Piercing. A piercing or piercing (” pirsin “) is an opening made in the body with the aim of locating an earring in order to transform the body’s appearance, manifesting a feature of nonconformity, and in some cases, empathy towards other cultures , religions or fashion . The English expression piercing, “piercing made in a part of the body other than the earlobe to insert earrings, rings or other ornaments”, has been graphically adapted to Spanish, and since 2005 the Royal Academy recommends writing pirsin (and prsines , in plural). That custom has become fashionable in recent years.


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  • 1 History
    • 1 Origin
    • 2 Evolution
    • 3 Use
    • 4 Punk subculture
  • 2 Personalities and places that spread Piercing
    • 1 Doug Malloy
    • 2 Fakir Musafar (1930)
    • 3 Jim Ward
    • 4 Mr. Sebastián
    • 5 Torture Garden
    • 6 Ron Athey
  • 3 Types of perforations
  • 4 Air suspension with piercings
    • 1 Types of suspension
  • 5 Precautions
  • 6 Clinic associated with complications
  • 7 Infections
  • 8 Perforated areas
  • 9 Types of Piercing Hoops
  • 10 Piercing materials
  • 11 Sources


Nasal piercing worn by women from India.

The ancient art of piercing (from the English verb ” to pierce “, pierce) is rediscovered and valued. It has become a fashionable phenomenon, but it is born from a movement of ideas, and for this reason it arouses distrust, rejection or fear in most of the people, opposing the western culture of the last centuries. While there continues to be some interest in Europe , an estimated 10% of the population in the United States has a jewel hole somewhere in their body. Different cultures, distant from each other, some isolated from the rest of the world, have developed the practice of piercing.


Nasal piercing in Middle Eastern woman .

This technique was born thousands of years ago in cultures of Indian origin, these were placed fragments of various materials and small pieces of animal bones . They carried out this practice because their belief was based on that these types of placements would defend them from evil spirits or tragedies, according to what they were placed and in what area of ​​the body they did it. Years later, this same practice was adopted by pirates . Their belief was very similar to that of the Indians, but the difference was in what they placed and where. The pirates used hoops very similar to those used today, but much thicker and the material could vary between silver or gold. The place chosen by them was the earlobe.

The ability to tolerate pain is also related to the transition from adolescence to maturity, which is why it was sometimes commemorated by performing piercings. In some Borneo tribes, perforations were made in the region of the male genitalia and the youth wore bone implants in the glans. In some cultures piercing is associated with decorative techniques, such as tattoos , the placement of rings on the neck or rings and ribbons to compress the genitals, or religious practices. Thus, followers of certain traditional Asian religions perform ritual piercings on the cheeks and tongue.to testify of his trance state. Similar piercings have been documented among the Sufis, a mystical stream of Islam , and some variants of Hinduism .

But these rituals or ceremonies were also common among Mayan nobles , who pierced their tongues and genitals as part of a bloody ritual, while the faithful devotees pierced their skin on religious holidays. Through these practices they tried to break the limits of the ego and transcend reaching other states of consciousness. American Indians shared the same mystical concept and performed suspended ritual dances using contraptions pierced through the skin.


Various ear piercings.

These practices survived the passage of time , although with notable variations. In the Victorian era, some newspapers already mentioned the existence of jewelery piercings on the nipples and penis . In fact, one of the most popular piercings is called ” Prince Albert “, who was the husband of Queen Victoria of England , since, according to the chronicles of the time, he wore a ring on his penis that allowed him to properly place his genitals to the right or left inside the narrow pants of the uniforms of the time. Although little is known about these techniques in the 19th and early 20th centuries, there is evidence to indicate that tongue, nipple and lip piercings were common in Germany after World War II .

The rebirth of some decorative techniques, such as tattoos, made piercing popular with the punk movement in Europe in the 1970s, which adopted this practice as a means of provocation and to express their disagreement with society. Thus, the piercing was passed to other groups, such as homosexuals or sadomasochists, and reached the highest echelons of fashion and cinematography. In the last twenty years the status of piercing has changed and those who wear them are no longer marginalized characters in society. In fact, the piercing and tattoo industry is one of the fastest growing. The appearance of new decorative modalities, such as the implantation of objects under the skin to modify the surface and decorative burns or scars, augur a prosperous future for this type of practice.


