11 May 2011

 I received this message from a reader:

 I want to start off by saying I've become completely fascinated by your book! The illustrations are so detailed and any questions I had about piercing and aftercare is all explained in your book :) Even though I wouldn't get some of the piercings from the book, I still love reading about them.

I was wondering if you could answer my question... I just got a microdermal (not sure if that's the correct term) piercing on the back part of my neck a few days ago. It doesn't hurt whatsoever, except for some sensitivity, which I'm ok with. I've applied purified sea salt to the area 3 times a day. The only time I actually touch it is wiggling it a little right after I spray my neck with the sea salt. My main concern is the jewelry piece. When you look at the piece like it's in front of you, it looks flat against my neck. However, when you look at it from the side, the bottom part of the piece is slightly at an angle, like it's popping out a little. The piercer said to try turning it, which I did. If it was still like that she said to come back and she'd turn it for me. I went 3 days after I'd gotten the piercing. She turned it quite a few times and she said it was fine. However, it still looks the same. I don't know if it's my body rejecting the piece, or if it's just swelling from the piercing.

My worry is the angle that it's at. I just want to be sure with the angle that it's at, it won't affect the healing process, or interfere with me being able to change the jewelery in a few months time. If you need a picture of the piercing to have a better idea, just let me know. I trust the piercer with what she said, but only so much. It helps if I hear from another professional person's point of view. Thank you so much for any and all help you can provide with my situation!!!!

My reply:
If your jewelry isn't resting flush with your body when your single-point piercing is new, then either it isn't in deep enough, or the piece is put in too shallowly. With it starting at resting at an angle (again, rather than flat against your skin), you're VERY unlikely to end up with an adornment that stays in for any length of time. I don't know that "turning it" is helpful--that's not part of the standard care. Also, saline soaks or compresses are preferred to sprays. This passage from The Piercing Bible explains some of the benefits of a soak that you miss out on by using a spray:

The Soak
One of the best things you can do for all healing or irritated piercings is a saline soak. A warm, mild saltwater solution irrigates, cleanses, and allows the cells to rejuvenate.9 Saline soaks keep the cells well hydrated while simultaneously flushing out fluid and cellular material that accumulate in the wound. This reduces crusting and helps prevent pockets of trapped matter, which can create unsightly and difficult-to-eliminate bumps. If this debris is not removed, it can impede healing.10 The warm water also opens capillaries and stimulates blood flow, which transports oxygen to the region, promoting healing.

This is not an invitation to swim in the ocean, where you might encounter numerous microbes, motor oil, and other hazards. The goal is to use a solution with a saline concentration similar to that of the human body. Either make your own by follow- ing “The Recipe,” opposite page, or use normal saline (a 0.9 percent sodium chloride solution).

You can read much more about the soaks in the aftercare chapter of my book.

I'd return to your piercer and if she can't get it to rest flat without any tilting, you may want to have her remove it, and then wait until it is healed and try again. Something other factors that are important to know: surface anchors/microdermals require care and attention for the entire time that you wear them, and they may be a more temporary form of adornment than ordinary body piercings. It is not uncommon for them to stay for a few years, but it is rare for them to remain in place for many years, as body piercings usually do once healed.

Also from The Piercing Bible:

I’ve seen only one surface placement that routinely heals easily and remains in place for a decade or longer: the nape (back of the neck).

So if your tissue there is pliable and you want a long-term adornment to wear in this particular area of your body, you may have better luck with a surface piercing, rather than a surface anchor.


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