Once a sign of counter culture, piercings beyond the lobe have became one of the latest fashion trends. From dainty rose gold hoops and opal clusters on the helix to septum rings and heartilage, adding more holes to your skin is less rebellious than it is stylish. Still, a bit of danger is involved, so it’s important stay safe while rocking the piercing trend.
Heartilage piercings are popping up on pretty ears everywhere and for obvious reason; the open heart-shaped earring is super cute. A heartilage piercing is one of many styles of a helix piercing – any piercing on the upper cartilage, which starts on the outside of the ear and curves around to the side of your face. Helix piercings are lower on the pain scale but higher on the healing time in comparison to other body modifications, requiring three to six months to heal. Popular styles also include minimalist geometric shapes, snug hoops and larger constellation earrings, like your astrological sign in sparkly gems.
For the more daring, septum nose rings have an edgier aesthetic. Septum rings range from barely-there 16 gauge horseshoes to statement hoops with gems. While everyone’s pain tolerance is different, the septum piercing might sting like a quick hit to the nose as the thin strip of soft skin between the nostrils is punctured. Healing can take as long as six months; however, infection is very rare. The nose is self-cleaning, but it’s important to resist touching it while you heal.
Unlike cosmologists who study their trade in school, most piercers learn body modification techniques through apprenticeships. The industry is pretty self-regulated, so do your research. An experienced piercer will have a portfolio filled with pictures of fresh and healed piercings. Sterilization is key to piercing safety. Ensure there’s a separate sterilization room (for employee use only) with an autoclave to sterilize equipment and jewelry. All jewelry should be of the highest quality metals, such as titanium and surgical-grade steel, both safe for sensitive skin. Needles should never be re-used from a previous client. Ask to see state and local permits, as well as any additional safety certifications, such as the Blood Borne Pathogen Certification. Trust your instincts, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Header photo by Atikh Bana on Unsplash