According to the geographical region to which the use of pirsin refers, it is justified in a different way:

  • Alaska: The Eskimos developed in a particular way the technique of labrets (holes made in the lower lip later enlarged). The labrets simply marked the moment of transition to the adult world and in particular for a boy it meant becoming a hunter. Men sometimes adorned their ears and noses with pendants of bone, shell,or glass .
  • Africa: Masai women lengthened their lobes with giant metal reels up to their shoulders. They deformed their mouthswith discs that are expanding in size. Towards puberty the 4 lower incisors had to be removed. The use of these dishes is still preserved in the Mursi. The Kanures apply a kind of double plug to the earlobes and decorate their cheeks with scarifications. Potok warriors carry a tree leaf , labial disc, and scars on their backs on the nasal septum .
  • India: It is very common, especially in women, to pierce noses, a nasal septum and ears, to adorn them with gold pendants. There are also rites practiced by the Sadhu (Indian holy men) in which through extreme experiences, permanent deformations and mortifications of the flesh they seek to achieve mental ecstasy.
  • Oceania: Young New Guineawomen pierce the nasal septum and nostrils with a long fishbone. Instead, men wear fish teeth in the nasal septum.
  • North America: For the Tinglits the mouth had a spiritual meaning. The use of piercing marked, in women, the transition from puberty to sexual maturity. In some Sioux tribes, to become warriors, young people had to pass a test that consisted of piercing their chest with hooks, hanging themselves with ropes from a tree until they lacerated their skin.
  • Central America: The ancient Mayans hada great cult of beauty. Using wooden masks, they deformed the children’s heads to achieve a perfect profile. The tattoos indicated rank and occupation. They practiced piercing by piercing lips, nose, and ears with the most expensive jewelry they could afford.
  • South America: Cashinawa Indians pierce their noses to insert coloredfeathers indicating their rank. The Carafa Indians scarify one cheek and pierce his lip with a fine bamboo pole . In Brazil , the Chavantes are adorned with wooden earrings , with cords wound around the wrists, ankles, and neck, and with a yellow cone hanging from their penis.

Punk subculture

The image of punk with a cheek pierced by a safety pin went around the world in the 70s. Anger and contempt for a selfish and futureless society, the wild taste for transgression and even self-destruction and deep-rooted nihilism took it forms in great amount of young people. The punk subculture uses its own aesthetic that contrasts with that developed according to homologated bourgeois canons: cockscomb or Mohawk hairstyles, tribal tattoos and a large number of rings and pins on the nose, ear and cheeks. The tattoo and piercing done by punks lacked respect for hygiene and health. His reason for being was provocation since it is associated with the idea of ​​pain, mutilation, masochism, self-reduction. Little by little, the movement has become more of an attitude than a way of life, still using costumes, tattoos and body piercing with a distinctive sign of the desire to violate established norms. From new wave to gothic, from trash to industrial, from hardcore to psychedelic punk, and even neo rockabilly, new romantics, peace punks, anarchic punks to grunge ones, they are all children of the great punk mother.

There are extreme piercing and openly soft piercing. The latter currently raves models, actors, rock stars and by emulation millions of his followers. Madonna , Naomi Campbell , Axl Rose , Lenny Kravitz , among others, wear small jewelry on the nose, navel , ears or nipples. Naturally they will be underground groups, like the Geni Tortureswho practice live piercing at their concerts, those who choose the most extreme routes. Famous designers like Gaultier use tattooed and pierced models in their fashion shows. Today piercing is widely spread not so much for non-conformist reasons but because it really pleases, illuminates the face or fits a dress as an accessory. Parallel to all this there is a current in search mainly of sexual pleasure. 90% of piercings have this purpose. The use of piercing in the gay / lesbian communities is highly appreciated and widespread. In some places parties are held in which scarifications and piercing are practiced as a rite of introduction to the community. In the field of sadomasochism it offers a range of possibilities and innumerable experiences.

Personalities and places that spread Piercing

Doug Malloy

Millionaire who led to the rediscovery of Piercing in the 1960s. He opened a season of tattoo and piercing parties in Los Angeles , where a significant number of people started studying and practicing Piercing.

