"Why are you so against self piercing?"
We get this question asked all the time. All the damn time. More times a week then you’d think is even logically allowed.
So, let’s try and iron out the creases as to what self piercing is, what risks it entails, and what can go wrong.
It’s imagination time: Imagine you’ve got a really sore tooth. Unbearably sore. So sore you can barely eat without wincing. So you decide you have to get it taken out. Your first port of call is to head to your garage and get a huge pair of old, rusty pliers, sit in front of your bathroom mirror, clamp down, and pull. Your tooth comes out, and it bleeds. It doesn’t stop bleeding so you take yourself to hospital. They tell you off for being an idiot, sort out the cavity in your gum and send you off on your way. A few days later, you have a headache, the pain is back in the cavity, you get a temperature. You ignore it anyway because you can’t be bothered. You end up with a full blown infection in the wound which spreads to the rest of your body, hospitalising you.
That’s a made up story, but similar things have happened with self piercing, have a read about Zeke’s story and battle with MRSA after piercing his lip, here.
Most of you stopped paying attention to that story because you probably thought, ‘I’m not an idiot, I’d go to my dentist if I wanted a tooth pulled,’. So would virtually everyone else.
Why not apply that same self-preservation logic to self piercing? Zeke pierced himself when he was a little under the weather and ended up needing multiple operations and very nearly died. The same thing could happen to anyone.
So. Let’s map out what can go wrong and where.
Implement: A professional piercing will be done with a single use beveled needle, autoclaved, brand new, shiny, happy, and sharp as hell.
A safety pin is none of the above. Nor is a thumb tack. You have NO idea where they’ve been, who’s touched them, what bacteria has been growing on there. Even if you just went out and bought them from the store, how do you know what happened when they were manufactured? These can cause all sort of bacterial infections, the rust on safety pins can be deposited inside the fistula which is really icky.
Gloves: A piercer will use brand new, well fitting nitrile gloves. Sterile gloves are an even bigger bonus.
I’ve seen a self-piercer use gloves once? Maybe? At a push? Can you remember where your hands have been today? Can you scrub them down with medical grade hand scrub? Can you clean your fingernails? Can you do all of that and then go and put on well-fitting nitrile gloves? Probably not. No gloves? No piercing. You cannot guarantee cleanliness without them.
Jewellery. A professional piercer will use high quality autoclaved titanium or implant grade surgical steel. It will be highly polished with no visible flaws. It will be the highest grade possible.
Self piercing jewellery. Meh. Virtually all I’ve seen used are hideously cheap surgical steel with the highest nickel content ever with nasty acrylic ends. Obviously this isn’t autoclaveable so no way is it safe for initial piercing.
Skill. A professional piercer has it. A self piercer doesn’t. Why? Because otherwise they wouldn’t be self piercing.
Unlicensed or friends piercing friends or anything like that is just not okay. The same life threatening risks apply.
So, why are we against self piercing:
- It may well kill you
- You can severely disfigure yourself
- Shows contempt for the piercing industry
- Lack of respect for your health
- Your piercing will almost 100% have been done incorrectly which can lead to:
- Excess scarring
- Excess pain
Honestly, the only self way to self pierce is if you are a professional piercer with a spotter on hand. I mean, technically you could go to a shop, pay the price and then say ‘I want to do it myself’, but I highly doubt any shop would entertain that.
Respect your body: Don’t self pierce.
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