The Piercing Bible: The Definitive Guide to Safe Body Piercing

The Piercing Bible: The Definitive Guide to Safe Body Piercing

by Elayne Angel

NOOK Book(eBook)

View All Available Formats & Editions

Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps.
WANT A NOOK?  Explore Now


Piercing pioneer Elayne Angel has performed over 40,000 piercings since the 1980s and has brought many practices, such as tongue-piercing, into the mainstream. She brings her exhaustive knowledge to this groundbreaking manual that covers everything you need to know about the process, including:

• The best piercings and placements for various body parts and body types
• Terminology, tools, and techniques of the trade
• Vital sterility, sanitation, and hygiene information
• Jewelry designs, shapes, and materials
• Advice for people with stretch marks, plastic surgery, and unique anatomy
• Healing, aftercare, and troubleshooting for problem-free piercing

"As a piercer, nurse, and educator, I can say without a doubt that this is the most complete book ever written for all people in our industry."

"No one is more qualified to write this book than Elayne Angel. With more than three decades of personal experience to her credit, no one knows the subject better."

"This is an exciting book for a field that has exploded in the last two decades.
National industry standards are needed, and Elayne provides important data."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307777911
Publisher: Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale
Publication date: 02/16/2011
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 599,914
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

ELAYNE ANGEL has been a professional piercer for more than 20 years and has performed over 40,000 piercings. She was awarded the President's Lifetime Achievement Award by the Association of Professional Piercers in 2006 and is a contributing writer for PAIN Magazine. She lives in Merida, Mexico.


Have you ever met a famous person?
I was acquainted with a piercing customer from the Gauntlet in West Hollywood, and later we became fast friends. One day he asked me if I'd go "on tour" with him to be his "tour piercer." Not knowing precisely what I was getting into, I agreed; it sounded like fun. I arrived just in time to watch him at work. From my vantage point on the side of a gigantic stage, I saw a stadium full of 50,000 screaming fans. That was the moment I realized that my friend Lenny (Kravitz) was a famous rock star! During my two-week journey with them, everyone got a piercing at his urging: all the members of his band, his bus driver, sound engineer, motorcycle mechanic, and others in his entourage. He is a huge fan and I have performed many piercings on him. After I pierced his nipples, which he clearly enjoyed, Lenny Kravitz announced, "I wish I had ten nipples so I could have you pierce all of them."

What's the history of your last name?
Because of the large angel wings I have tattooed on my back, many people had taken to calling me "Angel." Eventually I started to use the name myself because it was easy for people to remember after they saw my tattoo.

Do you have any unusual or special family traditions?
My mom loves to give multiple birthday cards. This year she gave me one that made me laugh so hard it almost brought tears to my eyes.
Cover image: a punk-rocker gal with tattoos, piercings, and a spiked Mohawk.
Her dialogue bubble: "Know how to tell you're getting older?"
Inside: "Your nipple rings clang against your belt buckle. Happy Birthday."

Any unusual hobbies?
In my first career, I was as a sign language interpreter at a university. It always surprises deaf people when they find I can communicate with them so well–particularly when they remark on my appearance before becoming aware that I can understand what they're signing.

What do you like to make by hand?
I love to crochet–especially in public. It utterly confuses people to see a heavily tattooed and pierced woman engaged in such a grandma-type craft. I once crocheted a round queen-size bedspread that was a stunning replica of a large pizza.

Read an Excerpt

Introduction: Piercing 101

Whether it fascinates or repels, there is something captivating about hard metal worn through tender flesh. Piercing is thrilling. Literally. The word thrill originates from the Middle English word thrillen, "To perforate by a pointed instrument. Hence, to cause a shivering, throbbing, tingling, or exquisite sensation; to pierce; to penetrate."1 By that account, piercing sounds quite exciting. And so it is! Body piercing is among the most ancient and the most contemporary of practices for ornamenting and customizing the human form.

The Art of Modern Body Piercing

In recent times, body piercing has exploded as a form of personal expression nearly anyone may use to enhance their appearance, self-image, and quality of life. The phenomenon is so pervasive that housewives, police officers, and schoolteachers wear tongue, navel, nipple, and other piercings (although you might never know if they don't tell you). Millions of people are already pierced, and countless more are considering body piercings or have pierced family members, students, or patients. Nowadays, piercing involves much more than a ring through an earlobe. Wherever there is a natural fold or flap of skin, there is a piercing waiting to happen. Multiple piercings all over the body are pervasive, and people are taking the art to an extreme never seen before.

