Please note the terms and descriptions as listed in this Glossary are for general information only – you should always seek the advice of your Accredited Body Piercing Specialist with any queries and concerns you may have and before embarking on any body piercings.
Skin piercing near the Achilles tendon, just above the heel.
Acrylic or Perspex
Clear kind of plastic, derived from acrylic acid, commonly used in body jewellery. Considered not suitable for new piercings.
Negative side effect of a treatment, generally unpredictable. Before proceeding with a piercing, an allergy check up is advised.
Airborne spread of viral or bacterial infections. Can occur during piercing or tattooing, which is why only one person at a time should have piercings performed in a room.
Essential part of the piercing’s healing process.
Medical terminology for the side of the nose.
Alcohol (rubbing alcohol)
Class of organic compounds composed of a chain of carbon atoms attached to a hydroxyl group Because of its inability to sterilize, rubbing alcohol is inappropriate for piercing aftercare.
Alcoholism causes thinning of the blood, which in turn will cause excessive bleeding in piercings.
Fibrous material saturated with isopropyl alcohol, commonly used while swabbing the skin before injections. Also mistakenly used to clean piercings, where the alcohol’s limited antiseptic properties actually kill the healing skin, thus inviting infection.
Mixture of different metals
Ampallang or pallang
Male genitals’ piercing, protruding either end of the glands and crossing them horizontally. Depending on where the piercing is performed, it is either done just above the urethra, or right through the urethra.
Drug, applied through injection, as a gel or paste, which can stop nerves conducting sensations to the brain. Can be used to reduce or completely stop pain during piercing procedures.
Extreme reaction to skin contact, ingestion or injection of a certain substance. In piercing, said reaction can take place when patients are treated with antiseptics (e.g. iodine), or antibiotics (e.g. penicillin). Epinephrine is injected to treat symptoms (also called adrenalin).
Procedure to strengthen metal jewellery - the items are heated and subsequently cooled, making then more flexible and less brittle.
Procedure to colour certain metals, like titanium. Electric current, going through the metal, reacts with the air and forms oxides. The oxidation colour varies, depending on the amount of electric current.
Substance that kills or prevents bacterial growth and reproduction
Substance that reduces blood clotting. May cause increased or uncontrolled bleeding during a piercing.
Surface piercing under the eye (cheekbone), opposite the eyebrow.
Anti-helix or rook
Piercing of the ear’s inner portion’s largest wrinkle.
Piercing through the ear’s cartilage, opposite the tragus.
Male genitals’ piercing, entering the side of the frenum and exiting at the top of the glands.
Male Apadravya/Dydoe orbital piercing. A single ring passes through a crooked apadravya and an off-centre dydoe. Generally performed in pairs.
Association of Professional Piercers, a non-profit organization which regularly publishes health and safety guidelines related to body piercing (www.safepiercing.com).
Dark-pigmented area surrounding the nipples.
Argyria, from the Latin ‘argentum’ (meaning silver), refers to a black discolouration of the skin, caused by the skin’s absorption of piercing metal, when healing. For this reason, silver is not a good choice for jewellery when piercings are healing, only when already healed.
Oral piercing jewellery is inhaled, after coming loose, and gets stuck in the lung. Can be avoided by checking whether one’s body jewellery is tight enough, once or twice every day.
Horizontal piercing through the tip of the nose.
Sterilization-device for piercing jewellery. All good piercing studios should have one. Devices should be tested regularly. Modern autoclaves allow for printouts describing whether each cycle reached the required temperature for the required length of time.
A possible piercing complication, resulting in the production of a thick yellow, green or grey discharge. Can generally be avoided by using properly sterilised piercing tools, together with the proper aftercare.
Substance which is not recommended for piercing aftercare.
Ball Closure Ring or BCR
European/Australian alternative term for a captive bead ring (CBR).
Banana, banana bar or banana bell:
Barbell which is curved like a banana, usually worn as navel jewellery.
Body jewellery item consisting of a shaft with a ball on both ends.
Shortest distance between a curved barbell’s balls at the ends.
See Ball Closure Ring, see CBR.
Piercing through the skin above and to the side of the upper lip. See also Monroe, Chrome Crawford or Madonna.
Belly button piercing:
Piercing through the upper part of skin around the navel.
Belly button ring:
Body jewellery item worn in the navel.
Commonly used antiseptic for gun-piercing of ears, though not recommended for prolonged use.
Possible risk during piercing, where the skin is forcibly pushed out at the other side of the piercing.
Body jewellery pliers:
Two types of pliers, used to attach and remove a captive bead ring without causing damage to either body piercings or jewellery.
Bridge piercing or earl:
Nose piercing, passing through the bridge horizontally (the fleshy part near the eyes, not the cartilage).
Circular, U-shaped barbell containing a ball at both ends. Generally used in septum piercings.
Small red or white coloured bump, generally referred to as "the bump", which occurs next to the holes of nostril and nipple piercings.
Measuring device generally used to measure jewellery, as well as parts of the body, to appropriately size jewellery.
Narrow tube of plastic carried on a needle. Generally applied during piercings as follows:
• Needle pierces skin, carrying the cannula with it
• Needle is partially withdrawn, leaving cannula in place
• Body jewellery is inserted through cannula
• Cannula is withdrawn, along with jewellery item, carrying it through the piercing.
