Piercings may be witnessed as an act of style statement today, but it has been symbolic of much more. From the bold lip piercing to the effective daith piercing, the evolution of the fad has its origins in socio-historical roots.
Did you know that the first record of piercings dates back 5000 years? Piercings were originally symbolic, of wealth, social status and cultural beliefs. In some parts of the world, piercings are the necessary body modifications. Even today, several cultural groups continue to pierce their bodies following a ritualistic belief.
Piercing History: Getting back to roots
Of all the popular piercings, nose and ear piercings remain prevalent even today. Experts unearthed a mummified remain with ear piercings dating back 5000 years. Historians found evidence of ear piercing in a 1500 BC discovery. Several African and American findings also showed signs of lip piercings as a popular practice among the people. Many cultures also included nipple and genital piercings as a prevalent tribal practice. These were especially popular in ancient India and Rome.
So, if you believed that your next-door punk rockers were the fad starters for piercings, you are wrong! Piercings existed for centuries and are only getting modified or replicated today. While most modern piercings are ranging out of a fashion trend, there are cultural groups still following bizarre piercing practices.
New York piercing artist Maria Tash has been piercing your favorite celebrities for years. A leading pioneer in fine jewelry and luxury piercing, Tash caters to a host of celebrities from Rihanna to Blake Lively and Jennifer Lawrence. But where do artists like Tash draw inspiration from?
The Maasai are popular for their bold piercings and colorful culture. These nomads from Kenya and Tanzania have practiced extreme body modifications for years. Keeping aside issues of socio-political debates surrounding the patriarchal Maasai, their culture continues to garner interest. If you are a lover of Nat Geo's cultural programs, you might have come across videos of the Maasai's body modifications and piercings. You think your daith piercing hurts, well, think again! Stretching earlobes is a common Maasai tradition, especially among women. This has served as the inspiration for the new stretched ear piercing practice. The practice involves stretching a standard lobe piercing into a bigger size.
Popularity over different eras
Famous Linkin Park vocalist, Chester Bennington has influenced many with his stretched earlobes. Even Lil Wayne and Adam Lambert were followers of this cultural fad.
But the Maasai are not the only one. The ancient Egyptians also practiced the art of stretching ear lobes. However, only the Pharaoh was allowed to have a naval piercing as a mark of distinction. The Egyptians followed piercing as a mark of displaying wealth. The contemporary naval piercing seems to have its origin in Egypt, the pioneer of belly piercings. However, it was Alicia Silverstone who popularized the piercing by sporting it in the Aerosmith Cryin' video.
So, Julius Caesar, the historical dictator, had a pierced nipple! For the Romans, piercing nipples were a sign of strength. Considered a badge of honor, Romans would do this as a tribute to the empire. Caesar himself had pierced nipples and encouraged the act as a show of unity and strength among his men. Strong piercing game? One point to the Romans!
Daith Piercing as migraine cure
Ear piercings are making a comeback! Yes, the humble lobe piercing has undergone a fancy makeover and is making splashes across the globe. From your favorite superstars to your best friend, the ear-piercing trend has taken the world by storm. The best part- it's gender flexible! Men and women are equally adept in getting their ears pierced to keep up with the trend.
Daith piercing, it seems is the latest craze with several celebrities also adopting the look. Kylie Jenner got hers in 2014. Daith piercing involves shooting the inner cartilage of your ear with a piece of jewelry. Bella Thorne and Zoë Kravitz were also sported rocking the pierced look.
Does daith piercing hurt? Yes, it does. But, it hurts just like any other cartilage piercing and, the risks involved are more or less the same. Apart from making a trend due to its high-fashion statement, daith piercing is also being adopted to cure migraines.
Did someone prescribe fashion as a cure? Surprisingly, daith piercing is believed to cure migraine pains. Seen as an alternative to acupuncture, this 'long-term' solution is apparently effective against migraine pains. People opting for daith piercings as a relief, are amongst those who found relief in acupuncture. However, no conclusive medical evidence has yet been found to correspond to this belief.
How to care for your daith piercing
Daith piercing is one of the most intricate piercings and requires an expert hand. Since it is so difficult, practitioners usually charge more for daith piercings as compared to other piercings. That's the price you pay for standing out from the crowd! A single side piercing can cost anywhere between $50 and $100 depending on the salon, artist and stud used.
Like other ear piercings, daith piercings are also more prone to infections. Since, these are usually exposed as opposed to say a naval piercing, the chances of contamination are more.
You should know that it usually takes 4-12 months to heal. Yes, that long! But depending on your body's healing capacity and the care you bestow, your daith piercing will heal in no time. But, no less than 4 months should you try your way around it.
Steps to take care
The first thing to keep in mind before getting a daith piercing is having patience. Don't try to force a new ring into your piercing just because you 'feel like it.' Let it heal. Your practitioner will guide you on the steps to properly healing your piercing. However, you can always follow these common steps:
- Clean the wound regularly with clean cotton soaked in saline solution. It will disinfect the area and keep it clean. To clean, dab gently with the wet cotton ball.
