Body piercing, a form of body modification, is the practice of puncturing or cutting a part of the human body, creating an opening in which jewellery may be worn. The word piercing can refer to the act or practice of body piercing, or to an opening in the body created by this act or practice. Although the history of body piercing is obscured by popular misinformation and by a lack of scholarly reference, ample evidence exists to document that it has been practiced in various forms by both sexes since ancient times throughout the world.
Ear piercing and nose piercing have been particularly widespread and are well represented in historical records and among grave goods. The oldest mummified remains ever discovered were sporting earrings, attesting to the existence of the practice more than 5,000 years ago. Nose piercing is documented as far back as 1500 BC. Piercings of these types have been documented globally, while lip and tongue piercings were historically found in African and American tribal cultures. Nipple and genital piercing have also been practiced by various cultures, with nipple piercing dating back at least to Ancient Rome while genital piercing is described in Ancient India c. 320 to 550 CE. The history of navel piercing is less clear. The practice of body piercing has waxed and waned in Western culture, but it has experienced an increase of popularity since World War II, with sites other than the ears gaining subcultural popularity in the 1970s and spreading to mainstream in the 1990s.
A nipple piercing is a body piercing, centered usually at the base of the nipple. It can be pierced at any angle but is usually done horizontally or, less often, vertically. It is also possible to place multiple piercings on top of one another. Some people have noted that they can take up to a year and a half to heal fully. It is recommended that if stretching a nipple piercing, the piercee waits at least the healing time of their piercings between stretches.
The perforation of the nipple to apply jewelry has been practiced by various people throughout history. Male nipple piercing was reported to be done by the Karankawa Native Americans, female nipple piercing is practiced by the Kabyle people in Algeria.
An inverted nipple (occasionally invaginated nipple) is a condition where the nipple, instead of pointing outward, is retracted into the breast. In some cases, the nipple will be temporarily protruded if stimulated, but in others, the inversion remains regardless of stimulus. Women and men can have inverted nipples.
The most common causes of nipple inversion include:
Surface piercings are any body piercings that take place on the surface sewn into the body through areas which are not particularly concave or convex, where the piercing canal transverses a surface flap of skin, rather than running completely through a piece of body tissue from one side to another. A surface bar follows the plane of skin, while a standard piercing is pierced through the plane.
Sometimes surface piercings are difficult to heal, because, as the body rejects the body jewelry as a foreign object, the jewelry is pushed to the surface, causing the piercing to grow out (also called rejection). Proper placement and jewelry selection by an experienced body piercer can help alleviate this problem. A well done surface can last anywhere between 3 months, several years or indefinitely.
The human body is the entire structure of a human organism and comprises a head, neck, torso, two arms and two legs. By the time the human reaches adulthood, the body consists of close to 100 trillion cells, the basic unit of life. These cells are organised biologically to eventually form the whole body.