In the United States men began to wear a single earring in the 1980s, when many rock stars started sporting them. But it was not until the 1990s that many guys choose to have other body parts pierced. The body piercings started in an alternative subculture, along with tattoos.Then these piercings entered the mainstream as fashionable. While ears remain the most popular, there are a variety of sites that males now choose to have pierced.
The most common of all piercings for both men and women are those in soft tissue areas. These piercings pass through a body segment so that the jewelry shows on opposite sides when inserted. Earlobes are the most prevalent site for soft tissue piercing. Men generally have only one lobe pierced, unlike their female counterparts who usually have both done. Earlobe piercings usually heal fast with few complications. The other two popular soft tissue areas that men have pierced are the tongue and the nipple. Tongues take more time to heal than ear lobes and can easily become infected due to the high number of bacteria present in the mouth. Men who get nipple piercings usually get only one done, just as with the earlobes. Nipple piercings often heal quickly and do not usually create any health issues.
Men often get cartilage piercings. These are located in the cartilage above the earlobe and the area of cartilage in the nose. The cartilage will always have a hole once it is pierced, though the skin over the area may close if not kept open with jewelry. Cartilage piercings are usually more uncomfortable than soft tissue ones and take longer to heal. The ear cartilage extends throughout the upper ear. Certain areas of this cartilage can be pierced with a relatively short healing time and few complications due to their thinness, while other thicker areas of ear cartilage take a longer time to heal and are more susceptible to problems.
Surface to surface piercings are gaining popularity among men. These piercings can be performed just about anywhere on the body. They do require careful care and take an extremely long time to heal. It is is not uncommon for these piercings to take a year or more before healing is completed. Men often choose the nape of the neck, the throat or the eyebrow for a surface-to-surface piercing. One problem that can occur with piercings is that sometimes the body rejects the piercing. This occurs more often with surface-to-surface piercings than soft tissue or cartilage piercings.
According to the Mayo Clinic, serious problems can occur from piercings, even those done in sterile environments by an experienced individual. These issues include infection, allergic reactions, scarring and teeth cracking from jewelry in a tongue piercing. Consult your physician if you experience any problems, including extremely slow healing, excessive redness or swelling.