Changing your piercing jewellery

Your piercing has healed and you're ready to replace the initial piercing jewellery with some gorgeous piece you've found. What do you do?

First of all, you need to be sure that your piercing has healed COMPLETELY which for many piercings can take 9 months or even more. It must no longer be secreting anything or getting crusty or be at all tender. You've waited this long, don't mess up by going too early!

Your initial jewellery should have been titanium (or at the very least, surgical steel), metals which are likely to more hypoallergenic than your replacement jewellery. So, when you put the new piece in, you really want the skin to be healed so that the scar tissue is well established enough that the impurities in the new jewellery won't irritate. And remember, even gold can be an irritant. 

The most important thing therefore is to be patient.

Secondly, be aware of the gauge and size of your current jewellery before buying a replacement piece. Don't make the mistake of assuming that something will fit your piercing because it looks nice! (You may need to ask your piercer for help on this - he/she will easily be able to tell you what you need to be looking for).

Thirdly, don't take the old piece out until you are actually going to put the new one in. It is truly astonishing how quickly a hole will shrink and what should have been a straightforward replacement can turn into a very uncomfortable experience.

Then you need to decide if you can see and access the piercing well enough to do it yourself. Some types of jewellery are really fiddly to put in, some places (like a daith) are tricky and some need special tools. If you don't think it will be straightforward, don't try!

If you’re happy to swap over the jewellery yourself, go for it. If you’re not, get some help! At PiercerJack we provide a jewellery fitting service for £5 (or we'll do it for nothing if you are getting another piercing). Contact us here to make an appointment.

American piercing needles and why we don't use them in the UK

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If you've had a piercing in the UK you will (almost certainly) have been pierced with a needle which has a cannula.

The cannula is the plastic sleeve that the needle sits in, (it's the top piece with the orange end in the picture to the right). Both needle and cannula pass through the skin when you are pierced. The needle is then removed leaving the cannula which provides a handy channel for the jewellery to be inserted without irritating the wound. Once the jewellery is in, the cannula is removed. 

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But you've seen the videos on YouTube where the needle looks like the ones in the image on the left and of course the question arises, if this is how the Americans are doing it, why aren't we?

 

Well the fact is that in the USA needles with cannulas are designated as medical equipment and as such can only be used by medically qualified people, i.e. doctors and nurses. Piercers are not generally qualified as doctors (!) so are forced to use needles without cannulas. So it's not that the Americans have a superior method, they are forced by US regulations to do it that way.

 

At PiercerJack we only use single-use pre-sterilized needles (NEVER piercing guns). Get in touch with us here.

 

Piercing Guns and why you should avoid them.

Why oh why do parents take their little darlings to retail shops to get their ears pierced with a gun? Don’t get me started!

Having a piercing involves deliberately creating a wound in the flesh, a wound that you want to heal with the minimum of fuss.

That earring post that you can feel protruding through the butterfly clip has just punched a hole in your daughter’s ear lobe. It’s blunt, obviously, (otherwise it would be dangerous afterwards) but imagine what happens when you hammer a blunt object through cartilage. There is inevitably some splatter (the flesh has to go somewhere) and typically some of that splattered flesh ends up on the piercing gun. Much is made of the fact that the jewellery used in a piercing gun is sterile (sure) but the gun itself is never sterilised (it would melt in an autoclave). You cannot be sure that none of the dozens/hundreds of children who went before were carrying an infection, including Hepatitis B or C.

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What about the wound the piercing gun makes? There are no clean edges which means that it is harder to heal and there is likely to be more scar tissue in the hole. Furthermore, the body’s typical reaction to blunt force trauma is to flood the area with blood and other antobodies which means the earlobe will swell. But the butterfly clip is rammed up against the back of the ear so it has nowhere to go.

In the worst cases, the butterfly clip gets embedded into the ear (as shown in the picture alongside where all you can see is the tip of the butterfly, the rest has been consumed by the ear).

What you can be sure about is that any swelling will be painful in the days that follow and it is almost inevitable. Why do this?

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By contrast, a piercing needle is incredibly sharp and is hollow; in fact it’s really a hollow scalpel and it cuts the flesh surgically, leaving super clean edges along the wound. It’s pretty obvious that a wound like this will heal much more cleanly than the battered hole left by a blunt pole rammed through the ear.

 

 

The healing process we are looking for in a freshly pierced wound is that the body forms a channel between the entry and exit of the piercing. What happens is that over time the body lays down scar tissue along the channel of the wound and once healed, this will be secure and (relatively) smooth and will allow the insertion and removal of jewellery at will. This process is assisted by the clean edges of the surgically created hole that a piercing needle makes and is hindered by the mess that the piecing gun makes.

Finally, with a piercing made with a needle, you can size the jewellery to fit the ear (and it is good practice to allow 2mm extra for swelling) and the best piercers only use titanium jewellery which is the most hypoallergenic and smoothest of materials.

Needless to say at PiercerJack we only use titanium for initial piercings (which can also come in gold and black) and have a range of pretty jewels to choose from. You can see some of our jewellery here. Oh and we never use guns!

Use this link to contact us.