Here’s what you have to consider
There are lot’s of great reasons to wear a piercing. You won’t have to explain yourself to too many people why you have them. But there are still times when you have to hide a piercing. Unfortunately this isn’t usually easy or practical and often just not possible.
You probably hear us say in the studio that the only guarantee of keeping a piercing open is the jewelry. When the jewelry comes out the piercing channel will start to shrink up almost immediately for most of us, and of course left without jewelry it may close up completely. The good news is that people often underestimate the chances of getting jewelry in with a little help from a piercer. If the channel is at least open a little, we may get the jewelry in and a fresh new piercing isn’t necessary. You’ll need a piercer to help figure this out.
But what can you do if you need to keep the jewelry out for a long period of time? Or frequently, like for work or school? This gets pretty tricky, and it’s easy to be disappointed. So what are your options, really?
Is it possible to hide a piercing?
First, if you expect to hide your piercing, understand that no jewelry or retainer is invisible. This is important to say because people ask for this. But a clear glass on a table isn’t invisible so a clear retainer in your nose won’t be either. Nostrils are the most common piercing clients need to hide and it’s usually for work. In this scenario the client needs to wear something regularly, let’s say 5 days a week, and for 8 hours at a time. Plastic isn’t a good option because it’s not intended or likely suitable for long term wear. In time it may break down due to body temperature.
How about glass? Glass is certainly a safe material to wear in the body, but something so thin is fragile. It wouldn’t take much of an accidental bump to the nose for it to break. Broken glass particles inside the nose or any other piercing would be an emergency room nightmare.
Once upon a time nostril screws with little plastic tops were sold as nostril hiders but they didn’t really do the trick. The plastic ends were glued on and fell off pretty easy exposing a metal base. Also, there wasn’t much variation in color so it was one shade fits all. They were also large and bulky, not very discreet at all. Today, the best option for the nostril and almost any ear piercing is from Neometal.
Nostril piercings may sometimes be 20g which is thinner than these 18g pieces so clients may have to be committed to wearing thicker jewelry. These small ends fit on to their 18g threadless posts and come in 4 colors intended to blend in to most skin tones. Of course they’ll never perfectly match, but on most of us they look passable. They’re also textured so the surface isn’t shiny and as reflective as a smooth high polished surface or faceted gem.
Do you really have to hide a piercing?
For temporary situations, like surgery, MRI’s, and x-rays there are different considerations. The bottom line is you’ll have to do whatever your doctor tells you. But, your body jewelry isn’t magnetic and won’t be dangerous in an MRI or affect the image. It’s the same for an x-ray. Your jewelry will be in the image if they’re taking pictures of your body part that’s pierced, but there will be no distortion. In both these scenarios a retainer wouldn’t be any better or worse than the jewelry. We don’t suggest trying to hide a piercing if your doctor tells you to remove it for a procedure.
For a one time situation like a doctors visit or something similar you may have no real options for hiding a piercing. So we would suggest removing your jewelry at the last possible minute and having it inserted as soon as possible. Since the body can be unpredictable it’s important to not wait, especially if the piercing is important to you.
Make a smart decision when it comes to work.
The most common time clients visit us for solutions to hiding a piercing is when they have a new job or job interview and can’t wear it there. Sometimes people have had their job for a while and decided to get pierced even though it’s against the company’s policy. We remind them they’re asking to spend money on a piercing they may take out as soon as they go back to work and waste money or compromise their job. There’s really truly no way to completely hide a piercing. Remember, a retainer isn’t invisible anymore than a clear glass is. Clear retainers, plastic or glass, can still be seen, they just don’t look like a nice piece of jewelry. Also, plastic should never be worn in a piercing that’s under three months old and is still not viable for repetitious wear over a long period of time. The only exception is a septum where the retainer is literally flipped up into the nose, but that’s a very different discussion than this.
You may not actually need to hide a piercing. If you need to take your jewelry out for a short period you may need help getting it back in. We said a few months ago that we’re now offering insertion tapers to help you get jewelry back in on your own at home. They’ve turned out to be quite popular. If you need to remove your jewelry frequently you can test the piercing over a longer period of time. Start by removing it for a few minutes. Once you’ve got it back in you know you can go at least that long. Try again later for a longer stretch of time and keep repeating until it becomes challenging. You obviously don’t want to wait so long that you can’t get it in place at all, but with some patience and effort you might be surprised how long you can realistically go without jewelry.