The blood vessels feeding oxygen to the skin, starting in the skin’s dermis, looping towards the epithelium and returning into the dermis. Different areas have different numbers of capillary loops, explaining the various healing rates across different parts of the body. More loops ensure more oxygen and nutrients delivered to the skin, resulting in a faster healing rate.
Captive bead ring:
Circular piece of body jewellery with a bead connecting both ends of the ring. Also referred to as "captured bead ring". See also BCR.
Piercing for the cartilage area of the ear, as opposed to the more familiar ear lobe piercing. Common cartilage piercings are tragus, conch, anti-tragus, rook, industrial and helix.
Circular barbell or curved barbell.
Captive Bead Ring.
Infection characterized by redness and sensitivity where it starts, e.g. pierced area. Cellulitis can cause difficulty during the healing process.
Piercing in the dimple area of the cheek.
Uncommon piercing through the chin itself, without entering the mouth.
Labret, i.e. a straight shaft, ending in a flat disc on one end (inside the mouth) and a ball on the other end (outside).
Antiseptic which has been tested and proved to be very suitable for body piercing use, as it appears to be very effective against bacteria, etc..
Bacterial infection of cartilage, and very difficult to cure.
Female genital piercing, entering at the top of the hood and exiting the pubic mound.
See Beauty Mark.
Often used in septum, nipple and Prince Albert piercings. See also Bull ring.
Surgical device consisting of jaws operated by handles, designed to perform such tasks as hold tissue or support the skin when performing a piercing.
Piercing passing beneath the collarbone.
Surface piercing in middle of the chest – can be placed either vertically or horizontally.
Reverse Prince Albert.
Uncommon female genital piercing, either horizontally or vertically. Because of the specific anatomical requirements, very few women have this piercing performed. A clitoral hood piercing, which is more common, is often confused for a clitoris piercing.
Inner cartilage of the ear, the ‘shell’ of the ear.
Reddish metal, sometimes used as component of gold alloys.
Medical reason for avoiding certain actions, e.g. people with heart problems are discouraged to have body piercings performed as it brings a risk of infection of the heart.
Piercing(s) placed in 2 lines, allowing the skin to be laced, like a corset. Often performed as temporary piercings.
Lymph discharge, usually visible as clear yellow crust on piercing jewellery and outside edges of the piercing a few days after piercing, indicating proper healing. The piercing is considered healed after "crusties" disappear and do not return for 2 weeks.
Brilliant and highly transparent glass, substituting for more expensive gemstones in jewellery.
See Banana Bell.
Kind of piercing performed on the ridge in the ear that is the continuation of the inner helix, protruding from the inner conch. Some people believe a daith piercing helps reduce the incidence of their migraine headaches.
Curved barbell, containing hanging extensions (e.g. beads, crystals, etc).
Deep PA/Deep Prince Albert:
Prince Albert performed with a large diameter ring, which exits further than a PA normally would.
Dental acrylic body jewellery:
Better known as simply acrylic body jewellery or UV body jewellery. It is made from an acrylic, often used dentists.
Piercing device with a sharp circular blade set on a handle, which removes a circle of epidermis, thereby leaving a pre-stretched piercing. Also known as a skin biopsy punch.
Disease associated with a higher infection rate and poor healing in piercings. Piercings should preferably performed only on people with good diabetic control.
Diameter (of jewellery):
Shows the size of a ring, measured straight across on the inside.
Disinfected body jewellery is NOT necessary sterile and is therefore not a sufficient way to clean piercing jewellery.
Term for a PA connected to a deep PA by a curved barbell.
Piercing of male genitals’ ridge around the glands.
Ear lobe transverse piercing:
Piercing performed along the length of the ear lobe.
Ear tragus piercing:
Piercing on the small flap of the ear’s cartilage most forward of the ear, near the cheek bone.
Horizontal facial piercing of nose’s bridge.
Delivery system brand for local anaesthetics Lidocaine and Prilocaine, either as cream or as patch. Usually applied 60 minutes prior to a piercing, reducing or even completely eliminating pain during the procedure.
USA-term for adrenaline, an adrenal gland hormone which produces increased heart rate and blood pressure, as well as sweating. In combination with local anaesthetic, may result in longer anaesthesia and reduced bleeding.
Kind of alcohol found in alcoholic drinks which, when consumed excessively, can cause thinning of the blood and excessive bleeding during piercings.
European Union Nickel Directive:
Directive of European Union, limiting the amount of nickel released by jewellery when coming into contact with the body.
Long, conical piece of body jewellery, used to stretch a hole in order to fit larger gauge jewellery.
Externally threaded body jewellery:
The threading (ridges which a ball is screwed onto) on the outside of the jewellery item’s shaft. Generally internal threading is the preferred choice for oral or facial jewellery because the smooth shaft is unlikely to cause injury.
Bar/ring piercing passing underneath the eyebrow, either vertically or horizontally.
Piercing placed along the eyebrow at a right angle to the brow.
Eyelet or Flesh tunnel:
Hollow cylinder piercing item, usually worn in large gauge or stretched ear piercings.
