future. I have a consistent piercer that I trust and have a good relationship with, as well as an ongoing part-time job in a jewelry piercing store, so I have come across customers who have had questions on some of the topics that I will be covering in this article. 

First and foremost is the importance of finding a reputable piercer. Sometimes, it can be hard to find the right piercer/tattoo shop for you since there are so many. However, I find it best to narrow down the choices by reading reviews. Reviews are a great way to see feedback from real people who were also in the same boat as you! Questions like whether you need to make an appointment or not or what the attitude and personality of the piercer are can be revealed in the reviews. This would allow you to get to know the personality and skill of the person who you will be working with in achieving your look correctly and aesthetically. You could also talk with other people who have a lot of piercings. Communicating and sharing experiences is a great way to gather information and know what to expect with the pain and healing process.

When consulting with the piercer, be open to new ideas and what might be expected of you. Working with the body you have is crucial to the wellness and healing of your piercing! A knowledgeable piercer will let you know if your anatomy will suit the piercing you want to get, as well as if you will need to schedule future appointments to downsize your jewelry.

I like going into the piercer shop with a few different piercings in mind. I always say something along the lines of, “Hey I am thinking about getting *blank* done, let me know if I have the correct anatomy for it, if not I am open to getting a different one”. 

Remember that everyone is different, and that carries over into the world of piercings! A person’s pain tolerance, sensitivity to metals, and the pace of their body’s healing process varies from person to person. 

Before going through with the piercing, know what will be required of you for aftercare! For example, do not get a piercing if you are planning on going on a beach vacation the following week. I made the mistake of getting my nose pierced during the Winter season, and because of that, it took twice as long to heal because I kept getting sick and irritating my piercing. So, give it some thought and plan accordingly! 

Think ahead to see if it will fit with your lifestyle. Sometimes, sports or work don’t approve of facial piercings, so it is always something to consider before committing. For example, if it’s soccer season and you have to take earrings out for your games, wait for the season to be over since you have to keep the earring in a few months after getting pierced so the holes don’t close up. Also, your preferred sleeping style is a big factor to how long your piercing will take to heal. So, if you are a left-side sleeper, it’s best to get your cartilage piercing done on the right side. I myself am currently working up my way in filling my ear. I like symmetry, so I decided to get my Helix and Conch done on the right side, and then after a year, I will return and do the same thing on the left. 

Last minute pointers:

  • Always clean your piercings with saline wound wash (can be found in a spray bottle in your local pharmacy). Do not use rubbing alcohol, as it dries your skin and can cause irritation!
  • Do not replace your jewelry too soon. Keeping the same jewelry throughout the healing process is crucial to the wellness of your piercing.
  • When you can switch out your jewelry, I recommend investing in quality metals, nothing that will rust, tarnish, or turn your skin green.
  • And, yes, even after the healing is complete and you can switch out your jewelry, you still should rinse and clean your piercing. No one wants their piercings to stink!
  • Lastly, be fun and creative while being responsible! I always say that getting the piercer done is the easiest part; the hardest part is keeping it clean and making sure it heals well! 
Melanie is a freshman majoring in Advertising and PR at UT. In her free time, she enjoys reading, discovering new music artists, dancing, singing, thrifting, exploring new places and trinket collecting.