Friday, February 17, 2017

My dermal punch experience

A month ago, I went in to check about my idea for a dermal punch: a 4mm low helix punch. My piercer discussed the placement, and let me know that he would punch at 5mm, then downsize to 4mm after 10 days to help the healing process. He told me to eat a good meal an hour beforehand to get my blood sugar up, which would help with swelling and bleeding.

I'm really curious about body modifications, especially piercings, so I probably encountered the idea of dermal punches about a decade ago. Prior to getting this done, I read every article, review, and experience I could find online. I found descriptions of people saying it was the most painful thing ever, to someone saying their conch punch didn't hurt that much; some people bled for hours, some people had a headache for ages, etc. I ended up preparing myself for lots of blood and pain.

Fast forward to today at 17:30: I went in, filled out my form, was quizzed about food (I'd eaten ice-cream and an egg sandwich an hour before, but they were concerned as it didn't seem to be enough food - but I don't eat much as I'm a small person so it was actually enough for me).

I had more questions this time, mainly about pain:
  • Does it hurt more than a rook piercing? (It depends on how that felt, as it's an awkward place.)
  • Compared to a blood test, how much does it hurt? (Not as much, as injections go deeper and through muscle, so it doesn't feel as uncomfortable.)
  • Is it quick? (Yes, as you don't have to pass a needle through.)
  • If my rim and rook piercings didn't bleed much, does that mean this won't bleed much either? (No.)
  • What if I fall over? (He'll catch me.)
I was told to sit up, which surprised me as all of the pictures and videos I've seen online of ear dermal punches had the person lying down. The reasoning behind sitting up was so that the blood doesn't pool in my head, ready to exit my ear - made lots of sense to me, and reinforced why I always go to this piercer - he's truly knowledgeable, experienced, and professional.

I was quite nervous, but he took the time to explain that I should just try to feel it rather than block it out, and think of it as a new feeling that I haven't felt before! I was instructed to take a huge breath in, then breathe out slowly through my mouth. After confirming that he would start, I felt slight sharpness against my ear, then the crunching sound...which ended up sounding more like something slightly solid was being squashed? Everyone else in the room heard it, apparently.

Right after! Yes, I managed to take selfies during it, so maybe that describes the pain level a bit 8D;

Jewelry in!
All cleaned up.

It really wasn't as sore as I thought it would be, considering I had just gotten a chunk of my ear cut out. I did wince a lot, but it felt fine apart from when the jewelry was being put in. It took less than half an hour overall, I sat there for a bit while my piercer mopped up the blood and cleaned my ear. It started tingling and stinging. There wasn't enough blood to drip onto the paper towel on my shoulder. When it was deemed to be ok, I thanked everyone, got an aftercare sheet and extra o-rings, and left. I was instructed to rinse it with cool water after 3 days, make sure I can move it back and forth (gently, of course), then clean it with sea salt solution. Then come back after 10 - 14 days to downsize. I asked about what to do when it bleeds, and was told to try to calm down and relax, and it would stop by itself - rather than putting gauze on it, which I'd read online.

I wasn't allowed to take the chunk of cartilage with me due to health and safety rules, which I completely agree with. I wasn't planning to eat it, which seems to be a tradition.

The piece of cartilage that was punched out.

HOWEVER, after I left and was walking down the street, it started to throb and swell...and my boyfriend told me it was bleeding and dripping onto his jacket which I'd taken to wear :( I started to panic a bit (what if I bleed to death???? etc.) but tried to calm down.


It stopped shortly after I got home (5 mins later). I'm looking forward (??) to a long healing period and putting a gemmed eyelet in!

I highly recommend Snakebite in Dublin! I only ever go to them for piercings. Thank you so much!!

Update at 19:40: No more pain or discomfort!

Update at 16:59, next day: Slept on my back and left side without irritating the punch. No pain or discomfort since yesterday, though I'm not looking forward to washing my hair/getting water on it. I've decided to heal it using the LIMA method, as I always have done for piercings. 

Update on 25/03 - a little over one month later: After about 2 weeks, my piercer downsized the tunnel to a 6g tunnel as per normal procedure. It's healed really well - I did an SSS once and it completely dried my ear out, so I've just left it alone as per LIMA. I can even sleep on that side lightly now. The current smaller tunnel is quite loose in the hole, so I might have scope to go back up to 4g once it's fully healed.