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You Need a Taper to Pierce my Ear?!

So, I guess I'll start out by introducing myself a little. I've loved piercings since I was young. It was a fascination that my dad hated, but one that my mom had no issue with. As she saw it, I was a well-behaved kid, got excellent grades without her even having to make sure I did my homework or studied, and I didn't ask for much and all of this has continued through college. So, a piercing, just on the ear, isn't that big of a deal to her. My mom's one of those that you definitely don't cross if you know something is going to make her angry, but she's always been very open with me and made it easy to talk about things. Pretty good combination really.

Well, getting to the point here.  Last January I had my sixth piercing in my upper lobe done as well as a tattoo which I wrote about here, Courage I can wear, and both healed pretty nicely.  However, as many know, the piercing bug just wouldn't leave me be. [Heck, I'm so fascinated by body modification (though there are many I would never have because of my need to retain a professional look for my future career) that I even did a Psychology research about tattoo perceptions.]  So, in April during Easter weekend, my mom and my step-father came up to visit me at my college because they had not seen it yet, as my I live with my dad and he moves me to school every year.

Well, since my sixth piercing, I'd been contemplating a tragus piercing in my left ear.  At the time my piercings were even, three on each side, and for the longest time before my sixth they were uneven.  Strangely, I missed the lack of symmetry.  I saw the tragus on BME and fell in love.  It was discreet but still visible, if that makes sense.

So, I asked my mom when she came in town if she'd want to go with me to get my tragus pierced.  Of course, she said no problem.  Here's where things get a bit fishy.  I chose Psychodelic Butterfly after speaking with some other students at school about the piercings they got there.  No one had anything negative to say and there was positive feedback from customers on their site, so I went for it.

We arrived there early actually, right after lunch (always eat something before you get pierced or tattooed!), and we actually had to sit in the car a minute before the door was opened.  They waved us in though when they saw us.

I told the woman at the desk what I wanted, presented my ID, and filled out my paperwork.  The usual scenario.  I was called back for my piercing pretty quickly considering there weren't many people in the shop at this point.

My piercer, who I feel like his name is Darren but I could be wrong, prepped me.  He had on gloves of course and all of his equipment visible and sterile looking.  My first reaction when I took my seat was that this piercing area was nice, but not as clean and sterile looking as the one at Golden Lotus where I'd last been pierced.  However, every place is different and I saw nothing alarming.  I asked "Darren" how long he'd been piercing and when he replied six months, my alarms went off!

Granted, ok, if he was done with his apprenticeship, he has to start somewhere.  A place with such good customer feedback wouldn't let a guy who sucked pierce my ear, right?  Well, "Darren" marked my ear, I couldn't see it well in the mirror but I felt good about the placement.  Oh, and he was going to use a CBR, which is exactly what I wanted. He then began the piercing.  Count down and such, in went the needle.  I didn't hear any crunching that many describe.  It was painful, but most definitely tolerable.  (Maybe I have a high threshold for pain? Possible.)

After this, I began to wish I'd trusted my gut.  He took the needle completely out of my ear before trying to put the jewelry in!! No! That's the point of a hollow needle so that you can thread the jewelry through it.  So, as you can guess, I writhed quietly in pain (I refused to be whiny about it), as he tried at least twice to get the jewelry in without threading.  Even had to repierce once.  Finally, "Darren" wised up and called someone in.  The owner, I believe, came in.  They wiped my forehead with a wet paper towel.  (If there's anything good I can say about this, it's that they were very attentive to me and whether or not I was ok.  I was asked multiple times throughout the entire process.  This is a good sign for sure.)  The owner, put a taper in, threaded the jewelry, and put the ball on the ring.  Bam! Done.

See how easy that was, "Darren"?  I swear, if the guy hadn't had such a sweet, attractive voice (and looks), I think I would have reached around and smacked him for taking the needle out of my ear.

Well, in the end, I got my piercing and it did look great.  There were no complaints about placement or anything.  However, a couple months into healing (as cartilage does take longer) I saw hypertrophic scarring start on the outside just above the hole.  I used my sea salt solution of course, started taking zinc which seemed to help, but by now, October it was still there.  It became really angry looking a few days ago and of course, stupidly, I poked at it a little with my fingers.  Not too much though.  I'm not that stupid.  Well, I've read that tea tree oil is good for this problem. So I picked some up from Walmart last night.  After just one night of using it, a small dab on the scar, I can already see some change!

I'm optimistic about the rest of my healing process and still very much in love with my tragus.  The people at Psychodelic Butterfly were very nice and helpful, especially the tattoo artist who did my mom's sunset tattoo on her ankle. (Yeah, my mom had to get in on the fun, too.)  Perhaps, my experience was just a fluke, but as my last words of advice—don't be afraid to ask about the process your piercer or tattoo artist intends to use.  Ask about the equipment and whether or not it's sterile, especially if it's your first time in a shop.  If your piercer or tattoo artist is really good at what they do, they'll know it's important to their clients to know this kind of information and will gladly tell you whatever you would like to know.

Thanks for reading and I hope maybe someone will get something out of this.

Details

submitted by: Anonymous
on: 02 Nov. 2009
in Ear Piercing

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Artist: Can%27t+remember+his+name
Studio: Psychodelic+Butterfly
Location: Conway%2C+AR

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