Manmade oil-based clay, used to make body jewellery balls.
Jewellery type for labret piercing which reduces the possible stud damage on gums.
Skinfold on ventral surface between the digits of the hand. Common piercings feature between thumb and index finger.
Medical term for a skin-lined passage through flesh. All healed piercings are fistulas.
Backing of labret stud
Healed cylinder of flesh inside your piercing.
Round, hollow form of a plug.
Flexible bar piercing:
Surface piercing using a flexible bar, e.g. pfte or tygon.
Piercing of lowest part of the female genital area.
Fraenum or Frenum:
Band of tissue connecting two areas, e.g. the tissue under the tongue attaching it to the floor of your mouth. Male genital piercing of the fraenum (the little 'web' of skin attached to the glands).
Series of fraenum piercings performed along the penis.
Frowny or Frowney
Piercing opposite the smiley and is placed inside the fraenum of the lower lip.
Size measurement of body jewellery, abbreviated 'g' or 'ga', referring to the shaft’s thickness. Lower numbered gauges are larger than higher numbered gauges.
Gradually stretching a piercing so that it can accommodate larger gauged jewellery.
Green crystalline substance which, in solution-form, turns violet. Sometimes used as an antiseptic and/or marker on the tongue or skin when performing piercings.
Variously coloured, hard, brittle, and transparent element.
Highly toxic disinfectant used to clean piercing instruments prior to sterilization.
Soft and easily moulded rare metal (24 karat is pure form) which for this reason is usually mixed with others metals such as silver, copper, nickel and palladium to produce different colours and durability. For body piercing jewellery, a minimum of 18 karat is recommended. In pure form gold will not cause allergic reactions, but since body jewellery is not pure gold, it can cause reactions in some people and should therefore not be worn in healing piercings.
Layer of pure gold applied over underlying cheaper metal. This layer wears off after time, sometimes within months, before a piercing is healed, and gold-plated jewellery should therefore only be worn in piercings already healed.
Collection of tissue and blood vessels often appearing at the entrance of a piercing and mostly caused by friction of the piercing. Can be surgically or chemically removed (by a physician).
The male version of the fourchette (i.e. piercing between the scrotum and the anus).
Rubbing of oral piercings on the teeth and /or gums, resulting in gum withdrawal.
Piercing technique associated with ear piercings. Not recommended for most body piercings, as the piercing guns cannot be sterilized properly, cause undue pain and swelling and prolong healing time.
Male genital piercing positioned on the side of the scrotum.
Mark on jewellery item, indicating the amount of precious metal contained within.
Temporary surface piercing, situated on the slight web between two fingers.
Piercing of any ear cartilage around the rim of the cartilage.
Hematite or haematite:
Grey-blackish mineral composed of iron oxide. Commonly machined into balls for captured bead rings.
Air filter type, used in modern sterilizers, because of its capacity to filter out micro-organisms from the air during their drying cycle, minimizing contamination.
Blood borne disease, possibly transmitted through needles and/or piercing guns which are not or insufficiently sterilized.
Blood borne disease, possibly transmitted through needles and/or piercing guns which are not or insufficiently sterilized.
Clitoral hood, used for vertical or horizontal piercings.
Horizontal surface cheek piercing, generally from the mouth’s corner towards the ears.
Piercing, generally featuring a flexible bar, from one side of the lip to the other.
Surface piercing of the navel rim, prone to rejection.
Piercing which goes horizontally through the sides of the tongue.
Horizontal upper lip:
Facial piercing performed horizontally between the upper lip and the nose.
Extremely unusual female piercing of the hymen.
An oxidising, colourless and unstable liquid agent, which kills the collagen-producing cells required for piercings to heal.
Set of two piercings on the ear connecting a single piece of jewellery.
Set of two navel piercings connecting a single piece of jewellery. Vertical industrial navel could potentially complicate sitting and bending.
Unable to react chemically with the body, thus not provoking allergic reactions.
Infiltration of the body by external malignant micro organisms.
Avoiding the spread of disease-causing micro-organisms between patients and from place to place on a single patient.
Process of piercing of the male foreskin or female labia in order to prevent sexual intercourse. Jewellery connects the two sides of the piercing so that the glans penis cannot be exposed in males or the vagina penetrated in women. It is a practice dating back at least to ancient Greece.
Inner conch piercing:
Piercing in the cartilage, at the inner area of the ear.
Inner shell of the ear.
The part of the helix near the cheek.
Female genital piercing of the inner labia (labia minora).
Also known as navel piercing. Much more common than the reverse situation, known as the outie.
The measurement of body jewellery which is the distance from one ball to the other, or in the case of a captive bead ring the circles diameter.
Internally threaded body jewellery:
Body jewellery that has threading inside the shaft to protect skin and tissue from damage from the edges of the threading.
A (very rare) female genital piercing. It enters at the top to the clitoral shaft and exits below the clitoris, having travelled along its length.
Good for cuts and scrapes, inappropriate for piercings. Disinfects but doesn't sterilize. Dries cells and so inhibits healing.
Piercing the bottom rim of the navel.
Vertical labret type piercing for the upper lip.
