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Ink, Poles, and Piercing Holes: How to navigate new piercings and tattoos while pole training

Not only is pole-wear cute and a way to express and empower ourselves but…. It’s great for showing off tattoos.  As a full-time body piercer of 10 years, I have acquired a ridiculous amount of ink and metal on my body and I must say, as someone not good with makeup or costume making, it’s my best accessory on stage. That all being said ever since I started seriously pole training and competing a few times a year, my body art growth had ceased. With skin contact and friction against the pole kind of a big deal, it does not breed safe grounds for new body modifications.

So what does one do if they want to add to their collection but not slow down on their training or performing?  Don’t worry, let me be your spirit guide into making good choices and think before you ink (or get stabbed!).

Deal’n With Heal’n          

Tattoos 

After getting a tattoo, the outer layer of skin (the part you can see) will typically heal within 2 to 3 weeks. While it may look and feel healed, don’t jump the gun just yet.  It can take as long as 6 months for the skin below a tattoo to truly heal.  Note, just because it feels healed does not mean you stop using aftercare.  Even after fully healing you should be applying aftercare and lotion to keep longevity and vibrancy for years to come.

Skin around larger tattoos takes longer to recover and certain factors, like picking at the scabs, not moisturizing, skipping SPF, or using a lotion with alcohol may slow the process. Also the style of tattoo can factor length of the heal time.  Simple line tattoos will heal much faster than a full color tattoo just because it was less trauma to the skin.

Piercings

Healing times when it comes to piercings gets a little more complicated as various part of the body heal and respond differently to different types of procedures.  Below I created a chart of the more popular options and their heal times to give you some kind of idea what to expect when choosing to get legally stabbed. Much like tattoos, these healing times vary and are not set in stone.  It can depend on skin sensitivities (ex: cheaper metals like surgical steel can irritate someone with nickel allergies), aftercare, picking and twisting it, infection, and trauma (We’ll get to that).

Piercing Location Approximate time it takes to heal this piercing
Ear lobe 6 – 12 weeks
Ear Cartilege 9-12+ Months
Eyebrow 6 – 8 weeks
Nose: Nostril piercing (regular and high) 4 – 6 months
Nose: Septum piercing 6 – 8 weeks
“Bridge” piercing 2– 3 months
Lip 6 – 8 weeks
Tongue 3 – 6 weeks
Naval (belly button) 4 – 6 weeks to appear healed
3 – 12+  to fully heal
Nipple 2 – 4 months
Male genitals: Prince Albert (piercing of the urethral meatus) 2 – 4 weeks
Female genitals: Clitoris / Clitoral hood 4 – 8 weeks

 For best results only clean your piercing was sterile saline solution.  Avoid peroxide, alcohol, mystery “piercing solutions” on Amazon, and do not twist, rotate, touch, or fidget with jewelry.  Stick to quality metal such as titanium and yellow gold (white gold has nickel), and avoid anything that will snag on it such as clothing, hair, POLES, etc.

Dance’n Bods and Body Mods

So what does this all mean for you and your pole dancing journey?  Well, that’s entirely up to you boo.  If you have any major pole projects coming up where you’ll be training several times a week such as a showcase or competition, then it would be best to hold off on any major body piercing and tattoo decisions until you have a bit more downtime for healing.

When a tattoo or piercing is healing; less is more.  I always say, baby it, but then leave it alone.  You want to keep it clean and do proper aftercare but also not over-clean or moisturize.  You also want to avoid any contact or friction with your new ink or piercing.

Worst Piercings to Heal While Training

  • Naval/Belly piercings – Between floorwork, pole tricks, to even sexy body rolls; this piercing gets some of the most contact. Not only moves that have the navel directly pressed against the pole can irritate, but back bendy moves that force you to stretch the abdominals can also cause issues with a  fresh hole.
  • Nipple Piercings – Much like the naval, the chest area gets a lot of contact with the pole and floor in a session. From fish flops to chest presses, this piercing is not your friend.  Though I have always recommended a comfortable sports bra to alleviate sensitivity after getting this piercing, I do not encourage any kind of intense training or physical activity.
  • Micro-Dermals – These guys are making quite the comeback in piercing trends but very dangerous for pole baes.  Unlike most piercings that have an entry and exit point, dermals are implanted into your skin with a biopsy punch and cannot be taken out.  They run a very high risk of rejection or being ripped out in general, so for Poler, I highly recommend passing on this completely unless it’s on your face.

Worst Tattoos to Heal While Training

All of them. Kinda.

Anything directly rubbing or coming to contact with the floor or pole is no good but also anywhere that you put any kind of grip.  Other than ointments and moisturizers recommended by a professional, no other foreign materials should go on your tattoo.  Remember a tattoo is a large healing skin injury.  You wouldn’t rub Dry Hands on a scrapped knee would you?  Treat a tattoo just as you would any open wound.  Keep it protected to avoid infection.

Not All Hope Is Lost

Now that I’ve become Lord Buzz Killington, of No-Fun Fields, I will close on a positive note that offers hope.

For tattoos, most shops now offer a protective clear “sticker”, that covers the tattoo after it’s done and works as an artificial skin, helping to protect vulnerable new ink against bacteria and ourselves.  Various brands work differently but often you keep the initial sticker the artist will but on at the shop for 24 hours.  After that, you can take it off in the shower and wash off all the fluids that have collected and pat dry with a paper towel.  You would then put on a new sticker and keep it on for 1-3 dys. (Your artist will give you clear instructions depending which brand they use).  Though it’s still not recommended to do rigorous activity and work out, it offer better protection from grip, poles, and floors.  I would still pass on doubles work.

Ear piercings are pretty much always safe as long as you properly clean the piercing after training.  Tongue piercings are fully safe unless you are licking the pole… if you’re licking the pole I have questions.  I digress. Facial piercings like nose, eyebrow, bridge, and lips can be somewhat safe HOWEVER you want to avoid getting any kind of make up on them so if you have a show coming up where you’re going to really be caking it on, I would pass until after.

It really comes down to proper planning, much like with anything.  Look at your schedule and priorities and go from there.  Maybe wait until you have time period where you can train lighter than usual or know you can avoid certain moves and styles because they are not part of an upcoming routine.  Just make sure to keep things clean and use common sense.

Get the face tattoo.

 

Casey Danzig
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