Piercing or body piercing has become increasingly popular, both among the young and not so young, nowadays. Walk down any street, in any city, in any country and chances are you will always bump into someone who has, at the very least, one kind of body piercing.
There are many reasons behind body piercing. Some do it as a rite of passage (ie. When a girl gets her ears pierced when she turns 13), some to rebel or conform to society (no one else is doing it / everyone’s doing it), others have their body pierced for cultural reasons (ie: nose rings among Indians), and others do it for no particular reason (ie. ‘I just felt like getting a nose ring’).
In the past, individuals who sported more than the usual amount of piercing on unusual body parts were treated with suspicion. Today, society has become more tolerant of those with body piercings, and this may be due to the prevalence of piercings among Hollywood celebrities and musical superstars. Admit it, Lenny Kravitz, even with all his piercings, looks amazingly hot, right?
A Short History
The practice of piercing been present for a long time. The oldest mummified remains (roughly 5000 years old) were discovered sporting earrings, while nose piercing can be dated as far back as 1500 BC. Lip and tongue piercings are common in African and American tribal cultures. And if you think piercing your ‘privates’ is a new phenomenon, you’re quite mistaken. Ancient Romans are reported to have practiced nipple piercing, while genital piercing was said to have been done in Ancient India c 320 to 550.
So Where Do You Want It?
To maintain the wholesomeness of this post, all piercings that will be covered are those that are done from the neck up and will start with the body part closest to the top of the head and work our way down.
Piercings done around the eye area and on the eyebrow are called eyebrow piercings. These are usually vertical in orientation – placed from the bottom to the top of the eyebrow, but can be done horizontally as well (refer to image above). These horizontal piercings are called anti-eyebrow piercings.
Five different kinds of piercings can be done on your nose, so if you want to have something done in that area, you have to be very specific. The most common kind of nose piercing is the one done on the nostril, and the jewelry used is either be a small nose bone (stud) or a captive bead ring. A variant of nostril piercing is called the high nostril piercing. Usually done with studs or nose bone, high nostril piercings are generally located closer to the bridge.
Piercing can also be done on the bridge of the nose – that area between the eyes. The piercing is inserted through the skin and should never go through the bone. Bridge piercings have a high rate of rejection thus it is not as popular as other forms of nose piercings.
Nasal septum piercings are rising in popularity, even though this particular piercing heals longer than others (usually within a month and a half to 3 months). In nasal septum piercing, great care must be taken to ensure that the cartilaginous wall between the nostrils is not pierced – just the small gap between the said cartilage and the bottom of the nose.
The other two nose piercings are the Vertical Nose Tip (or rhino piercing) which goes between the nostrils and up the tip of the nose; and the Nasallang – 3 different piercings which goes through both nostrils and the septum. This is the most difficult nose piercing of all.
Ear piercing is probably the most accepted and most popular kind of all piercings. Most ear piercings are done on the earlobes (No. 9 as per the image) using standard studs, hoop or dangling adornment. Some, however, choose to deliberately elongate or increase the diameter of the holes on the earlobes. The other eight areas, as shown on the image, are identified as follows:
- Anti Tragus
Ear piercings that go through the entire cartilage rim of the ear is called the Forward Helix or Ear Head Piercing.
Former child star Amanda Bynes recently made headlines when she was spotted in New York sporting matching cheek piercings. This form of facial body piercing goes through the facial tissue and into the oral cavity. They are usually done in pairs with both piercings located symmetrically on either side of your face (akin to dimples). Some people who have had cheek piercings experience slight nerve damage on the pierced areas which result in “man made dimples”.
As with your ears and nose, there are many ways you can wear a piercing on your lips. The most popular lip piercing is called the Monroe piercing, an off-center piercing above the left hand side of the upper lip, mimicking the Marilyn Monroe’s famed beauty mark. An upper lip piercing on the right hand side of the face is called the Madonna piercing, named after the original Material Girl, Madonna. When you have the Marilyn and the Madonna piercings on your upper lips – these two are collectively called Angelbites.
When long barbells are used to adorn Angelbites instead of traditional studs, the piercing changes its name to Crayfish. Two two rings are placed side by side on your lower lip, this piercing configuration is called Spider. A piercing on your philtrum (that indentation on top of your lips just below your nose) is called a Medusa. A piercing on your labrum (the hollow below your bottom lip and above the chin) is called a Labret. If you add a lip ring beneath your Medusa, you now have what is called a Cyber. Other lip piercing variations are called Poisonous Snake, viper, and Anti Bite.
Finally, tongue piercing! This form of body piercing, where the center of the tongue is pierced, is probably the second most popular piercing (with ears / earlobes being the first) today. The reason for the popularity of tongue piercing can be attributed to the fact that a lot of celebrities have this, and probably because this piercing isn’t overtly visible. People who work in fairly conservative business environments can get away with wearing tongue rings.
There are other forms of body piercing done on other parts of the body – most of these are not for the faint of heart.
Caring for your Piercings
Whether you have wholesome piercings or not-so-wholesome ones, you have to make sure that you take care of your piercing – and that goes beyond the few days or months after you’ve had it done. Futhermore, you also need to take care good care of your jewelry used on your piercings – and this is especially true for jewelry used for piercings in the nose, mouth and cheek areas – as these are prone to infection.
If you want to have a piercing done, do not, under any circumstance, attempt to do this by yourself. Do not solicit your best friend to help you do it either. It is best to have your piercings done at piercing salons or piercing studios. There are many piercing places all you need to do is to select one that is hygienic and make sure that it is a legitimately run business.
Piercings open your system to various forms of infection, so it is best to pay a little extra to have it professionally done. By investing on properly done piercing, you can be assured that your piercing will not cause you any trouble, and that you will enjoy having this on your body.
Photos courtesy of Wikimedia and Flickr
(click on the photos to be redirected to source image)