Vertical piercing that enters the septum and exits through the underside centre of the nose in between the nostrils. It is necessary to already have a pierced and stretched septum in order to do this type of piercing.
Raised, fibrous scar tissue, normally dark red to purple in colour that forms at the site of surgery or trauma to the skin (such as piercing). People of African and Asian descent are more prone to keloids. Keloids can only be removed surgically.
Female genital, there are two areas, the 'inner' (labia minora) and the 'outer' (labia majora).
Piece of body jewellery that has a straight shaft with a flat disc on one end and a ball on the other typically used for a chin piercing or other piercings with the end inside the mouth.
Labret stud (LS):
Jewellery for a labret piercing, typically a short barbell with a flatback.
Piercing through the upper or lower lip.
Piercing through the ear lobe.
Two piercings in the ear lobe sharing one ring.
Male genital piercing, this sits where the penile shaft meets the scrotum (a low frenum).
Form of a labret piercing. the piercing is placed as low as possible on the inside of the lip, but is known for discomfort, since the flat backs are right against the gums at all times.
Kind of plastic used in large gauge body jewellery.
Transparent yellow fluid, composed mainly of dead white blood cells. Secreted by healing cuts, scrapes, and piercings.
Surface piercing at the base of the throat.
Madonna or Marilyn or Monroe:
Another name for a beauty mark. Also called a Crawford or a Monroe piercing, placed just above the upper lip to one side or the other.
A piercing done above the upper lip, in the centre. This facial piercing is placed in the middle and above the upper lip, below the nose.
Rejection of your body jewellery by your body. The jewellery is pushed outward as skin heals behind it. Movement of the jewellery/piercing within the body, moving the jewellery to a different place or possibly migrating completely out of your body. Signs of migration are redness, a line-scar where the jewellery has travelled, more of the jewellery showing than used to (different than swelling reduction), or a thinning of the skin holding the jewellery.
Surface piercing on the back of the neck. A nape is a surface piercing on the back of the neck, known as the nap of the neck.
Nasal tip piercing:
Piercing at the tip of the nose
3 piercings in one. A barbell enters the nostril, then passes through the septum, then exits the other nostril. A industrial piercing for the nose. It starts outside one nostril, goes through the septum and exits through the outside of the other nostril.
Piercing anywhere along the rim of the navel (also known as the belly button). Typically done on the top but can be done on the sides or bottom as well.
Type of navel jewellery that has beads, chains or other ornaments dangling from one end of a curved barbell.
Two navel piercings connected with one long piece of jewellery.
The only thing that is appropriate to use to pierce with. Needles must be sterilized, opened in front of the customer, then disposed of in a sharps container immediately after use.
Piercing done with a needle.
Metal that is often combined with stainless steel to strengthen and prevent corrosion. There should be very little nickel in body jewellery because of the chance of allergic reactions.
Shiny soft and bendable elemental metal, very useful for body piercing jewellery as it is hypo-allergenic. Heavier than titanium.
Piercing through the areola of the nipple. Male and female placement is different.
Piece of jewellery with a hole in the middle for the nipple to poke through. The shield is held in place by the nipple jewellery
Inappropriate jewellery to pierce with. Having a ball at both ends of the bar make it difficult for proper healing of fresh piercings. However, once piercing is healed, it is a very comfortable piece of jewellery for your nostril piercing.
Piercing done through the nostril. Should never be pierced with a piercing gun!
Nostril screw (NS):
Jewellery for the nostrils that is a stud that spirals in a flat circle on the bottom, the "screw" is what holds the jewellery in place once inside your nose.
Can be used as temporary jewellery, such as a retainer. Inappropriate for long-term use as it can absorb bodily fluids
Bandage which allows air to enter, water to exit but not enter. Piercees who, for whatever reason, NEED to swim with a new piercing, will have to use an occlusive bandage.
Mouth-related. Various mouth-related piercings can be performed: different parts of the cheeks, tongue, the lips, the chine, etc…
Kind of piercing where a ring makes a double pass through the pierced body part.
Refers to any kind of natural jewellery (stone, wood, etc…)
O-shaped rubber ring, generally used to keep retainers and jewellery that does not feature beads, such as flesh tunnels, in place by surrounding the item in order for it to remain in its original position.
Outer conch piercing:
Kind of piercing, travelling from the outer edge of the cartilage to the ear’s inner area.
Piercing of outer labia, also known as labia majora, the female genital area.
Situation where the navel’s central part protrudes from the wall of the abdomen, possibly indicating an umbilical hernia. An umbilical hernia is a strong indication against performing navel piercings, as this could lead to peritonitis.
See also "Prince Albert"
Originally an Indonesian tribal word (ampallang), this kind of piercing travels through the glans penis, possibly but not necessarily traversing the urethra.
Silver-whitish metal, sometimes used instead of white gold.
Situation where a (new) jewellery piece will position itself on the side where it is most comfortable, though possibly not very attractive. Generally caused by pressure or movement from clothes and the body while lying down.
Any kind of organism that may be the cause of disease. Generally bacteria are viewed as pathogens, though not all bacteria are malignant, e.g. Lactobacillus acidophilus is a kind of bacteria but is NOT a pathogen. It is in fact beneficial, as it maintains the acidity of the vagina while healing.
