A Career in the Body Mod Industry?

Wednesday April 30th, 2008 @ 10:28 PM

Filed under: Uncategorized

I’m currently 14 years old, I live in Australia and I’m looking to pursue a carrier in the body modification industry. This is not something I want to just ‘jump into’ but right now this is definitely something I can see myself doing in the future. I am extremely passionate about piercings and other ‘heavy’ mods. I have had quite a few piercings myself (15+) and a few dermal anchors. I’m really quite responsible, this isn’t something I just decided, I’ve been interested in it for a few years now.

I already have extensive knowledge of piercings and other mods (especially for my age) and I want to learn more and become a great practitioner. I’m not interested in becoming famous, I just want to be the best I can be at the job.

I’m curious as to what qualifications are needed and

just any general experience anybody is willing to pass on. I’ve read various things online about this matter but I’m looking for a more personal answer, one that comes from a more experienced piercer or even an apprentice. I’m aware that this will by no means make me “rich”, I realize that in general the ‘trend’ comes and goes. I know about studio standards and cost of up-keep. But as I’ve mentioned before, this is something that I’m really passionate about.

Please, no negative comments,

Thank you in advance!

I’ve recently answered a “what to expect out of being a piercer” question, so I’ll piggyback on this one.

My first bit of advice would be to get a standard retail job as soon as you come of age. Customer facing. Learn what it’s like to have to hustle to SELL, while keeping a fickle clientel happy.

Next, I’d say start taking anatomy courses. What goes where, what happens when you cut this or remove that. Reading an anatomy book doesn’t cut it these days- since you’re young, you can tailor your education towards it.

After that- two words: Counter Bitch.
Take that knowledge of retail I’ve advised and apply it to a shop. Learn how to work IN a shop before you work in the industry. More from counter to apprentice. Apprentice to practitioner. MASTER one discipline before you start LEARNING new ones. Just because you love a modification doesn’t mean you have to know how to do it. I tend to respect people who’re masters of their craft not “swiss army knife” practitioners who offer is simply because one has to bleed to get it.

Lastly- while I won’t come down on you because of your age- (since we’re talking an “in the future” path) some folks will. Learn humility. Some people have good reason for doubting the intentions of someone who, at 14, has been into anything for “a few years”. Prove them wrong by committing to be the most responsible artist you can be. Don’t rush into anything just because your weaker willed friends will let you do “free shit” on them.

Put your heart and soul into this, earn your lumps and you’ll come out the other side where you want to be. Hopefully.

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Posted by Shawn Porter | Permalink | 13 Comments

Tragus Piercing

Wednesday April 30th, 2008 @ 10:08 PM

Filed under: Ear


I have been piercing for a while now and today did what I thought to be a routine tragus piercing but for some reason the jewelry WOULD NOT go thru… I got the needle thru fine but everytime I would go to slip the ring in the jewelry would stop everytime at the same spot.. I gave it a try three times with the girls permisson and then finally told her that her cartilidge was too thik and for some reason the jewelry just would not push thru…

I am so baffled right now???? NEVER have I had this happen and I was just wondering if anyone else had has this problem??


I’ve honestly never experienced an issue like what you’re explaining, even in the rare occurrence that I use a ring (I pretty much exclusively use labret studs in tragus piercings)…That’s not to say problems like this don’t happen, it happened once to me with a nostril piercing. The gentlemen had a really old nostril the needle went through easily but jewelry would not slide through, after a couple times passing the taper through it was inserted.

What size (gauge and diameter) ring did you use? Did you measure the thickness of the tragus before selecting what jewelry to use? Are you a properly trained piercer, or someone who just pierces themselves and their friends? Not trying to offend with that last question, but its a honest question to ask….Also what type of needle were you using? Standard Blade Needle, Catheter Needle?

Without observing your technique in person for that specific person, its hard to tell what exactly went wrong.

The one thing I can say you did wrong is that you told your client something that was potentially a lie. You don’t know why the jewelry wouldn’t pass through the pathway, so you lied and said her tragus was too thick. If you don’t know what’s going on, own it and be honest about it. Tell her that you’ve tried everything but for some reason the jewelry just wouldn’t insert. Honesty is always the best policy when it comes to this type of thing.

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Posted by Warren Hiller | Permalink | 2 Comments

hypertrophic scarring

Wednesday April 30th, 2008 @ 9:59 PM

Filed under: Navel

I have had a large lump of hypertrophic scarring around my navel piercing for months now. It appeared about 4 months after I got it pierced and hasn’t gone away. I did manage to get rid of it a few times, however it just came back. I’ve tried everything; tea tree oil, sea salt soaks, just leaving it alone, and nothing works! I’ve started using bio-oil and it seems to have reduced the scarring, however i’m not sure if it will ever completely go. Have you got any advoce?

The problem can be a result of a few things. Often suggestions of Tea Tree Oil, Bio-Oil,etc are only temporary fixes to long term problems. What type of jewelry do you have in your navel? Is it a Curved Barbell or a Ring? Do you know the type of metal the jewelry is? If its a Curved Bar is the threading on the post (External Threaded Jewelry) or does bead have the threading and you screw it into the post (Internal Threaded Jewelry)?