The practice of body piercing is part of a group of activities that include tattooing, scarification, branding, and other body art. These practices are often grouped under the term body modification. The number of possible placements on the body; the array of jewelry styles, sizes, and materials; and the necessary aftercare all distinguish piercing from other types of body modification. Piercing breaks the protective barrier of the skin and leaves a foreign object in the body, so there are risks of infection and other potential dangers. If every aspect is not handled appropriately, complications are more likely.

The rise in the popularity of body piercing has resulted in a proliferation of piercers and jewelry. Some of the products and services are good, but unfortunately many are of very poor quality. Piercing establishments range from inexpensive jewelry kiosks at shopping malls to high-end specialty studios staffed with professional piercers, the latest equipment, and top-quality jewelry. There is a big difference between them! Choosing the right piercer and jewelry dramatically increases your chances for uneventful healing. The relative newness of professional body piercing--it has been widely practiced only since the 1990s--has many ramifications for consumers. There are still no standardized regulations, piercer training, or competency requirements in the United States. At most, local laws mandate hygiene requirements or restrict the piercing of minors. In many cities, however, even these simple regulations do not exist; in others, local laws are not enforced.

The art of body piercing is still evolving, and its practitioners continue to experiment with its limits and possibilities. Debates persist among professional piercers themselves about basic aspects of the craft, such as the use of tools and regimens for aftercare. The information in this book is intended to distill the most sensible piercing advice available. By educating yourself, you can get a great first--or twentieth--piercing or find the information you need to deal with a bungled job.

How to Use This Book

The Piercing Bible
is primarily directed toward piercees, but it also contains a wealth of information for the parents of children who want to get pierced or are already pierced, teachers who work with pierced students, health-care professionals who deal with pierced patients (whether treating problem piercings or performing unrelated medical procedures), and piercers who want an authoritative reference work or an educational tool for clients.

Part 1 touches on the ancient and modern history of this art form and contains general information about who is getting pierced and what commonly motivates them. The novice piercee should carefully read parts 2 and 3, which provide a rundown on everything that should be taken into consideration when making a decision to get pierced. Part 4 describes each of the most common piercings in detail. Piercees can use it as a reference, and piercers will also find pointers here. This part includes information about jewelry sizes, styles, and piercing placements as well as the techniques I normally use to perform each piercing. Next, part 5 describes basic and alternative aftercare and provides information on troubleshooting healing complications. Part 6 explains the maintenance of healed piercings, describes special situations encountered when living with piercings, and explores advanced practices for healed piercings, including stretching. Finally, part 7 takes a look at the future of body piercing and includes a section on becoming a piercer.

The appendices include "A Piercee's Bill of Rights," a chart of minimum healing times for popular piercings, and a chart for jewelry size conversions (gauge and millimeter). There's also a handy fill-in chart to help you to keep track of your own piercings and jewelry, and a glossary of piercing-related terms.

Why This Book?

Piercing can be dangerous, and it is far more complicated than most people realize. The hazards range from tearing, scarring, migration, and rejection to localized bacterial infections and, though rare, serious infections. Consumers need facts about the risks, choices, and best practices involved. People who interact with piercees also need to be informed about various aspects of piercing. Many myths have persisted, even in academic and medical literature; they are finally dispelled here, too.

Body piercings are often associated with tattoos, and they are frequently performed in the same establishments. However, tattoos are comparatively straightforward; healing is rapid, and there are seldom complications. The same is not true of body piercings. Piercings require special attention during a prolonged period of healing plus regular maintenance once they are healed. There is a baffling array of options for where to pierce, what jewelry to put in the perforation, and how to care for the wound. Many people get the bulk of their "facts" about piercing from the Internet; unfortunately, the Web can be unreliable, offering contradictory information from questionable sources. Countless piercees have experienced needless pain, healing problems, and undesirable outcomes from a lack of sound information.