Body part which often suffers reducing in size when being pierced. Piercings for the penis are popular, as there are many options: see Ampallang, Apadravya, Apadydoe, Deep Shaft, Dolphin, Dydoe, Foreskin, Frenum, Guiche, Hafada, Prince Albert, Pubic, Reverse Prince Albert, etc…
Round body jewellery component, generally placed at the end of a barbell, featuring a picture.
The area of the body between the genitalia and the anus.
Abdominal cavity infection, a possible result of a navel piercing, particularly with an umbilical hernia. Possibly fatal.
To penetrate into something (e.g. skin) or run through something, using a sharp, pointed device or object. To create a piercing.
Hole, path or tunnel created by a piercer.
The person receiving the piercing..
The person performing the piercing. It is possible for the piercee and piercer to be the same person.
Spring-loaded device used to shoot a piece of body jewellery through the ear lobe. Piercing guns are totally inappropriate for other piercing purposes, as they can’t properly be sterilized. They cause pain and swelling to the tissue, draw out the healing time unnecessarily. As a result of their insterile character, they can also carry blood borne pathogens. Use of a piercing gun prohibits entry into the Association of Professional Piercers.
Non-existent, as there are no officially accredited institutions of piercing. In some states/counties/cities it is required to obtain a certificate by completing certain courses (e.g. medical risks course), though this does guarantee professional work.
Hollow needle, used to create a path through skin or body part, resulting in a passage for an item of body jewellery. Any path created by a hollow needle will be cleaner than one created by a piercing needle. As a result of this, the piercing will heal faster, with a reduced risk of infection.
Medical term, meaning the external part of the ear.
See also Nylon/Acrylic.
Jewellery item used in medium to large-gauge piercings, mostly the ear.
Situation where the ends of the jewellery are “pocketed” under the skin, leaving the middle exposed.
Alternative term for the bar or middle piece of a barbell.
Alternative term for granulation tissue.
Portable folder, containing an artist’s previously performed material, such as pictures of piercings. Before having a piercing performed, it is advisable to ask for a piercer’s portfolio.
See hand web.
Better known as the foreskin or the hood (female). The retractable part of skin, folding over the genitalia. Male prepuce inflammation is also called balanitis.
Prince Albert or PA:
A male genital piercing. It enters directly behind the glands on the back of the penis head and exits through the urethra. A male piercing entering through the urethral meatus of the glans penis and exiting through the underneath of the penis at the coronal sulcus.
See also Reverse Prince Albert.
A (rare) female genital piercing. It enters in the urethra and exits the vagina. Many piercers will not do this piercing due to worry of bladder infection increase.
Professional piercers have either apprenticed or taught themselves appropriate care and techniques to safely and hygienically pierce parts of the body. A member of the Association of Professional Piercers
A formal set of steps to ensure a procedure is properly executed.
Every piercing establishment should have a written protocol for the cleaning and sterilizing of re-usable equipment.
See granulation tissue.
Active ingredient chloroxylenol.
The bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa - an infection typically resistant to most antibiotics and difficult to treat.
Suspect pseaudomonas in any piercing that continues to look infected despite taking all appropriate measures. Diagnosis requires a swab to be taken by a doctor and analysed by a laboratory.
Polytetrafluoroethylene is more familiarly known as Teflon. It is used to make flexible, non-stick body jewellery that is especially recommended as a replacement for metal jewellery during pregnancy. A plastic with a waxy texture made by polymerizing terafluoroethylene. Non flammable, inert, extremely smooth.
Used in new or existing piercings. PTFE is an abbreviation for polytetrafluoroethylene. Trade name Teflon ®
An enzyme of the amylase class secreted in the saliva of mammals.
A male genital piercing. This is a surface piercing that sits just above the base of the penile shaft. A piercing in males on the inferior anterior abdominal wall, usually just superior to the penis.
A kind of glass that is heat and chemical resistant. It can be autoclaved. It is used in large gauge jewellery, such as plugs
This is not a female piercing but an alternative name for the Reverse Prince Albert. The connection is through Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha who married Queen Victoria in 1840. Queen Victoria was born 1819, Queen of the United Kingdom 1837-1901, Empress of India 1876-1901.
Your body may reject the your piercing by forcing the body jewellery out through your skin.
When the body literally forces the piercing out, leaving behind a scar. These can usually be re-pierced behind the scar tissue and are less likely to reject a second time. (also see "migration")
A piece of body jewellery that is usually made of clear acrylic. It's designed to keep your body piercing open without calling attention to it.
The process by which bone dissolves. Although we tend to think of bone as hard and set in shape, it can expand, change shape or disappear over many weeks, months or years. Resorption of bone will occur in any piercing where the jewellery presses constantly or repeatedly on bone. Poorly placed tongue, labret, or cheek piercings will erode the bone that supports the teeth, and the tooth may fall out in severe cases. Likewise surface piercings over bones such as the clavicle can cause problems.
An item of jewellery designed to keep a piercing open; not attract attention. Typically made of acrylic or even nylon. Commonly used in eyebrow and tongue piercings.