Fakir Musafar (1930)

He is one of the most famous piercing growers in the world. At the age of twelve he started in body play attracted by an anthropological photograph of an Ibitoe warrior from New Guinea in which he appeared with his waist reduced to several centimeters by means of a belt. At thirteen, he performed his first penile piercing, a foreskin, which was followed by holes in his ears and nose. From then on he wanted to experience all kinds of bodily deformations in himself in order to explore the stages of physical pain and achieve mental ecstasy.

Jim Ward

He is the God of piercing and the Gaunlet chain of stores, created by him, the sanctuary of the hole. At the age of 27, Ward pierced his nipples by himself after accidentally reading an article that spoke of a sailor who, on returning from his long voyages, brought a series of holes scattered throughout his body.

Mr sebastian

He has been a European pioneer of piercing. Famous tattoo artist, he had his nipples pierced 30 years ago while working in English Guiana . The experience fascinated and scared him at the same time. On his return to London, he began to practice piercing with sterile syringe needles and specialized in this practice. He was brought to trial because English law allows piercing for aesthetic reasons but prohibits it for sexual or sadomasochistic reasons. He was acquitted for lack of evidence and it is believed that he was actually wanted to be punished for his open and recognized homosexuality .

Torture Garden

It is a night club opened in London in 1990 where performances for strong stomachs are performed: extreme piercing, cutting, scarification, fakir show, sadomasochism, bondage, among others. A place where the “abnormal” becomes almost an obligation.

Ron Athey

His performances are considered the best for all those who manage to follow the show without fading or feeling an attack of nausea. Ron’s childhood, raised by his grandmother, is marked by religious fanaticism and severe punishment. His youth marked by his bisexuality , depression, heroin and alcohol . In his first shows he cut and produced strong branding, crucified cats and ate their remains. Later he went to the games with glasses, needles and to practice live piercing. In his representation of San Sebastián, darts are thrown into his skin and a crown of thorns is placed that produces an abundant and spectacular loss of blood.. Other main dishes that it offers are lip sewing or sewing the genitals to the stomach.

Types of perforations

Nose piercing

Nose piercing.

The nose piercing is one of the most attractive, accentuating the features of the face. The first record of a nose piercing dates back more than 4,000 years, in the Middle East . It is mentioned in the Genesis of the Bible (24:22), when Abraham gives a gold earring (“Shanf” in Hebrew, which is translated as “nose ring”) to his son’s future wife. But records of this piercing also appear in other cultures: Berbers in Africa and Bedouins in the Middle East still use them today. In the case of the Bedouins, this piercing indicates the wealth of the family, delivered by the husband to his partner. In India this piercing was imported by Mughal emperors from the Middle East around the16th century . For Hindus, this piercing is generally used in the left nostril (a place associated with Ayurveda, and which supposedly helps to make labor easier ), and is sometimes linked to a piercing in the lobe of the left ear by a chain. Sometimes both nostrils are pierced. In western culture, nasal piercing first appeared among hippies who traveled to India in the late 1960s (20th century) and was later adopted by the England punk movement in the 1970s, as a symbol of rebellion in against conservative values. Nowadays it is totally normal to see nose piercings, since a while ago it was somewhat more difficult to bear due to all the social pressures that this had.

Tongue piercing

Tongue piercing.

The tongue piercing is one of the piercings is considered one of the most attractive and seductive that can be performed. The oldest records of this piercing were found in America , where it was practiced as a ritual by the ancient Aztecs and Mayans (today Mexico ) and by the Haida , the Kwakiutul , and the Tlinglit(Northwest America). In some Mayan reliefs from the year 709 before Christ (approximately) you can see drawings of the so-called “blood rite”, possibly originating from this piercing. In these rituals warriors’ tongues were pierced to offer blood as a sacrifice to the Gods. With this sacrifice the priests went into a trance and communicated with their gods in the different rituals.

