Chapter 1 – To the studioâ€¦
â€œIt was almost a week ago now, since I popped over to Manchester with my friend Jen to further decorate my ear with metal! I knew exactly what I wanted – I was starting an ear project after already having my lobes done twice, my helix and my nostril pierced. I always loved the look of a snug more than say a Daith or a Rook. I had read up on snugs for months beforehand so I knew exactly what I was getting myself into – a painful piercing that can be pretty problematic to heal! I figured it would be worth it.
I’d been to â€˜Holier than Thouâ€™ before and I believe it to be the very best piercing studio in the North West of England at least! It’s wonderful – they’ll do almost anything because their techniques extend so far. I entered the shop, all bright and full of wonderful body jewellery, and showed my friend Jen (who’d never been there before) around the shop. When it was my turn I asked for a snug and the shop assistant (with the most gorgeous scarification and bright pink hair) put me down on the list and gave me the usual forms to fill in. Because it was a Saturday it was busier than usual, and there was a nipple and a navel before my snug. This didn’t take long though, not when you’re browsing through portfolios. Finally Marcus came out with his smiley face and said “snug?â€.
I followed him into the studio (Jen had decided to stay in the shop) which is always bright, clean and comfortable, and I can honestly say I’m not nervous any more before a piercing. I think the adrenaline gets me so much that I don’t panic. I asked him about the jewellery, he said he would be using a titanium curved barbell/bananabell type piece, which would be slightly too long to allow for swelling. This was exactly what I wanted anyway, and it would be pierced at 1.6mm (14ga). He complimented my ear shape and said how much he also loved snugs…but pointed out that they’re still quite unusual which makes them more interesting to look at.
He marked my ear where he thought it would be best for healing and it was in the middle of my ear right where I wanted it. I nodded and sat back down, placing my hands on the padded seat in case I needed to squeeze! He did the “breathe in, breathe out” routine and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hurt; it did. I could feel the needle going through one side right to the other…it took slightly longer than my nostril because there was more cartilage and it was done freehand. I’d say it was roughly twice as painful as my nose, but with my nose I barely felt a thing. So my snug was also a completely bearable sensation. I didn’t feel the jewellery go in either, which was good.
When it was done I was so happy. It looked beautiful – subtle but very noticeable at the same time. Marcus asked if he could take a photograph for his portfolio because I had such a “prominent ear shape for a snug”. I was flattered and said yes! He took the photo and it looked great! After thanking Marcus repeatedly, I returned into the shop part of â€˜Holier than Thouâ€™ where Jen was waiting. I felt fine and already my ear was giving me no stinging or pain. She looked at it and approved of it very much! I paid the lady with the bright pink hair (Â£20 which I think is a fantastic price) and left in complete happiness.
I will continue to go to â€˜Holier than Thouâ€™ – it has a great atmosphere about it. Even though the general type of person that goes in there is very heavily â€˜moddedâ€™, it is not at all intimidating like I’d have thought 3 years ago when I was 14. It’s actually quite beautiful and very interesting. I love seeing other people’s piercings and tattoos.
Well, it has been almost a week and I can say Miss Snug has settled into the family perfectly! She has not swelled up at all and gets minimal crusties. I have avoided banging my ear and I haven’t slept on the snug side either. I do sea salt soaks once or twice a day with drops of tea tree oil in – works a treat! At the moment my snug, notorious for causing problems, has been the least problematic of ALL my piercings. And I’m not complaining either! If you like this piercing and think it would fit in well with the structure of your ear (because that is important for successful healing – the deeper it can go the better) then I say go for it! It’s so pretty. All my friends have complimented it.â€
Chapter 2 â€“ The Healing Process
Picture 2 – (First 2 weeks)
“CONSTANT MAJOR SWELLING! My snug and whole ear is throbbing all the time, even with ibuprofen/ice/warm salt soaks. Thereâ€™s not much bar left either but luckily thereâ€™s no signs of imbedding. I donâ€™t know if Iâ€™m just being a wimp or not but itâ€™s really painful at the moment and Iâ€™m just trying to stick it out. I was told that this would probably last a week so Iâ€™m not looking forward to sleeping.”
Picture 3 – (1 Month in)
“The swelling has gone down somewhat but when I compare my snug ear to my other ear it still looks a lot bigger! And, oh yesâ€¦Iâ€™ve developed the beginnings of ‘The Bump’. This is a familiar sight. Time for the tea tree oil I think. Sleep is still impossible on my snug side by the way.”
“My snug is still not happy and has swelled up a bit more from when Iâ€™ve accidentally slept on it (I’m an acrobatic sleeper!); so temperamental. It still has daily crusties and a bump on one exit hole. I just have my hair over my ear all the time to hide it and Iâ€™m beginning to question if this was really worth all the damn effort. I know other people who for one reason or another have retired their snugsâ€¦they really can be hell. But Iâ€™ve ordered a Bioplast curved barbell which is a gauge lower than it is now and still generous in length (as you never know!), as recommended by a piercer friend.”
Picture 5 – (5 months in)
“My snug is actually bump-less for the first time in about 4 months! It just kept shrinking and growing, shrinking and growing. But Iâ€™m determined to keep it away now. My earâ€™s general swollen state (which I thought would never go) has actually gone down dramatically over the last couple of weeks and there is so much of the Bioplast bar showing as you can see (which seems to really have done it a lot of good!). Iâ€™ll have to get another shorter Bioplast bar when Iâ€™m brave enough to change it again to avoid any new irritation from the bar moving.”
Picture 6 – 7 Months in
“My snug has gone through so many stages; itâ€™s unbelievable! As it stands now it is FINALLY happy, and loved as though it was the day it was done. Iâ€™ve considered retiring it so many times over these 7 months but Iâ€™m so glad I didnâ€™t! Itâ€™s a big commitmentâ€¦you canâ€™t just leave snugs alone, you have to look after them or they bite you in the bum (or ear in this case). My ear is â€œnormalâ€ sized again which is great to see, and the Bioplast curved bar I have in is only 6mm (to give you an idea of the extent of swelling it was double that when it was pierced!). Iâ€™m so pleased though. I affectionately refer to my piercing as â€˜Snuglasâ€™, and now show it off at every given opportunity as it is bump-less, crust-less, pretty and perfect.
If you’re considering getting a snug (because they do look amazing) just make sure you go to a piercer who knows what they are doing and puts a very large curved barbell in – not a straight one. 12mm is usually sufficient but even mine swelled right up to the bar. Also, be prepared for a lot of pain, some headaches, neck ache even, and throbbing pains. Ibuprofen does help but when you sleep it’s very difficult to not sleepily roll over and wake yourself up in agony!
But donâ€™t let this put you off (she says!) because I am so glad I stuck with it. And you never know, everyone’s different, you might have a breezy healing process. It’s a lovely piercing to own and also one you don’t see every day. I love it!”