This is my own story about how stumbling across your page saved me from my own ignorance. I was stretching at the time and by stretching, I mean shoving acrylic tapers in my ears that were two sizes too big. Eventually the inevitable happened; one of my ears got a nasty blowout. I quickly took them out and looked online for modification sites for help. I stumbled across Awful Mods and read through easily 20 pages of submissions. I have three self pierced holes and four done with a gun, which I was completely unaware was bad. I signed all of the anti gun petitions and vowed never to use them again. I went and got my daith pierced in a very reputable shop as well as my navel and stretched back up safely, following directions you guys have posted as closely as possible. I also got a tattoo for my 15th birthday (legal in my state with parental consent) at the same reputable shop that I go to for my piercings. I try to educate my friends on what not to do and discourage their self piercing attempts. My friend recently offered to “make me some gauges” out of polymer clay, which I declined and warned her not to use. I credit this blog alone with most of my modification interest and knowledge. Thank you guys and keep up the amazing work!
As an employee of Hot Topic in Virginia, I would like to point out that our body jewelry is tested to be nickel free. Also, the wonderful man who does all my piercings (20+ years experience in the best shop in my town, the owner, Joe Hagerty, shits awards for his tattooing) agrees with me, that aside from our acrylic, our jewelry is very decent, more so than Spencer’s (Who have REALLY fucked up my ears before by selling me shitty silicons.) Also, the workers in the store do not label the jewelry. We buy as a third party seller. It was Morbid Metals that mislabeled. Also, with many companies, return policy is a store-to-store thing. We will accept all body jewelry at my store for returns and exchanges, damage them out, and continue on. I’m really sorry to hear that the person had such a terrible experience with our jewelry. I buy most of my jewelry from my store and have never had a problem like that, and had it been my store, I would’ve made sure that they could have been returned. That was just not okay. Mistakes happen, and most likely they were mistakenly labeled by the other company that we buy from.
I will say a good thing to do in ANY Hot Topic, is find the person with the best piercings. My store, all of us are pierced by professionals and are great to talk to. I realize in other stores it could be different. They’re uneducated, they don’t care, or both. I personally always try to make sure people get either metal or silicone. But I had a bad experience with acrylic so I stay as far away from it as possible and try to direct other’s in that direction.
But yeah anyways, I just felt like explaining a few things and I hope no one else has a problem like that, and if anyone wants to here my personal rages about having to sell some of that jewelry, just message me :3 I may be an employee, but I still have my pet peeves! (Like idiots who jump 4 sizes with silicone after I basically beg them not too)
Nickel free, eh? So what the fuck was it then that I had a reaction to in the steel tunnels I bought from HT? The reaction that prompted me to downsize completely and restretch, that wasn’t the result of nickel (which I’ve been allergic to my whole life) in the cruddy jewelry I bought from HT? And those knock-off silicone (not silicon, they are different) plugs made of who-knows-what grade that may or may not be body safe? Sounds like a good deal and quality jewelry right there. I have bought my fair share of HT jewelry, but the only things worth anything were the glass, which is a bit wonky anyway, but at least it’s not toxic or anything.
Return policy thing…meh. I guess you could damage it out as some people have suggested, but for something that’s been in the body, you open it, it’s yours and I don’t think that’s a ridiculous policy to have.
And your store might be great, but a lot of people’s stores aren’t, so I will always always always recommend going in cautiously and if an employee is giving stretching advice and it seems off, don’t feel pressured into buying things. And I don’t think I will ever recommend going to spencer’s for jewelry. Might as well search through scrap metal…
And all stainless steel jewelry has some nickel in it… Not sure what tests you’re referring to, but they’re totally bogus.
Support your friendly neighborhood piercers instead and get good jewelry and good advice every time (provided you’re going to a good piercer, obv). :P
Do not buy body jewelry from Hot Topic!
I just want to second the other post about not buying Hot Topic body jewelry…I bought some “6g” pinchers and couldn’t get them in my ear; they were too big. I’d been stretched to 6g for months, so there shouldn’t have been a problem, unless of course they mislabeled their body jewelry. I tried to return/exchange them and they refused to take them back even though it was their fault for selling me “6g” pinchers that were actually larger than that!
SUBMITTER’S COMMENT: This was my first cartilage piercing done with a needle. I got this piercing done at Steady Tattoo in Minneapolis over a year ago. The piercer asked me what kind of jewelry I wanted for the hole—in which I believe he shouldn’t had asked me. He should have told me that I should get the straight barbell for my new piercing. I went ahead with the hoop ring. My pierced cartilage was fine until around three months later. I developed the bump in the picture. I thought it was normal since the previous piercing I got, developed a small bump but it went away on its own. It has been over a year and the bump is still there. Sometimes it hurts, others it doesn’t. I still get clear discharge that dries into crusties. I’ve notice that sometimes the bump gets smaller. I’ve been trying to find good, reputable piercing shops in Puerto Rico to advice me on the piercing, but it’s really hard. I don’t know what else to do aside from the saline soaks.
