FAQs

UPCOMING EXHIBIT CURATED BY THE BEARDED LADY

Butch – Not Like the Other Girls

Exhibition by SD Holman at Eastworks , April 4 – May 4 , 2014
Easthampton, MA: US premiere of SD Holman’s show, BUTCH: Not like the other girls, will be exhibited at the Mill Arts Project MAP (Eastworks 116 Pleasant Street suite 137, Easthampton, MA ) from April 4 – May 4, 2014, with an opening party April 4th 7pm – 9pm. BUTCH is a photographic exploration of the liminal spaces occupied by female masculinity in contemporary communities. Curated by local resident of the valley over 20 years, Amiee Joy Ross, the exhibit is free and open to the public…. (click for more info)
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Click here for a printable version of this info.

If you have questions not answered here, please contact me, Amiee (pronounced Ahmee): 413.586.0829, or beardedlady62{at}excite.com

Are there are things that can lengthen the healing time?

Touching the piercing with unwashed hands, moving the jewelry throughout the day, contact with bodily fluids, and using inappropriate cleaning solutions.

How long before I can take the jewelry out and not lose my piercing?

There are 2 stages in healing a piercing. After the initial healing time the piercing will be healed enuff that you will be able to have your piercer change the jewelry, at which time he/she can instruct you on how to change it yerself in the future. However it takes significantly longer for the new skin inside the piercing to toughen up for you to safely remove your jewelry for extended periods of time. The hole will begin to shrink down as soon as you remove the jewelry. The amount of time it takes for your piercing to shrink down to the point where you would be unable to reinsert will vary: obtain an insertion taper or go to a professional piercer to have your jewelry inserted or changed.

How will my piercing look and feel while it is healing?

Healthy new piercings will look and feel comfortable while healing, but you can expect the piercing to be tender to touch at first. This tenderness will remind you not to touch your piercing unless you’re cleaning it. Most piercings will go though a series of ups and downs during the healing process. If you have a question feel free to contact/visit your piercer.

What are the chances of my piercing becoming infected?

If a professional piercer pierced you and you follow procedures outlined on the aftercare sheet (a copy which you hopefully received to take home with you) your chances of infection are virtually nonexistent. A piercer should go to great lengths to ensure that you leave the studio with full understanding of appropriate aftercare and no unanswered questions. There are some conditions that are not infections but may appear to be. These can include reactions to the cleaning agents you are using or the metal itself. Should any problems arise your piercer should be happy to consult and offer suggestions to you based on their experience.

Can I lose my piercing?

Yes, there’s always a chance of rejection (growing out); this can occur for a number of reasons (consult your piercer). There is also the chance of infection that can force you to abandon the piercing if you handle or play with a piercing too soon, or without washing your hands first. In all cases, jewelry must be left in the piercing for the entire healing time, and not removed for even a few minutes, the piercing can close up and you may not be able to reinsert the jewelry. For “lost holes”, see your piercer immediately. Reinsertion is possible if you act quickly.

What should I do to prepare for a piercing?

Bring a valid driver’s license, state I.D. passport or military I.D. Eat something 1–2 hrs before you come in. This will support your blood sugar level. Avoid alcohol, aspirin, excessive caffeine, all recreational drugs 24 hrs beforehand.

Do you provide services to minors?

Minors under the age of 15 are not able to receive most piercings here in this establishment. Growth spurts and hormonal changes (being constant in youth) are factors that can influence the healing. That said, in the state of Massachusetts it comes down to each municipality to enforce the piercing minors code. Here it is allowed but then it becomes the discretion of the individual shop/piercer. I do not feel comfortable piercing under the age of 15 for a great majority of piercings. I will not do a genital piercing on anyone under the age of 18. No matter if the whole damn family signs a wavier. I pierce minors on an individual basis, and it is contingent upon their anatomy and lifestyle. We will provide earlobe piercing at any age.

Note: if a piercer is willing to pierce a minor without giving the parent/guardian all the info (informed consent) on the possible consequences and issues surrounding piercing youth, then it is highly unlikely that they perform piercing with the highest standards in mind or the safety of your child’s well being. A parent or legal guardian must accompany a minor. Guardians must present paperwork documenting their status of legal guardianship. Both the minor and parent/guardian must present photo I.D.

What Materials are safe for a fresh piercing?

It is important to keep in mind that there is no single metal that every person can wear in their piercing. Individual biochemistry plays a large role in what metals the human body can tolerate. If you are pierced with the highest grade metals you can reduce your chances of a metal reaction so drastically that it is hardly a consideration. They include: Implant-grade stainless steel: 316lvm (ASTM F-138), Implant-grade titanium: 6A14 ELI (ASTM F-136), Niobium, 14k gold or 18k gold.

What size jewelry is best?

The appropriate size jewel varies from piercing to piercing and person to person. Jewelry will have to be custom fit to your body to ensure proper healing. Don’t ever let someone tell you one size is standard for a particular piercing. A trained piercer will be able to tell you, not a sales clerk, what is appropriate for your body.

Is there a school available or any certification required for piercers?

