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FAQ Piercings

A list of FAQ relating to piercings from our Reading piercing studio Urban Piercings

What type of metal do you recommend to be pierced with? Surgical grade G23 titanium or P.T.F.E plastic are the only material you should be pierced with. Both contain less nickel than steel, silver and any type of gold. It is the nickel content that effects the healing of your piercing. Titanium is recognised by its dull hue, resembling gun metal in colour

Should I have a ring or a bar? The nature of the piercing can sometimes dictate the jewellery used to ensure a quick healing time and as both have their pros and cons your piercer may better advise you on your required piercing. As a general rule barbells and labrets sit flatter on your body, reducing agitation caused by movement of the jewellery but rings are considered much easier to clean. For Urban Piercings recommendation on your specific piercing please click here for our specific piercing & Healing page.

Is it going to hurt? Unfortunately your piercing will hurt. how much is dependent on the piercing and how you personally react. However most piercings are a perfectly tolerable pain that will pass within moments, often described as a sharp pinch. Keeping still and following your piercer’s instructions will make the whole experience as quick and painless as possible.

What if I faint? Fainting is a perfectly natural reaction to an outside shock or stress. Fainting can be avoided by doing two things; Eating a substantial lunch / breakfast before getting a piercing. a full stomach and balanced sugar levels will keep you feeling good. Try to keep yourself as calm as possible. Getting worked up before a piercing means your body will produce a lot more adrenalin than normal. However if you do faint it is not a problem. You will be on a full length couch and your piercer is experienced in spotting the signs of fainting. Most people only pass out for one or two seconds then come round slightly disorientated, but absolutely fine.

Do you numb it? We do not use any form of anaesthetics. First thing to remember is that to fully numb a piercing site so the piercing cannot be felt involves injecting a local anaesthetic. Firstly we are not licensed to do this and secondly it involves an injection, making numbing a piercing just as painful as having it pierced! The only product that be can legally used is, various forms of freeze spray. This is uncomfortable while being applied and if used incorrectly can actually cause frostbite, leaving a permanent red scar around your piercing. All it will numb is the first few layers of skin, the bit that doesn't really hurt anyway.

Can I have an alcoholic drink before my piercing? This is a very definite no for two reasons: Alcohol thins your blood, even a small amount will have an effect. This means your fresh piercing will bleed more and take longer to congeal to seal off your piercing from bacteria and other contaminants, leaving it open and prone to infection. Alcohol affects your reasoning and judgment so your decision making faculties can be seriously impaired. Did you really want that piercing? So for these reasons you should not drink alcohol before a piercing. if your piercer suspects you may have had an alcoholic drink the piercing will not be performed.

Can you pierce through an old piercing? Yes old piercings can be pierced again, we call this a re-pierce. There are however a few things to be aware of: It will generally hurt slightly more than the first time due to the natural scar tissue formed from your first piercing. Re-pierced piercings tend to settle in and heal faster than the first time round. In some cases your re-pierce can be 'tucked in' behind the scar tissue, re-enforcing it if your first piercing had problems with rejection. This is particularly relevant for piercings such as eyebrow and navel piercings. If prominent scarring occurred the first time re-piercing will only add to the scarring, occasionally making it cosmetically unfeasible. Your piercer will advise you on this. If your piercing was incorrectly placed the first time your piercer at Urban Piercings will not follow the exact scars left, sometimes leaving visible scars from your first piercing. Again your piercer will advise you on this.

Will I have to remove any clothing? Only if the clothing will interfere with your piercer’s ability to mark the piercing correctly. Often this only means, such as in the case of navel piercings, rolling clothing out of the way. However if your piercer asks for clothing to be removed it is only to ensure the piercing will be correct.

Should I keep it covered? You shouldn't keep your piercing covered for any lengths of time, much like a cut or graze your piercing needs to 'breathe' in order for it to heal quickly. Covering your piercing will cause it to sweat, harbouring bacteria and inviting infection. A

Is my piercing infected? / Should I take my piercing out? Never take out a piercing if you think it is infected. If it is a genuine infection it will need somewhere to drain so by removing the jewellery you will seal the infection inside your body. Most suspected infections are just a minor and mostly temporary problem which can be easily sorted. Remember your piercing will take some time to settle in so redness, soreness, swelling and a small amount of plasma (weeping) is to be expected. Though we would never advise against a visit to your GP a visit to your piercer may be all that is needed to solve most problems. If you are in any doubt please consult your piercer, either by telephone or visiting Urban Piercings.

Can my piercing cause any serious damage? Rest assured the urban myths you may hear about paralysed faces, bleeding to death and so on are just that, myths. Any piercing that does carry any serious medical risk is simply not performed at Urban Piercings. If your piercing does carry any minor risk it will be in the healing process of the piercing and your piercer will advise you of this.

How old do I have to be to get pierced? Sixteen for all piercings apart from genital. Be aware photographic proof of age may be required so please avoid possible disappointment and be sure to bring some. Most piercings can be performed under sixteen to roughly the age of fourteen with parental consent. This is however totally at your piercer’s discretion and does not include tongue, nipple and genital piercings. Again photographic proof of age may be required, even with parental consent. Tongue and nipple piercings are never performed under sixteen years of age. Genital piercings are never performed under the age of eighteen.

