My Ear Piercings Experience

3:53 AM

Hey there! 


Thought I'd share my experiences with piercings since I love hearing about other people's, and it's not very easy to find blog posts or videos about other Malaysians sharing their stories in a more in-depth way. 

I get piercings because I want to mark my birthdays (21.01.97 - the usual milestones like 18th or 21st) or specific dates that I like or to note special occasions.  


Here's a Q&A - detailing my piercing experiences.


Ear Piercings Q&A

1. How many piercings do you have and where? (and when did you get them?)


Nine ear piercings
Left: Double lobes, double helix, daith.
Right: Double lobes, single helix, rook.

People tend to think that I only have a lot of piercings on this side because my hair hides the five piercings on my left side 😅

First Lobes:
When: Age 8

Where: Poh Kong Jewelry

Price: Idk, my aunt paid for it HAHA.

With: Gun

Why: It's a bit of a tradition to get them around this age. It's not religious or cultural, it's just that I noticed most of my Chinese friends went to Poh Kong to get their ears pierced at the behest of their mothers or aunts.

Process: Imagine two people holding piercing guns at your sides, counting down and shooting at the same time. Yup, that's what it was like. Was in shock for a whole day after it happened because I was traumatized by the sound. They managed to pierce it evenly though. 

Aftermath: Had mild infection (stupid butterfly backs that lets bacteria accumulate) and it got irritated sometimes. Kept them in for 3 years, they didn't close up when I didn't wear earrings for the next 2-3 years.

Second Lobes:
When: 15 

Where First: Tomei Jewelry store 

Price: RM 10-15

How: One side by one side, with gun and me shaking and trying not to scream.

But Then: Pretty damn crooked piercings. Got them with my friends, one friend's piercings' positions were so far off, she took them out and let them close. Mine got infected badly so I decided to let the piercings close up after doing my best to get the pus out and disinfect them.

Then Where: By SS teacher who was an ex-jeweler with a piercing gun.

Healing Process: It got infected again, but not as badly so I waited it out and it healed. Still crooked but holes didn't close up so I let them be.

After Few Years: I stretched them out from 20g to 16g (jewelry thickness) to straighten them out. It was so itchy and a bit swollen for the first few days, but it got better after that. I kept them in for a little over 3 months and they've straightened out now. 

Though: I'd recommend going to the piercer and getting a taper to put in the thicker jewelry because 1. it's not easy to do by yourself 2. it does hurt when you try.


Single Helix:


(Taken right after getting pierced)
(Side view) 
(Front view)


When: 18th birthday - 21.01.2015

Jewelry: Circular barbell. 

Process: The painful part was when the piercer was twisting the jewelry around to put it inside, otherwise it was bearable. I did feel the needle going in, but only for a bit. 

Pain level: 4.5/10

Price: (2015) I paid RM 85 for the piercing itself+ an extra RM 19 to upgrade my jewelry to fancier cubic zirconia barbells. Total: RM 104. 

Right After: For the first hour or so, my ear felt like it was burning until my friends convinced me to eat something cold (ice cream) and surprisingly, it did reduce the burning sensation.

Healing process: Got irritation bumps every now and then. Reason for that: circular jewelry moves around a lot which aggravates the fresh piercing. It also gets caught in everything from your hair to your clothes to other people's clothes when they hug you too tightly. I also asked for a higher positioning on the ear, so it did get irritated by my spectacles.

Treatment: Switch to straight jewelry (labrets/straight barbells) 

But: I didn't do that because the bumps didn't bother me that much, I was afraid of setting back the healing, and scared of how painful it'd be to change it out (don't do what I did, lol). It took me about 18 months to completely heal the piercing, even then I waited another 6-8 months before changing them on my own because I wasn't used to touching the upper part of my ear.



Double Helix:

(Closeup) 

When: 21st birthday - 21.01.2018

Jewelry: Labret studs (flatbacks) 

Process: Since the jewelry is straight, it can be effortlessly inserted along with the needle and they just have to screw on the end(s) of it. I actually asked if the needle had gone in yet because I didn't feel anything.

Pain scale: 0.5/10 (cause numbing spray)

Price: (2018) I upgraded my jewelry to cubic zirconia surgical steel labrets. RM 50 for both, and paid RM 180 for both piercings. Total: RM 230.

After: Did not experience any issues besides some minor bleeding and temporary irritation bumps (which is common with helix piercings due to it being located on the outer ridge of the ear). Usual itchiness and crusties while it was healing.

Thoughts: I barely remember having the piercings because I don't feel anything at all. My hair is also much shorter than it used to be so it doesn't get caught on the studs and I'm careful when I put on or take off my glasses/clothes. 


Currently: No issues, but I still clean it everyday with sterile saline solution (wound wash) because it's not fully healed yet at 8 months. 


