But everyone’s doing it! I just wanna fit in!

There are many, many reasons why piercing yourself is a terrible idea. It’s an equally bad idea to let your friends pierce you, your family pierce you, or someone who is untrained pierce you. We’ll go over some of the main reasons why people feel the need to self pierce, and why it’s a bad idea.

People use all sorts of reasons to justify self piercing. Here are some of the most common.

~”My parents won’t sign or pay for me, or I’m too young to do it professionally.”
This is one reason that really bothers me. When you’re under 18, you are legally the property of your parents, according to U.S. law. That’s the way it is, and there is no getting around it. Your parents essentially own you until you are 18, so if they won’t sign for you, or won’t pay for you, then don’t do it. It’s not hard to wait until you are 18, trust me, it’s really not, and honestly, if you really want something, you’ll be willing to wait for it. Use the time you’re waiting to research more, do more studying, and really know your stuff so when you go and finally get pierced, there will be no surprises.

~”I’m old enough to do it, I just don’t have the money/don’t want to spend the money.”
Again, if you want something bad enough, you should be willing to wait for it. And think about it, would you rather pay $60 for a piercing, or pay several hundred, even thousands, dollars for hospital treatments and antibiotics to treat resulting infections and complications? Remember, a good piercing isn’t cheap, and a cheap piercing isn’t good.

~”Professionals don’t do anything that I don’t when I pierce./I know what I’m doing./I read or watched online how to do it.”
No, actually, none of that is true. Professionals, true professionals, have several years of training under a mentor, they take blood borne pathogen courses, sterilization courses, human anatomy classes, and train for years to know how to pierce properly. You have NO idea what you’re doing when you pierce yourself. You don’t know where the nerves are, and everyone is different. You don’t know where the major veins and arteries are, you don’t know proper placement, you don’t know proper technique, you don’t know anything. And how do you know that the people you saw online, or read about online, did it the right way? You don’t know. And we all know how incredibly unreliable most internet information is, so why trust it at all?

Besides, if alcohol or flame or boiling water was a sufficient sterilization method, and safety pins were good enough to pierce with, why do professionals spend several dozen times more on special needles, potentially thousands of dollars on autoclave machines and the necessary tools for it, to use? Why would they “waste” money on the good stuff if they can get the “same” things for cheaper? Think about that.

~”I want control over my own body. It’s spiritual.”
I know I’m going to get a lot of backlash for this, but I almost equate this reasoning to self-harm reasoning. ALMOST. Many self-harmers say they do it to feel control over something, even just their own bodies, they say they do it to feel alive, to make sure they’re alive, or so they can feel anything at all. This reasoning for self-piercing sounds very similar, to me. Admittedly, self-harm is done with negative thoughts, negative intentions, and under negative emotions, while “spiritual self-piercers” will do it with positive thoughts, intentions and emotions in mind. So that’s the main difference there. But this also goes back to you don’t know what you’re doing. Even if you feel good doing it, or right after, you could still seriously screw your piercing and your body up if you do this wrong.

Many people do feel a sort of spiritual satisfaction from piercing themselves. But these people have done YEARS of research, many will research and take the same classes and courses that piercing apprentices and professionals take. They have had close contact with professionals before they started their self piercing adventures. These people are different than the average, run of the mill self-piercer. They are VERY few and far between, but they do exist. These dedicated individuals are NOT to be confused with the uneducated masses. They are NOT self harmers, and shouldn’t be lumped in with them. Again, self piercing is with positive intention, self harm is with negative intention. I just wanted to make that very clear.

~”I just felt like it. I like it, so I did it. I was bored.”
This is a terrible reason to do anything. If you’re bored, do something constructive. Clean out the garage and sell stuff, make a profit from the sale and make room for new stuff. Clean your room, organize your bookshelf or movie shelf, help your folks out with chores, read a book, go for a walk with the dog, play with the cat, learn to knit. Boredom leads to stupidity, we’ve all seen dumb stunts performed on youtube and elsewhere on the internet, and where do you think those ideas came from? Boredom, or wanting to be famous. Either way, terrible idea.

~”Too far to travel.”
Then make a full day of it. Go to the shop, get pierced, then go to lunch, see a show or a movie, walk around the city or town, do something fun while you’re there. I travel across 4 states to get pierced and tattooed, driving two hours to a good shop is nothing.

