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Nape piercing

Despite always being interested in piercings, apart from my lobes (which I rarely utilise) and a lip piercing which I took out after a week, the only 'real' piercing I had was a tiny gem in my nostril. I wanted something more but I couldn't find anything I liked. After scouring BME I discovered surface piercings. I was instantly intrigued and spent a long time reading experiences, looking at pictures and researching all the potential implications. Eventually, I decided on an anti-brow and even booked an appointment before chickening out. I realised that if the piercing rejected, which was highly likely, I'd probably be left with a nice scar on my face. I lost interest and forgot about the whole idea for a while, until I noticed a double nape piercing on my friend at work. I'd come across them before and never really found them that attractive but it looked so pretty on my friend that I instantly wanted one. I asked her a few questions about them; so far she's managed to keep them in for nearly two years without any signs of rejection or migration. I was encouraged by this as one of the things I was most worried about was it rejecting and I knew the odds were against me. Despite this, I was pretty sure I wanted one but it wasn't until a couple of months later (during which I did a lot more research) that I finally went ahead with it.

I'd just split up with my boyfriend and thought it was as good a time as any to get it so on impulse, I phoned the piercing studio and made an appointment for two days time. Holey Skin have three studios in Bristol, including the newly refurbished Angels, which is specifically designed for females. Despite the studio opening for the first time the day I called oin, I had actually got my nose pierced at another branch five years earlier and found their service to be very professional. I'd had absolutely no problems with it and it healed very quickly. I knew a few people who had also got pierced there so I trusted the company.

The day of the appointment rolled around and I met my friend at our college. The nerves didn't kick in until I saw her and realised I was actually going ahead with it. It was pouring with rain which wasn't exactly encouraging as we had a ten minute walk to the bus stop. The bus took about half an hour, which gave the nerves plenty of time to build up! When we finally got there, we found two members of staff smoking in the doorway. We went on inside and sat in the waiting room while they finished their cigarettes. Eventually, a girl came in and asked us what we wanted. I told her I had an appointment but she didn't seem to know anything about it and went to check with another girl, who I assumed was the manager. She came back to ask me whether I wanted just plain balls or sparkly ones. I told her sparkly and she showed me the jewellery before disappearing for what seemed like ages, which didn't help my nerves. I was actually shaking by this point. Eventually, she came back and ushered me through to a piercing room.

She asked me where I wanted it and marked me up, which didn't take too long but the second marks were spot on so it didn't really matter. She then told me to lie face down on the table and started preparing her equipment. I was a little unnerved by the fact that she hadn't introduced herself, asked me to sign anything or given me any information about the complications and likelihood of rejection. Luckily I'd done my research and knew what to expect but if I hadn't, I'd be totally unprepared which bothered me. However, everything seemed very clean and the girl was friendly so I put it down to the studio being new and the staff still finding their feet. I realised she wasn't going to tell me anything about the procedure and even though I pretty much knew what was going to happen, I decided to test her by asking her what she was going to do, to which she replied 'Do you really want me to tell you?' I found this to be a bit unprofessional and very different to when I'd got my nose pierced, where the piercer had been very informative and talked me through the whole procedure. Eventually, the girl told me the basics of what was going to happen, but I was still a bit put off.

First, she massaged the skin around the area before putting numbing spray on my neck, which was freezing. It wasn't painful, just a bit uncomfortable. I grabbed my friend's hand and didn't let go until the whole piercing was done. The piercer then pinched my neck; she didn't use clamps which I was pleased about as I'd heard they weren't the best idea for surface piercings. Next came the painful bit. She told me to take a deep breath in, before pushing the needle through as I breathed out. She seemed to have a bit of trouble getting the needle down and through, but was very reassuring and kept talking the whole time. Eventually she took the plastic tubes out to make it easier to get the needle through and I felt it levelling out under my skin. She told me to take another deep breath in and the needle went all the way through. I'm not going to lie, it hurt an awful lot, mainly because it took so long. The piercing alone probably took about four minutes and that was before she even put the jewellery in. Getting the bar in did hurt a fair bit, but surprisingly less than the actual piercing. Finally, the balls were screwed on and I could let go of my friend's hand. Apparently it bled a tiny bit when the jewellery went in, but I didn't even notice and it hasn't bled since.

I tried to sit up but was feeling really faint so I lay on my back and the piercer held my legs up to help the blood flow to the right places. This was a tiny bit embarrassing and my shoes were still wet from outside but she didn't seem to notice. Eventually I was able to get up, but I did manage to stumble into the mirror even so. I noticed there was a face shaped sweat patch on the bed from where my nerves had got the better of me. She held up a small mirror so I could see my nape in the big one and I caught my first glimpse of it. It was hard to see properly but it looked pretty good. The piercer told me that I could come back in a month's time to get the bar changed to a smaller surface bar. She explained that she'd used a longer bar with slightly curved edges to allow for swelling. I was a little dubious of this as I'd heard that surface bars were always best but as it was going to be changed to a proper, staple shaped bar in a few weeks time, I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt. The only aftercare advice she gave me was to use saltwater soaks twice a day, with kitchen roll as tissue and cotton wool break down easily. She also advised me to be really careful of it when showering, washing hair etc and to just use common sense and to ring her if I had any concerns or questions.

I paid her £35 for the piercing, which included the jewellery. It would usually be £40 but there was a discount all week due to the studio being new. My friend and I left and went to Burger King as my faintness seemed like a good excuse to eat junk food. She took a couple of pictures on my phone so I could have a proper look and apart from some redness, which disappeared pretty quickly, it looked good.

Before I went to bed, I did a saltwater soak. I decided to use cotton wool against the piercer's advice as I've used that for my other piercings without a problem. Sleeping on it wasn't painful and when I woke up I was surprised to find that it wasn't at all crusty and there was no pus. I cleaned it anyway before having a shower. It was a tiny bit painful letting hot water run on it and I did get some hair caught when I was washing it but apart from that, it wasn't too bad.

For the first week, there were no problems. There was no swelling and only slight redness around the holes. I noticed that one side appeared to be closer to the skin's surface than the other but I'm decided to keep an eye on it, keep cleaning it and speak to the studio if it gets any worse. A few days later, there was a lot of redness and pus around the holes and the bar felt like it was closer to the surface. I continued to clean it but it didn't seem to get a lot better. Two weeks after, I was starting to worry. I realised now that the piercer had been really inexperienced and that the piercing wouldn't be deep enough for the bar to be changed to a proper surface bar. I started to panic that it was rejecting and very nearly took it out several times. The redness and crustiness was getting worse and I couldn't stop touching it, which didn't help. I'd clean it, then ten minutes later it'd be sticky and crusty again. I decided to use a very diluted TCP solution to clean it for a couple of days and refrained from touching it and it seemed to improve.

Over the next few months it slowly healed and seven months on, I went back to get the bar changed. The piercer commented on how nicely it had healed and put in a shorter, staple-shaped bar for me. I love my nape piercing and don't regret getting it done, despite the initial problems. I get lots of mixed comments on it which I enjoy and I think it looks great.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 05 April 2010
in Neck and Nape Piercing

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Studio: Angels @ Holey Skin
Location: Bristol, UK

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