WHAT’S AWFUL: Getting a hoop ring for a cartilage piercing.
HOW CAN IT BE FIXED: Maybe replace my hoop ring with a straight barbell, unless it’s pointless. Keep doing saline soaks and hope for the best.
Seriously, take your own advice and try a straight barbell. :)
Submitter’s Comment: First of all, sorry if my English isn’t good, I’m not a native speaker.
I got my industrial done in October, 2012. I went to a “reputable” piercing studio near my house to get it done. I was told that the barbell was “high quality stainless steel”, the first week was healing normally, like a normal piercing, after the first week it started to get very swollen and itchy, “It may be healing” I thought, but every day my ear became more swollen and the itchiness didn’t let me sleep, until one morning I woke up and find my ear was like twice the size swollen, and EXTREMELY itchy (like in the photo).
Until I decided to go to the doctor and find out that the stainless steel barbell I was pierced was what caused the allergy. The doctor prescribed me some antibiotics to avoid infection, some pills to prevent the allergy to spread through my whole ear and a cream, so the itchiness could disappear. Nowadays, I have a nice and healthy ear again, but I still can feel the scars where my industrial used to be.
What’s Awful: I was pierced with a low quality “jewelry” which caused me the allergy.
How it can be fixed: Get pierced with jewelry that the piercing studio knows what material is made of, not materials made of God knows what.
1. your english is better than quite a lot of native speakers.
2. Note to all: Stainless Steel is pretty much never “high quality” unless it’s Anatometal or Industrial strength. (Iirc, Neometal and BVLA don’t work with steel at all.) If you’re getting pierced with steel and don’t know if it’s Anatometal or IS, ask for titanium jewelry. I know outside the US Anato and IS are hard to come by in quite a lot of places, so asking for Ti is your next best bet.
I’m gonna add that not all titanium is created equally, it has different grades just like steel… Even “bad” jewelry companies work in titanium. There are also more companies than just Anatometal & Industrial Strength that deal in high-quality steel jewelry. There’s more to jewelry than just the metal, you want something that is made properly with a good surface finish that isn’t covered in tool marks. Your best bet is to just go to a GOOD shop that uses good jewelry, that knows the grade of the metal they’re using. You can always ask them to special-order from a better company or order it yourself from a site like BAF. You can find more information about metal quality and what to ask for on the APP’s website under their minimum standards for jewelry. Basically, for steel you want to hear “F138” and for titanium you want to hear “F136.” Neither metal is just flat-out better than the other, it all depends on the quality of the piece.
i desperately want to learn how to and start piercing people, although its not suggest i have pierced myself a couple of times and none have rejected nor gotten infected due to careful cleaning and proper “technique” or what little i have. where should i start looking? does one have to be a certain age before being allowed to pierce people? and last of all where could i find synthetic skin to practice on without the consequences of screwing up somebodies body?
If you really want to become a professional piercer, stop what you’re doing.
Don’t pierce yourself. Don’t pierce your friends. Don’t pierce “synthetic skin.”
Piercing is about so much more than just being able to stick a needle through something. Find yourself a good apprenticeship under a good (I cannot stress this enough, don’t just jump at the first opportunity you get) piercer, and they will get you started on the right path. It’s not necessarily an “easy” industry to get into, since everyone and their mother wants to be a piercer.
In the meantime, all I can suggest is doing some research. Find all the information you can, and read it three times. Use your internet resources! Comb through BME, blog posts by industry professionals, back issues of The Point. I know reading and learning is ~boring~, but if you’re looking for an exciting action-packed glamor job, you’re checking out the wrong industry.
DISCLAIMER: In case someone somehow reads my post wrong, I would like to point out that DOING THE RESEARCH I SUGGESTED DOES NOT MAKE YOU A PIERCER. IT DOESN’T EVEN NECESSARILY MAKE YOU QUALIFIED TO DISH OUT YOUR OWN PIERCING ADVICE. LEAVE IT TO THE PROFESSIONALS.
I find this a bit ironic (a personal story)
I have several tattoos, a few of them done by a close friend of mine (I know, I know, they were from a few years ago) and surprisingly, they’re pretty good. I like them, at least.
