surface bar retainer?

Wednesday December 19th, 2007 @ 1:49 AM

Filed under: Surface/Unusual

i live in a city where it’s easier to become mayor than find a bartending job. out of the blue, i was offered one today by a massively popular restaurant. starting asap, i’d be making nearly TRIPLE what i’m currently making, but they have a super strict policy on jewelry.

i’ll have to take my gauges out while i work [no problem], but my surface piercing is another story. i made myself wait two long years [until i made myself go to uni], before i had it done. i’ve only had it about three months, and i’m not ready to give it up yet!

do 90 degree surface bar retainers exist, ANYWHERE? i read somewhere that ptfe [bioplast, et al.] can be heat-set into certain forms, but i have searched to the ends of the earth, and no luck. i know continual fussing with such a piercing would lead to a pretty quick demise, but i highly doubt i’d be changing it more than once or twice a month.

help meee :(

Unfortunately there’s no realistic form of “retainer” for surface piercings. Some retainers are used to minimize the visual look of the piercing, often they have clear silicone o-rings on them to reduce the visual look. Unfortunately there is nothing on the market right now that reduces the visual aspect of a surface bar, unless you remove the beads and put small clear silicone o-rings on the jewelry. However know that your employer will still be able to see the jewelry, no matter what you put in.

Also if one does a proper research into the matter of heating up PTFE(Teflon), Polysulfone(Bioplast),etc then they will find that once heated up the material is compromised. If one is using PTFE for surface bars they should be making it out of solid blocks and should be done so only by a qualified professional.

Taken from the PTFE wiki:

hile PTFE itself is chemically inert and non-toxic, it begins to deteriorate after the temperature of cookware reaches about 500 °F (260 °C), and decompose above 660 °F (350 °C).[12] These degradation products can be lethal to birds, and can cause flu-like symptoms in humans.[13]

By comparison, cooking fats, oils, and butter will begin to scorch and smoke at about 392 °F (200 °C), and meat is usually fried between 400–450 °F (200–230 °C), but empty cookware can exceed this temperature if left unattended on a hot burner.

So ultimately I would say either stick with the surface bar you currently have in and just put clear silicone o-rings on the tops and risk violating the companies no jewelry policy. Or you will simply have to make the mature judgment call on how bad do you really want this job, by removing the piercing and making a living.

Life is about giving and taking…Sometime you gotta give something up to take something that you want.

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Posted by Warren Hiller | Permalink | 7 Comments

Getting ink off from around a piercing

Thursday November 8th, 2007 @ 9:04 AM

Filed under: Surface/Unusual

About a month ago I got a tattoo on my chest colored in some, and forgot to cover my few month old sternum piercing with a bandaid. The artist ended up getting ink everywhere on my chest, and he left cleaning the area between the piercing to me.

Well, a month later, and the skin between the two holes is still kind of dark from that leftover ink. How can I get the ink off of that area? I don’t want to scrub it with soap/water as it may irritate the piercing. The sea salt soaks aren’t doing anything to get the ink off of it. It isn’t irritating the piercing, it just looks kind of crappy.

Thanks, you guys rock.

As obvious as it sounds, soap and water should get tattoo ink off your skin nicely, and I’d recommend using a chemical-free soap to avoid any unnecessary irritation, as well - I’m a Dr. Bronner’s girl, meself. You don’t have to ’scrub’ hard enough to irritate the piercing - some gentle friction with the pads of your fingers is really enough, MAYBE a gentle bit of work with a washcloth if the fingers aren’t doing the job. Good luck! :)

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Posted by Lori St.Leone | Permalink | Comments

nape surface piercing

Tuesday November 6th, 2007 @ 11:52 PM

Filed under: Surface/Unusual

Hi I hope u can give me some advice as I am getting desparate not to lose my piercing! I have my nape surface pierce three times. The top piercing was done two years ago but over the last six months has developed a horrible granuloma (as defined by my Dermatologist). I clean it every day with salted water but the lump won’t go and it gets quite big like a blister and then bleeds. It is sore to touch and gets itchy sometimes. I have tried many different creams/gels to dry it out but the ‘bister’ just comes back.

I would really appreciate any advice you can give me as the piercers here in London can not tell me anything more helpful/

Many thanks in anticipation!


