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COST VS. QUALITY-HOW MUCH IS YOUR HEALTH WORTH?

APP_Certificate

I would like to inform everyone reading this blog that getting pierced is NOT the time to bargain shop. The questions that should be asked are whether or not I am licensed…do I use sterile and single use tools and needles…where can I see your reviews…do I use quality jewelry made of appropriate materials…what are my sterilization procedures.

If the answer is no BUT I charge $10 or $20 less than the person who is sterile and licensed and professional, would you come see me anyway? I would certainly hope not. I implore you NOT to use price to determine where you are going to go to get your next piercing. I have seen people come in from other shops in the area with jewelry(supposedly implant grade stainless steel or titanium) that has turned BLACK in their mouths and navels. They have come in with crooked and improperly placed piercings. All to save a few dollars.

Sterilization equipment, quality needles, quality jewelry, continuing education, seminars and maintenance of state licensing all costs money. The only way to consistently offer “cut-rate” piercing pricing is to cut corners on these items.

If you can’t afford a quality, sterile, professional piercing today, please just wait one or two more weeks and save up the extra $10-$20 or whatever it will cost and get what you deserve! Your health and well-being is the most important thing you have and it is worth that!!!

Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten.

See You On The Sharp End!

~ Craig

 

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SUMMER IS HERE AND SO IS NEW JEWELRY!

Gorgeous Wood Earrings

Gorgeous Wood Earrings

Stop in to my piercing and body jewelry studio in Arlington and see what’s new! I have lots of new body jewelry for your healed piercings as well as lots of new bling to install in a new piercing.

I also have a variety of glass earrings and pendants as well as sweet wood earrings for non-stretched ears!

If you don’t live close to Arlington, Virginia, I can also order custom pieces and have them shipped to you for a small shipping fee!

Feel free to contact me here http://craigpokesu.com/contact/ for details and pricing.

See You On The Sharp End!

~ Craig

 

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EAR STRETCHING GUIDE AND TIPS

Stretched_Ear_Bling

What gauge to start stretching your ears at?

A great question that you will need to know when starting to stretch your ears is what size should your first stretch be. For the majority of people, 14 gauge is a good starting point if you have only worn regular earrings.

14 gauge is a good starting point if you never wear earrings or if you have recently had them pierced and they are just healed up. If you are certain that you want to stretch to a larger size, you can also have your ears pierced at a larger gauge(such as a 10 gauge or 8 gauge). This will save you some money on jewelry from stretching all the way to that size. The healing time will be a bit longer but it is perfectly healthy as long as you follow proper aftercare guidelines.

What size can I stretch up to without permanent damage?

There are a lot of different opinions on this topic, but the majority of professionals in the body modification industry recommend never going any larger than 2 – 0 gauge if you want your ears to totally close up where you can’t see through them. Keep in mind though that everyone’s anatomy is different, but the majority of people will be able to take their plugs out at 2 -0 gauge and your lobes will look normal after a 2 – 3 months of closing up.

There are also other factors that will affect the permanency of your size. One of the biggest factors is if you have stretched too fast and skipped sizes. When you skip sizes and stretch too fast then it actually will do more ripping of your skin than actual stretching, so this can make your holes much larger and more permanent in the long run.  To optimize your chances of having normal looking lobes if you decide to take them out, then you will want to make sure not to skip sizes and wait at least a full month between each stretch.

If you have stretched to a really large size and decide that it is not for you, then there is always the option of surgery. Lobe reversal has become pretty popular these days so that is always an option to consider if you have stretched really large and want your lobes to look like the average person’s.

How long should I wait between each stretch?

Many people make the mistake of stretching too fast which can cause some long term damage to your lobes. I recommend waiting at least a full month between each stretch. A full month is generally enough to give your last stretch time to heal, and also to help your lobes loosen up a bit for the next stretch. The slower you go, the nicer your lobes will be in the long run though, so waiting even longer than a month is highly recommended. Even though the temptation is hard to resist sometimes when you are ready to stretch, it’s always best to give it some time, you will thank yourself in the long run.

Acrylic Tapers

NEVER use the acrylic tapers you can buy in the mall!!! Acrylic can not be sterilized and are not smooth. The jagged edges will cut your ears and they harbor bacteria. Go to a professional! If you come to me at my body piercing and jewelry studio in Arlington, Va,  to stretch your ears, I will only charge you for the jewelry or a nominal fee if you have your own jewelry. NOTE: I will only use jewelry that you have previously purchased somewhere else if I can determine the material and I am sure it is of the appropriate size and style for your body.

