Like tattoos, body piercing continues to be a popular method of body modification. The piercing subculture extends far and wide, crossing societal and gender divisions alike. For women, certain popular piercings can be used as a form of external beautification, personal enhancement or just to make a statement.
Since the 1990s, the pierced belly button has been a popular look among the female population, especially after the MTV generation watched Alicia Silverstone get pierced in an Aerosmith video. When done by a professional, a pierced navel typically takes between six months and one year to heal. By cleaning the piercing with antibacterial soap and treating it with a saline solution, the healing process can proceed without incident. It is not recommended to go above or below a jewelry gauge of 14.
While facial piercings are a unisex trend, there are some areas that tend to be more popular for women. These include:
- Eyebrow - Nose - Corner of mouth, above lip (known as a Monroe) - Cheeks - Center of bottom lip (known as an angel kiss)
Facial piercings take between two and six months to heal. When piercing the mouth or cheeks, it is important to rinse with antibacterial mouthwash and saline rinse during the healing phase. Pain can easily be relieved with over-the-counter medications, and swelling can be eased by eating ice or popsicles.
Nipples can be pierced through at any angle. Typically, the preferred angles are horizontal or vertical. The most common types of jewelry used are short barbells, captive bead rings and nipple shields. Healing time for nipple piercings can depend on the size of the nipple itself, but typically does not last longer than six months. Gold-plated or silver jewelry should be avoided for nipple piercings, as they can cause permanent discoloration of the skin.
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Heather Clark is a professional writer with a bachelor's degree in communications from Austin Peay State University, where she was a features writer for the "AllState" campus newspaper. In addition to being a contributor for various websites, she is also a full-time staff writer/photographer for the "Courier," the U.S. Army news publication for Fort Campbell, Ky.