Lip piercing

The first perforations in this area were carried out by different tribes of the Amazon , as a sign of female identity. But they were simply drilled, piercing sticks or reeds. The piercing in the lips to insert objects is also repeated in other cultures of the world (getting to see the famous “discs” that widen the mouth that get to be 24 centimeters in diameter). But two tribes originated the use of rings on the lips: the Dogon of Mali and the Nubas of Ethiopia, both with religious connotations. The Dogon believed that an ancestor spirit called “Noomi” (creator of the universe) pulled strings from his teeth and that on one occasion that string became words, and the language arose. In tribute to this ancestor, metal or ivory rings were pierced through his lips. In different African and South American cultures, lips are pierced with ceramic or wooden plates that reach unusual dimensions that powerfully attract attention. The ancient Aztecs and Mayans reserved this piercing for rich and powerful men. They were styled to wear snake- shaped gold jewelery encrusted with precious stones . The natives of what is todayAlaska and Canada wore ivory jewelry from walrus tusks , snail shells , and bones . The Makololo in Malawi used plates called “rompers”, which gradually wore away the lip until it pierced over time. The “romper” was a symbol of power, and was very attractive to members of both sexes (it was a symbol of marriage, the best “rompers” got the best partners).

Navel piercing

Navel piercing.

Navel piercing.

This piercing is one of the most modern, one of the few that does not have a record in primitive cultures. It is also one of the few piercings of a gender, as it is associated with women. This does not mean that men cannot carry it (there are many who have one), but it must be recognized that it is a perforation of the female gender. This has its explanation, because the woman’s navel is more rounded and attractive, in addition to being closer to the genitals (which also makes it very erotic). With the invention of the bikini in 1953The woman’s stomach looked more than ever in the history of mankind (of course, this garment generated quite a stir at the time, because the navel was a very sensual area that could not be exhibited just like that). Another great leap was in the 80s, when Madonna started wearing jewelery on her navel, which made this piercing extremely popular. The different pop stars were making this piercing something more and more used. In the 90s the ring became popular as a jewel for belly button piercings, and more recently it has become popular to place large jewels that cover the entire navel. Generally this piercing is placed at the top, where the skin is thinner.

Nose Septum Piercing

This form of piercing is probably one of the oldest and most common in the different cultures of the world (after piercing of the earlobe), even more popular than that of the nostrils. It dates back to prehistory and, depending on the area of ​​the world, the perforation varies from small ornaments with feathers and fangs, to huge pieces of large diameter wood. This piercing is very frequent in warrior cultures, probably due to the fierce appearance it arouses in those who wear it. In the New Guinea area it is common to use piercings with pig bones and tusks, for example the “Otsj”, a large bone plug that reaches 25 millimeters in diameter. Generally the “Otsj” was made from bones of a pig’s leg, although sometimes a daring person was encouraged to use the bones of defeated enemies. In Papua, New Guinea, the Bundi crossed a thin branch of the potato plant as a sign of entering adulthood (around 20 years old). It is normal to pierce this area as an initiation ritual, which depending on the culture can be done at 9-10 years old or at 22. The Aztecs also adored this type of piercing, with jewelry made of gold and jade to show their social position . The Kuna Indians of Panama also wore thick rings of pure gold. In Asia it is also very popular: in India, Nepal and Tibeta pendant called “Bulak” was placed on them, they were so big that in order to eat they had to take it off. The North American tribes also used this type of piercing popularly (this is the case of the Indian chief Tecumseh). In Australia the piercing in the septum was performed to flatten the nose, since this was a symbol of beauty. In Europe, this piercing took a long time to become popular, as it was used particularly in bulls , as a strap (called “mocheta”). Today it is quite popular.

Ear piercing

Parts of the ear where the piercings are placed.

