Most of my followers here are writers. However, I’m keeping a written journal here to document my body modifications. So, if this topic doesn’t apply to you, it’s okay. It might apply to someone and may help those with Diabetes Type 2 and super sensitive skin.
So, I got my first piercings when I was a little girl. Can you guess where? My ears. Those healed up with no worries. The metal was pure gold. In 6 weeks they healed and I have actually been wearing my starter pair all of my life. When I want to wear cheap earrings, I switch them out for the day and then put the starters back in at night.
The truth is I have always wanted to do body modification. Not extreme stuff, but I always wanted my nose pierced, my entire surface of the ear, including double and triple lobe. I didn’t want to do stretching or anything like that though. Just bling in my ears and on my nose. I even considered belly button, but and glad I didn’t go that route. Pregnancy would have really caused problems there and so would gallbladder surgery later in my life.
Tattoos were also on the menu. I wanted a “tramp stamp” and other various inked displays of rebellion. I came from a very strict upbringing where all of the aforementioned were non-negotiable. Piercing meant you were punk and tattoos meant you were trash. So, I never followed through with any of these desires.
In 2008 I decided I was well into adulthood and could make my own freakin’ decisions, so I went with a friend and watched someone get their nose pierced and she bled all over the place. I remember using some choice profanity and walked out of the parlor. However, I ended up getting the guts up enough to try it after all of the “approval” at work. I went to a shop in Richmond, Indiana and she took a lot of time with me explaining everything. The aftercare: wash it, use contact grade saline.
Keep in mind I had Diabetes in 2008, controlled by meds. However, I didn’t give a damn what I ate. So, I got pierced and within a few weeks the “bump” appeared. For any of you who have ever had a piercing on hard cartilage, you know exactly what this means.
When I called the parlor, the lady who did the modification was short with me and acted like she didn’t even want to talk to me. So, I took it out. It healed right up, bump gone.
In 2009, right before a cruise, I got the right side of my nose pierced. I thought, “Let’s try this again. Maybe the lady didn’t know what the hell she was doing.” That didn’t go well either. Within weeks, I got “the bump” yet again. After care that time included Bactine and contact grade saline rinse.
I gave up. Then I lost a bunch of weight. I got my sugars under control. I started realizing that I didn’t want to die or go blind or lose limbs, so I straightened up. I never lost the desire for a nose piercing. Ever.
I started teaching college in 2015. I got my left nostril pierced (yet again) in September. Seemed fine, but the jewelry was way too big, so someone changed me out before the magical 6 to 8 weeks was up. The bump appeared, it seemed to struggle to heal, and burned like hell. I took it out due to frustration. Aftercare: Dial soap and Sea Salt Soaks.
After going to my doctor and talking to her about what could be happening, she told me I was almost healed and should have given it more time. So, I did it again. Yes, the left nostril after a month of healing. Surgical steel is what they called it. Aftercare: Sea Salt Soaks. The bump appeared within 5 weeks. Skin burned. Horrible feeling. I contacted the piercer and he acted as if my problem was one in a million and as if I was an oddity; like no one every experiences “the bump.” I got pissed and took it out. The guy even told me that I “may even have to take it out.”
I was okay for a while. I got fake body jewelry. However, I couldn’t shake the desire still, even after all of that. I started doing research on jewelry types and found that surgical steel wasn’t always best. Nickel causes issues in some and since I’m allergic to everything known to God and man, that’s what I figured had happened before. Cheap jewelry. Poor placement.
I went with a student because she wanted to get her tragus pierced. I contacted the piercer and told him my history. He explained what the possible issues might have been and told me he used implant grade titanium, which is the best metal for piercings.
We went to one of the guy, who works at one of the best and most reputable places in Southern Ohio. This guy was exceptional. He had a very sterile environment. It reminded me of a doctor’s office and I stopped counting how many times he changed gloves and washed his hands. He was the most compassionate person and walked us through all of the steps. For the first time, there was no pain with piercing. When he went through, he went through the inside of the nostril and I didn’t even bleed. He chose the right side because of the trauma the left had experienced.
The metal he used was a snap-together, threadless titanium stud with flat back. This essentially means that to take it out, I would need pliers or he would have to do it. Aftercare: Sterile Saline Wound Wash and hot showers. No Dial. No Bactine. No contact saline.
Within a very short period of time, the burning started. I realized that I needed to clean the crusties (I know, gross, but you pierced folks will understand) because if felt like someone was stabbing me. My thought was, “Don’t touch it!”
I also started using Dr. Bronner’s Castile Baby Soap to clean my face. People said that they had success with this particular cleaning product, so I tried it. It dried me out a little more than I cared, so I switched to Burt’s Bees for sensitive skin. That was a bust. I broke out. Skin reaction. Imagine that.
My piercing looked irritated. Once I switched back to the Bronner’s it seemed to calm down. Then I read an article about Emu Oil. My skin felt dry because I was using Sea Salt Soaks to try and help the healing along. Yes, I know I was told only Sterile Saline, but it felt like it wasn’t getting clean and because I’m so prone to infection, I wanted to combat that any way I could.
First of all, my piercing hates Emu Oil. It didn’t work for me at all. In fact, it brought the red bump out. Things seemed fine until I tried that crap. I do believe it has good qualities for moisturizing skin, but for me, it made the piercing worse. It was supposed to moisturize and deal with scarring, but it just made things much worse. So, I quit using it.
The bump was small, but looked awful. I was told to use Chamomile Tea compresses. I started that yesterday morning. I am now using that in conjunction with Sea Salt Soaks. I will tell you, my skin burns. It just burns. I know that it is trying to produce new skin and that this is all part of the process, but I think that is the sensation that bothers me most.
This morning I woke up and the bump seems slightly smaller. I am worried, however, about the Chamomile because you aren’t supposed to do it if you have a ragweed allergy, which I have no idea if I do or not, but knowing my body and my luck, I probably do. I do not touch it anymore. I was cleaning under it, which I think started the problem. So, I do not do that anymore. The friction can cause the new skin to get really angry. I knew better.
I’m at 6 weeks tomorrow. This is the farthest I have ever gotten with a nose piercing. Here’s what I know. Scarring is normal for a deep wound and a piercing of this kind is exactly that. Everything I read tells me that the bump will go away with treatment and time. I know that it could take up to a full year for this thing to look normal and feel better. I know that titanium is the best metal and the lightest metal to use for a piercing, so I know that I’m not allergic to it. I know that warm Sea Salt Soaks seems to have been great for folks with this problem. I also know that if the tea compresses do not work, my last resort is adding Tea Tree Oil to the soaks. It is harsh and has to be diluted, but many folks have seen progress with the Tea Tree Oil and SSS. The Saline Wound Wash isn’t enough for me. My final self discovery: I am not patient and this situation is teaching me I have no choice.
So, I’ll do another update in a few weeks. Today, I’m dealing with burning skin and this little red semi-circle around my piercing. I am keeping my fingers crossed because I can’t take it out even if I wanted to. I might as well make this little piece of jewelry feel at home because I think we will be together for a while. LOL!