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Protesting and Piercings: Staying Safe while Staying Out There

Are you attending protests going on around the country right now? Do you also have body piercings? Let’s look at some tips to protest safely without harming your piercings, if at all possible.

-Wear Simple Jewelry- This is important for a few reasons. Protests have been turning violent quickly, and in the rush of an escalated situation jewelry may end up being lost. Wearing your simplest plugs, earrings you don’t care about, and if you feel comfortable swapping other piercings to simple pieces, doing so, will prevent you from losing jewelry you care about. Hanging designs, big hoops, anything that dangles can get caught, or pulled, in an altercation, so definitely wear plugs, or even consider taping your lobes up. No one wants a torn lobe, and that can happen without warning in a violent situation. Athletic bandages or medical tape can be used to tape your lobes up for a few hours, just wash them throughly after and make sure you aren’t sensitive to those adhesives. If arrested and processed, jewelry may be damaged or removed, and you wouldn’t want that to happen to your nice pieces. More decorative jewelry can also be used to help identify you, so wearing simpler pieces will also help you protect your identity. You should also be wearing a mask for your safety and the safety of others, but this also helps cover and protect facial piercings. Consider a tied bandana to help cover and protect ear piercings.

-Saline Wound Wash works for tear gas. Got some saline laying around at home from cleaning your piercings? Bring some. Sterile saline wound wash is eye safe, and the direct sprays are great for gently flushing tear gas. The cans are small and lightweight, easy to tuck in your bag for a protest.

-If your piercings become irritated from tear gas, smoke, dirt or debris, when you are home you should give them some extra TLC. Throughly clean every piercing with cold water, so prevent your pores from opening if you have come in contact with tear gas. Take time to clean the jewelry off as well to ensure there are no chemicals left over on it. Use some saline to clean the piercings, and consider doing some warm compresses to soothe them. If you are regularly protesting and your piercing becomes excessively swollen or irritated, it may be safer to remove and retire it, and have it repierced after.

-Tegaderm waterproof bandages work great to cover still healing piercings, like navels, nipples, and surface piercings. You can cut it into strips to cover nostril and ear piercings. This is less then ideal as this can cause its own irritation, but if you feel its highly likely you will be tear gassed or other altercations may arrive, it’s a safer bet than nothing.

-Tattoos are identifying markers police can use to determine who you are. Using markers to draw random things in and around your tattoos, even just lines and scribbles, can make it harder for them to identify who you are from photos and videos of a protest. Also check out tutorials about anti facial recognition makeup to keep your identity safe.

-Fresh tattoo? Request a Saniderm bandage so it’s covered from dirt and debris while you are out protesting, and consider wearing clothing that covers it as well so the sun isn’t irritating it. Consult with your artist if you’ve gotten gassed about the best way to clean and treat the area, since each artist suggests different aftercare.

Stay safe, stay smart, Black Lives Matter.

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