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My Snug Piercing-- and the Lesson It Taught Me

About three months ago, I had a friend over. She had wanted to get her nipples pierced for quite a while, and I had wanted a snug piercing for a few months. My parents were not going to sign a consent form so that I could get the piercing professionally, even though I told them I would pay for it. I figured I would have to wait until I was 18 (I wasn't even 17 yet when I decided I wanted the piercing). And on that night about three months ago, she randomly got a call from her guy friend who knew an amateur piercer. He had sterile, individually packaged 14 gauge needles and was willing. So they came over.

The piercer didn't have curved needles, just straight 14-gauge hollow needles. So he used forceps to clamp the area, and he pushed the needle through. He then put a 16 gauge curved ring in the hole. The bleeding was pretty minimal and the pain was bearable. It really only hurt as much as a typical cartilage piercing, so don't believe anyone who says it hurt like hell. It's not that bad at all. The majority of the pain comes after the initial piercing. For the first month or so it's quite painful to sleep on the side that was pierced, but eventually that subsides. It hurts when the earring gets caught on something—like hair or clothing. It also isn't too great if someone accidentally hits your ear.

I thought I was being pretty safe for an at-home piercing, but I guess not. I cleaned the earring and the spikes that screw on to the ends of it with a piercing-cleaning solution. The needle was sterile, and I had cleaned the surface of the snug area so no bacteria would enter and cause an infection. I must not have been as careful as I thought I was, because within a few days it was most definitely infected. At first I thought the swelling, redness, and tenderness were all just part of the healing process. Later on, it started to leak a little bit and the ring would get crusty from that. I'd clean it off and such, but it kept coming back. So I just kept cleaning it, figuring it would eventually get better. And since it stopped leaking, I stopped cleaning it. After a few weeks it got increasingly swollen. I could move the ring back and forth without much pain, but putting pressure on it or the area around it hurt. I tried to poke the area with needles to drain it b ut it would only bleed a little bit. Even though it was painful, I'd take the ring out and apply pressure to the snug to try and see if it could drain anything to let the swelling go down and maybe begin to heal a bit.

The other day while I was driving home, I was feeling the area around my snug piercing, and noting how much inflammation there was, around the earring and even on the back of my ear, I decided to try to drain it again. If you can't handle somewhat disgusting descriptions, stop reading here.

The area on the front of the snug was hard and inflamed, but the area on the back of my ear was not quite as firm. Concluding that it must be an abscess, or some kind of pocket under the skin that was filled with pus, I went into my bathroom to drain it. I poked the skin, and nothing really happened. I poked the needle fully through the skin until I felt it had completely gone into the abscess. I withdrew the needle, and some blood and pus came out. I wiped the drainage away with Q-tips, but soon it stopped bleeding. The abscess wasn't any smaller, so I broke through the skin again. Every time I did this, it would soon stop bleeding, so I kept poking it. I didn't feel like I was making much progress so I got a small razor blade. Using a mirror and folding my ear forward so I could see the abscess, I bit my lip and sliced it open. There was a good amount of blood coming from the lesion, so I soaked that up and pressed on the area around it to drain anything else. On ly blood was coming out of it now, but the abscess was still there. I used a needle to poke around in there and there definitely was a pocket under the skin of some sort. But there wasn't really much I could do, so I dabbed on some hydrogen peroxide and kept my hair off of it. It was a bit smaller the next day, but it's still swollen.

Most people would just suggest that I take the ring out and let it heal, but I refuse to take my snug piercing out because I love it so much. I can deal with the pain and infection, but to everyone out there thinking of getting an unprofessional piercing, do it carefully. Clean the earring thoroughly, or even better, get a brand new one so it's guaranteed to be sterile. Use a sterile needle and make sure whoever the person piercing it wears gloves. Clean the area before it is pierced. And lastly, use something to clean it—preferably not alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. They're not good for the piercing.

I don't recommend self-piercing, so get it done professionally. Be careful and clean and hopefully your piercings won't turn out like mine.

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 21 Dec. 2008
in Ear Piercing

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