About Derek Lowe

Derek is the (very sometimes) senior piercer and General Manager at Saint Sabrina's. He has been piercing for over 19 years, with the past 13 years spent at Saint Sabrina's. Derek is a current member of the Association of Professional Piercers and is former member of the Board of Directors of the organization. In addition, he has been an instructor at the APP annual conference for the past 10 years.

Metal Allergies in Body Piercing

UPDATED January 2015

Why So Sensitive?

We have lots of clients with concerns about metal allergies in body piercing. They tell us things like, “My ears always get infected when I wear jewelry” or “I can only wear gold because my ears are sensitive.” or “I’m allergic to all types of jewelry.”  We hear these things from people who are very young as well as our older clients.  While sensitivity to jewelry is not uncommon, it is usually easy to deal with. In most cases, the solution can be as simple as changing over to high-quality jewelry. I Continue reading

To Snug or Not to Snug

There’s no question one of the most unique, striking and interesting ear piercings is the Snug piercing. A quick bit of anatomical background: a Snug piercing goes somewhere along the ridge created by the antihelix and the antihelical fold.

While usually done in the area of the antihelical fold, snug piercings can also be done on the anithelix

In the picture below you can see a double snug piercing, even less common than a single snug piercing. This piercing was done at the Saint Sabrina’s and ultimately, ended up not working out for the young lady wearing it.

Double snug piercing with curved barbells

The main “problem” with snug piercings is the prolonged healing time. They typically take 6 months, sometimes longer, to heal even when well cared for. They usually stay swollen and sore during much of the healing time also. Snug piercings are so challenging to heal for a number of reasons:

  1. A snug piercing goes through cartilage which is simply a harder type of tissue to heal.
  2. The fold the piecing goes through tends to be fairly thick. This means the piecing goes through a lot of tissue which takes longer to heal.
  3. The shape of the fold the piercing goes through is rounded/curved. This results in a bit of constant pressure on the piercing from the jewelry, which prolongs the healing.
  4. The piercing is on the outer part of the ear, meaning it is more likely to get bumped, snagged and knocked around in the course of daily life.

All of these factors combine to make snug piercings very tough for many people to heal. A large percentage of people who get snug piercings end up abandoning them due to the prolonged and uncomfortable healing.

Because snug piercings are so great-looking, I really wanted to find a way to make them a more viable option for my clients.

While I can’t claim to have invented it, I (and the other piercers at Saint Sabrina’s) have become very big fans of an alternative to the snug. Maybe there is already some whacky, animal-related name for it like Panda Nibbles, Rhino Cuddles or Tadpole Hugs, but we prefer to just call it the Faux Snug.

A faux snug made up of a helix piercing and a conch piercing

A Faux Snug is a helix piercing and a conch piercing placed in such a way that they look just like a snug piercing. While healing two cartilage piercings at the same time isn’t always easy, it tends to be significantly easier than trying to heal a snug piercing. With the faux snug, healing time is typically around 2-4 months and the healing period tends to be much more comfortable than a standard snug.

The one potential “downside” to the a faux snug is that it’s two piercings and two pieces of jewelry, so the cost is a bit more than a standard snug piercing. However, all the piercers at Saint Sabrina’s are such big believers in the faux snug, we have chosen to waive the second piercing fee. You will still have to purchase a second piece of jewelry, but we truly believe the time, effort and pain you will miss out on will more than make up for a little extra money spent on the jewelry.

So if you’re looking for a unique new piercing, definitely keep the faux snug in mind.

Scar Wars

by Derek Lowe

Disclaimer: We totally stole the title for this entry from our friend Shawn over at Scar Wars. We hope he will see our blatant theft as the flattery for which we intend it.  Shawn’s blog is about the art of scarification (cutting designs in to the skin) and does contain some graphic images.  While incredibly tastefully done, click the link at your own risk.

Over on our Facebook page, we recently asked for topics that folks would like us to write about. We received a few requests for information about piercing, or re-piercing rather, through scar tissue from previous piercings.  This is a great topic, because many people end up having piercings re-done after they remove them for any number of reasons.   Continue reading

Old School

by Derek Lowe

This past weekend I went to Santa Cruz, CA to spend some time with my friends at Anatometal, Inc. If you’ve ever been pierced at Saint Sabrina’s, there is about a 98% chance you were pierced with Anatometal jewelry. When it comes to steel and titanium jewelry, they simply make the best jewelry available.

Even though my trip was a social occasion, I spent a bit of time at their facility. While there, I wandered in to the bathroom and (re) discovered this stunning photograph I had forgotten about:

Large, stretched nostrils

Large, stretched nostrils

If you’ve never seen stretched nostrils before, or you’ve never seen them stretched to this extent, it can be a bit of a shock to the system. Add to that the age of the person in the photograph, and you have a sight that very few people in our culture can easily wrap their heads around.

Regardless of whether you find this aesthetic attractive or not, there is no denying the striking and powerful nature of the image.

Whatever the cultural or societal motivation behind the stretching, I think the commitment and perseverance required to accomplish such a thing is to be admired. I wanted to share it with our customers as well as others who have never had the opportunity to see it before.