What can I use as proof of age? Any form of identification containing your photograph and date of birth are accepted. These include passports, student cards and driving licences. Please note birth certificates will not be accepted. AnchorAnchorCan it only be a parent who gives consent? Yes, a parent or your legal guardian. Older brothers / sisters, aunts / uncles etc. cannot give legal consent. AnchorAnchorHow long until I can go swimming? Swimming is best left for three to four days. After this time vasaline can be used as a barrier, just ensure it is fully washed off and your piercing cleaned afterwards.

I’m pregnant, should I take my navel bar out? You will need to replace it with a maternity bar. This plastic bar will flex with your stomach and be long enough to allow for the stretching of your navel. Plastic bars can also be left in while you have any scans. Leaving your metal navel bar in will invite rejection as your stomach swells.

My job doesn’t like my piercings, can I hide them? There is a range of clear plastic ‘retainers’ available which are the most discreet jewellery available. Though obviously not totally invisible they will keep most employers happy. What jewellery can I wear if I need a scan or operation? There is a range of clear plastic ‘retainers’ which can be left in for scans and are also suitable for keeping your piercing open should you need an operation.

What clothing should I wear? After you get pierced we reccomend that you wear clothing to suit that new piercing. If you have had your navel pierced a tight waist band is not a good idea, loose jogging bottoms are much better. The same applies for nipple piercings a loose top is much better than a tight one.

What jewellery can i wear if i need a scan or operation? We sell a range of Plastic retainers which are perfectly safe for this purpose.

What are the common jewellery sizes for piercings? As a general rule, two millimetres off the size of your initial jewellery will give you a good estimation.

Eyebrow - usually 1.2mm or 1.6mm stem thickness by 6mm - 10mm in length

Ear lobes/rims - if wearing 'normal' ear piercing jewellery usually 0.6mm - 1mm stem thickness, if wearing barbells or body rings without stretching usually 1.2mm - 1.6mm stem thickness, if you've stretched then you should know your size!
Ear lobe jewellery is usually 6mm - 8mm in length if it is a barbell or stud, ring sizes however vary greatly depending on the size of the lobe.

Tragus - usually 1.2mm stem thickness (but occasionally 1.6mm thick) by 6mm - 8mm in length.

Nose - usually 0.8mm - 1mm stem thickness. Usually only a thickness is required for studs. For the internal diameter of a ring measure from the piercing to the edge of the nostril.

Madonna - usually 1.2mm stem thickness, but occasionally 1.6mm, by 6mm - 9mm in length. Labret / Lower Lip - usually 1.2mm or 1.6mm stem thickness by 6mm - 9mm in length for a stud or 8mm - 12mm internal diameter for a ring.

Tongue - usually 1.6mm stem thickness by 12mm - 16mm in length

Female Nipple - usually 1.6mm stem thickness by 12mm - 16mm in length/internal diameter.

Male Nipple - usually 1.6mm stem thickness by 10mm - 14mm in length/internal diameter.

Navel (Belly) - usually 1.6mm stem thickness by 8mm - 12mm in length (occasionally 6mm).

Clitoral Hood - usually 1.6mm stem thickness by 8mm - 10mm in length

Prince Albert - usually 2.4mm stem thickness (if un-stretched) by 14mm - 19mm in internal diameter.

What is rejection or 'growing out'? A piercing is, whichever way you look at it, a foreign object in the body. Your body knows this and does all it can to get rid of it! This happens by layers of scar tissue being formed behind the piercing, gradually pushing it all the way out. This is particularly common on navel, eyebrow, surface and similar piercings. It is also almost a certainty with piercings that have been poorly performed.
Migration is the symptom.
The process of the movement that slowly brings your body jewellery closer and closer to the skin's surface is migration. If the jewellery is not removed, or the rate of migration slowed, the process of rejection will cause it to migrate far enough to actually create a hole large enough for the jewellery to fall out on its own. Once this happens, the possibility of healing without scarring is very unlikely.

There are many reasons for piercings rejecting: Failure to carry out proper aftercare Having an allergic reaction to the jewellery being worn Improper placement of the piercing (e.g. pierced too shallow) Playing with the piercing before it has fully healed Catching or knocking the piercing with enough force Stretching the piercing too quickly or before it has fully healed Wearing jewellery that is too thin Pregnancy Illness or stress There is also a specific kind of rejection, popularly called 'growing out', to which a number of piercings are prone. This is a natural process, quite often associated with a person's body growing, and is not usually accompanied by any redness, discomfort or discharge until the very late stages. This is more common in younger teenagers (who's bodies are still growing). The end result of this process, which can often take a year or more, is the loss of the piercing.


We commonly see eyebrows, surface piercings and navels 'growing out' over time. There is no way of being able to tell for definite how long a piercee will keep their piercing for, as it varies so much from person to person.
If you are considering a surface piercing please bear in mind the placement, as another thing that can affect the longevity of the piercing is the amount of movement that area of the body gets. The constant stretching and relaxing, of, for example, an ankle piercing, can also help a piercing to work it's way forward.


How can I stop my piercing from growing out? The simple answer is to heal it as fast as possible! A healing piercing or one having problems is almost like holding out a beacon for your body’s immune system, there is a problem that your body needs rid of. A healed piercing, however, presents no immediate problem so your body, in theory, will no longer attack it!

Following the aftercare guidelines set out by Urban Piercings will give your piercing a faster healing period, therefore reducing the chances of rejection.