  • Helix Piercing:It is located in the upper part of the ear, on the edge of the cartilage. It is almost always small, with a short diameter and a ring-shaped jewel, with a size that ranges from 1 millimeter to 8. It takes 8 to 16 weeks to heal.
  • Industrial Piercing:This is definitely painful, done at the top and there are also two piercings technically. It could take up to a year to heal.
  • Piercing in the anti-helix:This is complicated. Not everyone has that space to do the drilling, so for some it is impossible because if you have little space, you can end up with a migration of the jewel that is used.
  • Internal Helix Piercing:Another problem, because it is also a space that is almost entering the ear canal and there is also little space to drill. Therefore the pieces are usually small, perhaps just 1 millimeter. In English they are called Daith which means “wisdom”. In 6-8 weeks it will probably be cured.
  • Tragus Piercing:This is the piece of cartilage that is located before the ear begins. Some do it to him, others do a superficial piercing before him. They are very painful due to the thickness of the cartilage in the area and take up to 18 weeks to heal.
  • Snug Piercing:It is achieved through the cartilage, on the edge a little lower than the anti-tragus (see number 8). Very small jewelry is worn and is not very popular.
  • Conch piercing:It is called that because of the area where it is located that is shaped like a sea shell and represents a large space that goes to the back of the ear. Banana jewelry is often worn to allow you to recover very quickly. It can be done from the inside or outside, as we want and requires someone who has experience because it is one of the most complicated among ear piercings.
  • Anti-tragus piercing:It is quite similar to tragus, but on the contrary. Care and healing time is similar, and pain is similar.
  • Lobe Piercing:The most common of all, where women since childhood have tendrils frequently. They heal fast, in about 4 weeks and they hurt almost nothing. It is also used to make expansions or tunnels.

Ear lobe piercing

Piercing in the ear lobe.

The earliest record found with an earlobe piercing is more than 5,000 years old (it is a mummy found in Austria in 1991), with perforations of about 7-11 millimeters in diameter. Therefore, this piercing has accompanied humanity for thousands of years. It is probable that in the beginning this type of piercing had magical connotations, and were used as amulets to prevent the entry of evil spirits into the body (it was believed that the spirits entered through the ears and that putting metal in them was a way to drive them away Also in many cultures this piercing is part of the initiation into adulthood (or the other way around, as in Borneo, where each parent pierces an ear of their child as a symbol of the child’s dependence on them). The ancient Romans popularly used this piercing, both men and women, as a way of displaying wealth. Sailors were the first modern Westerners to wear ear studs, as a form of guarantee for their burial (if they were shipwrecked and found dead, they could sell the jewel to make a Christian and worthy burial to the corpse). Almost every culture in the world uses this piercing, but not until long ago was it considered by Western culture as a female symbol (and it was frowned upon that a man had a piercing there).

Ear cartilage piercing

Ear cartilage piercing.

The classic ear piercing is the lobe piercing. It is the one that is usually done to girls when they are only a few months old. Cartilage is the hard area of ​​the ears. It is dense and is also found in the area of ​​the ribs, in the nose, in the ears, in the throat and even in the spine. There are three types of cartilage: hyaline, elastic, and fibrous. The ears are crossed at the level of the elastic cartilage (the nose is made of hyaline cartilage, which is harder). As it does not have many nerves around it, it is a piercing that does not hurt much, although it is very difficult to drill, since the surface is quite hard.

Eyebrow piercing

Eyebrow piercing.

One of the most popular and interesting piercings performed daily in tattoo and piercing parlors is the one done on the eyebrow. It is a very attractive piercing (everything that has to do with the eyes is definitely), which is generally placed vertically, and especially at the end of the eyebrow. It is a simple piercing to perform, which does not hurt too much, and which requires about 6 to 8 weeks to fully heal. It is one of the safest piercings to do. However, not everything is so easy: there is a risk of a nerve going through, which can cause the eyebrow to be permanently “dropped”. As always, avoid touching the piercing after doing so, as this can lead to infection, rejection or migration of the piercing.

Nipple Piercing

Nipple piercing.

These piercings are usually placed in the center of the nipple areola, where the erect part begins. They can be placed both vertically and horizontally, and there are no connotations on which side of the body you have the piercing on. Specifically it doesn’t have any particular meaning, and it doesn’t matter if you’re male or female, it will always look good. And it is not uncommon to see two piercings in the same nipple. Whether they are bars or rings, the piercing on the nipples is very interesting and striking. Of course: It should not be done in the area where there is skin, since it could cause mastitis, an infectious disease that can cause many problems, especially if you are a woman.

Genital piercing

Examples of piercings in the male and female genitalia.

