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A continued effort

After getting my tongue pierced in 2003, I went for an eyebrow piercing at the start of summer 2004. I did it mainly because I enjoyed the sight of this modification on the face of other men; also because I figured that I would enjoy my own face in the mirror better with the same modification.

For this piercing, I went for a first time in the studio where I had my tongue pierced one year before. I knew that they had a lot of customers and did not put a lot of personalized care for each piercing. However, past experience showed me that they were serious and very professional.

I signed the paperwork, paid 55 euros for the piercing and initial jewelry, and went downstairs for the operation. The operation room was very clean, the tools and equipment were new — I was told that they use new equipment for each customer and throw everything away afterwards — and the guy was very friendly and precise in his movements and speaking.

He asked on which side I wanted my piercing. This was a surprise question to me because I didn't think about it beforehand and knew that it was a major decision. I instinctively pointed to my left eye, remembering my face on a mirror, thinking that this was the side I see usually the piercing on other people. I forgot that a mirror inverts the face! But I would realize my "mistake" only later, and then I would think that it looks even better this way.

The guy made me count to 3, and before I said "3" the needle was across my eyebrow and he was replacing it with the jewelry. I don't remember the intensity of the pain, only that it was more painful than the tongue, but less than I expected.

Then I said "thanks" and went upstairs to get the pack of soap and leave. They provide soap containing a bacteria-killer molecule called chlorhexidin.

At that moment the clerk looked at my piercing, told me that something was wrong and sent me downstairs again. There I was told that my eyebrow had already swollen two times its normal size, and that probably they hit a capillary. It was then decided that the jewelry would be removed, and then I could come back after healing (two weeks minimum) if I wanted it done again. I got a full refund at that point. The eye looked pretty bad afterwards, as if I got punched in the face. I pretended that I hit a doorframe to justify the swelling.

One month later I went again since my intention was still there. My eyebrow had fully healed. I asked to do the piercing at the same location, which they did.

This time there was no extra swelling and I could go home. I was very careful to clean it at least twice daily with the special chlorhexidin-based solution that I was given. At the beginning the whole area was red and a bit swollen, but after a few days I had only a bit of crust and the swelling had reduced.

Less than one month later I did not feel anything anymore when I moved the jewelry or when I rubbed it in my sleep.

However, it took more than one year to heal completely, and still now I get an occasional small infection.

My initial mistake was to attempt to replace very early the initial ring with a bar and spikes every now and then. I did not realize at this point that each exchange would bring a lot of infection agents into the piercing. Also, the shape of the ring is far better for healing, because moving the ring will not put pressure on the edges of the piercing. With a bar and spikes, I would wake up in the morning with swollen red tissue at the point where the spike was exerting pressure. Also, the ring does not obstruct the hole and lets fluid go away freely, whereas with a knob or spike the fluid would clog inside the piercing.

Because of this, I had many small inflammations and infections during the first six months. It prevented the piercing from healing completely. Of course, I took extra care when I saw early signs of infection to wash even more, and make sure to drain the fluid of the inflammation regularly.

Also, something I realized much later is that the piercing was done over the initial one, but the initial hole had not completely closed when I did the new one. Therefore, I think I now have a secondary cavity inside the piercing (remnant of the initial piercing), which is extra room for an infection or inflammation to develop.

Hopefully, the special solution was very efficient at preventing any painful or dangerous infection.

Later on, I decided to stick to a bar with two knobs, and not change it again. From that point, it never infected again, although I still have the occasional inflammation now and then when I rug it to my pillow during sleep or when I bang my face accidentally.

I now know from experience that regular cleaning with the chlorhexidin solution completely prevents inflammation, and that exposure to sun or sweating will increase the risk. Cleaning the piercing is now part of my daily routine after showering and hair dressing, and I never forget about it even when I am not looking into a mirror.

Putting it back into a perspective, when I see the amount of self-care and attention required I would probably decide against doing it again. The tongue piercing was a complete success, beautiful and totally painless, and I now see it as part of my body. The eyebrow piercing was an initial mess, then was uncomfortable for many months, requires constant attention and I cannot get to see it as part of my body. I am definitely considering removing it in case I do not have access to a supply of chlorhexidin for an extended period of time, or if I get another inflammation that lasts for more than a few days.

However, it really looks beautiful and I like the improvement to my body image, so I will keep it for the time being.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 22 Nov. 2006
in Eyebrow Piercing

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Studio: Gevy
Location: Paris%2C+France

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