If it’s the jewelry that is the problem no amount of oils, solutions,etc will cure it, except for putting in a better piece of quality jewelry (Implant Grade Internally Threaded). If it was pierced incorrectly somehow then no matter what you do, the scarring can continue to occur.

Also one must factor if the jewelry length is too short, how often you exercise, heck even certain times of laundry detergent can be the culprit to what causes the scarring to occur.

This is definitely something that would be ideally sorted out via troubleshooting in person. That way a qualified/reputable piercer can assess the situation in person and give a more accurate opinion.

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Posted by Warren Hiller | Permalink | 1 Comment

Point of no return?

Tuesday April 29th, 2008 @ 8:40 PM

Filed under: Ear

I have heard there is a “point of no return” with ear lobe stretching, where the hole will never return to a “normal” 16 or 18g size. At what gauge of jewelry is this “point of no return?”



There’s no solid answer- “it depends” is the best I can do.
I’ve seen people at 1.5″ who’ve shrunk down to nothing, and people who’re at 1″ stay at 00g permanently. It depends on a variety of factors and as such there’s no definite answer.

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Posted by Shawn Porter | Permalink | 22 Comments

Piercing career

Tuesday April 29th, 2008 @ 7:52 PM

Filed under: Culture, Piercing, Uncategorized

Im thinking about going into piercing as a career , I went to college an graduated but haven’t done anything with myself. Im just wondering what kind of path/adventure Im in for, I should also mention Im an artist photograper an do alot of hands on production work in the graphic arts field.

If you apprentice the good old fashioned way, you have this to expect:
Learning humility. Respect. Patience. Traditional well placed piercings that the client has every chance of healing- and once you’re ready… you get to learn how to apply it all. As time goes on, you come to realize that you’re a bartender, a hairdresser, a priest, a shrink, a nurse and a friend to people who all want your best- not just a good piercing, but someone who listens and helps them on their way. Be prepared for that- moreso than dealing with people’s skin, a good piercer has to deal with tempermental clients, clients having bad days, et all. And sometimes for a less than stellar income. Is it worth it? It can be. On a good day, you get out of the industry what you put into it. On a bad…

Now. If you plan on doing the “rockstar internet” route of learning to pierce- all you need to do is look the part. Stretch everything REALLY big. Tattoo your most public of areas. And most of all- remember- it’s about you, NOT the client. *

*If you take this route, expect a lot of people to be unhappy.

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Posted by Shawn Porter | Permalink | 1 Comment

Ritual cutting

Tuesday April 29th, 2008 @ 1:48 PM

Filed under: Other

Hi there,

I’m well out of the cutting woods (pun intended?) but now, four years on, I become more and more upset and self conscious about the scars it left on a daily basis. I rarely take off my hoodie or cardigan, even during a hot Australian summer. I can’t fucking stand to even look at them.

I used to worship the ritual cutting section of BME - the sort of things I would see on there would set a benchmark… it was almost a competition in my head. My older brother ended up blocking the whole site (no idea how he did it!) because he was scared to death. He gave a shit. It made quite a bit of difference, but I think I was just more angry that he was barring me from being in a virtual place that I felt comfortable.

Looking at some of the photos on there, it makes me really worried about the younger visitors to the site… or even anyone who has a history of doing it. It may trigger them to fuck themselves as it did me. I was looking at the photos earlier… and it did affect me, it brought up both happy and fucking horrible memories.

I know the whole speel “no one is to blame but yourself”… but do you guys ever feel somewhat guilty or accountable for providing a medium for this shit? Don’t you think that somewhere on these pages you should have some information on where to go to talk to people, to figure out some coping mechanisms?

Who knows how many of the people who have uploaded photos of their gashes have since died.

You may shrug this off or get defensive. I hope you don’t.

In other news, I get lost for hours in the tattoo section. Love it.


First of all, let me preface my reply by pointing that I am a body piercer, and have absolutely no formal training or qualifications to speak on the subject of SI, and while I have friends who are recovered (and recovering) from SI, I have no personal experience on the subject. If I phrase anything incorrectly, please forgive me and be assured that it’s just my own ignorance on the subject, and that absolutely no offense is intended.

You might be surprised to learn that there are people here who agree with you, myself included - I absolutely see a difference between ritual cutting/intentional scarification and rather a lot of the images submitted that are plainly self-injury. Now, I’m not saying that images of cutting shouldn’t be on BME (which is all about documenting all aspects of body modification), but I do think that a lot of people who self-injure view those galleries as possible inspiration and that SI is not in any way a mentally healthy place to be in and help should certainly be offered to those people. That being said, the internet is a big place and I think that people who go looking for images will find them somewhere, and that it’s not BME’s responsibilty to remove any images to protect people from finding them. I do very firmly believe that it is BME’s responsibility to put images likely to trigger SI behind click-throughs on Modblog, but that request has well and truly fallen on deaf ears (and all of those links are triggers to the max, by the way), much as any sexually explicit images are put behind clickthroughs on Modblog - however, that opinion is not shared by Shannon and not only does he refuse to consider the repeated requests to do so, he has, I feel, taunted the people making those requests by joking about the posts being triggers in their titles. I think it’s sad that anyone finds it funny or a laughing matter - as you know, it is a symptom of a dangerous illness, and shouldn’t be perceived as a healthy way to deal with issues (most people who self-injure will say that it’s not terribly effective at helping them to feel better, any feelings of satisfaction are short-lived at best and often become quite habitual and compulsive).

