Tag Archives: Piercing Aftercare

Body Jewelry Materials – Hardwoods

This article is from the Piercing FAQ, by Anne Greenblatt with numerous contributions by others.

2A.3a Hardwoods

Hardwoods are most often used to make plugs for enlarged piercings,
such as ear lobe, labret, and septum piercings. Hardwoods are natural
materials that work in harmony with the body. They can “breathe” with
a piercing and allows an interchange of oils. Wood stays warmer than
metals. Wood does not develop the bad odor plastics can develop.

Hardwoods are broad-leafed, deciduous trees (angiospermous). The term “hardwood” does not actually refer to hardness: for example, balsa is a hardwood. The part of the tree normally used is the center
heartwood, normally darker and denser than the surrounding sapwood.

A few species of wood commonly used for jewelry, furniture and inlays
are endangered or threatened. These species are regulated by CITES,
the Center for International Trade of Endangered Species. Endangered
species include Brazilian rosewood (Dalbergia nigra). Threatened
species include Mexican mahogany (Swietenia humilis) and Carribean
mahogany (Swietenia mahagoni), Commoner (Guaiacum officinale), and
Holywood lignum vitae aka “Tree of Life” (Guaiacum sanctum), Bigleaf
mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla), and American mahogany (Swietenia
meliaceae). In some cases, wood from threatened species is acquired by salvage or through sustainable harvesting.

Grain (fibers within the wood) is considered either open or closed.
Open-grained woods may collect bacteria, shed skin tissue, and dirt
and hence generally should not be used for jewelry.

The overall shape and dimensions of the piece should be consistent and
appropriate for the particular piercing with room to allow for
possible swelling. The finish should be free from scratches, pits or
tool marks. The piece should be free of raised grain (wood fibers),
even when wet. Luster varies from species to species and the wood may or may not shine. An oiled plug will appear dull.

Because hardwoods are porous and readily absorb and release moisture,
oil, and bacteria, hardwood plugs are best worn in healed piercings
and dry areas of the body. Because hardwood jewelry cannot be
sterilized it should always be handled by clean hands and only worn by
one person. Autoclaving hardwood jewelry may cause it to crack, split,
and warp. Hardwood jewelry should be cleaned regularly with a
non-chemical soap that is safe for the body. Tea Tree oil can also be
used; prior to use a patch test is recommended to test for
allergy. Hardwood jewelry should be oiled after cleaning to benefit
the skin and aid insertion.

The type of finish applied is usually an oil and sometimes a sealant.
Many finishing oils and sealing products contain chemicals, toxins,
solvents, petroleum or animal products, or pigments. Using a finish
that entirely seals a hardwood plug eliminates the purpose of wearing
wood. I usually recommend a non-toxic oil or wax. Food grade oils such
as olive and peanut are generally safe but may break down (turn
rancid) with heat and time; pieces finished using food grade oils
should be washed and re-oiled periodically to avoid turning
rancid. Waxes can be animal or vegetable based; waxes may come off
with heat or be rubbed off while cleaning. I do not recommend using
pigment as most are chemical or solvent based and can fade or enter
the bloodstream.

Some people are allergic to certain hardwoods. A sensitivity to
hardwoods can also be acquired with exposure. The risk of developing a
sensitivity to certain hardwoods is increased for those who work with
the woods by way of the dust which is produced in the production
process. The hardwoods likely to cause allergic reactions include all
woods within the Dalbergia genera, or the rosewoods: African blackwood
(Dalbergia melanoxylon), Brazilian rosewood (Dalbergia nigra),
Cocobolo (Dalbergia retusa), Indian rosewood, aka Bombay blackwood
(Dalbergia latifolia), Kingwood aka Violetwood (Dalbergia cearensis),
Tulipwood (Dalbergia frutescus), Teak (Tectona grandis), Purpleheart
aka Amaranth (Peltogyne spp.); and possibly Greenheart and Satinwood
(Chloroxylon swietenia). Some woods may be very hard to identify; for
example, African blackwood can masquerade as ebony.