While licensing is required for piercing studios in the state of Massachusetts, this only pertains to health and safety standards. Just because a studio is licensed, it is no guarantee that you will receive a properly executed, attractive piercing. It is essential before choosing a piercer that you ask questions about their experience level and training. There are several brief piercing seminars offered to the public, but completion of a course such as these does not constitute any legal certification, nor does it qualify someone to pierce publicly. While such seminars are certainly a good source of information, they are no validation of a piercer’s abilities. Ask lots of questions; if you do not receive satisfactory answers to you questions/concerns then maybe that piercer is not the one for you.

What do I look for in a piercer?

There are a lot of people—from tattooists to hair stylists—cashing in on the popularity of body piercing by calling themselves “professional body piercers”. Do not let your desire to be pierced prevent you from doing careful research. Be sure the person you are considering uses appropriate clean and sterile technique. They must use sterile piercing needles that are disposed of in a sharps container after a single use. They must autoclave all implements used for a piercing and wear fresh clean gloves at all times during the procedure. Be sure to find out where and when they received their training and how much training they have. Ask to see photos of their work or better still, speak with their customers. Ask to see their autoclave and spore tests. It is also important that piercings are done in a designated area designed for just that task.

How will physical activity and sweat affect a new piercing?

For most people this does not cause problems, although you may want to clean your new piercing after engaging in strenuous activity. Always listen to your body. If something is not good for the piercing your body will let you know. Generally, if an activity is not causing you any discomfort, it is probably just fine.

Can I go swimming with my piercing?

For the first 6-8 weeks, avoid swimming in standing bodies of water i.e. lakes, pools, hot tubs. These contain bacteria and/or harsh chemicals. There are waterproof bandages available called Tegaderm or Duoderm. These patches allow oxygen through so that your piercing can breathe, but are impermeable to water and fluids. They work best for navels and nipples. Open ocean water can be ok because it tends to be cleaner, but not protected areas such as bays or inlets. Keep in mind, we throw our garbage into the ocean so take heed and use your judgment. When a piercing is healed you can stop using the patches, just make sure to clean your piercing thoroughly when getting out of the water. Also direct UV rays can destroy the new/healing tissue around a new piercings. A band-aid or towel blocking it for the first 6-8 wks is strongly suggested.

What will happen to my piercing if I get pregnant?

You want any piercing to be well healed before conceiving a child. The changes a woman undergoes during pregnancy can make it next to impossible for piercings to heal during this time. The best thing to do when you’re pregnant is to keep in touch with your piercer and inform them of your changing situation. You can expect some change in a navel piercing since your abdomen will be stretching considerably. Many women find that the original jewelry is not comfortable as the pregnancy progresses. One suggestion is to use a barbell made of PTFE, which is flexible surgical implant grade plastic. The barbell is flexible, and therefore more comfortable to wear for many women. Talk to your piercer to discuss your options; if necessary, they can tell you how to remove your jewel and reinsert possibly following your delivery. Also you do not want to get pierced just before or during your pregnancy. There is always the possibility that a fresh piercing could become infected, which could enter your blood stream and thereby your child’s.

Will I be able to breast-feed my baby?

In my experience, a well-healed nipple piercing does not interfere in nursing a child. A piercing that is not healed, however will be problematic. Remove your jewelry when breastfeeding to avoid injury to the piercing and for maximum comfort for both mother and child. Beads, balls, rings and barbells are choking hazards for infants if they come loose accidentally. If you have a well healed piercing the jewelry should be easy to remove and reinsert. Before removing jewels be sure to wash hands with soap, be sure to lay your jewelry on a clean surface, such as paper towel or plastic small cup. Clean your hands before reinsertion. You may notice milk expressing thru your piercing, this is normal and quite harmless.

What about sex with genital piercings?

Piercings that are still healing must be protected from contamination/bodily fluids during sexual activities. A good quality condom or dental dam is vital to protect your piercing. Even if you are in a monogamous relationship, contact with bodily fluids will greatly increase the chance of infection. After being pierced, you can have sex, depending on how the tenderness of the piercing affects your desire for sexual activity. Patience and creativity are important. And remember to always use protection until fully healed.

Will the piercing hurt?

Yes. For a New York minute is what I like to say. Let’s talk about pain. There’s 2 kinds of pain I figure. Good pain and bad pain. What’s the difference you ask? That’s easy: Bad pain is when you slip and fall twisting an ankle or scraping your knee; anytime you’re not prepared for the discomfort it’s unconsensual leaving one in a foul mood and at dis-ease. Now Good pain: To begin it is with your consent. You are mentally and physically prepared, you leave the event naturally high and happy with a warm feeling towards the event. You’re in control. It takes the exhale of a breathe and it’s over, with a sense of euphoria and accomplishment left in it’s wake.

What is soaking good for?

If your piercing is sore, discharging, red, or just generally “acting up”, soaking your piercing with a hot sea salt compress will help. Directions: mix 1.4 teaspoon of sea salt* in 1 cup hot (not scalding) water and hold the inverted cup over the piercing for 5-10 minutes. Remove the cup before the water gets too cool because the tissue will begin to constrict. Warm salt water soaks allow the tissue/piercing to relax and draws irritation out of the piercing.

*Sea salt should be used instead of of regular table salt, which tends to have extra unwanted chemicals/additives.

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One Response to “FAQs”

  1. How much does an inner labia piercing cost?

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