How Do Piercing Needles Work? Your Complete Guide | Painful Pleasures Community

How Do Piercing Needles Work? Your Complete Guide

Clients often wonder, "how do piercing needles work?" We're demystifying the piercing needle in this blog and keeping it simple.
by Danny Tress Last Updated: March 21, 2024

In this blog, we’re answering the common question: “How do piercing needles work?” If you’re a professional piercer, you already know the ins and outs of your most important tool, but clients certainly don’t. So consider this a refresher. Being prepared to answer their questions when they enter your shop boosts trust and could book you future appointments. And if you’re a client reading this, buckle up and get ready to have your minds blown as we address all your burning questions about piercing needles.

Demystifying the Piercing Needle

They look simple, but piercing needles are made through a meticulous process. Needles start as steel hollow tubes called “needle blanks.” Each needle blank is precision-machined to refine its shape and sharpness according to industry standards. Reputable brands and experts that manufacture piercing needles abide by strict quality control regulations. They strive for consistency in each needle. And most piercing needles produced nowadays are tri-beveled.

What is the Tri-Bevel Piercing Needle?

Close-up of tri-bevel needle

We have to start here because the tri-bevel piercing needle is the most common type of piercing needle there is. Originally inspired by medical hypodermic needles, the tri-beveled piercing needle was designed in the ’80s. But not everyone was using them in the ’80s. If you rewind to the 20th century when professionalism was less… well, professional and regulated, piercers used all kinds of needles. But nowadays, you will find that most professional, licensed piercing shops are using the tri-beveled needle. Each tri-bevel piercing needle has (you guessed it) 3 bevels:

  • Bevel 1: The Point, a very fine bevel at the tip of the piercing needle. This is also known as the piercing bevel since it’s the part of the piercing needle that actually goes into clients’ skin.
  • Bevel 2: The Cutting Bevel, which works by creating a crescent-shaped cut in the piercing site. This bevel is longer than The Point.
  • Bevel 3: The Heel, also known as the Stretching Bevel, which stretches the crescent cut into the round shape of a piercing.

So why are tri-beveled needles so popular? Largely because these piercing needles create the least trauma to clients’ skin. Consequently, clients can count on minimal trauma and a smoother healing experience.

Dispelling Myths: Do Piercing Needles Remove Skin?

If you’re a piercer, you’ve probably been asked this one a lot: do piercing needles remove precious skin? Contrary to popular belief, they don’t! This is all thanks to the tri-bevel anatomy of the piercing needle. We touched on this a little in the previous section, but the three bevels work together to puncture the skin and displace it, but not remove a whole chunk of it. First, the Point goes into the skin. Then, the Cutting Bevel creates a sickle-shaped puncture. Finally, the Heel stretches that C-shape cut into a rounded piercing shape. If you’re addressing concerned clients, you can show them an up-close look at the needle you’re piercing them with so they can see exactly how the bevels work. You can also pierce a silicone body bit (or even the wrapper of your needle) for them so they can see how it operates.

Why Are Piercing Needles Hollow?

Being hollow allows them to be as sharp as they are. If piercing needles were solid, there would be some serious limitations on how sharp the end of it could be. Consequently, it would hurt a lot more for clients… (so if you’re a client reading this, say hallelujah for hollow needles). A blunt, dull, solid needle trying to force itself through your ear lobe would not be nearly as smooth nor as comfortable as a razor-sharp, hollow needle passing swiftly through your ear lobe. Remember: piercing needles are designed with comfort and safety in mind. “Sharpness” might scare a client, but the sharper the better… and the less damage to any tissue surrounding the piercing site.

Piercing Needles Vs. Piercing Guns

Ah, the notorious piercing gun – a staple in every Claire’s mall outlet. And also the bane of many a piercer’s existence. Sure, they might seem convenient, but let’s face it: they’re about as subtle as a bull in a china shop. Using the blunt force of an earring to punch through your skin? No, thank you. We touched on this in the previous section, but picture it like ramming a baseball bat into a wall—sure, you’ll make a hole, but it won’t be pretty. Rough, uneven, and downright uncomfortable.

Safety First: Why Piercing Needles Reign Supreme

When it comes to your precious skin, safety should always be top-priority. Quality piercing needles come sterilized and individually wrapped with sterilization indicators on the packaging. What’s more, each needle is single-use. Thus, a professional piercing experience is medical-grade. Piercing guns, on the other hand, are a big no-no. For one thing, they are not single-use devices, so the sterility of a piercing gun is questionable. Someone operating a piercing gun might use disinfectant alcohol to clean the machine, but there’s still a much higher risk for infection. For another thing, not only do they fail to sterilize properly, but they can also wreak havoc on your sensitive tissue. That can lead to a rougher healing experience and a whole lot of unnecessary pain. Needles: 1, Guns: 0.

The Marvels of Piercing Needles

Close-up of piercing process

So, what makes piercing needles the MVPs of the piercing world? Precision, for starters. Through trial and error and decades of piercings, we’ve reached a place where 100% sterile, tri-beveled needles create clean piercings for hundreds of thousands of happy clients. Combine a piercing with a quality needle with a quality aftercare regimen, and you can get as many piercings as you like with little worry of infection (or losing whole chunks of skin.)

So, How Do Piercing Needles Work Again?

They displace skin, not remove it—and thus, they’re always a superior option to the piercing gun. Moreover, they’re fashioned after medical-grade equipment. So there you have it, folks—the lowdown on piercing needles. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a first-time client, understanding the magic behind these slender tools can give you peace of mind and help you appreciate the intricacy of an art that may (at first) seem simple. So, if you’re a piercer, make sure your client knows everything that goes into the tiny hole they’re requesting. Your work and ability to handle these needles is certainly an art. And if you’re a client… make sure you’re choosing a licensed professional for your next piercing.

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