Will stretching too fast and skipping sizes damage my ears?

Stretching your ears too fast and skipping sizes is a common problem that can do some serious damage to your piercings. When you skip sizes and stretch too fast you really are doing more ripping of your skin than actual stretching. Human skin only has a certain elasticity so going too big and too fast is enough to cause ripping and tearing of your skin.  It’s highly recommended to wait at least a full month between each stretch and to never skip sizes so your ears will have minimal chances for long term problems. Also the slower you go, the thicker and healthier your ears will be in the long run (which is really important if you plan on going to a large size).

What is a blowout and how to fix it?

Blowouts are another common problem that is generally caused by stretching too fast or skipping sizes. The way this problem occurs is when the fistula (inside of your piercing) is actually forced out through the back of the piercing. A blowout is a small flap of skin that will hang over the edge of your plugs. Though it is not generally too noticeable if it occurs on the back of your ears, it can limit the type of plugs you wear and you will generally need to wear plugs with a bigger wearable area (to allow room for the blowout). If you skip sizes or go to fast on a blowout that has already occurred then it will often continue to get bigger and bigger.

The best way to help get rid of a blowout is to take your plugs out immediately after you notice it and downsize 2-3 sizes smaller so your piercing will start to heal itself.  Though it is never 100% guaranteed that it will go away, the chances are pretty good of it going back to normal if you downsize immediately after it happens. If you leave the blowout to heal up without downsizing though, then it will generally heal up for good that way and become permanent. There are many ways people have tried getting rid of healed blowouts, but the most common way is to downsize and to use oils like jojoba to help moisturize and soften up your skin. There is also the option of getting it surgically removed which is highly recommended if you have the funds to do so.

Ear funk, the causes and how to fix it?

Once your ears start to get stretched, a common problem that everyone has is the issue of “ear funk”. Ear funk is essentially the dead skin cells of the inside of your ears being trapped in the inside of your fistula (the skin inside of your piercing). Most of the dust in your own home is actually from dead skin cells that shed off of your body, ear funk is from the same thing.  When you wear plugs for several days, the dead skin cells start to build up on your jewelry and when you remove the plugs they can be super gross. The way to get rid of this issue is either to wash out your ears daily in the shower or to just wear organic plugs. Organic plugs are porous so they soak up all of that ear funk and keep your ears dry and smelling fresh.

How to insert double flare plugs

Many people have the problem of not being able to fit in their double flare plugs if they have never worn them before. A double flared plug is a plug that has flares on both ends (the flares are actually slightly larger than the actual center). Double flare plugs are totally fine to wear but they can sometimes be hard to get in (especially on sizes under 0 gauge). There are several tips on getting them in that will make it much easier. The 1st thing to help with getting them in is to use lubrication. Any water based lubricant will help to get them in and out easily.  Also you will want to insert them at an angle. If you try to force them through straight into your ears then it will be much harder for them to fit through. Inserting them at a slight angle gives them enough leverage to pop through.

On sizes under 0 gauge however, they will often require you to stretch slightly larger to be able to fit them through. The larger you stretch, the easier double flares will be able to get in, so the smaller sizes are a lot harder to get through. If you are trying to fit a set of double flares in that are under 0 gauge then it’s good to try doing a little tape wrapping (see info on the tape wrapping method above) to help loosen up your ears a bit and get the plugs in.

Using jojoba oil to moisturize your piercing and care for organic plugs

Jojoba oil is an all-around great product. Its best uses are to soften skin, reduce scar tissue, thicken lobes, and to moisturize. By massaging jojoba oil daily on your lobes, it helps to thicken them up over time and to keep them healthy. It also helps to reduce the size of blowouts over time if massaged daily. Jojoba is great for organic jewelry as well, by using it to moisturize your wood or buffalo horn/bone plugs, it helps to keep them protected for long term use.

How to care for organic plugs and body jewelry

Organic plugs are pieces that are made from a living thing such as wood, buffalo horn  & bone, coral, shell, etc. Organics generally don’t require much more maintenance then the average set of plugs though. Materials such as wood will expand and contract as they get wet though so to avoid cracks and swelling, it’s for sure best to keep them as dry as possible. If you are purchasing a set of organic plugs that isn’t super expensive, then just wear them and don’t worry about if they wet or not. But if you have a nice set that you want to keep for years then it’s highly recommended to keep them as dry as possible. Also organic pieces that have inlays or where multiple materials are used (such as multiple inlayed woods), then you for sure want to keep them dry to avoid breakage or cracking.