I’m probably starting to sound like a broken record…broken record…broken record…broken record…

Persistent bumps/granulomas like you are describing most often are caused by some form of physical irritation. In the case of a surface piercing, it’s most likely going to be from some sort of pressure. I’m not sure what type of jewelry you were pierced with, but if the style of jewelry is not great and/or the placement of the piercing isn’t good, it can result in irritation, which can result in a bump on the piercing. Most likely, until you relieve the pressure, the bump isn’t going to go away. The bump is basically your body’s way of telling you it’s unhappy at the moment.

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Posted by Derek Lowe | Permalink | Comments

Hand Web Piercings.

Friday November 2nd, 2007 @ 2:26 PM

Filed under: Surface/Unusual

I absolutely adore Hand Web Piercings, and while I’m fully aware of their very high rejection rate and how much it’s gonna affect my life, I really want to give it a shot. Scars (from piercings) just remind me of awesome times in my life and remind me I did what I wanted to while I could. So if/ when it rejects I wouldn’t care about the scarring.

I asked my favourite studio how much the piercing would cost, or if they’d be willing to do it, and they said they were worried about hitting a nerve or causing nerve damage… something along those lines.

Is that true?

I’m talking about the webbing between my thumb and index finger.

Also, which would be the best jewellery to use?


The hand web is one of the piercings that just shouldn’t work….ever. However, once in a while, they miraculously heal. I had one total miracle heal on a hand web once. A client of mine was a sculptor in art college. His hands took abuse everyday and yet somehow it healed.

As for nerve damage, this was just a cop out, or an uneducated piercer. If you go into it knowing that I am more likely to sleep with Angelina Jolie than you are to have this be a long term piercing, you won’t be disappointed.

For the best possible chance of healing use a fairly short 12 gauge titanium barbell. The short barbell will be as unobtrusive as possible, the gauge will be large enough to be tough, but small enough to not be too invasive and the titanium will be lightweight and more biocompatable than 316lvm. For placement the piercer should mark every potential fold in the webbing. Then find the spot centered between the largest gap between folds. For healing use whatever aftercare works best for you, but pay special attention toe vents in your daily life that could contaminate, irritate or damage your new piercing.

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Posted by Sean Philips | Permalink | 6 Comments


Thursday November 1st, 2007 @ 7:01 PM

Filed under: Surface/Unusual

Hey! I got a cleavage piercing about 3 weeks ago, and I’m not sure if it’s rejecting or migrating, or just healing. I’ve looked at tons of images, and I do have the scar tissue, but I don’t know if its just because it’s new, or what… It doesn’t seem like the bar is coming through my skin, and its not sore. The redness scared me though…

Any help would be great. I will give virtual cookies and stuff!

That does look mighty cranky, but I have to say, I’m generally hesitant to give specific advice about a piercing I haven’t seen in person. A certain amount of redness can be reasonably expected in a fresh piercing, but yours is much worse than that. Sternum/cleavage placements are pretty notoriously hard to heal, bear in mind, and if you have a lot of flesh there moving around it’s pretty much a given that you have really low odds of healing this piercing. That jewellery does NOT look like a surface bar, there’s just so much upward pressure going on with it - was it done with appropriate jewellery or PTFE? It really looks like PTFE to me, and if it is, I can almost guarantee that this piercing is doomed. (Oh, look, I know some people heal weird placements with bad jewellery choices, but bear with me, your odds are better with better jewellery that sits nicely under the skin!)

You can try things like chamomile compresses to soothe the redness, and I’m a big fan of using neem oil twice a day to settle down irritated tissue, but if you try these things for a week or so with no signs of improvement, it’s time to go back to your piercer and see what they have to say on the subject.

And I know I’m dooming myself to all sorts of contrary comments when I say this next bit, but it’s my opinion and I don’t care - if your piercer’s answer is that they use PTFE all the time and they just don’t get why your piercing isn’t healing, or better yet, say that it’s your fault in any way (e.g. your skin doesn’t like surface piercings or you’re not looking after it or something), it’s probably time to find a new piercer with more a clue about surface work. The only real reason I can imagine some piercers prefer PTFE is that it’s about $1 a metre and self-threading and therefore a heck of a lot cheaper than, say, beautifully made titanium internally threaded surface bars from quality jewellery companies (I personally swear by the Anatometal surface bars), adding greatly to a shop’s profit margin. It’s commonly accepted wisdom in the industry that surface bars are the way to go. :)

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Posted by Lori St.Leone | Permalink | 5 Comments

Dermal Anchor gone bad!

Sunday October 28th, 2007 @ 11:50 PM

Filed under: Surface/Unusual

Hey, thanks a bunch for the answer Lori.

Well, I did find a piercer in Adelaide who had recently started doing Dermal Anchors. Me being excited I of course wanted to get one.