Will your pierced body part turn green and fall off if you don't follow every rule and guideline in the book? Probably not, but by educating yourself and being conscientious, you will have a much greater chance of having a healthy piercing that heals well, gives you a minimum of trouble, and provides the greatest enjoyment. Admittedly, not every piercee who fails to adhere to sound practices has a terrible catastrophe--but some of them do. This book takes a cautionary tone because the risks are real.

Disclaimers and Sound Advice

The Piercing Bible is deliberately limited in scope to provide detailed, useful information about the most common body piercings. Related subjects such as "play" (temporary) piercings, implants, and suspensions, which are all part of the broader piercing scene, will be touched on only in passing. Tattoos and more extreme forms of body modification, such as scarification, branding, tongue splitting, and so on, will not be addressed.

This book is not an instructional manual on how to perform body piercings on yourself or others. Visit a competent professional piercer for all permanent piercings. If you are interested in becoming a piercer, I urge you to seek out appropriate training under the guidance of an experienced mentor before attempting to do any piercings.

Some piercers exercise poor judgment and lack ethics, so you must maintain your own: never request that a piercing be performed on an animal, anyone who is intoxicated, or any other unsuitable candidate. Read more about the ethics of piercing in "Infant and Child Ear Piercing," page 251.

The Piercing Bible does not cover every possible situation, but it deals with all the areas I'm most frequently asked about. Popular terminology and names for piercings vary by region and change over time. The modern piercing industry is a new and growing field: changes are fast, frequent, and sometimes drastic. I can only present information that is current at the time of publication.

Substantive research studies, statistical analyses, and other definitive resource materials related to modern piercing are in short supply; therefore, the information, practices, and procedures described in this book are largely based on my own extensive, clinical experience. I've integrated industry standards where they exist, but there is still precious little that is truly standard, so my opinions are a primary component of many chapters.

There are few absolutes when it comes to body piercing since each individual is unique. For the sake of accuracy, words such as "frequently," "commonly," "generally," and so on are used throughout.

Finally, and importantly, I am a professional in the field of piercing, not medicine; this book is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. There is no substitute for a hands-on consultation with an experienced piercer or, when needed, the counsel of a health-care provider. This book is intended to support--not replace--the relationships that exist between piercee and piercer or doctor.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction: Piercing 101 1