Should only be used in healed piercings. If you think these can be used in a new eyebrow piercing to keep your boss happy, think again!
Reverse Prince Albert or Reverse PA:
The opposite of the PA, it enters through the top of the glands and exits through the urethra. A male piercing entering through the urethral meatus of the glans of the penis and exiting on the superior aspect of the penis at the coronal sulcus. See also Prince Albert
Ring Closing Pliers:
Pliers specifically designed to close rings without damaging the surface of the jewellery. Come in several sizes to accommodate the different sizes of rings.
Ring Opening Pliers:
Pliers designed to temporarily spring open rings so that the bead can be released or inserted.
A piercing of the largest wrinkle in the inner portion of the ear. A piercing through the upper part of the inner conch of the ear. A piercing of the anti-helix.
S31603 - see also 30316:
This metal has excellent ductility, good strength, non-magnetic properties, good weldability and very good corrosion resistance. It is often used on boating supplies: Railings, masts, anchor, etc.
A term for a large gauge inner conch piercing, usually with the help of a dermal punch.
Usually refers to Normal Saline, 0.9% sodium chloride solution. Either buy this from a drug store or make up your own solution: One quarter teaspoon of sea salt is dissolved in 8 ounces (250mls) of bottled water. Sea salt is preferable to table salt as it does not contain added iodine, which could promote a sensitivity reaction.
Part of proper aftercare, sea salt soaks help piercings heal properly by drawing impurities out of the piercing. the proper mixture is 1/4 tsp. sea salt to 8 ounces (1 cup) warm/hot water. (also see "sea salt")
The adjective applied to any piercing passing through the skin of the scrotum.
A series of aligned piercings forming a ladder like pattern on the scrotum.
The pouch of skin containing the testicles hanging between the legs beneath the penis.
Can sustain multiple piercings.
Body Piercing Jewellery - An item of jewellery used to occupy a nasal septum piercing to ensure it remains open.
The opposite of a "frowny", a piercing of the slight web (frenulum) between the upper lip and gums
A non-iodized form of salt. Also kosher salt. Used for sea salt soaks
Overwhelming bacterial infection of the body travelling in the bloodstream.
Usually fatal if untreated.
Requires hospital admission for treatment with intravenous antibiotics. A very uncommon complication of piercing.
Usually refers to a piercing passing through the nasal septum. The nasal septum is the hidden midline structure that separates the two the nasal passages. A piercing of the nasal septum (the middle of the nose, between the nostrils). The inside bottom part of your nose that separates your nostrils from each other.
A staple-shaped retainer specially designed for the septum
An ampallang piercing passing through the penis shaft directly behind the glans, instead of the glans itself
An apadravya piercing passing through the penis shaft directly behind the glans, instead of the glans itself
A brilliant grey-white metal.
Atomic Number 47
Chemical Symbol “Ag”.
Melting point 962oC
Extensively used in jewellery, on its own or as an alloy in gold jewellery.
A plain undecorated circle of metal or plastic worn to prevent a piercing closing.
Using a sleeper carries a risk of damaging the piercing itself if the sharp edges of the join enter and damage the inside of the piercing.
Upper lip frenulum piercing. This piercing passes through the fold of skin in the midline between the inside of the upper lip and the gum. The opposite of a "frowny", a piercing of the slight web (frenulum) between the upper lip and gums.
The inhalation of smoke from burning leaves, usually of the tobacco plant.
Taxing this activity earns governments billions. Reduces immunity and slows the rate of healing of piercings. Not recommended
A piercing of the vertical cartilage fold directly inside the rim of the ear. A piercing that passes from the inner conch of the ear to the outer conch
A mild antibacterial hand soap is optimal, fragrance/colour free is best. Oatmeal based soaps are also prime, especially when tea-tree-oil is an ingredient. A cleaning agent produced by the action of potassium or sodium hydroxide upon animal or vegetable fats or oils. Soap strips away the skin's natural oils and reduces the surface tension of water. The water can then get to places it shouldn't: e.g. in females using soap on the genitals can actually assist bacteria to enter the urethra or vagina and so facilitate urinary or vaginal infections. Often contains perfumes and other additives which may harm piercings or provoke allergic reactions.
Spirals are body jewellery that are typically used in belly button piercings
A dormant stage of a bacterium or fungus, equivalent to the seed of a plant.
Spores are more resistant to heat, cold, chemicals and other harsh conditions than the organism in its usual state. Testing of a sterilizer should always check that it is capable of killing spores.
A method of testing the effectiveness of a sterilizer. A vial containing live fungal spores is incubated after passing through a cycle in the sterilizer. If any spores grow in the incubator after passing through the sterilizer then the sterilizer is faulty.
A deep piercing that begins under the tongue and emerges underneath the chin
SS or SSS:
Stainless steel or surgical stainless steel
Stainless steel, lvm 316, surgical stainless steel, surgical steel:
Most people can wear steel jewellery, even those allergic to other metals. Typically implant grade, one of two materials acceptable for new/healing piercings. A metal that contains at least 8% nickel to make it corrosion free and hypoallergenic. Stainless steels are alloys of iron with other metals, containing other elements such as sulphur and carbon, sharing the common properties of not rusting and being able to be polished. Most contain nickel and in contact with skin will release significant quantities of nickel. This then will cause an allergic response. Only one type, ASTM 316LVM F138-97 Grade, is acceptable in new piercings. It releases very little nickel.