Piercing FAQ

Everything you wanted to know about Piercing
This FAQ about Piercing was compiled and written by Anne Greenblatt with numerous contributions by others.

Part I: Intro

  • 1.1 Summary – This posting contains information about body piercing.
  • 1.2 Copyright And Dissemination – Under the Berne Convention, this document is Copyright (c) 2000
  • 1.3 Table of Contents of the rec.arts.bodyart Piercing FAQ:

Part II: Jewelry

  • 2A.1 Metals – The metals used for body jewelry are chosen for
  • 2A.1 Gold – 1 karat = 1/24th of the alloy is pure
  • 2A.1 Niobium – Niobium is an elemental metal and is strong yet flexible
  • 2A.1 Platinum – Platinum and metals in the platinum group such as palladium
  • 2A.1 Stainless Steel – Of the many stainless steels available, only 316L and 316LVM
  • 2A.1 Silver / Sterling Silver – Sterling silver is 92.5% silver alloyed with copper or some
  • 2A.1 Titanium – Titanium is an extremely lightweight, elemental metal.
  • 2A.1a Report on Stainless Steel – by Sean
  • 2A.2 Non Metal Materials
  • 2A.2a Report on FDA Approved Acrylic – by Michael
  • 2A.3 Organic Materials – Thanks to Erica Skadsen / Organic for the information contained in
  • 2A.3a Hardwoods – Hardwoods are most often used to make plugs for enlarged piercings
  • 2A.3b Bamboo – Bamboo is not a wood but a grass. Several thousand different
  • 2A.3c Ivory, Horn, Antler – Thanks to Jesse Jarrell
  • 2B.1 Jewelry Sizes – Jewelry is measured by gauge (thickness) and width.
  • 2B.1a Gauges And Equivalents – Most jewelry manufactured in the US is gauged according to
  • 2B.2a Basic Jewelry Designs: Captive Bead Ring – The basic ring design is the captive bead ring or ball closure ring
  • 2B.2a Basic Jewelry Designs: Bead Ring Or Attached Bead Ring – The bead ring is similar to the captive bead ring except that the
  • 2B.2a Basic Jewelry Designs: Seamless Or Beadless Rings – The names beadless ring and seamless ring are misnomers because
  • 2B.2a Basic Jewelry Designs: Captive Tube Or Captive Bar Ring – Instead of a bead, a short, straight or curved tube or solid bar
  • 2B.2a Basic Jewelry Designs: Screw On Ball Ring – Screw on ball rings are an alternative to large gauge captive
  • 2B.2a Basic Jewelry Designs: Barbells – Straight and curved barbells are measured by the linear width
  • 2B.2a Basic Jewelry Designs: Gemstone Or Jewel Settings – Gemstones can be set in metal using either a prong setting or
  • 2B.2b Piercing-Specific Designs: Jewelry For Enlarged Piercings – The following designs are intended to maintain the enlarged size
  • 2B.2b Piercing-Specific Designs: Jewelry For Nipple Piercings – Nipple Retainer: Comprised of a straight bar worn through
  • 2B.2b Piercing-Specific Designs: Jewelry For Septum Piercings – Septum Retainer: A U-shaped piece of metal, either rounded
  • 2B.2b Piercing-Specific Designs: Prince’s Wand – The Prince’s Wand or Urethral Tube can be made to fit either
  • 2B.2b Piercing-Specific Designs: Eyebrow And Nostril “Bones”
