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You can't always believe the hype

For a long time I've wanted to re-do my temple piercings. I originally had them done a little over a year ago, but it didn't work out so well. They were done using curved barbells and needless to say, they started to reject. I decided to take them out early on rather than take the risk of them getting much worse. I planned on getting them done using surface bars, but all of the shops in my area told me that they didn't do them or that no one made small enough gauges for that area. I was confused, but I gave up for the time being.
Fast forward a little to when I saw BME's interview with Ben from House of Color on his new dermal anchoring technique. I was so excited! It seemed like a great solution to my problem, so I decided to call him and see what he thought. I asked him about the healing process, the procedure itself, and his success rate so far. Everything sounded perfect. Healing time was supposed to be a few weeks and he said he'd had clients with them in for over 9 months with no signs of rejecting. Because of the location, he'd need to use his "high motion" design since the skin moves so much, but that'd be the only issue. He told me that as long as I cared for them properly, they'd work perfectly. Success! I couldn't get down there until my Thanksgiving break since I live in Fort Collins, so I had to wait a little while to get them done. When the time finally came, I made the trek down to the Springs to get my temples pierced. I made my appointment for the first Saturday after I got home, about 30 minutes after they opened so he'd have time to set up. I couldn't wait! I got a little lost on the way there, so I was worried I'd be late, but lucky for me I always plan for things like traffic and finding parking. When I showed up, Ben greeted me and told me it'd be about 10 more minutes for the jewelry to be sterilized. I waited and talked with the staff for him to be ready. Once the jewelry was set, he brought me back into the piercing room and sat me down to mark me up. He took a look at the previous marks and told me that they had done them at a strange angle for the grain of my skin. So we tried a different one. He marked up one side and explained what would happen. He'd pierce the skin, twist the needle a quarter turn, and put the jewelry in. I said okay, and we did the usual "breathe in, breathe out," method. The pain was actually worse than I'd anticipated. The needle wasn't so bad, but shoving the jewelry in sucked. A lot. He asked me if I had drank the night before, because apparently I was bleeding a lot more than usual. Sweet. But I hadn't, so oh well. It turns out birth control thins your blood, but I've never had problems like that before. One of them was actually dripping down my face. The other three went pretty much the same way. Afterwards, I looked in the mirror to check them out. I had already started to swell up. They seemed uneven, but I figured it was from swelling. He gave me my care instructions, I paid, tipped, and headed home with gauze on my face and a big grin. The healing instructions were as follows: clean them about 3 times a day with a gentle soap and water, then use a sea salt and water solution afterwards to get rid of grossness. Press on them around 6 times a day to help anchor them into the skin. Don't touch with dirty hands! Wear band-aids over them at night if I wanted to help hold them in while the skin resettled. I followed them almost perfectly, forgetting a sea salt rinse or two if I was out super late once or twice. I was supposed to do that for 2-3 weeks for them to heal, and I did.However, the results weren't what I was planning on. First of all, the swelling went away but the fact that they looked crooked didn't. On of them was at a completely different angle than the other. Secondly, the jewelry kept sticking out and I was constantly having to try and push it back in. Every time I'd look in the mirror one of them would be sticking out. I was getting really worried about it. I called Ben to find out what to do, and he told me that they had healed to shallow. He said that since it was early enough in the process, I should be able to self-remedy. Just push them really hard and I'd be able to break the skin capsule that they'd healed into. I'd have to start the healing process over, but it'd work. I tried it, and babied the crap out of them, but nothing changes. In fact, it seemed to get a little worse. After about a month of having them, I decided to say "screw it." I called up January at Off the Wall V to ask her for a favor. I'd met her a few weeks earlier at a suspension, and she was a really awesome person. I asked her if she could get them out for me, and she told me "no problem." She was never sold on the dermal anchoring process to begin with. So I made me second trip to the Springs. She wiped me up and started to gently try and pull, massage, and twist out the jewelry. She was really patient with the whole process, and eventually the first one kind of popped out. The other two weren't so nice. She tried for probably a half an hour, but they just wouldn't come out because of their design. She had to make tiny incisions with a scalpel to make room for the jewelry, and then massage and twist them some more to finally get them all out. Despite the fact that she had to scalpel it and everything, it was less painful and less bloody than getting them in.
And then I looked at the jewelry.

I was seriously frightened by it. They were filled with all sorts of tool marks and obviously not well made. I was under the impression that he had hired a company to start making them. At least, that's what he told me. If he had a company make those, then that's a serious problem. Either way, I was pissed! I couldn't understand how he thought it'd be fine to put something like that in my face! I'm surprised that they didn't get infected or anything worse than what happened after looking at them. My temples are fine, now. I'm massaging them to help with scar tissue and cleaning them every day. They definitely hurt a lot less than getting the things. Now I know better, though. First of all, always look at the jewelry that they're using carefully. But most importantly, sometimes things sound too good to be true for a reason. Research a lot and make sure that they have plenty of experience. Ask to see healed pictures or talk to a client. Just remember to be careful out there. Things aren't always what they seem.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 07 Jan. 2006
in Pocketing and Stapling

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Artist: Ben
Studio: House+of+Color
Location: Colorado+Springs%2C+CO

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