10g Septum pierced and repierced
I had my septum pierced about three years ago at a shop in the San Fernando Valley in California. I was unfamiliar with any shops in the area so I called around for quotes. They ranged from $15 to $60 for a septum piercing, no jewelry included. I know that the $60 shops won't necessarily be any better than the the one that quoted $15 but rather than price, I went more toward a referral.
It's common body modification advice to walk into a shop, get a feel for it, and if it feels wrong find another. I was referred to a tattoo/body piercing/smoke accessories shop literally down the street from the house I was staying at. I took my best friend with me. We walked in, looked around the shop, watched an artist working on a woman, then a tall man walks from around the corner, and asks if he can help us. He happened to be the piercer so I discussed the details of my desire with him; I wanted a 10 gauge septum piercing with a retainer that I purchased myself. He said it will be $30 and walked us into his section of the shop. I mention the part about getting a feel for the shop because this shop in particular, which isn't worth naming, caters to the Latino-gangster crowd. There was a lot of black & grey flash of subjects you would find typical you would see on a character on Gangland; smile now, cry later masks, clowns, sexy half-naked women in various poses and outfits, etc. Most people would have gone elsewhere. They also sold crack pipes there so... yeah, pretty shifty. However! My story ends very well.
I sat in barber-style chair, which was amazingly comfortable. The piercer asked for my septum retainer and confirmed the desired gauge. He said he wanted to autoclave the retainer and said it would take a few minutes so we all went outside and took a smoke break. I had wanted this piercing for a while and wasn't nervous at all until just then, smoking a cigarette, waiting, anticipating, excitement. We head back into the room while he grabs the retainer and preps. He comes back gloved, with his tray and necessary accessories. He cleaned me with an alcohol swab and I'm pretty sure he marked the area with a marker, then clamped me with septum clamps. I wasn't looking down at everything, I didn't want to psyche myself out. He told me not to forget to breathe and said he'd say when he'd put the needle through. "Take a deep breath in and breathe out now." I did, on exhale he stuck in through, I stopped breathing.
There was no noise as the needle went through, as I've read in some stories, but the pain was pretty intense for about a second or two. I'd rank it a 7 on a scale of 1-10. Again, it was only a couple of seconds. Tears automatically streamed down my face as the needle went through. Of course, they weren't sad tears, just a reaction to nerves being disturbed. Now, I felt only excitement as the endorphins had kicked in and as my piercer prepped to put the retainer in I sat up and asked my friend if it looked cute. Both he and the piercer laughed. The piercer asked me to put my head back and slid the needle out and the retainer in, in one smooth motion. I felt nothing but pressure by then. Absolutely no pain. I bled one drop but he cleaned it for me. He said I was finished so I got up and examined my sweet new septum piercing in the giant mirror on the wall. Completely excited. I give him $30 and a $20 tip (always tip!), thanked him, and my best friend and I headed home. It didn't start to hurt again until about ten minutes after it was pierced. It was just sore.
We get home and as I'm examining it I feel that it's not in the right spot. I was way too excited to notice it at the stop. It was straight but was too low and too forward but I thought maybe my nose is weird and I'm being too picky. I feel this way the entire next day and go to the shop the day after that. For cleaning, I used wet q-tips dabbed with a small amount of Dial anti-bacterial soap, rinsed by dipping my nose in a cup of water and blown bubbles, then q-tipped again with just a plain wet q-tip. The man that pierced me isn't there so I talked to the piercer that alternates with him. He was amazing and I wish I could remember his name. If I ever find it, I'll add it. Anyway, he takes me into his area, I sit, he puts on gloves, slides the retainer out, and puts pressure on the now bleeding wound with a cotton ball for a few minutes. The retainer coming out hurt more than the piercing and the pinching for pressure hurt more than the retainer coming out. Really, it was pretty bad. Nearly a 10.
The bleeding stopped, he gave my retainer back, and he told me to come back in two weeks when the wound heeled so he could re-pierce it, for free of course. I asked if I could come back sooner so he said to come back in a week to check the progress and then we'd go from there. I agreed, thanked him, and went home, but was pretty upset that I had to wait. Two days later I realized that I had to go back home and couldn't wait until whenever I was coming back so I went back to the shop to talk to the second piercer about getting it done then. He wasn't busy so he looked at it, decided there was enough room as to not interfere with the first piercing, and agreed to pierce it. Again, totally excited.
As he was setting up, he explained to me that he was a free-hand piercer and didn't work within the confines of clamps. This made sense to me because I read that many times with septum clamps the piercing could come out crooked because there isn't much room for error. I said okay and he started preparing for the piercing by aligning the needles and the placement of his hands but said he wouldn't pierce without telling me first. He said he was going to pierce it higher and farther back than the previous one and explained that he isn't surprised that the previous piercer messed it up, as he wasn't that experienced with this piercing in particular. I trusted him. A few moments later he was ready, asked if I was ready, then told me to breathe in and out. I did, again on exhaling he stuck me but this time I kept breathing, short fast breaths which probably made the piercing look worse than it was. As the needle went through I remembered the pain from the first piercing and was shocked that I was able to forget it in the first place. It hurt the same amount for a second or two longer. Again, automatic tears. He was being extra careful putting the retainer in, which he also cleaned and autoclaved first, but I assured him that it didn't hurt at all so he tugged on it and flipped it to my make sure, surprised that there was no pain. Again, I think the breathing made it look worse. He flipped it up then realized that he needed to take a picture so he flipped it back down, still cautious. He took the picture and explained that he had never pierced a septum at that large of a gauge before and thanked me for the opportunity. I thanked him, gave him a $20 tip, and left totally, completely, utterly satisfied. He pierced it absolutely perfect!
I kept it 10 gauge for about eight months, changing jewelry at about three months, then slowly stretched to 8, 6, then 4, where it's presently at. I've had it at a 4 for about a year so I intend to self-stretch to 2 gauge very soon. I'll write a story about how that goes.
The shop did not ask for my ID or go over care instructions. I also did not sign anything. I knew what to expect and how I preferred to care for it due to my Internet-research but had I had any questions I would have asked. If you have questions, ASK THEM.
submitted by: ddeeaadd
on: 02 June 2010
in Septum Piercings