In ancient Egypt, piercings were a sign of one’s wealth, religious beliefs and social status. However, you may be surprised to find that the history of piercings runs even deeper than that. In fact, piercings make appearances throughout history, from the Victorian era to the 90’s music scene.
Read on the learn more about the history of piercings and where it all began.
The History of Piercings
While the trend has evolved into an aesthetic donned by posters and tattoo artists, the original piercings date back over 5,300 years ago. After being discovered by two tourists in 1991, the body of Otzi (one of the oldest mummies on record) exhibited the oldest example of piercings ever witnessed.
Two holes gauged into his ears, measuring roughly 7-11 mm in diameter. While this isn’t the first sign of piercings in history, dating back to 3,000 BC it has certainly been the oldest. While there is some speculation that Otzi may have been a member of royalty, there’s no telling whether his piercing was unique to him during this time.
Piercings in Different Cultures
In addition to how far back it dates, another interesting aspect of piercing is that it’s one of the few similarities that appear in cultures throughout the globe. Both piercing and tattooing have held a strong cultural significance that varies from country to country.
In some instances, having a piercing in one ear versus the other is an indication of sexual preference. While in other cultures, a piercing represents coming into manhood, as the gradual stretching of that piercing represents moving up within their community.
Myths About Piercings
It’s easy to see how, after being around for 5,300 years and being done in countless cultures, a number of myths about piercings would arise. What is shocking, however, is how many of these myths are still believed today. Some of these myths include:
“Piercings are temporary”
Unless the bar or ring is removed very soon after the piercing takes place, that piercing is permanent. In some cases, they may not even close. In the event that they do close, you will still have the scar for life.
“Nipple piercings can prevent breastfeeding”
While it is true that nipple piercings can create some scarring, there is ultimately no reason why a nipple piercing should interfere with breastfeeding.
“Unusual piercings heal more slowly than others”
The truth is, your body has no idea what society considers a “normal” piercing or an “unusual” piercing. Everyone’s skin heals at a different rate, but the location of the piercing won’t play a major factor in that.
“Piercing ears is easy”
How many times have you heard about the whole ice cube/needle technique for “at home” piercings? Not only will this likely lead to an unsightly hole that can be larger or uneven than the other side, but there’s also a high risk of infection and nerve damage.
“Ointments help the healing process”
If you’re waiting for a piercing to heal, this is one myth to get straight right away. Not only will an ointment not speed up the process, but it can actually slow it down. Anyone trying to sell you one under the pretense that it works is just trying to make a fast buck.
“If a hole closes you can pierce it again”
If a hole closes, consider it your body trying to send you a message. Once a whole has closed, scar tissue now resides where the piercing once was. This means attempting to pierce the same spot again can easily lead to a bacterial infection and a fistula can occur.
Type of Piercings
If you are only familiar with the traditional ear piercing, you may be surprised to learn about the wide variety of piercings that are available. It’s safe to say that these days, you can get anything pierced.
In fact, there are thirteen different types of piercings for your ear alone (not including the traditional piercing)! These piercings include:
- The Rook
- The Forward Helix
- The Daith
- The Tragus
- The Inner Conch
- The Anti-Tragus
- The Transverse Lobe
- The Helix
- The Industrial
- The Snug
- The Orbital
- The Butter Conch
- The Upper Lobe
- The Standard Lobe
Where to Get Piercings
While getting ears pierced at the mall has been a trend for quite some time, it’s important to know that there is a higher risk of infection when choosing to go this route. That’s because most of the people doing piercings in the mall have not been trained to properly do so.
Your best bet is to go with a reliable tattoo shop with a strong sanitation process. The longer they take to set up for your piercing the better off you’ll be! It may also help to bring in your own ring when you get your piercing, to ensure it’s quality.
We suggest taking the time to learn more about the best type of body jewelry for first-time piercings.
Caring for Your Piercings
Once you’ve had your piercing done, it’s your job to stay on top of its care and maintenance throughout the healing process. At this point, it doesn’t matter how good of a piercing job was done, if you don’t take the necessary steps it could lead to infection and complications.
To care for your piercing, try the following steps:
- Try and keep a healthy diet to give your body the nutrients and energy it needs for the healing process.
- Make cleaning your hands with soap and water a habit before ever handling your piercing.
- Only turn your piercing when it’s wet.
- Use saline water to clean the piercing twice a day
What to Look Out for
One of the most important steps in maintaining your piercing is knowing what to look for if something goes wrong. If you notice symptoms that suggest an infection is occurring, don’t be stubborn. Remove the piercing and seek medical advise immediately, as such an infection can lead to much larger problems.
Signs of infection may Include:
- Red or swollen skin around the piercing site
- Feeling a sharp pain at the slightest touch
- A thick, yellow or green discharge where the piercing occurred
- A persistent fever
Enjoy Your Piercing
Knowing the facts, culture, and the history of piercings is all a part of appreciating them for what they truly are: a form of expression. If you have an eye on a specific piercing style, we suggest diving into reviews and learning all you can before getting it for best results.
Of course, you can always find a plethora of health and beauty information right here on our site!