A D.I.Y. manual for piercing

Time and again I am asked how to go about piercing oneself without having to resort to a professional.

My answer as a commercial piercer and expert is always the same: “It’s best not to.”

However, I would like to give you a brief guide, since there are enough “foolish” people out there who are not aware of the risks of injury when picking up a needle.
Remember, though, that bacteria, viruses, etc. are not visible to the naked eye.

Viruses such as Hepatitus, HIV, and other insidious bacteria and viral illnesses can make life very difficult. Once you contract this type of illness, a simple medication will rarely help; you will often have to undergo long and serious therapies in order to curb the symptoms, and you will usually be saddled with the condition for life. In short, I appeal to your common sense when I say: Either let a professional do the piercing for you or don’t do it at all.

Tips for DIY piercing

  1. Think carefully about doing it yourself, and please consider having a professional do it.
  2. If you insist on doing it yourself, then you will have to decide which portion of your body you would like to pierce.
  3. Whichever part of your body you choose, you should have the anatomical, stomatological, and histological knowledge of medicine required for such a procedure. If these terms mean nothing to you, please refer to point 1 above.
  4. In order to carry out point 3 in a professional manner, it takes extensive study, reading, and the ability to apply the knowledge gained in practice. A quick look at Wikipedia will not help you in this case. At the very least you would have to attend medical lectures on the topic or sign up for a course at the WIFI. Alternatively you could purchase a medical textbook from a book store and work your way through the entire volume (note that these books cost a fortune, about as much as an actual course in the subject). Again, you might want to consider the wisdom of point 1 above.
  5. Now, once you know where your veins run, where your nerves converge, where your meridians, acupuncture points, blood vessels, and motor nerve branches are, then you can go ahead and mark the spot you wish to pierce.
  6. Needless to say, it’s not that easy. You must start by washing and disinfecting your hands, and preparing the area to be pierced.
  7. Before touching the skin, you must put gloves on and disinfect them. Then you must disinfect the chosen area (on yourself or the client) in such a way that kills all possible germs.
  8. Once you’ve marked the spot, you must palpate, screen, and apply the necessary medical tools to locate the crucial points outlined in step 5 above. You may have to invest in such tools, and if you’re not 100% sure what to buy, then I would refer you right back to point 1.
  9. At this point surgical protocol requires you to wash and disinfect your hands a second time.

Those who have no previous experience in this or don’t have the necessary disinfectant or soap, should go back to point 1.

  1. Put on the disposable gloves and disinfect them. Check the AQL value and the level of thickness.
  2. Before exposing the sterilized tools, you need to know how to do so properly or you’ll end up contaminating them.
  3. Now you must lay out all of your sterilized equipment: sterilized gloves, sterilized compresses, sterilized cloth, sterilized swabs, sterilized band-aids, peripheral venous catheters in the right size, sterilized jewelry, sterilized clasps, sterilized piercing forceps (suited to the individual), sterilized clamps, and sterilized tweezers, and possibly other tools depending on the case. Those who do not have all of this at their disposal, or do not have it sterilized, should refer to point 1.
  4. Now is everything ready to go? If you’re in doubt, please refer to . . . well, you’ve got the message by now.
  5. Put on your sterilized gloves. But how? This too needs to be learned, otherwise you’ll end up putting them on in a way which contaminates them, defeating the entire purpose. And we’re back to point 1.
  6. Now, once you’ve put your sterilized gloves on properly, take the forceps, needle and take hold of the section to be pierced. You must not hold the forceps too tightly or too loosely or you risk bruising or shifting the skin, or slipping while you pierce.
  7. The needle needs to be held properly, and the angle is crucial, otherwise the piercing will be too deep, shallow, skewed, steep, etc. All of the angles must be perfectly judged; the position of the skin’s surface as well as the forceps must be factored in so that the piercing is straight.
  8. Naturally you will also have to take the length into account, since it can neither be too long nor too short. But how do you know what the correct length is? Take a course at the WiFi, etc. or go straight to point 1.
  9. Now you can go ahead and push the needle through, but make sure not move too quickly or too slowly: you risk damaging the skin in one case, or not penetrating the skin in the other.
  10. Now you have to discard the needle, but where and how do you do this? Then you have to thread the piece of jewelry through. If you make a mistake at this point, it was all for nothing since a freshly pierced hole will close up on you within seconds. In that case you can go back to point 1.
  11. You’re almost there. Now you’ve got the jewelry in place and need to close the hole. Captive bead rings are not so easy in this case. If it’s a screw then you have to make sure that it’s tightly secured, otherwise it could fall out later, in which case you’re back to point 1.
  12. At this point there is considerable risk of nerve damage. Frequently, when someone gets pierced by an incompetent piercer, or does it to himself, there is a danger that a section of skin remains loose due to a severed nerve. This can lead to symptoms of paralysis; sense perception can also be damaged or there can be profuse bleeding. None of this should be taken lightly and can have grave consequences, including a stay at the hospital. Is this a risk worth taking? This will not happen if you have it done by a qualified piercer.
  13. So now you’ve completed the operation, the jewel is in place and has been firmly closed. Now comes the follow-up care? What does this involve? How best to care for a piercing once it has been completed?
  14. Anyone can find methods of healing on the Internet.
  15. The question is, was it worth it? Was the piercing well executed? Have all the angles and dimensions been properly calibrated? Was the procedure done in a sterilized environment; has the piece of jewelry been inserted well; has the follow-up care been effective? This is something you will only discover days later: either things have gone smoothly or you have pus coming out of the wound, you begin to feel pain, and you realize “Oh dear, if only I had behaved differently at point 17, or better yet gone straight back to point 1”, namely, consulting a professional piercer.

We get many people who come to our studio after having completed point 21 and show us their work, or that of a friends, all of whom are “genuine piercers”, or have done “great work” in the past. Sticking a needle through someone’s skin is something any child can do. Professional piercing is entirely another matter and must be learned.

If you have performed a piercing on yourself, you are welcome to come to my studio and get my views on your work; I will also be glad to assist you in case of problems. However, I can tell you that out of every 100 “DIY” piercings, 95 will have been poorly done, forcing the person to have the jewelry removed and waiting for weeks until it has finally healed. For their efforts they will usually have a considerable scar, a lifelong reminder of what they thought was a cool idea.

Conclusion:
Allow me to share my personal view on the matter. For me, piercing yourself is a definite “no go”. In spite of my professional experience, it’s not even something I would do on myself. It’s senseless, no less than giving yourself a haircut.
A sterilized piercing needle can do a lot of damage, even if you think you’ve taken all the necessary precautions.

I can only strongly advise people against it. If they decide to go ahead anyway, then they should make sure to sterilize their needle and every other tool they use. But these tools are rarely accessible. And if people decide to use an ordinary needle and sterilize it with a lighter or with alcohol before piercing their own earlobes or lips, they should be fairly warned: It is pure “suicide” and is destined to fail.

One out of a thousand may indeed succeed and the results may look great. In reality, they will have more luck winning the lottery. I would recommend playing the lottery first, and using the money you win to pay for a professional job.