Rook Piercing

When: 8 August 2018

Why: Because I liked the date 8.8.18 😂

Jewelry: Curved barbell

Process: Hurt more because it's a curved barbell which means the piercer has to angle it slightly to get it in and then screw on the top and bottom ends. Also piercing is in a tricky position, since I have small ears. 

Pain level: 5/10.

Price: I chose a cubic zirconia surgical steel barbell for RM 28 + the piercing was RM 130. I switched to a plain titanium barbell six days later for RM 38. Total: RM 196.




Aftermath:

Day 1: No issues. 

Day 2: I noticed a slight swelling.

Day 3: Woke up and my ear was even more swollen than before. It was super red, leaking lymph fluid and hurt to touch. The lymph node next to my ear hurt like hell too. Started taking painkillers to deal with it.

Day 4: Accidentally slept on it the night before and it got so extremely swollen, it scared me to death. I kept worrying that my ear would be deformed for the rest of my life and felt like crying at the thought of it.

Day 5: Finally contacted the piercer who initially advised me to retire the piercing, then told me how to care for it (Use antiseptic cream, do saline soaks) and gave an alternative suggestion to have the jewelry changed to a longer titanium barbell. I suspected that it was a jewelry allergy.

Day 6: Went to Attic's to have it looked at and switch the jewelry. My ear was so swollen, it took forever to take the jewelry out and put a new barbell in. It also hurt like hell. Felt like someone moving a knife inside a wound. I was clenching my teeth, feeling slightly dizzy, shaking a little and grabbing onto my bag tightly. I flinched when she tried to tighten the jewelry. And breathe a sigh of relief and wiped my watery eyes when it was all over. I did almost instantly feel better afterwards though. The longer barbell gave the piercing more room to swell and the tension was gone. 

It's been about 5 days since then, and my ear is mostly back to normal now (like in photo 2 of the collage). No more pain, only the usual itchiness and crusties that come with the healing process. It still looks a little swollen but rook piercings tend to swell up more than most in the early stages of healing. 

Lesson: Different parts of your ear reacts differently. I never had any issue with implant grade surgical steel in my other piercings, but I reacted quickly and intensely with my rook piercing. I guess, to be safe, just go for implant grade titanium right off the bat, so you don't have to deal with the pain, cost and fear later. Allergies can actually develop later on, if you have repeated exposure to the potential allergen so just be wary. If your piercing turns red and swollen without discharge, it's not an infection, it's an allergy. 


Switched to a titanium opal curved barbell at Spec Body Art 😻

Price: RM 80 (Opal) + RM 80 (Curved barbell)

I know it's pricey, but this is implant grade jewelry so it's worth it, imo.


Daith Piercing
(Bad lighting, but it was cloudy af that day)

When: 25 September 2018

Why: I was writing an article about piercings, and decided to get my daith sooner rather than later. 

Jewelry: Titanium heart.

Process: Felt like a long pinch with a lot of pressure. Only hurt for a few seconds when the needle was inserted, but the process was over very quickly.

Pain level: 5/10.


Price: RM 120 for the piercing :)


Done at Spec Body Art.

Aftermath: 

The day after, I forgot the piercing was there, and absentmindedly put on my earbuds like I normally would. It wasn't very painful, but it bled like crazy and kept trickling blood for the next two days randomly. After that cleared up, I haven't had any issues with it since.


2. Do you regret any of your piercings?
- No. I always wanted more than the standard set of lobe piercings. I do regret piercing my lobes with a gun, but at that time, I didn't know what a real piercing needle was (I assumed it was like a sewing needle cause I know people who DIY-ed it like that) and I probably wouldn't have been able to afford it at 15. 


3. What was your most painful piercing?
- Repiercing my second lobe piercings hurt because even though the previous piercings were healed, there was a lot of scar tissue. Not to mention the repeated infections I had for almost a year... agh. 



4. Would you get another piercing and if so, where?
- I found out about the curated ear trend a while back and started browsing through lots of inspiration posts on Instagram, Youtube, Reddit and Pinterest. I'm considering triple lobes, triple forward helixes, a conch and a daith. Just not sure which setup I should go for.



Curated ears ideas :D


Conch: Depending on anatomy, it can be difficult or nearly impossible to wear earbuds since the jewelry gets in the way., but it's mostly okay to wear after the initial healing period (1-3 months) but still have to be careful until it's completely healed. The back of the piercing is prone to bumps, getting caught in hair and gets irritated by spectacles. It's also located in the thickest part of the cartilage which makes it more likely for it to hurt more when I get pierced.


The forward helixes and third lobe piercings are just complementary ones that I'd do if I want more than 11 piercings in the future. The all helix design on my left ear is my fallback plan if I chicken out and decide not to get my daith or conch pierced.

