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What to know about getting your first piercing

Cosmopolitan (UK) logo Cosmopolitan (UK) 17/12/2018 Jess Edwards

a person posing for the camera: Everything you need to know about getting your first ear piercing including what the process is and how much it hurts. © Paramount/Youtube Everything you need to know about getting your first ear piercing including what the process is and how much it hurts. Getting your first ear or other body piercing can be an emotional affair- after all, it's usually one of the first times we make an outward sign of ownership over our bodies.

But aside from trying to work out the difference between a daith and a helix piercing, what else do you need to know before your first trip to the piercing parlour?

We spoke to Kevin, a piercer at Liberty London and world-famous jewellery designer Maria Tash, to find out all the important bits the professionals think you should be aware of before you get a piercing.

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Where should you go?

Before doing anything, make sure you find a body piercer who is reputable. Kevin says: "Always take a look through their portfolio and ask around to see what experiences your friends have had. Most piercers will have done an apprenticeship, as it is a more self-regulated industry."

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A post shared by Maria Tash (@maria_tash) on Feb 20, 2017 at 6:07am PST

Do you need to prepare?

Kevin says that at Liberty "we always suggest to have food beforehand" and to remember some parlours will require ID if you look under 16, so make sure you have it with you.

What's the process?

Woman getting her ears pierced © Getty Woman getting her ears pierced "We ask customers to come in a little earlier for their appointment to go through the choices of jewellery", Kevin says. "Once this has been done and payment has been taken, we sterilise the jewellery to make it safe to put through the body - this takes roughly ten minutes - and then call you through to the piercing room.

"Once you are in the room the piercer will clean your skin and make a mark of where we think is the best placement for your anatomy. You then check the placement to see if it needs adjusting and we will not pierce until both piercer and client are happy."

And if you're nervous about anything?

Everyone is different and according to Kevin, it's important to let the piercer know if you have any particular concerns. He says: "I would just say feel free to ask whatever you need to put your mind at rest"

What is the actual piercing like?

"The actual piercing is very fast and is just a big deep breath in, then on the exhale the piercing will be finished and it's just a case of popping in the jewellery", Kevin tells us. "We will then run you through your aftercare and it's yours to look after."

How much does it cost?

Remember that you don't just have to pay for the piercing service, but the jewellery that you want, too. At Liberty, "our services range from £15 to £30 and then whatever the customer is wanting to spend on the particular piece of jewellery", Kevin says.

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A post shared by Maria Tash (@maria_tash) on Feb 6, 2017 at 1:03pm PST

Does it hurt?

While everyone experiences different levels of pain, you should expect to always feel some discomfort. Kevin explains: "All piercings pinch a little but the procedure is over with very quickly so it's all relative. In my personal opinion I tend to find it's more about a state of mind, if you come into the experience with a positive attitude then you’re going to have an easier time."

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Should you have a gun or a needle?

For Kevin, it's pretty obvious that the needle has the advantage. He says: "The only pro to a gun is that they are faster. They are not as accurate as a needle and they cannot be fully sterilised, where as all our needles are single use.

It's worth thinking a bit about the process, too. "[With a gun] you are using a sharpened piece of jewellery with force and velocity to break your skin, where a needle is a much smoother process. It may take an extra couple of seconds but helps your healing - guns do not remove the tissue and just push it to the side which is why most gun piercings have a lumpy bit of tissue next to them, where as needles are hollow and remove the skin for a better healing and feeling piercing."

What about the after care?

Maria Tash tells us: "One should not touch any piercing with dirty hands - this rule is very important. The frequency of cleaning a non-oral piercing should only be twice per day until healed as over-cleaning can create irritation. The products that are suggested these days are very mild ones, like sterile wound wash saline. I, personally, like a very mild soap, and it is important not to twist the jewellery as much as reasonably possible while healing."

Ear Piercing © Getty Ear Piercing

How long should you leave the piercing in for?

Kevin says that freshly-pierced jewellery should be left alone for "a minimum of twelve weeks but if you don't need to change it then leave it" as this will help with healing.

How can you tell if a piercing is infected?

"An infection is very rare with body piercing, what people think are infections are normally irritations to the piercing which can be caused by a number of reasons", Kevin says. "If you have any problems what so ever you should always go see your body piercer to get advice."


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