Your eyes are amongst the most expressive areas on your body, and your eyes are wholly unique. Naturally, a great way to emphasize your eyes is with body piercings! While facial piercings on the whole are becoming ever more popular and acceptable, piercings in the eye area are really pioneering new styles and methods in the body piercing and body modification world.
While I do not want to discourage you from getting a piercing in the eye area (in fact, I think eye area piercings are a beautiful way to enhance features), I do want you to be fully informed. I shall first explain eyebrow piercings, which are rather common now, and then I will dive into the rarer – and RISKIER- piercings that can be done near the eyes.
Eyebrow Piercings are common piercings in our culture. The eyebrow piercing can be placed anywhere on the eyebrow, although only a very skilled piercer should consider piercing near the inner corners (closest to the nose) of the eyebrow, for three major nerves are located in this area (for this reason, this isn’t a popular placement). Most piercings are pierced at a forty degree angle, so as to minimize risks of tearing the jewelry out. Most initial jewelry consists of either curved barbells or captive rings, depending on your facial structure. Some people get multiple eyebrow piercings on one or both eyebrows – your creativity is really the limit.
Once pierced, these piercings take anywhere from five to eight weeks to heal, but irritations such as makeup or sweat can irritate the piercing and prolong healing. While the eyebrow is one of the least infected piercings, the risk is indeed there – so be sure to soak using warm saline solution, don’t touch the jewelry with dirty hands, and follow all aftercare instructions given to you by your professional piercer.
Speaking of professional piercers, some people may try and tell you that you can pierce your own eyebrow with a safety pin (or something of that sort) with no difficulty. This is not wholly true. While it is not difficult to push sharp objects through the eyebrow (there is not a lot of tissue or muscle underneath, as compared to other piercing locations), the odds of your body rejecting the jewelry is much higher when you do it yourself. Because there is not a lot of tissue to hold the jewelry in place, sometimes it can “migrate” (a nice term for pushing itself out of your skin – not fun). Besides, heating a sharp metal object over a flame does NOT constitute as disinfecting! Many bacteria are only destroyed at temperatures far higher than what a flame can provide! Tempting though it may be – don’t pierce your own eyebrow; it will probably become infected, it may become rejected, and if your placement is wrong it will look awkward. Spending a couple bucks for a licensed professional to do it is well worth your money.
A very unique and uncommon piercing is the Third Eye Piercings. Very similar to a bridge piercing (see my nose piercing article for more information), the Third Eye Piercings are pierced using surface bars or curved barbells. These piercings are located between your eyebrows (maybe even a bit higher that between the eyebrows, depending on face shape) and are technically considered a surface piercing. As a result Third Eye Piercings can migrate or become rejected if not taken care of properly. Although these piercings look amazing, these piercings are prone to reoccurring infections even if you stringently adhere to the correct aftercare. Sweat, makeup, face wash, are all irritants; this area of the face is very expressive (just imagine frowning, acting surprised, squinting, etc) so the skin around this piercing will move frequently and delaying the healing time. Not everyone can keep this piercing, but if you like how it looks, it just may be worth a try. Talk to your piercer and decide what’s best for you!
The Anti-Eyebrow is still very rare but when healed properly can look very intriguing. Usually pierced below the eye, on the orbital bone/upper cheek area, the Anti-Eyebrow is also referred to as a “teardrop piercing”. This is a surface piercing, so the risk of migration and rejection is possible, although because of the skin, tissue, and muscle density in this area, this piercing can last for a long time if maintained properly. The risk of infection is pretty low if you don’t sweat, touch the jewelry, or wear makeup. Be sure to clean the area thoroughly and cautiously during the healing period (approximately six weeks).
And finally, the last piercing in the eye area is not one I can actually recommend to anyone, but since it is out there, I feel compelled to discuss it. The eyelid piercing is one of the rarest piercing in the world – and for good reason. To my knowledge, only a handful of people have this piercing, and not everyone’s eyelids are conducive to the piercing. The eyelid is a thin layer of skin is designed to protect, nourish, and moisturize the eyes and corneas. Piercing the eyelid is very dangerous, and 99.99% of all professional piercers will refuse to do this procedure. Blindness can happen if the piercing goes awry. It is very tricky from the piercer’s point of view to successfully complete this procedure, for arranging the forceps and needle to miss the eyeball is no easy feat. Ophthalmology surgeons spend the better part of a decade learning specifically how to do this and get paid very handsomely to miss eyeballs, just to put it in perspective.
Even if you somehow convince a piercer to risk their reputation and pierce your eyelid for you, cleaning the eyelid is difficult. Captive rings are used, and the eyelid will swell, there will be crust and puss, and the only way you can hope to keep the piercing clean is with your own tears and saline solution (which closely matches your tears). If you wear contacts, a misplaced piercing will scratch them; heck, a misplaced eye piercing will scratch your corneas – which can be excruciating. Most of these piercings do not last long because there are just too many irritants in our world to prevent a complete and infection-free healing.
While final pictures of the few brave people who have this procedure look totally awesome, it can cause irreversible and serious damage. I can’t recommend this to anyone, although I am completely for pushing the boundaries of self expression, but I would feel awful if someone attempted this piercing and failed. If considering an eyelid piercing – find a piercer who has performed it before (who may not be willing to do it anyway), be fully aware and prepared for the worst, good luck, and send me a picture!