~”It’s cooler to self pierce./ Others will think I’m cool./I’ll fit in better with my chosen subculture./I’ll be a rebel, I’ll be hard ex core./I’ll get back at my parents.”
This mentality is so not true, and honestly unhealthy. If you’re only getting pierced to impress others then you’re going to regret it. You won’t take care of it as well, you won’t appreciate it as much, and you won’t love it. Body mods are 100% personal and selfish things, you should only get modded for yourself, not for anyone else.

And when you do it to impress other people, those same people are only liking you because you look like you fit in with them, you fit the mold. They don’t like you for who you are, for what you stand for or what you believe in, they only like you because you look the part. That’s just fitting the template, that’s not truly belonging to a group. Because the minute you don’t look like them, you’ll be ostracized again. And really, do you want to be friends with people who are that shallow and superficial to like people based only on what they wear?

What’s the point of “getting back at” your parents anyway? They probably told you no because they thought it was in your best interest. Maybe you’ve proven you’re not responsible enough to handle this very invasive, potentially deadly procedure. Maybe you haven’t educated them enough that piercing studios are as clean as doctors offices anymore, sometimes cleaner. Maybe they’re just flat out against them, no matter what you do. And really, is it worth it to make your living environment miserable over something so superficial and unimportant as a piercing? I personally don’t think so.

~”It’s how professional piercing got started./ My friend wants to be a piercer, so I’ll let him/her practice on me.”
That is true, the piecing procedures used now were once practiced on friends and selves. But it’s been proven that self-piercing is incredibly unsafe, how do you know all these early piercers didn’t reap terrible consequences, even died, from these early practices? Professionals have perfected those early techniques and built on them, dedicated their lives and careers to it, turning the industry into what it is today. And it’s still improving. It’s like using 100 year old medical technologies, just because it worked at the time. There’s a reason using leeches to treat diseases isn’t used anymore. There’s a reason mentally disturbed people aren’t nearly drowned in ice cold water. Because these techniques DIDN’T WORK, and more often than not, made the patients worse or killed them. Would you use antiquated and dangerous medical procedures and tools just because it’s cheaper than going to a modern doctor? No? Same thing with self-piercing.

The second part of this only has one instance where it’s okay. The only way you should let some “unprofessional” person pierce you is if they are an apprentice to a mentor, and they are piercing you under the supervision of their mentor, in a professional shop, in a professionally clean and sterile piercing room, using professionally approved and sterile tools. Yes, apprentices do need people to practice on, sometimes that includes themselves or willing friends or clients. But they only do it under their mentor’s supervision, to make sure everything is done properly. If you would like to let an apprentice practice on you, that’s fine, and you really are doing them a favor. But again, ONLY DO THIS if the mentor is in the room, carefully directing and watching the apprentice work.

~”I “sterilized” my needle and cleaned my bathroom/whatever room you’re doing it in, and piercing studios are dirty./Piercing kits are readily available and say they’re sterile.”
This is also very untrue. It is IMPOSSIBLE to fully sterilize a tool in your home. The ONLY way to do this is to use an autoclave, the same machine doctors and dentists use to sterilize their reusable tools. No common household has one of these expensive machines lying around. The best you can do is sanitize a tool, and that’s not nearly good enough.

No needle you use at home is good enough for a piercing. Safety pins, sewing needles, thumb tacks, nails, blowgun darts, NOTHING is piercing worthy. They are dull, ragged, shit metals. Many safety pins and sewing needles actually have a barb on the end of them if you see them under a microscope, and this is terrible for piercing. They are all the wrong size for jewelry to follow, and cause so much more damage to the tissue than a professional needle will.

Home bathrooms are FILTHY. If you were to hold up one of those special lights that reflect human biohazard fluids, your bathroom would look like a sweet rave party. Every time you flush the toilet with the lid up, a hurricane of fecal matter molecules and urine particles fly into the air and land on EVERYTHING. It’s a literal huricane of human filth. Any cloth or porous surfaces will harbor bacteria and allow them to grow. No over the counter, readily available cleaning products will fully sterilize a surface either. So there is NO WAY to fully sterilize any room in a home enough to perform a safe piercing. There just isn’t.

Professional piercing studios are FAR from dirty. Many are as clean, or even cleaner, than doctor’s offices. They use the same sterilization machines and techniques, the same cleaning chemicals, the same tools to work with, sometimes even the same furniture, like tables and rolling steel station tables to set tools on that dentists commonly use. If you say piercing studios are dirty places, you’ve obviously just never been to a good professional shop. They smell like doctor’s offices, they smell of clean.

