June 28 is International Body Piercing Day! Did you know that globally, body modifications (such as piercing) are a long-standing tradition? In the US, there’s still a cultural stereotype of piercing as a modern phenomenon. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Body piercing has been around for a long time. Modern standards just make it easier and safer to decorate yourself with a new piercing!
The reasons people get pierced are varied. For some, it’s simple self-expression or personal style. For others, piercings hold religious significance or mark a rite of passage. In fact, anthropologists have found evidence of piercings dating back to the ancient world. Archaeologists have documented 5,000-year-old mummified remains with pierced ears, and nose piercings dating back 1,500 years. Archaeologists and anthropologists have found stretched earlobes and lip, tongue, nipple and genital piercings in places as far-flung as India, Africa, North America, and Rome!
Body piercing gained popularity in Western cultures after World War II, due to increased cultural acceptance and safer tools and procedures. Modern body piercing best practices emphasize safe, specialized piercing tools and jewelry, and a controlled, sanitary work space. Because body piercing by its very nature is an invasive procedure, sanitary piercing procedures and aftercare are modern standards minimizing the risk of infection, scarring, or allergic reactions. Today, more people than ever are pierced around the globe, leading to a relaxing of cultural taboos about piercings.
Ear piercing is the most common, globally-accepted piercing, practiced across many cultures since ancient times. The popularity of ear piercings has risen and fallen over time and has been equally popular across gender lines. In fact, sailors and pirates (like Captain Jack Sparrow) used to wear earrings because if they fell overboard, their earrings would pay for their burial. Nowadays, earlobe piercing is common. Cartilage piercings have grown increasing popular. These include upper ear piercings, such as the tragus, rook, conch, or industrial, located at different points on ear cartilage.
Nose piercing has also enjoyed a long history, with Vedas dating back over 1,500 years making mention of Lakshmi’s nose piercings and the Bible referencing Rebecca’s nose ring. Modern archaeology has also documented evidence of the practice in Middle Eastern nomadic tribes, as well as in African, Aztec, Mayan, and Inca civilizations.
The Care & Healing of New Piercings
Piercings are a subjective physical procedure, unique to each person’s pain threshold and healing process. Therefore, to prepare for your appointment and care for your new piercing, it’s important to follow your piercer’s instructions. Likewise, stay mindful of your body’s pain signals. Make sure your hands are clean when you wash or rotate your piercing. If you notice pain, swelling, redness, tenderness, inflammation, or if your piercing feels “hot,” contact your piercer immediately to find out what next steps to take.
Modern Tools for Modern Piercing
Looking to express yourself with a new piercing? Use the Vagaro Marketplace to find a piercer in your area and see examples of their work! Or, if you’re a piercing artist and you’re curious about how Vagaro might help you streamline your services and stay on top of your day-to-day operations, read more on how to leverage the power of Vagaro in your piercing studio.
Have a new piercing you love? Share your SFW piercing photos (let’s keep it PG!) & tell us what the procedure was like for you!
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