Like any body part piercing, genital piercing has its risks. The strangest thing about these piercings is that there is no telling what the chance is of being prone to having more trouble with this gem. The possible number of side effects can be huge, but it is not known for sure. The most common is infection, which can happen with any other piercing due to care problems after having one. It is necessary to maintain good hygiene to avoid it because although many believe that this is an insignificant problem, it can end up causing a lot of damage to health, including sterilityand potentially to death. You should also as always be aware of many diseases that can be acquired if everything that is used to do the piercing is not clean, such as tuberculosis , leprosy , AIDS or any other sexually transmitted disease ( STD ). There are risks of genital piercing only, apart from those that all others pose. For example, those that are more invasive like the one that goes through the head of the penis, should only be done by someone with a lot of experience and if possible, not do it at all because it can cause a lot of bleeding and even impotence if you touch the erectile tissue by mistake . Sometimes the urethra can be causedis reduced, making it impossible to urinate. Piercings in the clitoris can also cause loss of sensation in the area. While many genital piercings can cause bleeding. They have the advantage that they heal quickly, precisely because of the amount of blood that flows in that area. A belly button piercing heals completely in twelve months, but one in the genitals takes just six weeks. The difference is enormous.

Air suspension with piercings

Superman suspension

It started out as a circus show. Some daring were suspended in the air hanging only by hooks pierced through their bodies. It is said that when the illusionist Chris Angel was suspended, he caused a great media commotion: everyone talked about the feat he had committed, his courage and courage to dare to hang from piercings. Today there is an organization called suspension.org , aimed at spreading the art of suspension. They teach you how to do it in the safest way possible and the different ways. Year after year they get more followers who join their tribe. However, it is still something amazing and striking that never ceases to amaze those who watch it.

Types of suspension

The traditional one is the “resurrection” suspension, which consists of hanging horizontally face up, being lifted by piercings arranged in the trunk and abdomen . Another popular form is the “superman” suspension, which consists of placing the hooks on the back , which makes it rise in the air. In the “suicide” suspension, piercings are placed on the upper back and shoulders, which gives the sensation that the suspended person has hanged himself. Knee suspension consists of hanging upside down, only supported by the knees. The suspension in “lotus” adopts the famous meditation position with crossed knees. The hooks are placed on the knees, ankles and back. In addition to these styles, there are many other forms of suspension.


For those who want to adopt this fashion, they should know that by inserting an earring, an artifact foreign to the body is being placed, which can lead to negative reactions such as allergies, bleeding, tearing of the skin, tumors , staph , stiffness and lack of sensitivity in the affected muscles , as well as loss of movement in the hardened area.

Piercings on the lips and cheeks with earrings or clothes are not harmless, it can split the teeth , form scars , inflame the lips and damage the salivary ducts causing constant drooling. Tongue piercing can cause loss of palate and mobility, tearing of the gum , stomach and blood system infections , numbness and the creation of blood clots with which life can be threatened.

Allergic reactions in contact areas such as the tongue, oral or nasal mucosa caused by infections can create inflammation and consequently suffocation . In addition, they can cause very heavy or constant bleeding, produced on various occasions by an alteration in coagulation . The perforation of a nerve produces a sensory affectation, that is, loss of vision , smell , taste, hearing , touch and sensitivity in the damaged area, in addition, in the healing process, disorders due to different causes may appear, which produces keloid (scar growth).

Clinic associated with complications

Vascular lesions
The bleeding is a possible complication during drilling, especially in an organ such as the tongue vascularized, containing the artery and vein lingual different vessels. If the needle pierces any vascular structure, bleeding is generally effectively controlled, however extreme bleeding may occur requiring immediate medical attention.

The tissues around the wound caused by the piercing, due to inflammation or ulceration, cause pain. Inflammation and pain are in fact the most frequent complications. The time required for symptoms to completely subside after a lingual perforation is calculated between 3 and 5 weeks.

Dental trauma and fractures
These are the most frequent injuries described by the use of intraoral piercings. The habit of pushing and playing with the earring against the teeth or simply, the fact of having a foreign object in the mouth can cause fractures , fissures, abrasions or detachment of enamel spicules, causing especially if there is pulp sensitivity to cold substances or sweets and pain when pressure is applied to the affected tooth. Contact with the earring can chip or break the tooth, likewise the tooth can be damaged if it has a restoration and if the earring hits it.