  • 2C.1 Facial Piercings: Earlobe – 6 to 8
  • 2C.1 Facial Piercings: Large Earlobe Piercings – Please refer to Part 7 of the FAQ for information on
  • 2C.1 Facial Piercings: Dermal Punch Method for Large Earlobe Piercings – Dermal punches are designed to remove tissue for biopsy procedures.
  • 2C.1 Facial Piercings: Transverse Or Lateral Earlobe – 4 to 8
  • 2C.1 Facial Piercings: Vertical Earlobe – 4 to 8
  • 2C.1 Facial Piercings: Ear Cartilage – 3 to 6
  • 2C.1 Facial Piercings: Nostril – 3 to 6
  • 2C.1 Facial Piercings: Septum – 4 to 8
  • 2C.1 Facial Piercings: Eyebrow – 2 to 4
  • 2C.1 Facial Piercings: Bridge / Niebuhr / Erl / Nasion – 4 to 6
  • 2C.2 Oral Piercings – The risks of oral piercings include chipped and cracked teeth
  • 2C.2 Oral Piercings: Lip & Labret – 2 to 4
  • 2C.2 Oral Piercings: Madonna / Beauty Mark – Also called the Marilyn or Chrome Crawford because of the
  • 2C.2 Oral Piercings: Cheek – 3 to 5
  • 2C.2 Oral Piercings: Scrumper / Lip Frenulum – 1 to 2
  • 2C.2 Oral Piercings: Tongue – 4 to 8
  • 2C.2 Oral Piercings: Tongue Web / Frenulum – 2 – 4
  • 2D.1 Navel Piercings – 4 to 8
  • 2D.1a “The Navel Piercing: A Better Alternative” – by Karen Hurt of Future Primitives, San Francisco,
  • 2D.1b “Angled Navel Piercings” – by Elayne Angel of Rings of Desire, New Orleans
  • 2D.2 Nipple Piercings – 4 to 8
  • 2D.2a Female Nipple Piercings – Female nipple piercings should be made at the base of the nipple
  • 2D.2b Male Nipple Piercings – Because most men have very small or flat nipples, the piercing
  • 2D.2c Nipple Piercings And Breastfeeding – Most piercers maintain that nipple piercings are unlikely to
  • 2D.3 Surface And Unusual Piercings – Many piercers do not perform the following piercings because
  • 2E.1 Female Genital Piercings – All of the female genital piercings are highly anatomy-dependent
  • 2E.1 Clitoris Piercing – 4 to 6
  • 2E.1 Fourchette – 4 to 6
  • 2E.1 Horizontal Clitoral Hood Piercing – 4 to 6
  • 2E.1 Vertical Clitoral Hood Piercing – 4 to 6
  • 2E.1 Inner Labia – 4 to 6
  • 2E.1 Outer Labia – 4 to 6
  • 2E.1 Triangle Piercing – 4 to 6
  • 2E.1 Christina – 4 to 6
  • 2E.1 Isabella – This piercing was first documented in Issue #17 of Piercing
  • 2E.1 Princess Albertina – Another relatively new and experimental piercing documented in
  • 2E.2 Male Genital Piercings – The Prince Albert, Ampallang and Apadravya piercings usually bleed
  • 2E.2 Ampallang – 6 to 10 months; may require a year or more to completely
  • 2E.2 Apadravya – 6 to 10 months; may require a year or more to completely
  • 2E.2 Foreskin – 2 to 4
  • 2E.2 Frenum – 2 to 4
  • 2E.2 Guiche – 4 to 6
  • 2E.2 Prince Albert Or P.A. – 2 to 4
  • 2E.2 Scrotum / Hafada – 4 to 6
  • 2e.3 Genital Piercings And Sexual Activity – Genital piercings are intended to enhance sensation for the
  • 2E.4 Genital Piercings And Pregnancy – In the interest of safety for the mother and child, jewelry should