How do you know these piercing kits are sterile? Just because it says so on the package? How do you know there aren’t holes in the package where germs could get in? How do you know the factory that produced the needle was sterile as well? How do you know the needle is new and sharp? You don’t know, there is no way to know. The blue-backed bags that professional needles come in are called autoclave bags, the tools were put in this package while they were sterilized, and seal the tool inside it, keeping out germs 100%. Piercing kit packages don’t do this.

~”I’m afraid of needles./I don’t want or trust strangers to do it, even if they are professionals.”
This is like saying you don’t trust a licensed, experienced surgeon in a well-respected hospital to operate on you, and you’d rather have your buddy take out your diseased appendix in his living room. Get to know the piercer first, talk to them, ask questions, become familiar with their practices and their techniques. Maybe even ask the piercer and another client if you could watch them get pierced so you can see firsthand how everything is done. Then there’s no mystery, and they’re no longer strangers.

I do fully understand the fear of needles, I think we all have it to some degree or another. But people don’t realize that doctors needles, which is most people’s only experience with needles, hurt more than piercing needles. They really do. Most are used to inject something into the body, and that usually stings or leaves a lingering pain, sometimes even burns. And most nurses, at least in my experience, have a TERRIBLE table-side manner when it comes to injections. Just stab and slam the plunger down. And most associate doctor needles with being sick, or already hurting or feeling bad, and that carries over into the shot. I equate most piercing pain to biting your tongue or inside of your cheek. A quick, momentary pain, maybe a lingering soreness or taste of blood for a minute or two (for oral piercings), then it’s over. Most of the time I forget I’ve been pierced at all within 10-30 minutes after the piercing. And of course, there’s always a satisfying end result to getting pierced. You waited forever to get it, saved up all the money, and have a beautiful piercing as a result. With doctor injections, there’s never anything positive afterward. Many have reactions or side effects, and you don’t ever see any results, except maybe you stop being sick later down the line, sometimes days or weeks afterward. But with piercings, there are immediate results.

~”I already did it once and was fine./My friends did it and they were fine, so why wouldn’t I be?/Everyone is doing it, if it was so bad they wouldn’t be.”
Just because you go skydiving once and live, doesn’t mean you’ll live the second time. Just because your friends can jump off a bridge and live doesn’t mean you won’t splatter to your death on the rocks below. Millions of people listen to Justin Bieber, doesn’t mean he can actually sing or his music is good. Unnecessary risks aren’t worth it. Following the trend just to follow it and fit in isn’t worth it when the risks or consequences outweigh the possible positive outcomes. Why not be different from the crowd and NOT do something stupid, when you know it’s stupid.

Most of the people who use this excuse are school kids. You’d be shocked how much people DON’T CARE about you, your appearance, or fitting in once you’re out of school. It’s like a switch goes off and people suddenly aren’t out to impress others, only themselves. They do what they do for their own sake, not for anyone else’s. What’s the point of being popular if it doesn’t get you anywhere in life? So you were homecoming queen, big deal. That won’t get you a job, that won’t get you through college, that won’t earn you a six figure a year job. It’s just a title, a superficial, temporary, meaningless title. Don’t waste your time trying to fit in and be cool when it’s not worth it in the long run.

~”It’s just a piercing, not a big deal./If you don’t like it, don’t do it.”
Piercing IS a big deal. These are potentially deadly and very invasive procedures; they can, have and still DO kill people. They are not something to take flippantly or lightly. This art form has been and is still being perfected, and is heavily regulated, for a reason. Because deadly viruses can be spread easily through this practice, so it has to be regulated. If you don’t understand how incredibly dangerous these procedures are, then you should be doing more research. Look into the hundreds of people who have suffered infections, had their ears and lips and tongues rot off, been paralyzed and even died from improper piercing. You need to respect your body and the professionals in this industry by performing it properly.

I have never felt the need to pierce myself, and so I don’t. It was never SO important to me that I would risk my life for it. I wanted it done, sure, but I always waited. I waited 6 years to get my traditional labret pierced. 6 YEARS. I don’t like self-piercers because when people walk around with infected, badly done or ugly piercings it gives the entire culture a bad image and a bad name. People will then assume that ALL piercings, and the people who get pierced, are like this and that’s very much not true. It gives a bad image to the entire culture, as a whole, and we should be fighting hard to improve our image. Being immature and impatient and uneducated isn’t going to improve the image at all.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

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