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How Much Will My Piercing Hurt? Can I Numb My Piercing?

Updated: Mar 23

Two of the most frequent questions I am asked before performing any piercing are: 'Does it hurt?' and 'Do you numb it?' The short answer to these questions are: 'Yes it hurts, no, we don't use numbing!' In the interest of not scaring any of you, it is worth noting that every single client will experience pain differently, and whilst some discomfort is to be expected, it is rarely more than a quick scratch! In this blog, we're going to take an in depth look at the reasons why reputable piercers do not encourage the use of anaesthetics, topical or otherwise.

Numbing a Piercing Does Not work to the desired degree. These topical creams have grown in popularity and effectiveness and are often marketed towards those undergoing tattoo and cosmetic procedures, so it is easy to see how the link is made for their 'effectiveness' for piercings too and the popularity in their use in this setting is increasing. However, it is little known by most pierce's that piercings are performed differently to both of these procedures, rendering them unfit for use. They only work on the top layer of skin - you will still feel the piercing. If we take a look at the layers of skin, the top layer (Epidermis), the middle layer (Dermis layer) and the 'bottom' layer - the (Subcutaneous layer)

With a tattoo, only the Epidermis is punctured With a cosmetic procedure such as Botox or filler, the Epidermis (top layer) and Dermis (middle layer) layer are punctured. With a piercing, all three layers are punctured and thus followed by the insertion of jewellery.

Numbing creams can cause increased post- piercing risk. Due to the extra layers of tissue and depth involved, plus the insertion of a foreign object (jewellery post), and the increase in the overall surface area of the wound (16g/1.2mm minimum, vs 0.6/0.8mm hypodermic needles) - This makes piercing much more invasive and higher risk in terms of infection control - thus extra special care must be taken to prepare the area using special anti-microbial wipes. If we were to apply topical numbing creams to this area, not only would the effects be redundant, but also run risk of these cleaning agents having adverse reactions for your skin, and effecting your piercings healing process. Considering this, IF we were to apply numbing to this area, the effectiveness would not permeate all the way through the layers of tissue we need to pierce, thus you will still feel the piercing!

Numbing Creams constrict tissue. What does this mean? - Wonky Piercings!


Whilst a topical numbing cream is unlikely to provide effective numbing for a piercing, it does constrict the tissue, creating tension and a change in texture. This means we may mark you perfectly and have you agree to the piercing placement and leave the studio delighted with your perfectly placed shiny new pieces of body jewellery in-situ, only to find a few days/ weeks later that they are in fact uneven. This is especially common with earlobe piercings. It's really important that you tell us if you have used numbing cream prior to your piercing, as if you do have any issues regarding positioning in the first 2-6 weeks, we would naturally assume and advise that this is a normal issue caused by the inflammatory stage. If we do not factor numbing cream into the equation, then we will likely recommend keeping the piercings in to see how they settle once swelling has dissipated. At this point, if it hasn't, and the fistula (scar tissue) has started to settle and form, there is very little we can do to correct the issue without creating excess scarring.

In summary, I do not advise the use of any numbing agent on your piercing. If numbing has been used, I will need to reschedule your appointment. Pierce and Love,

Nico.

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