It’s also really good to use jojoba oil on organic jewelry to keep the pieces looking fresh and polished. All you need to do is take a small drop onto your fingers and rub the jojoba oil into the plugs and they will look like a fresh new pair.

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JUNE ISSUE OF ATOMIC POISON MAGAZINE

I need to give a big thank you to Elizabeth Atomic for putting me in her magazine and adding an advertisement for me as well! I’m looking forward to lots of big things here in Arlington, Virginia in the coming months. There are many piercing events in the planning stages! I will fill everyone in as they come to fruition. Keep checking back here and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more updates!

Also. if you can, follow the link below and purchase a copy of the magazine to support local art and business!

http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/589349?__r=327629

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CRAIGPOKESU STERILIZATION PROCEDURES

Industrial Piercing With Crystal Gems

Industrial Piercing With Crystal Gems

At CraigPokesU located at 4818 Lee Highway, Arlington, Va 22207, all needles used for piercing are sterile and single use. All jewelry and instruments used for piercing are properly disinfected and sterilized in an autoclave prior to use. These items will be opened from sealed sterile pouches in your presence.

In addition, all jewelry for initial piercings is of implant grade quality. I also strive to answer all questions and concerns as well as providing thorough and complete aftercare instructions. I am available for any questions or healing issues after your piercing as well. I want every piercing to be something that we both can be proud of for many years to come.

Make sure that, if you can’t get your piercing here, you take care of your health and well-being when choosing a piercer. Do your research and hold them to a higher standard!

See You On The Sharp End!

~ Craig

 

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CHEEK/DIMPLE PIERCINGS AND WHY I WON’T PERFORM THEM

At my body piercing and jewelry studio in Arlington, Virginia, I get calls fairly often asking if I will do cheek/dimple piercings. I do not do them at this time. There are a few reasons for this decision.

The first reason is that I have had many experiences where people won’t take heed of my aftercare instructions. Cheek piercings may require a few jewelry changes during the healing process. This is due to the likelihood of periods of great swelling. Often, I have found that people won’t listen to this advice and/or think that it will be a free service. While I am concerned about everyone’s health and well-being, I need to charge something for jewelry, supplies, sterilization, etc.

Secondly, quite often, the person wanting the cheek piercings are not anatomically suited for it. The dimples should not be pierced any further back than the first molars. I have tried to explain this to people and have found that it has become easier to just not do them at all.

Third, cheek piercings can be EXTREMELY dangerous! That region of the face contains a host of significant structures, including blood vessels, nerves, and the parotid duct (a conduit for a component in saliva). Piercing into any of these can be disastrous.

Last but not least, if abandoned (and it VERY often is), cheek piercings can cause permanent scars and excessive dimpling of the skin.

PLEASE think about all of the possible complications of this piercing before having it performed. If you do choose to have your cheeks pierced, please make sure that you go to a VERY experienced piercer who has many years of experience and has performed many cheek piercings.

See You On The Sharp End!

~ Craig

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HOW DO I CHOOSE MY PIERCER?!

You have decided to have your body pierced and you are asking yourself, “I want it done now, so where do I go?” In this era of bloodborne diseases you MUST be very careful who you have perform your piercing!

Don’t be misled into believing piercing is easy. It takes time and dedication to acquire the ability to correctly place and skillfully perform piercings. Piercers either serve an apprenticeship or are self-taught. Apprenticeships will generally last from 6 months to two years. Those who are self-taught will ideally have sought guidance from others in the field. Continued education is the hallmark of any conscientious piercer. It is perfectly acceptable and advisable to inquire about how long your piercer has been piercing, how they learned to pierce, and what they have done to keep their knowledge base current, i.e., courses on Anatomy, Aftercare, Aseptic Technique, etc.

Are the walls washed and the carpet vacuumed? Is the staff bathed and neat? Is the restroom kept clean and tidy? Ideally, studios should have 5 separate areas: the counter, waiting room, piercing room(s), bathroom, and a separate sterilization room.