My friend had her belly done and that was fine. It was my time, from what i had researched about dermal anchors and just from my observations while being pierced i thought it would be fine. He did the piercing slid one foot in than the second and i heard a “click” i saw the threading poking out of my skin, the piercing than went on to tell me that there was an extension he had to unscrew to be able to screw the top on.

He undid the extension, by this time i wasn’t actually watching but i saw there was quite a bit of blood. Within a few minutes he had lost the tip of the piercing that poke out the skin under my skin, he was unable to find it even after using the same needle to make small incisions into my arm to try and find it.

They sent me off to a Medical clinic where i than had x-rays to find the jewellery under my skin than i had to have it cut out of me, stitched up and now ill be left with a nifty little scar.

They ended up trying to throw the blame on me telling me that it got stuck under some fatty tissue and that its not there fault and it couldnt be helped?

Now im no expert but is that really suppose to happen when done properly?

Thanks a lot for any help!

To the Constant Reader, this is in reference to this post regarding artists in South Australia.

What a dreadful experience, you poor thing! Of course it was not your fault, it was absolutely the piercer’s fault, and I’m horrified at the lack of professionalism involved from that studio to even blame you or claim that it could possibly be anything other than the piercer screwing up the procedure. I can only hope that at the very least, you didn’t pay a cent for any part of the procedure, and they should’ve paid your costs of the medical treatment (I assume that Medicare would’ve covered part of it). If you were out of pocket for any part of that experience, I’d personally be consulting solicitors about the experience right about now - but hey, I’m from the States originally, that’s kind of how we roll over there.

Again, I repeat (and add one more piece of information) to my advice from the previous post: When researching new/super trendy/technically difficult techniques such as dermal anchoring:
Ask the artist if they do them and how many they’ve done, how the procedure is performed and to explain what techniques they are using (if they screw it into a threaded taper for more leverage to insert it, they need to bloody well hang onto it with haemostats while unscrewing the taper and putting on the attachment, or else you get a very real risk of Exhibit A up above), how they learned to perform the procedure, how many they’ve removed and at what point in the healing process, what their success rate is, and for pictures of fresh and healed work. I also suggest you enquire as to who manufactures the jewellery they’re using, as there are a tonne of low-quality jewellery manufacturers in Asia flooding the market with poorly polished, garbage 316 steel copies of the high-quality titanium Industrial Strength microdermals, and that junk jewellery is dirt-cheap enough that I’d imagine all the bargain-basement mall piercers will be offering microdermal procedures at low, low prices. As with everything in life, you get what you pay for.

Again, I can give you artists in almost every state or territory of Australia who’ve done lots of microdermals and have portfolios of their work to show you, EXCEPT South Australia and Tasmania. Do your research and wrap your head around the idea that it may well be something you’ll need to travel to have done well - you must be going on holiday somewhere at some point, yes?

Best of luck with the healing and treat that scar with Mederma so it’s not too bad! :)

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Posted by Lori St.Leone | Permalink | 16 Comments

Can a nape piercing be done if the skin is very tight?

Thursday October 11th, 2007 @ 9:57 PM

Filed under: Piercing, Surface/Unusual

I was planning on getting a nape piercing fairly soon but just noticed something tonight. I look at all these videos of the procedures and everyones neck seems to be quite loose. My problem is I can barely pinch the skin with my head up. Once I move my head down there is like no room for a piece of metal under my skin. This definitely puts a damper on my plans. Any advice?

The best idea for you to do is to seek out a qualified piercer who is capable of doing surface piercings with both methods (Freehand with Needle as well as Dermal Punch And Taper), provided you live in a location that does not have a ban on piercers using medical devices such as dermal punches.

So as I said make sure you find a very qualified artist who can analyze the tissue. An ethical piercer will listen to your claims and take you to the procedure room to do a consultation and investigate the matter. If they instantly jump on the idea of doing the work on you without even looking at your nape and analyzing it, go elsewhere. If you mind replying in the comments section with your location, perhaps I or one of the other QOD Staff,etc could direct you where to go. Or perhaps you already have a piercer who you go to, that is knowledgeable enough. If that’s the case make some available time to visit and have them look at your nape.

It might also suck but you must be prepared to deal with the potential situation, that you just might not be suited for a nape piercing, although that’s rare. If you aren’t suitable for a nape piercing, then as we often let clients know, there’s MANY other places to be pierced. :)

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Posted by Warren Hiller | Permalink | 6 Comments

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