Pain and Aftercare

Pain and Aftercare

One of the most asked questions in the body piercing industry is: how much will it hurt?

Unfortunately, it’s not the easier question to answer as it all depends on the person. Someone could have a high pain tolerance and say that none of their piercings hurt while someone else could describe what could be mistaken for an active warzone. If it’s your first time getting a piercing the best way to deal with the pain is to listen to your piercer. There’s a high chance they know most of the tips and tricks to get you through this. But always remember, everyone is different. 
When getting pierced it all comes down to research. Knowing what you are going into and why it hurts a certain amount might bring some ease to your mind. Especially if it is your first piercing that isn’t a lobe. Looking at stories from others might not be the best way to go about it either. It’s best to understand what the body is made up of in the area. Most people know how it feels to scrape a knee or have blood drawn, comparing areas with similar anatomy to where the piercing is might help you understand the pain you might feel. 
But don’t worry, most piercings are a sharp pinch and then some burning.

Here is a rundown or each area and a quick pain scale. 

A lot of piercings vary in pain rate, but everyone seems to agree that lobes are the least painful. It’s a good starting point for anyone interested in adoring their bodies with piercings. Your lobes tend to heal relatively easily as well, not causing too much stress on your body. Mainly because lobes are a fleshier area of the body and, there’s not a lot of nerve endings or thick cartilage 
Going further up the rim of your ears tends to get a little more painful. Things such as helixes tend to raise the pain scale higher by a small amount. The area consists of complex cartilage which is thicker than fleshier skin. Cartilage piercings can take that bit longer to heal,  normally around 6-12 months to heal completely, opposed to the lobes that can take up to 3 months. 
Moving into the center of the ear, rook, daith & conch, they’re not the most comfortable to sit through but once again with the right coaching and breathing techniques it makes the process much more manageable. Some people have said that the conch doesn’t hurt at all while others say it’s a bit ‘spicy’. This is mainly because the cartilage in this area is more dense than other areas of the ear cartilage. 
A common phrase when describing the navel or belly button piercing pain is that the forceps are going to be the worst part. This area of the body is mainly flesh,so there’s not a lot of nerve endings, however pressure builds as the needle penetrates the skin but it’s not considered the worst. Our  brains are our own worst enemy in these scenarios. We tend to l freak ourselves  out more about the pain than is necessary most of the time. The Navel  is a very anatomy dependent piercing so it’s important to always make sure your piercer is a professional and properly checks your  anatomy  before going ahead with the piercing. Incorrectly piercing this area  will be prone to an extended  healing process that will most likely end in migration or rejection. 
Nipple piercings are considered quite painful. They are very sensitive areas and can hurt significantly while getting it pierced. Often described by others as a Burning or sharp stabbing pain,Iif you are one to get super nervous about piercings you might feel more discomfort than someone who approaches this in a calm and focused manner during the process. 
Oral piercings are usually rated on the lower level of a pain scale. The area around and in the mouth has been said to be  a little more sensitive than your ears in comparison. There are a few things to consider when getting pierced  in this area such as nerves and blood vessels.  This can cause increased blood flow and swelling to the area that has occasionally lead to bruising and swollen lips. 
Before talking about the pain, it’s always important to know that a tongue piercing is not for everyone.The anatomy of the tongue and its structure, placement of veins and its length all need to be assessed prior..Having a consultation with your piercer beforehand will help you understand why you can or can’t get it pierced. In regards to the assessment of pain it is described as one of the least painful to pierce but the healing process is what can cause a lot of discomfort, Be prepared to have possible issues talking and eating  for the next week or so post piercing as the tongue is almost always guaranteed to swell.  Remember that tongue piercing is very high maintenance with aftercare, it’s very prone to infection because of bacteria in your mouth. Be sure to follow the strict aftercare instruction provided by your piercer
Another piercing with very dependent anatomy is the Industrial Piercing. If your ear is not the right shape, it'll mean you may need to consider an alternative.. It is considered a painful piercing as there are two pierced sites of the ear through the dense cartilage part of the ear. It can take up to   a year to heal. This healing can be quite exaggerated  as even bumping it slightly can irritate it enough to cause additional discomfort. Pressure bumps are very common with these piercings. 

A Microdermal  has been discussed by many as  a potentially painful piercing , These piercings can  cause discomfort and even a burning sensation unlike the sharp pinch of a normal piercing. Depending on where the microdermal or diver is going to be placed can vary just how much it may hurt. As long as you have a good pinch on the area in question  it  will help with the pressure of the pain received. IF the area you wish to get it doesn’t have a good enough skin pinch,  it can hinder the healing as it doesnt root quite as well in the tissue.
Once the piercing  process has been completed and you’ve left the piercing studio, the care of the  piercing is all up to you. Different types of piercings need longer times to heal and settle into your body but all of them need a thorough aftercare routine. There are many ways to look after your fresh piercing, but one thing is certain: without a proper aftercare procedure your piercing healing could be hindered.
The best way to look after your piercing is to promote natural healing. Saline solutions are the easiest to come by and you can even make some of your own with some sea salt (or Himalayan pink salt) and boiled water at home. 

¼ Teaspoon Sea Salt or Himalayan Pink Salt 

1 cup of boiled water
It’s important that you let the water cool down to a temperature that isn’t going to burn you.
Alternatively  you can always look for saline solutions in your local chemist and piercing outlets. A piercing shop will have everything you need to properly care for your new piece. 
When cleaning your piercing, it is recommended to be twice a day every day for the recommended time of healing for the chosen site. It’s important to note that you should avoid alcohol-based products as they  will dry out your skin and kill off the new cells trying to heal. So, it’s best to stick with salines or some natural products like chamomile or soothing gels. Using plain chamomile tea can help relieve pressure bumps caused by sleeping on areas like complex cartilage . Always remember to do your research on what natural products you use as aftercare and always ask your piercer for advice if unsure.
Mixing aftercare or using more than one at one time is a bad idea. 
For the swimmers, it’s important to note that you must stay out of the water for at least two weeks. Public pools are home to many chemicals and other nasties that you don’t want to get into that fresh wound - because remember, a piercing is an open  wound. So, it’s best to steer clear of the public pools while you're healing for a minimum of two weeks. Please ensure you follow the piercers recommendations, It’s better to listen to the one person rather than mixing all the information you’ve read while researching for your piercing. 
Healing is different for everyone, not everyone is going to heal at the same rate and things such as the common cold can affect the healing time of your piercing. It’s best to keep up to date with all your aftercare instructions provided by  your piercer. Going online and seeing all the different times and durations may become  confusing and cause hindrance to your healing process. 
So research and communication with your piercer is always the way to go when looking into the aspects of pain and aftercare of your new piercing.
- Eliza Catford 
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