The bacteria usually responsible for most infections of the skin including abscesses, boils and carbuncles. May infect piercings. Also called Staph" or Golden Staph", referring to the species Staphylococcus aureus.
Absolutely devoid of any life. In piercing it is essential that all equipment be sterile to minimize the risk of infection.
The process by which objects are rendered sterile.
Cannot be done without an autoclave, kills all bacteria and germs on the object being sterilized.
A device for sterilising surgical instruments at high temperature and high pressure.
Consists essentially of a sealable chamber into which water is pumped and then superheated to make steam. Sterilizers should be tested at regular intervals.
Modern sterilizers produce a printout that documents each cycle has reached the required temperature for the required length of time.
Sterling silver (jewellery):
Many people have bad reactions to wearing silver in piercings. Silver is inappropriate for new/healing piercings for this reason.
A straight shaft with a ball on each end used in body piercings
A piercing that is placed almost anywhere on the body through a flat area of skin .
Increasing the size of piercing to wear larger gauged jewellery
A piece of jewellery that is not a ring. For example, a labret stud, a gun stud, a nostril screw or a nose bone.
Splitting of the skin down to the urethra on the inferior aspect of the penis.
The branch of the Trigeminal Nerve, the Fifth Cranial Nerve, responsible for feeling on part of the forehead. Leaves the skull about one third the way along the medial aspect of the eyebrow. Can be damaged by piercing, which presents as numbness on the forehead. The nerve may be damaged by pressure of the jewellery on the nerve.
A sensible rule is to only pierce on the lateral third of the eyebrow.
Jewellery used in surface piercings, staple shaped |__|
A piercing on flat skin, can be anywhere on the body.
A thinner form of a surface bar, also used in surface piercings.
Surgical Stainless Steel:
The term "surgical stainless steel" refers to stainless steel that releases very little nickel into the body. ASTM 316LVM F138-97 Grade Implantation Steel is the only acceptable form to use in new piercings and is designed to comply with the European Nickel Directive.
Swimming before your piercing is healed is not recommended. The water (regardless of its type - pool, lake, ocean, bathtub, etc) contains bacteria and microbes that you do NOT want in your piercing. If you MUST swim, cover your piercing with an occlusive bandage (see "occlusive bandage") and then wash your piercing with the proper aftercare once you finish.
A cone shaped, needle-like object used to stretch piercings while gauging or stretching. An instrument used to enlarge the diameter of piercings. Usually consists of a stainless steel rod whose diameter gradually decreases along its length. Available in gauges, where the stated gauge represents the diameter of the thicker end. The narrow end is inserted through the piercing and the rest of the taper is drawn through the piercing, stretching the tissue, so that larger gauge jewellery may then be inserted.
A piercing with 3 or more exit holes, or jewellery that has 3 or more exits, such as barbells shaped like a T.
Tea tree oil:
An essential oil derived from trees of the genus Leptospermum, native to New Zealand and Australia. An extremely potent disinfectant. Recommended for the disinfecting of instruments prior to sterilization. Not recommended for application to piercings. Said to reduce scarring and promote healing in piercings. Great to have in your soap, not so great to apply directly to your piercing. Lethal to cats.
Also known as PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene), it is used for implants and is also available as barbells, these can be very useful when having x-rays. PTFE is also useful where a flexible barbell is needed.
A type of occlusive bandage (see "occlusive bandage")
Third (summary) nipple:
Can be pierced just like the first two nipples.
The ridges that screw together a barbell and its ends. See "internal threading" or "external threading"
A fungal infection on the tongue, can be caused by using too much mouthwash. It can often be cured by simply diluting the mouthwash. Also called candidaisis, a yeast infection of the mouth or oral cavity. Infection of the body with the yeast Candida albicans. Vaginal thrush occurs when the vagina loses its natural acidity, usually as a result of taking antibiotics or from excess use of soap, which is alkaline. Symptoms include itch, white discharge, and pain on intercourse.
A strong very corrosion-resistant white metal. Atomic Number 22. Chemical Symbol “Ti”. Melting point 1675oC. Extensively used in surgical implants because it is chemically inert. Very light weight, hence its use in the aerospace industry. A metallic element that is stronger and lighter than steel and is often used to make body jewellery. A bio-compatible metal used in medical implants and body jewellery. It can be anodized (link to anodized) to add colours.
An oral piercing through the tongue, usually vertically from top to bottom. The wiggly thing in your mouth, made of muscle, that moves food around when you eat.
If you can poke your tongue out of your mouth and hold it between your thumb and finger then it is long enough to be pierced.
A barbell designed for use in tongues to reduce the risk of aspiration. The top ball and the bar are made from one piece of metal. There is no top ball to accidentally loosen and inhale into the lung. The ball that screws on is fitted underneath the tongue.
This piercing is typically placed towards the front and centre of the tongue.
Tongue rim piercing:
This type of piercing is placed on the outer edges of the tongue. Oral piercings located on/near the outer edge of the tongue. Piercings on the lateral aspect of the tongue. Usually done with rings.