Nerve injuries
The tongue is an organ innervated by different cranial pairs such as the trigeminal, facial, hypoglossal, and glossopharyngeal nerve. There is a risk of injuring a nerve during the placement of the piercing, and the sense of taste or motor function may be altered in the form of paresthesia depending on the affected nerve. The dental pulp can also be affected, the process will be determined by the continuous movement of the piercing on the tooth that can cause a fracture that eventually causes pulpitis .

malposition Imbalance of the muscular forces of the tongue in front of the orbicularis of the lips and the ring of the diver.

Hyperplastic lesions and epithelializations of the piercing
The perforation of the soft tissues can heal in a hyperplastic way. One factor that can contribute to hyperplastic lesions is the continued movement of the piercing in the tissue on which it is inserted. The wound caused by the placement of this attachment can evolve after several months with its epithelial lining, which is a complication at the time you want to remove it.


Local infections
Between 10 and 20% of all piercings are infected locally. The most frequent causative agents are staphylococci aureus , group A streptococci and pseudomonas .

After a recent placement, medical attention should be sought if symptoms of bacteremia such as fever , chills , tremors, and redness surrounding the perforation appear.

Transmission of diseases
A small number of cases of fulminant hepatitis have been described after the placement of a piercing; however, there are few studies that verify the risk of transmission of diseases related to this practice. The infection could potentially be due to poor hygiene, poorly sterilized instruments, or poor isolation from the local field. Viruses such as HIV can also be transmitted .

Bacterial endocarditis
Piercings can cause a serious infection of the valve endocardium in people with previous cardiac disorders.

Ludwig’s angina
It is a bacterial infection due mainly to a hemolytic streptococcus . It can present immediately after intraoral perforation, causing diffuse cellulitis of the floor of the mouth and of the suprahyoid region that affects the connective tissue and rapidly spreads to the submandibular, submental and sublingual region. This infection can hinder speech, swallowing and breathing , compromising the patient’s life, so urgent treatment is essential.

Periodontal disorders
The repeated action of metallic trauma against the periodontium can cause a mild, moderate or severe gingival recession together with trauma to neighboring tissues. Periodontal injuries are related in 64.3% of cases with the use of lingual piercing and in 35.7% with those placed on the lower lip.

At 6-8 hours after a lingual perforation, the surrounding tissues begin to become inflamed, the process increasing during the following 3-4 days. The submental and submandibular ganglia can also be enlarged by the inflammatory process. These effects last for a few weeks. Inflammation is a common symptom after oral perforation. The tongue is in constant motion, but due to perforation, it can lose mobility, sensitivity and complicate local healing processes.

Metal allergies
Depending on the type of piercing material, the risk of chronic irritation or hypersensitivity to metal may increase. A suitable choice of material type is important to avoid possible complications and a substance to avoid is nickel. Various authors consider contact dermatitis as the most common allergic reaction , where nickel and cobalt play an important role. The most inert and least toxic metallic substances initially recommended to be part of the piercingeran gold 14K or 18K, the niobium , the stainless steel and titanium .

Bacterial plaque buildup and calculus formation
It is described that lingual perforation with a barbell can cause supra and subgingival plaque and calculus accumulation in the lower anterior teeth because the lower sphere of the piercing continually contacts the teeth.

Aspirations and ingestions
There is always the possibility that the earrings are lost in the mouth, if this happens, it represents a danger for the individual, since if it goes to the respiratory tract it can cause suffocation with the stud, thread of the earring, bar or ring. Another possibility is that it goes to the digestive tract and causes damage to it.

Contact of a metal device in the mouth can stimulate the production of saliva , which may even be more fluid.

Galvanic currents
Patients may show hypersensitivity in amalgam restorations in contact with the metal of the piercing. Galvanic current from stainless steel earrings, in contact with other intraoral metals, has been speculated to cause sensitivity in the pulp of the tooth.

Speech disturbances, chewing or swallowing
Piercing can hinder speech by interfering with the normal movements of the mouth causing defects in pronunciation, in the phonation of some consonants such as L, T, R and S and affecting communication, as it interferes with the ability to pronounce words clearly, in addition to causing problems in chewing and swallowing food. The destruction of the physically beautiful in man can be tragic and in dentistry The loss of this beauty can be very painful for the patient, taking into account that most of these patients do not have the true knowledge of the magnitude of the injuries that piercing encrustations can produce and the subsequent influence of these on facial aesthetics , reaching affect even psychologically.