Getting piercings is addictive. You would think that after the horrendous first week I suffered with my rook piercing that I'll never do it again, but the moment it settled down, I started thinking about the spaces I could fill on my ears 😂 It's gonna be crazy expensive when I finally have the coins to buy high quality jewelry like BVLA, Industrial Strength and Maria Tash. RIP wallet.



5. What do my piercings represent?
First lobe piercings: Fun, really. Besides that, for a somewhat tomboyish girl, growing up, jewelry was one of the few feminine things that I enjoyed. And I like sparkly stuff.

Second lobe piercings:  Time with my best friends when we were excitable, loud and adventurous. It was also a bonding experience since we all suffered together, HAHA.

Single helix piercing: Coming of age - 18th birthday. It marked the uncertainty of the next step in life I was about to take and a memento of who I was.

Double helix piercings: Marks another milestone on my 21st birthday. The "Oh shit, I'm an adult but I don't feel like it" moment.

Rook piercing: Me being more spontaneous for once, instead of waiting months or years to get a piercing I want.



6. What are the upsides or downsides of having piercings?

Pros: 
  • It fits my vibe and personality.
  • Curating piercings is fun.
  • I can use all the fancy expensive body jewelry..when I can afford it.
Cons: 
  • Not being able to sleep on my side while it's healing.
  • Expensive, if you do it right.
  • Hurts when I accidentally touch it or if someone hugs me suddenly and squeezes me tightly when it's still healing.
  • Irritation bumps might occur


7. Your opinion about piercings.
Growing up in an Asian society, I was always told that excessive piercings are unnecessary or made people look wild/gangster/etc.

I used to admire my Indian kindergarten teachers' nose piercings because they always seem to wear the coolest gold studs with interesting shapes and designs. 

Then Pinterest/Weheartit/Tumblr happened and Idiscovered all the different types of piercings that exist. That's when I fell in love.

My opinion in body modification is just that everyone has a right to choose what to do with their own body (bodily autonomy) and I hate people who are judgmental or critical of the choices that people make just because they don't agree with it. 

I don't like several types of piercings or tattoos, but I respect people's rights and preferences so I don't think too much of it when people have them.


Anyway, that's all for now :)


Till next time!


Related Posts:

Guide To Piercings

Malaysian Piercing Parlors Review

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10 comments

  1. Hi there Lyn! I'm planning to get my helix done this month, (also marking my 21st birthday) ;) and I'm in a dilemma choosing between Attic and Dragonfly. The last time I went to Attic (both at 1 utama and Pyramid) the piercers looked like foreigners -no hate against foreigners tho- just questioning their credibiility and hygiene level. P.S. I'm a really paranoid person. Did you have yours done by them too?

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    1. Hey sorry for the late reply :( I didn't see your comment earlier! My two cents (assuming you haven't gone to get pierced yet haha) - I have never gotten pierced at Dragonfly's but I've heard that their tattoos aren't as good as other tattoo parlors which makes me question how good the piercings would be. I've been to Attic's for most of my piercings, and they've consistently done a good job with the placement of the piercing, keeping up to date with aftercare advice (following the Association of Professional Piercers guidelines)and my piercings have healed or are healing without any issues (besides the usual irritation bumps from having glasses and hair). If you have any issues with yours, you can always go back for a free checkup or DM them on Instagram to ask for advice on what to do. I'd suggest getting pierced with a titanium labret or straight barbell for easier healing :) Hope this helps!

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    2. Also forgot to add that they do sanitize everything, and if you have any concerns, feel free to ask them about it :)

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    3. Hey! No worries at all! I'm getting them this Wed, so you were just on time, thank you so much for your advice. Fingers crossed! Also is there an additional price for the titanium labret and straight barbell?

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    4. That's good :) You're welcome! Yeah, it'll cost an extra RM30ish or more depending on the style you choose. Try asking them on Instagram about how much it'll cost before you go there :)

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  3. Hi Lynn, which cleaning solution will u recommend? I just got my Helix piercing hours ago (by gun) and now only notice need aftercare cleaning. My last lobe piercings easily 20 yrs ago. Suddenly impulse piercing so not ready with aftercare. Hopefully u can help recommend. Tq

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    1. Hey Carmen, first suggestion is to clean (don't touch!) it with warm water when you're in the shower. I also suggest buying the Rinscap Saline Solution, you can find it on Shopee and it's not expensive :) Only need to spray 1-2 times a day. Hope this helps!

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    2. Thanks Lyn. Currently I wash it with the mixture of sea salt and hot water. Is that OK?

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    3. Hi, yes! But make sure you don't use too much salt because it'll dry out your ear and irritate it :)

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