I do hope that anyone reading this who does self-injure will realise that they need help and reach out for it - to a family member, a friend, a loved one, someone who can help you and support you while you get the professional help that you need to understand and overcome SI. You CAN stop and wellness is within your grasp. There are lots of great websites full of information that can help you (Here’s just one of the good ones I found, and here’s another with lots of ways to resist the urge to cut, and this is a thread on an Australian forum with lots of links to get you started), a simple Google search will get you headed in the right direction. Good luck!

(And if anyone wants to go berko at me for replying to something off-topic on AskBME, well, I suppose all I can say is I have a history of taking these sorts of queries seriously and replying to them to try and help people - 1, 2 - and if your issue is that I am obviously disagreeing with Shannon, well, the opinions and values expressed by me on AskBME are my own, obviously, and do not necessarily represent those of BMEZINE.COM LLC, PsyberCity Inc., and/or Shannon Larratt. I was selected by Shannon to join the QOD staff, I should hope he’d respect my opinion even if it disagrees with his own. )

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Posted by Lori St.Leone | Permalink | 45 Comments

Tender VCH

Tuesday April 29th, 2008 @ 6:16 AM

Filed under: Female Genital


I’ve got a 4 week old VCH (that I adore) and over the past couple days I’ve started to notice tenderness around the top hole only of the piercing. I can’t tell if the skin looks aggravated as its always pink.. And im not sure what’s going in. Im a little worried as I was barely suited to get it in the first place. I love it and I don’t wanna loose it. What could be causing this? There was no tenderness until a few days ago and I have changed nothing in my routine. Could it be rejecting?

A month old vertical clitoral hood piercing shouldn’t really be giving you problems. I’m thinking it could be a jewellery issue. You didn’t state what jewellery you have in there. It could be that the jewellery is too small for the piercing and the excess pressure this causes could be responsible for your discomfort. It might also be worth checking that the balls (in the case of a bar) haven’t come loose because if there is contact between the thread and your skin this would most definately cause discomfort. It could even be a material issue or a scratch on the surface of the jewellery. Try popping in some new jewellery and seeing if that helps. A decent piercer will be able to make sure you get the correct length and type for your particular piercing.

Being a little over-zealous with play can also result in tenderness!

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Posted by Tiff Badhairdo | Permalink | 10 Comments

hairy skins

Monday April 28th, 2008 @ 1:43 PM

Filed under: Tattoos

kind of an embarrassing question…

i want to get feet tattoos to cover the hair on my feet. i am not a hobbit, but the hair is noticeable. will tattooing do a good job at hiding this? thank you!

In a word? No.
More likely, the tattoo being under such a wealth of fine-foot-fur will likely draw MORE attention to your hair, as people will want to see what’s under it all. My recommendation? Let your freak flag fly! Be the guy/gal with hairy feet AND badass foot tattoos. OWN it.

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Posted by Shawn Porter | Permalink | 3 Comments


Monday April 28th, 2008 @ 12:52 PM

Filed under: Cutting, Nipple, Scarification

About a year ago I got a scarification in between my shoulder blades. It was a fairly fine design and it healed too well and too quickly. I didn’t get any keloid. I’m just curious if it’s even possible to cut wider and deeper around the scar that’s already there (in essence, cut out the scar tissue that is there) in hopes that a wider deeper cut will create the desired keloid.

It’s very likely that you can have the piece reworked. You’ll want to find someone with an “above average” skill-set as far as scarification goes- so do your research and find someone at the top of the game.

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Posted by Shawn Porter | Permalink | 2 Comments

tongue web piercing

Monday April 28th, 2008 @ 1:21 AM

Filed under: Piercing

okay…so i got my tongue web pierced a few days ago…and in the same day it got very very swollen that my entire chin swelled up…the next day it swelled up so much that it looked like i had 2 tongues inside my mouth, my entire face was swollen and i had trouble swallowing…later on that night i got a fever because of the pain i was in and i checked out the piercing in the mirror and the entire web (bottom part of my mouth pretty much) was all white and purple…my friend took me to urgent care and they had to freeze my mouth and take it out…it has been a couple of days now and it is still white at the bottom of my mouth…i am just curious as to what happened to me!!! and if i will ever be able to get that piercing again? or if the hole has already closed? i really liked the piercing but i don’t know why all of this happened?

Sorry to hear about your situation, I hope you heal efficiently and without problems.

From what you’re saying it sounds like they might have potentially pierced through the submandibular glands. That can explain why you experienced the problems you were being faced with. As when you pierce that specific area swelling and complications can most certainly arise. Hence why piercers should not be piercing that deep, instead they should just be piercing the actual tongue web.

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Posted by Warren Hiller | Permalink | Comments

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