I got my nape pierced a little less than a year ago, in January 2006. It was the second semester of my study abroad in Florence, Italy.
Nape piercings intrigued me. It is fairly uncommon and stays hidden if you have long hair. This element of surprise has always drawn me to certain piercings (I like body art, but I definitely do not look like the type). I also remember my first encounter with the nape piercing. At the time I lived in Tokyo, Japan and every summer there are festivals to which many people wear yukata (it is like a casual kimono) to. One day, about six summers ago, I was on the train and standing in front of me was a girl in a yukata with a nape piercing. (Kimonos and yukatas are designed to attract attention to the nape area the back neck dips slightly and the hair is always worn up). I initially thought it simply looked painful, but the image stayed with me for years.
I had considered getting one earlier in the summer of 2005, but did not go through with it since it seemed like a rather difficult piercing. Most of the articles I read online (including some from BME and others from piercing studio/artist sites) and the person I spoke to at Andromeda (in St. Marks, I was in New York at the time) mentioned how nape piercings never heal completely. As disappointed as I was, this stopped me from getting it done, as I did not want to deal with all the fuss. Later on, however, I decided that I could always remove the piercing if my body does not react well and thus headed off to the studio.
There were two studios for me to choose from in Florence, one that used needles and another that used guns. Needless to say, I chose the studio that used needles. The artist was very friendly and had two nape piercings himself, which I noticed his body was rejecting.
The procedure was standard: marking the spot, clamping the skin/flesh, inserting the needle, inserting the jewelry, removing the needle, and securing the bead. The one thing that was different was the jewelry. Instead of a metal barbell or banana, it was made of a flexible, rubbery material. The ends were secured with metal beads.
I did not feel any pain during or after the process. Of all the piercings I've gotten (earlobe, cartilage, conch, navel, and tongue) it was the second least painful. (Conch/conch hurt the most but they still did not bother me. I might have a relatively high threshold for pain.)
The aftercare was quite simple: contact lens solution. I think the artist meant saline solution or plain salt water when he said "contact lens solution", but I used a no-rub solution for soft lenses since that's what I had and it worked perfectly fine. Twice a day I would clean the piercing (basically just on the surface around the beads) with cotton pads and some solution. I also kept the area dry and tied my hair when I went to bed for the first few weeks. Keeping it dry is important because it makes it more difficult for bacteria to grow. Tying my hair was just something I decided to do to reduce irritation.
Apart from a little redness maybe in the second month, my piercing was stable. In fact, it was quite a trooper. After three months I went to the beach. Although I did not go into the water, I got quite a lot of sun. When I went to the beach again after another month, I got in the water. In addition, it survived a 12 hour train ride (in Morocco), 12 hour ferry ride, and numerous flights and hostels -- none of which were the cleanest of situations. Even so, my piercing never got infected. It did get rejected just a little, maybe 1mm - 2mm, but this was hardly noticeable.
Unfortunately, I only had it for 6 months. I had to take it out in July because I was going home and could not risk my parents seeing it. I still have a scar; two little red dots, a little like what I imagine a viper bite might be like. I can also feel two little bumps. This could be because it's only been 5 months since I took out the piercing or because I scar easily (my friend took out his several years ago, and has no noticeable marks or scars).
Finally, I would recommend nape piercings to anyone who is considering getting one. It was my favorite, and writing this article has made me realize just how much I miss it. So now, I have decided I am going to get mine once again.
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 23 Jan. 2007
in Surface & Unusual Piercing