Part 1 The New Piercing

1 Motivations 6

2 Piercing Past to Present 11

Part 2 Groundwork and Preliminary Considerations

3 Risks, Myths, and Warnings 20

4 Is Piercing Right for You? 28

5 You and Your Piercer 34

Part 3 Piercing Preparation

6 Picking and Preparing 44

7 At the Studio 49

8 Piercing Procedures 56

9 Jewelry 101: Sizes, Shapes, and Materials 65

Part 4 The Holes

10 Holes in Your Head: Ear, Nose, and Facial Piercings 82

11 Kiss of the Needle: Tongue and Oral Piercings 105

12 Torso Piercings: Nipple and Navel Piercings 121

13 Below the Belt: Female and Male Genital Piercings 134

Part 5 Healing and Aftercare

14 Healing 101: Standard Aftercare 180

15 Alternative Aftercare 196

16 Trouble and Troubleshooting 201

Part 6 Living with Your Piercings

17 Upkeep and Stretching 218

18 Advanced Jewelry and Practices 232

19 Special Situations 246

20 Sex! 255

Part 7 Piercing in Modern Culture

21 Piercees and the Establishment 262

22 A Career in Professional Piercing 266

23 The Future of Body Piercing 270

Appendix A A Piercee's Bill of Rights (Association of Professional Piercers) 273

Appendix B My Piercings and Jewelry Chart 274

Appendix C Gauge Conversion Chart 275

Appendix D Minimum Healing Times Chart 276

Notes 277

Glossary 287

Select Bibliography 299

About the Author 301

Index 302

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Piercing Bible 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Knightshade More than 1 year ago
I am trying to become a body piercer. It is a notoriously difficult industry to integrate into. This book not only gives you a deep insight into the industry but also the standards required. It covers everything from the piercing rules, through to the equipment and different jewellery types, also different ways of aftercare and advice on what to do if something does go wrong with your piercing! Elayne also shares some personal stories from her vast experience of the body piercing world. Some are rather amusing, some not so but it makes for a very interesting read! The author also gives both Pro's and Con's to each piercing or jewellery choice, which is thorough, informative and very well researched. This book is a must for anybody interested in being a piercer or getting a number of piercings!
Tarryn More than 1 year ago
Thank the powers that be for Elayne Angel! Her book, The Piercing Bible, is a must-read for anyone considering this art form as a career, anyone thinking of getting pierced, anyone who is already pierced and everyone in-between. Elayne leaves no stone unturned in this thoroughly researched guide to safe body piercing. She delves into the history of piercing and the effect this has had, and will likely have, on many generations, before exploring it in its current form as well as its future possibilities. From deciding what to pierce, to finding an accomplished and conscientious piercer; from hygiene issues to piercing trouble-shooting, Elayne has touched on it all. Being relatively new to the art, I found myself starved for solid, trustworthy information and, with decades of experience under her belt, Elayne shares a wealth of knowledge, dispels many misconceptions and offers sound advice from the effects your new piercing could have on society's perceptions of you to lifestyle changes that might be necessary if you want to live in harmony with your piercing. The book also discusses different jewellery styles and sizes, equipment used during the different procedures, stretching of piercings, retiring of piercings, problems that may arise, and special situations such as breastfeeding and sex that may be compromised, or enhanced, by the piercing. The industry has waited a long time for this book and, after reading it, you might be able to tell your doctor a thing or two about infection control, blood-borne pathogens and cross-contamination.
MamaKandiKane More than 1 year ago
Great book! I wish it had color photos! But VERY informative and straight forward. Would definitely recommend it for people who want to become piercers or those interested in getting them. Elayne Angel sure knows alot!
Nursing101 More than 1 year ago
As a nurse and soon to be someone getting my first piercing, I found this book to answer all my questions. This was written by a true arties, and love for her work. The advice made me feel comfortable in doing this. WE as nurses read a lot of medical books, and use it to advice our patients, this is the one and only book a would recommend to anyone thinking of getting a piercing. It is clear and gives something no other book does. It gives you the time it will take to recover, what size you will need, care for the site, and so much more. I'm glad I turned to her for my answers. This is well written book, and easy to understand. I give this my highest praise, and feel this book belongs with the best of medical book. Elayne Angel, even the Greek physician Hippocrates who is known as "the father of medicine" would agree, you are a true practitioner. Bravo!
FirefighterKansasCity More than 1 year ago
This is THE best book out there on piercing. Elayne has covered it all. My favorite parts were the descriptions of the piercings and the section on how to locate a competent piercer. She has covered everything from the history of piercing to aftercare. This is a great book to read just for the good information but if you are even considering getting a piercing for the first time or adding to your collection, I strongly urge you to read this book cover to cover. Knowledge is power and there is everything in here to make safe and informed decisions. I would like to thank Elayne for putting the information out there for us!
mya79 More than 1 year ago
"The Piercing Bible" is without doubts the most comprehensive guide about the body piercing world. It is addressed to all kind of piercing lovers: beginner piercees will find useful advices on how to choose the right piercing shop and piercer and how to decide the right position according to one's tastes, anatomy and physical activities; already pierced people will find new alternative tips about aftercare, stretching and different material options; worried parents and doctors will be reassured by one of the most skilled and qualified persons about this topic, she explains to them the real risks about some piercings and what to do in order to avoid them; finally this book can be useful also to body piercers because it thoroughly explains each piercing, how to face any problems, it provides some anatomy rudiments and deals with a professional's ethics. Nearly anyone's question, doubt or myth will be treated, for this reason I would recommend it to every person who is interested in body piercing and wants to know more about this topic.