The situation where the front of the tongue has reduced mobility because of a very short frenulum connecting the tongue to the floor of the mouth. Usually prohibits piercing of the tongue.
The thin piece of skin that attaches the bottom of your tongue to your mouth.
A piercing through the tragus, the flap of cartilage at the part of your ear closest to your face and cheekbone. The small piece of cartilage at the front of the ear, joining on to your cheek. The prominence of skin-covered cartilage forming the front wall of the ear canal. To find your tragus: first put your index finger in your ear hole - then raise your elbow high - now you can grab your tragus between your finger and thumb.
A piercing passing from the anterior to the posterior surface of the scrotum.
An earlobe piercing passing through the length of the lobe, instead of merely piercing the width of it.
A female genital piercing that:
1. Enters and exits through the clitoral hood
2. Passes posterior to the body of the clitoris
3. And passes anterior to the urethra.
Only suited to persons with a relatively prominent clitoris and adequate hood skin.
Should only be performed by experienced piercers with a good knowledge of anatomy.
A female genital piercing. It is a piercing that travels under the clitoral shaft horizontally. Not all women have the anatomy for this piercing.
A piercing of an "outie" navel, passing through the navel itself instead of the navel rim.
A hollow piece of jewellery similar to an eyelet.
Extremely flexible plastic tubing used mainly for surface piercings.
Ultra violet body jewellery:
UV body jewellery is a strong transparent light weight, heat and cold resistant plastic used especially in oral body piercings.
A device for cleaning surgical instruments and jewellery prior to sterilization.
Consists of a liquid-filled chamber through which high frequency sound waves are transmitted. The sound waves break debris free from the surface of the objects being cleaned.
A collection of blood vessels inside a fibrous sheath that connects the placenta to the foetus in the womb. When a baby is born the umbilical cord is cut and the remainder then shrivels up. The navel or belly button is formed at the point where the umbilical cord used to enter the body.
A large gauge piercing of the outer rim of the ear. Typically done with a dermal punch.
The tube that conducts urine from inside the bladder to the outside world.
In the female exits in the midline between the labia minora inferior to the clitoris and superior to the vagina. In the male usually exits in the centre of the glans penis.
Can conduct piercings in both sexes. See also Hypospadias and Sub-incision.
Ultra-violet light. UV light will make some jewellery emit visible light, so called fluorescence or glowing in the dark.
The extension of the roof of the mouth that hangs down in the midline at the throat.
Piercing here carries a high risk of aspiration.
A tongue piercing off to the side of the tongue, instead of the centre. Usually done in pairs ("venoms")
A vertical surface piercing above the nose on the forehead between the eyes.
A female genital piercing that passes vertically through the clitoral hood.
Two piercings connected with one long piece of jewellery, done vertically.
A labret piercing which instead of being pierced perpendicular to the teeth, is pierced parallel. the bottom ball is in the normal place of a labret, but up through the lip, and the top ball lays on the top of the lip.
This piercing travels top to bottom through the lobe.
This is a piercing that travels from inside the mouth, between the gum and the cheek/lower lip, and exits at the chin.
A piercing of the tragus that goes from top to bottom.
Infection with a virus.
An organism invisible to the microscope consisting of a strand of DNA and a protein coat. Reliant on invading other organisms to reproduce itself. Viruses cause many different diseases in man. Can be transmitted by piercing if unsterile equipment is used. See also Aerosol spread.
A vitamin found in plants especially citrus fruits, tomatoes and green vegetables.
Essential to the healing process. Chemical name Ascorbic acid. Chemical Formula C6H8O6
The fold of skin on the ventral surface between the digits of the hand. The web between the thumb and index finger is commonly pierced. May also refer to the frenum of the tongue, hence “tongue web”.
An alloy of fine gold, fine copper and either palladium or nickel. Because of its high cost the alloy with palladium is usually called “Palladium White Gold”. White gold made with nickel is cheaper, commoner, and will cause problems for people allergic to nickel.
Jewellery made out of wood, typically larger gauge such as plugs.
The pointy piece of cartilage at the inferior aspect of the sternum or breastbone.
Included here simply because the letter “X" would otherwise miss out.
An alloy of fine gold, fine copper and silver. More silver is used than copper, making the colour yellow rather than pink or rose.
A mineral yielding brilliant clear gemstones called cubic zircons" or cubic zirconia.
A cheap alternative to diamond. Chemical formula ZrSiO4.
A bluish white metal. Atomic Number 30. Chemical Symbol “Zn”. Melting point 420oC. Important in the synthesis of collagen which is required for healing piercings.
Available as a supplement in tablet form from drug stores.
316 Low Carbon Steel, also known as surgical steel, is a steel alloy, widely used for body piercings in the United States. It is virtually non-magnetic, does not develop rust and is salt-water-resistant. It is also used for medical devices, etc...
30316L - S30316L:
Identification numbering systems (UNI) used to identify the type of steel. 316L is the old SAE number which then changed to 30316L and later again to S31603.
316 Low Carbon Vacuum Melted Steel. Vacuum melting prevents airborne contamination, resulting in even more consistent form of steel.