Part III: Getting A New Piercing

  • 3.1 What To Look For In A Piercer – Consider first visiting the studio without intending to get pierced
  • 3.2 Assessing Anatomy And Selecting Jewelry – Because everyone is built differently, not everyone is
  • 3.3 Ear Piercing Gun – The piercing gun or piercing implement was originally intended to
  • 3.3 Single-Use Disposable Needles – Piercing needles are hollow, lancet-point needles, beveled
  • 3.4 Basic Piercing Procedure: Prep – The area to be pierced should be cleansed using a surgical scrub
  • 3.4 Basic Piercing Procedure: Tools – Most piercers use forceps to hold the area to be pierced
  • 3.5 Methods Of Disinfection And Sterilization
  • 3.6 Anesthetics – In the United States topical anesthetics are only available
  • 3.7 Are You Under 18? – Many states now have laws restricting or prohibiting piercing minors
  • 3.8 Does It Hurt? – Most people experience some level of discomfort or pain during
  • 3.9 Making Your Experience More Comfortable – Get plenty of rest the night before. Eat a good meal and drink
  • 3.10 Piercing Kits And Doing It Yourself – Piercing kits have many disadvantages.

Part V: Care Of New Piercings

  • 5.1 Skin Cleansers, Wound Cleansers, And Soaps – Skin cleansers are designed to aid in the physical removal of
  • 5.2 Antiseptic Products – Antiseptics and disinfectants are chemicals designed to kill
  • 5.3 Other Products
  • 5.4 Products To Avoid – Antibiotic And Medicated
  • 5.5 Essential Oils – Many people have found essential oils beneficial to healing
  • 5.6 Aftercare For Facial Piercings – Wash your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap before
  • 5.7 Aftercare For Oral Piercings – Wash your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap before
  • 5.8 Aftercare For Body Piercings – Wash your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap before
  • 5.9 Aftercare For Genital Piercings – Genital piercings often bleed between 12 to 24 hours depending on
  • 5.10 Herbal Hot Compress Recipe – Provided by Michaela Grey, formerly of Gauntlet and the Association

Part VI: The Healing Process & Healing Problems

  • 6.1 The Healing Process – General Wound Healing
  • 6.2 Abandoning A Piercing – Whether or not the piercing completely closes depends on the age
  • 6.2a Reopening or Repiercing an Abandoned Piercing – An abandoned piercing that has only shrunk or partially grown
  • 6.2a Healing Problems: Dry Skin – Over-cleaning the piercing, failure to thoroughly rinse the
  • 6.2b Healing Problems: Prolonged Healing – Prolonged healing is indicated by failure of the piercing to
  • 6.2c Healing Problems: Follicular Cysts – Follicular cysts may affect both new and healed piercings.
  • 6.2d Healing Problems: Infections – The most frequent causes of infection is touching the piercing
  • 6.2e Healing Problems: Hypergranulation – During the proliferation phase of healing, granulation tissue
  • 6.3 Scars – Any penetration of the skin will result in a scar. Scar tissue
  • 6.4 Piercing Migration And Rejection – Occasionally a piercing migrates towards the surface of the skin
  • 6.5 Metal Sensitivities – The metals used for body jewelry are chosen for

Part VII: Healed Piercings

  • 7.1 Changing Jewelry – After a piercing is healed jewelry may be changed as desired.
  • 7.2 Stretching Piercings – Only well-healed piercings should be stretched. Stretching too soon
  • 7.3 Bondage Play – Strenuous bondage play using chains, restraints, and weights
  • 7.4 Hiding And Retaining Piercings
  • 7.4a Retaining Piercings During Surgery – Most hospitals’ policies require that patients remove all
  • 7.6 Piercings And Common Medical Procedures – Finding a piercing-knowledgeable doctor is more difficult than
  • 7.7 Body Jewelry And Metal Detectors – Security metal detectors are used to detect certain types of
  • 7.8 Piercings And Employment – Several readers of rec.arts.bodyart have been suspended or

Part VIII: Historical Information

  • 8.1a History of the Nipple Piercing
  • 8.1b Titrings, a Bit of History
  • 8.2 The Apadravya In The Kama Sutra – From the unexpurgated printing of the Kama Sutra printed in 1963
  • 8.3 History Of Late 20th Century Body Piercing – In the US, Doug Malloy, along with Jim Ward and Fakir and, in England,…
  • 9.1 Books And Magazines

Part IX: Resource List

  • 9A.2 Calendars And Posters
  • 9B.1 Videos
  • 9B.2 Online Sites
  • 9B.2a Chat Rooms And Online Clubs
  • 9B.3 Software & CDs
  • 9b.4 Places Of Interest – NEW YORK BODY ARCHIVE, #9 Ninth Ave., 2nd Floor, South of 13th St