In most cases a license to operate means that the studio meets minimum requirements and has passed some sort of inspection. To find out if your area has established standards and inspections, call your local Health Department. If a studio is operating unlicensed in an area where licenses are required, report them to your local health department or city business license division.

Look at their piercing photo portfolio. Are piercings placed to accent the anatomy or do they look awkward and poorly matched to the individual? If the portfolio features unusual looking placements, are there pictures of healed piercings, showing the actual viability of the placement?

A number of states have made it illegal to use a gun on body piercings and with good reason. Most ear guns can’t be sterilized in an autoclave and therefore don’t meet the criteria for APP piercers’ use of sterile disposable equipment.

Use your instincts!!!

If you don’t feel comfortable with the studio or the piercer you should leave. “I should have listened to my gut feeling” is something you should never have to say.

Don’t act impulsively or be swayed by a low price. You generally get what you pay for (but some unskilled piercers charge plenty). Get referrals on a piercing shop/piercer from knowledgeable friends and/or the local health department.

At my body piercing and jewelry studio here in Arlington, Va., I follow ALL state and federal health and safety regulations. Both myself and my studio are fully licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia. I ALWAYS have your health and well-being in mind before, during and after your piercing. This includes quality, implant grade jewelry as well as a clean and sterile environment.

See You On The Sharp End!

~ Craig

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SWIMMING WITH A FRESH BODY PIERCING

For the first month it is a good idea to avoid swimming unless you can cover your  fresh body piercing with a Tegaderm patch bandage which can be found next to the bandages in most pharmacies. This is a clear, adhesive, water proof bandage that can be comfortably worn on some piercings, such as navels with curved barbells, and nipples. If you are protecting a fresh facial piercing, you should avoid submerging it.

Chlorine is tremendously drying and irritating to new piercings and should be avoided. If you can not stay out of the water, do your best to soak and rinse the piercing with a sea salt solution after you swim. You should also avoid hot tubs and bathing until your piercing is healed. Lakes and oceans are a topic of debate but, unfortunately, these waters are not as clean as we would like them to be.Use discretion and pay attention to the condition of your piercing.

If you have more questions about this or any other topic, feel free to contact me here…http://craigpokesu.com/contact/…or stop in to my studio at 4818 Lee Highway in Arlington, Va. 22207.

See You On The Sharp End!

~ Craig

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MAGNETIC FINGER IMPLANTS (SIXTH SENSE)

Magnetic Finger Implant. The Sixth Sense

Magnetic Finger Implant. The Sixth Sense

Due to the huge popularity of Magnetic Implants/Finger Jewelry and the wealth of misinformation and untruths about the procedure and jewelry, I would like to share this FAQ so that everyone can be properly informed about this popular procedure.

What’s it for?

While it’s possible to use it for silly bar tricks to pick up paper clips, nails and bottle caps, the primary purpose is to sense electromagnetic fields. It grants you what amounts to a sixth sense, the ability to detect the vibrations emitted by motors and other electrical equipment or in various things that carry magnets. It has been described as “Magnetic Vision”. It can also be useful for those who work in electronics and other fields where sensing EMF would be useful (as well as being able to pick up small objects made of ferrous metals with a single finger). Only ferrous (iron-bearing) metals and magnets will be affected.

How much is it?

The cost is $185 per magnet and includes the implantation procedure. Second magnets in the same client are $150 each.

How is it done?

The gold plated magnet is coated in implant-grade silicone via injection in a mold, and then cured. Your finger is placed in ice water for several minutes to numb it for the procedure. A small slice is made in your finger (typically on the side of your ring finger, near the tip). The magnet is inserted, you receive one stitch, and then your finger is bandaged.

How long will it take to heal?

Most people are able to use their finger carefully after 2 days, while still wearing the bandage. Primary healing of the cut takes about a week, and after 7-10 days the stitch is removed. Full healing and encapsulation takes about a month, and I suggest that you do not play with your magnet very much at all during this time while it heals. It will take about six months for the scar tissue to subside and for you to have the full sensitivity.

Can I get one in each finger?

A second magnet in another finger in the same hand may give you a more “3D” sensation when you detect the fields. Some people like to have a magnet in each hand, while others prefer to have a “control” or non-magnetic-sensing hand if they are unsure if the vibration they are sensing is truly an electromagnetic field.

Can I get more than one in a finger?

No. This was tried in early testing and it proved to be unsuccessful, because the magnets are attracted to each other and will crush the skin between them, and as such I will not implant more than one magnet in a single finger.