RN_Los_Angeles More than 1 year ago
The Piercing Bible, Definitive Guide is excellent source. As a RN, I have worked in our emergency department and I prepare patients for surgery. I educate my patients and colleagues regarding body piercing. I have found Elayne Angel to be my educator. Her extensive knowledge and professionalism have given me the tools to better teach others. I quote from her book, and try to help remove the stigma associated with people who choose to adorn their bodies. I HIGHLY recommend this book to ALL, but also encourage my fellow healthcare professionals to be informed!
jwhite0520 More than 1 year ago
I had ended up buying this book after reading about the princess diana piercing. I found it to be very informative and have read it from cover to cover.... It is very well written and helpful for piercees of all ages and experiences. I also highly recommend this book if you are uncertain or thinking of an unusual piercing... 5 stars!
windance10 More than 1 year ago
this is a must have for those who take piercings seriously, as well as a guide for the professional piercer.If you want to understand the dynamics of the whole piercing process, then this is the book for you. Varies as a guidance book which provides some history of various piercings as well as what to expect before , during and after.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Elayne Angel has written the kind of book most specialists only dream of writing, that is a ground breaking and "first of it's kind" book that documents everything you need to know about a this case Body Piercing. Elayne's clear straight forward approach is easy to read and provides a comprehensive review of the art of Body Piercing. Within these pages you will discover the history, psychology and physiology of body piercing. From the casual observer to the most experienced technician this book will give you clear and thorough answers to all of your questions. If you are considering your first piercing or if you have several you will find something in this book to help you and your understanding. With a dramatic increase in body piercing over the past two decades this book is destined to please many more people who are consumers and technicians in the body piercing market. You owe to yourself to read this book if you are even mildly interested in this subject.
Carrie-Cross More than 1 year ago
The Piercing Bible is a fascinating book, even for those people like me who have never considered getting a body piercing. Elayne Angel deftly teaches the reader about every aspect of piercing from its origins in ancient times to its general acceptance today. You will learn how to decide on a piercing, what style of jewelry is appropriate, what to expect from a piercing studio--and how to avoid the bad ones! Aftercare is discussed in detail to assure your piercing will not migrate or become infected. I read the book from cover to cover and thoroughly enjoyed it. I'd recommend this excellent read to anyone, even if they are not getting a piercing; it's mandatory reading for anyone who plans to be pierced! ~ Author Carrie Cross
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
juanpablofernandez More than 1 year ago
It's amazing .... for piercing lovers of course
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book for any body piercer regardless of experience or anyone looking for in depth information on piercing!
Tex13isH More than 1 year ago
I would definitely recommend this book for pierced individuals & those contemplating a piercing (or several). Elayne goes into detail about each part of the process, including the emotional aspect as well as physical. Even goes on to address the insecurities one might have in getting a piercing. I have been able to refer to this book for information about different types of piercings, the healing process of certain piercings, etc.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dear Miss Elayne Angel, I realize you must get this a lot, as we 'modified' folk hold you in such high reguard, but thank you very much for your book, "The Piercing Bible". It's made my experiences getting pierced liberating, educated, and empowering. I feel SO much more confident with the decisions I've made because of your shared knowledge. I want to thank you again and again for your time and effort in the industry, and your willingness to spread the word, and celebrate self expression. A big fan. I hope to follow your adventures wherever they may take you :)
Diamonddesigns More than 1 year ago
Elayne has taken her years of experience and wisdom and painted a wonderful portrait of the world of Piercing and all it contains. This book is very vital for the piecing enthusiast.
HayleyS More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed reading "The Piercing Bible" and I constantly refer back to it whenever a question in my mind arises about anything regarding piercings as it is a great resource to me. My background as a Piercing Apprentice has taught me many things, but having this book has helped me to understand even more all the details that go into each type of piercing available as all subjects are well covered. This book is easy to read, follow and understand whether you are just starting to explore the world of Body Modification or have been exposed to it for years. It is complete with illustrations and detailed explanations of the types of piercings for all parts of the body for both Male and Female. Included with each piercing description is details of what to expect from a Piercer if you're going to be pierced, which is an excellent guide for anyone who might be confused or worried about what the proper procedures are. This is a book that you will find yourself referring to over and over again for answers to questions about any piercing you want to get or already have. Highly recommended!
Johnny_T More than 1 year ago
Like the headline said, it is the best! I have been piercing for three years and i thought i knew a lot, but i recently picked up this book and it open a whole new world for me! If you like body art it is an amazing book to read and if you are learning how to perform body art then it is a must have! I have introduced all of my co-workers, friends and family to this book and all of them agree that it is great!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
the book is the better ones i have read in a while. i wish you sold more books on body piercing and tattooing