Perforated areas

Perforated areas and healing time
Area Earlobe Ear cartilage Eyebrow Nasal flap Nasal septum Nasal bridge Tongue Lip Nipple Belly button Female genitals Male genitalia
Time it takes to heal 6 to 8 weeks 4 months to 1 year 6 to 8 weeks 2 to 4 months 6 to 8 months 8 to 10 weeks 4 weeks 2-3 months 3 to 6 months 4 months to 1 year 4 to 10 weeks 4 weeks to 6 months

Types of Piercing Hoops

Weight bars are internally threaded, and both balls can be separated. They are the best insertion piercings, especially in the new ones. Very useful where jewelry must be put on and taken off often. They are the preferred option for the tongue, and can be used everywhere, whether they are fleshy or cartilaginous.

Captive Bar
Closed tube rings work the same way as non-captive ones. They are completely smooth and can be rotated in 360 degrees, which makes them very comfortable. They are the perfect rings for continuous exposure of large rings. Recommended for already healed piercings.

Captive Bead / Closure ring
They are the best selling jewelry. The ball snaps shut. Its main applications are seen on the nostrils, eyebrows and lips. These slightly deformed rings can be found for their perfect adaptation to eyebrows or navels. In this way they cause less irritation during the healing period.

Circular Barbell
Weight hoops are a beautiful alternative to the ring. Small sizes are widely used in facial piercings and nipples. They can also be found in the shape of a horseshoe, very useful in the nasal septum, taguis and other piercings. Softer balls can be used for difficult places.

Curved Barbell
Weight hoops are a beautiful alternative to the ring. Small sizes are widely used in facial piercings and nipples. We can also find them in the shape of a horseshoe, very useful in the nasal septum and other piercings. You can use balls that are softer to put in difficult places and that are less bothersome to rubbing than traditional ones.

Ear Plug
These are tubes that are inserted into the earlobe. They fit with two rings fastened in a groove marked at the end. The sizes vary according to the hole, so it is necessary to find the appropriate size. They can be combined with other specific jewelry.

Labret Stud
Different types of studs (the protruding part of the piercing) can be found, from barbell to lobe plug. They are preferred for the lip because of its stud. These are usually the ones who choose the most daring, who risk hurting anyone even in a simple show of affection. A Labret Stud in the middle of a hug or a kiss can cause more than one scratch.

Nipple Shields
They are elegant stainless shields with a hole in the center. It is held in place with a ring or barbell with weights. Different models can be chosen, from the plain washer to highly worked figures. Obviously, and thanks to their shape and size, Nipple are used in nipple piercings.

Points and Fangs are simple but elegant partition decorations. The notch allows the jewel to stay centered in place. They are ideal for nasal piercings. The problem is that people with a narrow or wide partition may require a custom jewel since the original ones can harm them.

Lobe Plug
For large ear piercings you will find a wide variety of jewelry. The Claw is held with rings placed in the notches in front and behind the lobe. Claws can also be found with a ball at the top end.



Captive bar


Captive Bead / Closure ring


Circular Barbell


Curved Barbell


Ear Plug


Labret Stud


Nipple Shields



Piercing materials

The tendril elements are usually made of surgical steel or titanium. Despite the fact that surgical steel is the most widely used material, titanium has the advantage of having a faster cure, less weight, more variety in colors and being the most biocompatible material with humans. Unlike silver, which is recommended should not be used, since it facilitates the entry of infections, and delays the healing process. In addition, silver has a reputation for turning black over time, and with it, the skin.

Other secondary materials are gold and platinum (more scarce for their value) and plastic silicone. The latter is recommended for oral perforations, since it would tend to become infected on other sides of the body (if the perforation is freshly made). In addition, its flexibility is more appropriate in certain places, where a metal one could damage the mouth due to trauma. The downside is that they break down relatively quickly, and don’t usually last more than 2 months without breaking, when a metal one could go years without breaking. Some of the materials used are: bronze , silver , gold , glass , plastic , PTFE , acrylic ,plexiglass , wood , amber and some organic biological materials.


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