Piercing is the process of inserting a needle into some part of the body's skin or cartilage in order to create a hole for the insertion of jewelry. The word piercing also applies to the jewelry that is put into these openings in the skin.
The origin of piercing is not known. However, the practice has been documented in many cultures at different periods of time and has been practiced prehistorically as well.
The most popular form of piercing in the United States is ear piercing. However, other parts of the body may be pierced as well, including the lips, eyebrows, tongue, breasts, and genital areas. Some individuals also pierce the skin surrounding the belly button. Piercing is available at many shopping malls and businesses specializing in the practice. Some doctor's offices may also offer piercing services.
Piercing is generally regarded as safe in body areas with few nerve endings, assuming that proper standards of cleanliness, such as using sterile and single use needles, are maintained. The risk of nerve damage, undesired tissue damage, and infection is greater in certain areas of the body including the tongue, breasts, and genital areas.
Ear piercing is a commonly accepted practice in most parts of the United States. Currently, piercing of parts of the body other than the ears is popular among teen and young adults in Western cultures.
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