- Pat the area clean with a new paper towel. Take a fresh one out of the packet for this step. Avoid using paper towels from the washroom, kitchen or even your makeup kit.
- Keep your ear free of wax. You may use a doctor-approved solution to keep your ear clean.
Tips for keeping your daith piercing clean
Apart from your daily care, it is imperative to remember that make-up is a strict no-no. Try not to match your facial shade with your ear for a while. Keep any type of make-up, perfume or facial mist away from the unhealed piercing.
It is also important to protect your new piercing from harsh shampoos and conditioners. Does that mean goodbye to good hair? No, just opt for mild water-based shampoos with lesser chemicals. You can go for baby shampoos too if that works well for your hair.
Change your pillow cover regularly to avoid contamination from dandruff and bacteria.
Also, try to text more and call less. As laughable as it sounds, phones are one of the greatest sources of germs and can be a potent source of bacterial infection. Clean your ear gently after using the phone or earphones.
Avoid accessories that can get tangled in the piercing. A fair warning- it hurts!
What is the best jewelry for daith piercing?
So, you braved the needles and got your first daith piercing. The primary step is to let it heal. The steps to taking care of your daith piercing are already mentioned above.
While the stud is a favorite for many of the ear piercings, the ring is suggested for the daith. There are different types of jewelry for your daith piercing and, it can get challenging. If you have got the piercing, chances are of you being the bold one. You are unique; flaunt your vivid personality while choosing the adornment for your new piercing.
If you like to keep it simple, go for the daith hoops. These simple rings will complement every style and lend you a sophisticated yet daring look. If your daith piercing is still in the process of healing, it's best to go with the hoops.
Clicked stone rings
One for the bling lover, the clicked stone rings is simple to wear. These are adorned with colorful stones and can be quite decorative. You can get them in different shapes, like the flower or butterfly adorned with precious or semi-precious stones. You can easily get these coordinated with your outfits to flaunt the rocker chick look.
Kylie Jenner sported the heart-shaped daith with much glamour. The heart-shaped ring is for the dreamy ones. It gently adorns the curves of your ear to give you a soft yet appealing look.
Daith barbell jewelry
The barbell is a clear favorite when it comes to piercings. There is the straight barbell, the curved one and even the circular one. Select one that suits you best and rock your daith piercing. However, it is best left for healed piercings. Don't try to force the barbell on a fresh piercing.
Things you should know about your daith piercing
Daith piercing can only be done with a needle. Gunshots do not work on this one and, given its awkward position, this one is tricky. It was Erik Dakota who popularized the piercing and lent it the cult status. Dakota experimented with different piercing practices and finally gave shape to the daith piercing as we know it today. The piercing is done with a hollowed 16 gauge needle to get the job done. The needle is curved to get through the tough area, demanding flawless expertise. Since the cartilage is much tougher than the earlobe, it hurts more than your standard earlobe piercing.
Before getting any piercing, try not to intake much caffeine. It can cause the blood to thin while enhancing the chances of bruising and pain. For the same reason, it is advised to stay away from alcohol before the procedure. Having a shot may seem like a possible boldness booster but, it ultimately only adds to the pain. Remember to eat light before you head towards the piercing salon. Going on an empty stomach is better avoided.
After getting the piercing, do not sleep on the side of the piercing. It may put unwanted pressure on the unhealed piercing, causing it to swell. Post the procedure, the area may remain dull and sensitive for a few weeks. It is normal, so just continue with your post-procedural measures and, you will be all set.
Risks of piercings
The first thing is to select a trustworthy salon for the procedure. Go to Yelp and seek help. Los Angeles and NYC have been listed as the top destinations for getting piercings done. According to Yelp, here are some of the top piercing addresses in LA:
- Studio City Tattoo- 11032 Ventura Blvd, Studio City
- Envy Body Piercing- 2615 West 190th
- Ancient Adornments Body Piercing- 8424 Santa Monica Blvd
- Aesthetic Ambition Piercing and Fine Jewelry- 116 Washington Blvd, Venice
- Body Art & Soul Tattoo- 2815 W Sunset Blvd, Silver Lake
- Atomic Tattoo & Body Piercing- 5903 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood
According to TimeOut, the best piercing salons in NYC are:
- True Expression Studio- Midtown West
- Iris Piercing Studio and Jewelry Gallery- Williamsburg
- Pure Body Arts- Soho
- Harlem Hype Tattoo & Body Piercing- Harlem
- The Gilded Grape- Brooklyn
- The End Is Near- South Slope
Once you have finalized a salon, it's best to talk to the piercing artist about your expectations. It's always better to ask questions before than regret later! Pick someone you trust and ensure that fresh needles are being used.
Sometimes, the body rejects piercings or there can be signs of minor infections. Do not hesitate to consult a dermatologist in such a case. If irritation persists after three weeks, reach out to a doctor.
Also, avoid using thick creams on or around the daith piercing unless instructed specifically by your practitioner. It blocks the pierced area and slows down the healing process.
Now, that you are ready to make a fashion statement, remember to follow up on your favorite stars and their daith piercings for some inspiration.