Why do you recommend the ring finger?

The ring finger is the weakest finger and I place it to the side so not to inhibit pressure of lifting boxes and grasping items.

Can I get it implanted somewhere else besides the finger?

Yes. People have had them implanted on the backs of hands, ears, etc. The only thing is that I do not recommend using them to hold anything for a long period of time (anything over 20 minutes) because that will damage the skin over the magnet.

Will it wipe out credit cards, or affect computers or other electrical equipment.

No. It is a neodymium magnet graded 45 out of 50 gauss (which is very powerful) but it is still small enough that it won’t wipe anything. Many people have received this implant and none have yet to have a problem with credit cards or computers. Many of them work as musicians, computer technicians, etc, and they do not have any problem with the magnet affecting their equipment. You will likely be able to sense the fields vibrating your magnet, but the magnet is too small to affect your equipment.

What if any effect will it have on implantable defibrillators/pacemakers?

The two have not yet been combined in one body, so I cannot provide a guarantee about something that could potentially affect your medical equipment, however I can’t see there being an issue with it since it’s too small to affect credit cards or other types of equipment.

How many problems will it create with security, since it is not a medical procedure and not removable without being cut out?

I do not know personally of it ever setting off any metal detectors going through at airport. A wand may recognize it, but it’s unlikely they would point it at your finger. Explaining that you were testing a theory of magnetic vision so you have a tiny magnet implanted should clear it up. TSA have been known to be jerks to the modified, so that is a potential risk you will assume if you get this implant.

What if you have an abnormal magnetic field to begin with? I’m one of those people that drains batteries, breaks watches and cell phones, etc.

It isn’t likely that you would drain this type of magnet. It takes thousands of years to drain a normal magnet and one rated so high as the neodymium magnet is expected to take longer. If this is truly the case with your body then I’m not sure what would happen with the magnet inside you. I’m not sure if you would receive the same response from the magnet as a normal person would. Again, keep in mind that this is an experimental procedure, so I cannot give you any guarantees of performance.

What if I need an MRI?

Originally it was thought that the magnets would always rip out of the skin and attach themselves to the MRI. However, I now know of a few people who have the magnets have gone through MRIs and this did not happen. One person reported that the magnet just vibrated very strongly. Another person reported that the techs shielded his hand, as they would with someone who had shrapnel or other implants. However, there are several different types of MRIs, so I can make no guarantee of what will happen during your MRI, so you must discuss it with the technician. It is likely that they will give you a hard time about it, so you should be prepared for this and for any possible risks to yourself. It’s also possible that the MRI might demagnetize your magnet.

What if I want to remove it but I have no way to get to Craig?

Removal is as simple as insertion, but should be conducted by a professional. A small slit should do the trick. In any case, should the professional want basic instructions from me, feel free to email me with a request and phone number with the best time to reach them.

What is the safety record of the magnets? What about what I’ve read of the silicone breaking down?

Most of the information on the web refers to the early trials done with the first-generation magnets. Those magnets were dip coated, and the bubble shape that caused irregularly covered the pill-shaped magnets. The second generation magnets are evenly coated via injection molding. These magnets have now been in use for around six years or so, and have not been subject to the same failures. They have now been implanted in over a thousand people. While there have been some rejections as there can be with any implant or piercing, there have not been any reports of breakdown of the silicone coating as was seen in the first generation magnets.

What are my odds of rejection?

On some occasions, usually if it is played with too much during the healing stage, it can reject out of the body like a splinter would push out. If this occurs, I should be able to insert another magnet and it usually takes the second time. Rejection is always a possible risk with any implant or piercing, as your body is doing what it’s supposed to do, repelling a foreign invader, and you should be aware and prepared for this, though the likelihood of it is small.

I’ve heard magnets have healing abilities. Can these magnets heal?

We have heard of cases where having a magnet implants did bring alive what had been considered dead nerves, but there have been no studies to my knowledge to back up this theory, and I can make no claims to this.

If you have any other questions or would like to schedule an appointment to have the procedure performed in my body piercing studio in Arlington, Virginia, please feel free to contact me here…http://craigpokesu.com/contact/ or schedule an appointment here…http://craigpokesu.com/calendar/.

Please note that a deposit of $75 will be required when making an appointment for this procedure.

See You On The Sharp End!

~Craig

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