What is the Nape Piercing?
The nape piercing is done at the nape of the neck underneath the hairline. It is traditionally don’t horizontally, but different jewelry options now make it possible for the piercing to be done vertically. This piercing is a surface piercing, it is where the surface of the skin is pierced.
The Piercing Procedure
When going in for your nape piercing your piercing will have you sign papers consenting to the piercing, and health and safety waivers. They will often take a copy of your identification to prove that you are of the correct age to have the piercing done. When getting ready for the piercing your piercer will clean the area on the neck and shave any excess hair on the nape. After the area is disinfected the piercer will mark the space where they will perform the piercing. Depending on the body jewelry you have chosen the piercer might make multiple marks for the position of surface anchors.
The nape piercing can be done with two different types of jewelry, surface anchors or a surface bar. A surface bar is the most common way to perform this piercing, it is a regular barbell where the ends come up to a ninety-degree angle. The surface bar only does well when it is placed horizontally, but it is extremely durable and less likely to fall out or get pulled out when compared to a surface anchor. It’s a very resistant piece of jewelry that holds up to natural wear and tear. The surface anchor is not the traditional in and out piercing. This is also referred to as a micro-dermal and it is an anchor that is implanted under the skin. This means that it does not go through the skin making two separate holes, it sits underneath the tissue. Surface anchors can be placed in any pattern, horizontally or vertically.
Anchors give more options when it comes to the style of the piercing. The downside to surface anchors is that they can be accidentally pulled out. If it gets caught on your shirt, hands, hair, etc. go back to your professional piercer and have them reinsert the jewelry. Reinserting a surface anchor is relatively easy depending on the damage done when it was pulled out. No matter what jewelry choice you decide on it is important not to touch the jewelry, move it, or spin it.
Excess movement can cause migration and it can allow bacteria to be introduced into the piercing. Migration is when the tissue near the barbell becomes smaller and eventually the tissue pulls away and cannot hold the jewelry any longer. The healing time for the nape piercing is between two and three months, but it is always good to be aware of the piercing and keep any movement around the piercing limited.
During the 2-3-month healing period it is important that your piercing is cleaned once or twice a day. Ideally, cleaning will happen once in the morning and once at night. After getting your piercing start by going to your local grocery store or pharmacy and head to the water isle. Pick up a one-gallon jug of distilled water. Make sure that the label reads distilled, and you are not substituting this for any other type of water. Next, you will need to go to the salt isle and pick up Non-iodized Sea Salt. Both of these ingredients are relatively cheap and can be found at almost any store. When looking for salt, make sure that the only ingredient on the back of the label is sea salt. Non-iodized sea salt is pure and natural sea salt.
Once you have both the Non-iodized sea salt and the distilled water, mix four teaspoons of the sea salt into the one-gallon jug of distilled water, and shake well. This will leave you with a gallon of cleaning solution that can be kept around the house or poured into a smaller container if you need to use it while on the go. Next, you will want to pour the solution into a shot glass or a coffee cup, always make sure that these are porcelain or glass (paper and plastic products can contaminate your newly made cleaning solution). After you have poured the solution into a cup put it in the microwave for a few seconds. The goal is to make the solution body temperature or lukewarm, any warmer can burn you or your piercing. Since everyone has a different microwave it might take a few tries to get the correct temperature. After finding the correct temperature insert a clean paper towel into the solution. Ideally the piercing should be completely submerged with the cleaning solution, but due to the placement of the nape that isn’t always possible. Use the clean paper towel and drape it over the piercing, creating a compress. Keep the compress on the piercing for seven to fifteen minutes for the best effects. Do this twice daily for the full healing period.
What to Avoid
After getting the back of neck piercing it is best to avoid bottle cleaners. These cleaners can include; Hydrogen Peroxide, Bactine, Neosporin, Alcohol, and Antibacterial soap. These cleaners are extremely harsh on a healing piercing and they are more likely to do more harm than good. They tend to kill the healing tissue, almost like dissolving a scab. It is very tempting to want to touch a new piercing but keeping the piercing stationary is important throughout the healing process. Don’t touch it, spin it, rotate it or pull it. When you touch or move the piercing it is similar to picking a scab, the healing barrier is being broken open. This causes prolonged healing, excess scar tissue, and the introduction of bacteria. Keep the area clean and make sure to avoid public bodies of water such as the ocean, Jacuzzi’s, pools, and lakes. Cleaning your piercing twice a day will make a big difference in the healing process!
Disclaimer: If you have any questions regarding your piercings please see your Medical Doctor or professional Piercer immediately.