5 Most Frequently Asked Questions About Piercing

Updated on March 20, 2020
Robikan profile image

Tattoos are my life. If the art of tattooing ceased to exist, I would feel very empty.

Piercing Experience FAQs (And Answers)

Getting a piercing can be a wonderful experience. It can be a magical, spiritual moment for some and an awkward and funny moment for others. Some think it hurts; some enjoy the sensation. A lot of people plan and prepare for their piercings and even more come in on the spur of the moment. All, inevitably, have questions.

Having worked the front desk of a body mod shop for nearly a decade, I’ve heard every question out there. When it comes to piercings, especially, we get asked the same few questions over and over again. This article will answer those questions and give you the basic info you need before you get a new piercing.

Top 5 Most Common Piercing Questions

  1. Will It Hurt?

  2. Is It Risky?
  3. How Long Will It Take to Heal?

  4. Should I Get Something Small?

  5. Should I Get One at All?

My lip was one of the least painful piercings.
My lip was one of the least painful piercings.

1. Does It Hurt?

This is, without a doubt, the most common question of all. And the answer is yes. And no. And sometimes.

When it comes to the pain, there are three things you have to keep in mind.

  • Not all piercings feel the same. It's impossible to say that every piercing hurts or that none of them do, because different parts of your body will feel different being pierced. Some parts are more sensitive than others, so where you get it will make a big difference.
  • Not everyone feels the same amount of pain, or in the same places. It's always hard for us to tell you if the piercing will hurt you; we can only tell you if it hurt us. Everyone is different. For example, my co-worker and I are complete opposites when it comes to pain -- she thought her nostril was quite painful and that her microdermal was almost painless. I barely felt my nostril and found getting my microdermal quite uncomfortable. Only you know your body and what parts of it are most sensitive to pain.
  • A piercing is over in seconds. Even if you do find it painful, it's over before you can say "ouch".

Just...don't. Please.
Just...don't. Please.

2. What Are the Risks?

If done in a clean and professional shop, the risks are minimal. It's up to you to find a good shop and to follow their aftercare advice.

The biggest risk in getting pierced is irritation and infection. This can happen for several reasons:

  • Dirty equipment. This is why it is so important to find a clean shop that has an autoclave and ultrasonic and professional piercers who open all of their tools in front of you so that you see it coming out of sterile packaging.
  • Bad aftercare. If you ignore the aftercare instructions and get it dirty, touch it and play with it all the time, get make-up in it, or change it too early, it can become irritated or infected.
  • Sharing jewelry. Even if you have given it a good cleaning, there are likely still pathogens on the jewelry that you are about to insert into your body. Gross. And dangerous.
  • Using a piercing gun. Because their casing is plastic, they cannot be sterilized (sterilization requires extreme heat -- the guns would melt), which means that any pathogens that shot into the gun from the client before you are still on it when you get pierced. Even if the gun is single-use, the dull jewelry that gets shot through your ear or nose causes far more trauma to your skin than the sharp point of a needle, which can make you more susceptible to irritation.

The other main risk is rejection, which is when your body decides it doesn't like being pierced and starts pushing the jewelry out. This isn't particularly painful, but it can leave a nasty scar. If you think your piercing is migrating, have your piercer check it out. If it is rejecting, take it out immediately to avoid scarring. You can always try again once it's healed.

My rim took the longest to heal, at over 6 months.
My rim took the longest to heal, at over 6 months.

3. How Long Will It Take to Heal?

How long a piercing will take to heal depends on where it is, how you treat it and how quickly you heal. Most heal in 12 weeks or less, but some can take as long as 6 months. Of course, it's different for everyone, but the general rule is, the less important that body part is, the longer it will take to heal. That means your navel (bellybutton) or ear cartilage will likely take longer to heal than your tongue or lip, because you need a functioning mouth more than you need a healed navel.

How you treat your piercing will make a big difference in healing time, as well. Using saline solution to clean it, rather than alcohols or peroxides, will speed up the healing process significantly; alcohol dries out your skin and kills all the good bacteria (yes, there is such a thing!) that helps you heal. Keeping it clean is vital -- if it's a facial piercing, make sure your pillow cases and hats are clean as well. Also avoid swimming or getting make-up in your new piercing.

This is healed, so I added a jewel, but it gives you an idea of the standard size when first pierced. Not as bad as you feared, right?
This is healed, so I added a jewel, but it gives you an idea of the standard size when first pierced. Not as bad as you feared, right?

4. Can I Get Something Tiny?

Girls especially appreciate cute and dainty piercings -- a tiny bead on a lip stud or a little jewel in a nostril. More times than I can count, I've been asked how small the starter jewelry can be.

As much as you may hate it, it has to be a little big to begin with. The reason for this is that a lot of piercings swell at first -- sometimes just a little, and sometimes a lot! That's why people talk funny after they get their tongue pierced; it's not because it hurt, it's because it's swollen. If you put a tiny bead or really short barbell in your new piercing and it swells up, your skin can literally swallow the jewelry, and you can only imagine how great it feels getting that out! It's worth having a bulkier piece of jewelry for a couple of weeks to avoid the pain of a too-small piece.

5. Should I Get a Piercing?

I probably should have put this closer to the top than the bottom, but I think this is actually a good question to close with. Once you've considered where you want to get pierced and what the risks and aftercare consist of, you can make an informed decision about getting pierced. Unlike tattoos, piercings can be temporary, so they can be done a little more impulsively and much more cheaply, but they still take some consideration and love. If you are prepared to keep it clean, are allowed to have them at work and are okay with your starter jewelry options, go for it!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 Robyn J Williams


Submit a Comment
  • profile image

    8 years ago

    I see!

    So did you get to practise on real people, what you learned? I think there is the APP, which some parlors get accredited with.

  • Robikan profile imageAUTHOR

    Robyn J Williams 

    8 years ago from Canada

    Its very interesting. Between learning all of the health and safety, learning the basics of tattooing and piercing (not that I would ever tattoo -- I'm a terrible artist!), hearing all of our clients stories and handling the desk, there is never a dull moment!

  • profile image

    8 years ago

    Ty. Sounds like it's a very interesting job, right?

  • Robikan profile imageAUTHOR

    Robyn J Williams 

    8 years ago from Canada

    Thanks! I've worked in a tattoo shop since 2008.

  • profile image

    8 years ago

    Useful information.

    Voted up.

    How long have you worked in a parlor?


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, tatring.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)