This story, oddly enough, isn’t about his work though but a shop in my area that actually has a great reputation. I got my first tattoo there, right when I turned 18. Its a goofy looking skull that looks more like Jack Skellington than anything else, and took about 20 minutes. I was a bit confused as to why that cost me 70$ but I figured hell, I’m happy with it, no reason to really complain.
About a year later my boyfriend offered to pay for my second tattoo, ‘Live Before You Die’ on my left forearm. I’d wanted it for about a year, contemplated it and when I still wanted it, he offered as a birthday gift. I went back to the same shop, set a date, saw the lettering he drew up and felt pretty confident.
Everything was normal at first, I was incredibly shocked how painless it was though, an about 20 minutes in he went to wipe the ink off and all of the lettering went with it.
He just kinda stared at my arm and the needle, shrugged and went back to it. Next time he wiped the ink, the same thing happened. Apparently the needle was in BACkWARDS.
So he effectively tenderized the shit out of my arm before actually getting the ink in. Halfway through he switched to a bigger needle and at that point I was outright sobbing because it was so sore.
About four years later, I’m amazed how well it healed, but it wasn’t easy. Out of the seven I have, its the ONLY one that ever scabbed and got horribly sore. There are a few weird bubbly spots on it still, and while I’m happy with how it looks in spite of that, I can’t imagine ever going back there again.
SUBMITTER COMMENT: This is a stick n poke I did on myself when i was 12 with India Ink and a sewing needle. Me and my friend both have shitty stick n pokes. I feel like I need a shame cube.
‘What’s Awful: unsanitary, stick n poke, not experienced .. you know.
How it can be fixed: I’m getting a cover up when I turn 18. But until then… what are some ways i can hide this hideous thing??
oh, and also, this exists.
I think my septum has been done wrong
First of all, sorry for my bad english.
The thing is last week I went to a piercing/tattoo shop to have my septum done. I feel like it may be too low and now that the scab has gone the holes appear to be crooked. What do you think? What should I do? Thank you in advance.
Well, because you included a picture, I’ll post it anyway even though you’re “anon at firstname.lastname@example.org” and usually we won’t respond to questions that don’t have an asker we can directly contact.
Anyway, I can’t tell you for sure, but it does look kind of low and a bit off center. The off center part could just be how your jewelry is sitting. However, where it should be in your nose is NOT in any cartilage. It should sit in your “sweet spot”. If you pinch your septum between your fingers you’ll feel this little area where it’s JUST skin. It’s between the outer part of your septum, and the cartilage that goes up your septum in the center. I think you’ll know what I’m talking about if you feel your septum. If it’s not pierced in the sweet spot or where you’re happy with it, i’d take it out and get it redone somewhere better.
my conch infection
i had been wanting a conch piercing, so i went to get one at the place i get all my piercings done. it’s a very clean place, they autoclave everything, use gloves and needles, etc. i got my 2 previous helix piercings there, and they were both healing really nicely.
anyway, i got the piercing and it hurt so much less than i though it would. it hardly hurt on the way home and for the first five days, i could barely tell it was even there.
then it started to get sore and hurt. i thought it was just part of the healing process, so i just continued with the twice-daily sea salt soaks. however, it started getting worse and worse. after around 3 days, the pain was so bad that i was popping ibuprofens every couple of hours. my entire conch and anti-tragus area was swollen and red. it started oozing yellowish pus after a few days. the pain got so bad that i could’t focus on doing anything.
i asked my mom to take me to the emergency room, and despite me trying to explain how you’re not supposed to take the earring out as that can cause an abscess, the doctor and my mom made me take it out. then the doctor made me lie down and proceeded to try and push all the pus out. it was the most excruciating pain i have ever experienced in my whole life. i knew they were going to do something painful and i was telling myself i wouldn’t cry, but i ended up screaming and crying. then they gave me antibiotics and really strong painkillers.
for the next three days, i was still in extreme pain and my ear was still very swollen and full of pus. when i went to see an ENT, she sliced the back open so the abscess could drain. i was still in constant pain for around a week before it started to feel a little better. it’s been getting better since then, but my ear still looks far from normal.
i honestly don’t know what i did wrong, and how i got that horrible infection.
Sometimes weird unfortunate shit happens. :/ It’s okay to take out the jewelry if you’re on anti-biotics. If it were really really bad, the doctor who lanced it the first time (or even the second) would have put a tube in there anyway so it could drain. At least I hope they would… Anything could’ve happened to cause that (probably post-piercing if they’re as clean as you say). The world is gross and anything could’ve just flown into your ear and gotten all up in the piercing and then BAM you’re in lots of pain. Sorry that happened to you. :/