We asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us their piercing horror stories. Here are their gruesome responses:
1. The flesh-eating bacteria.
I let a girl in my college dorm pierce my cartilage with a gun she bought off the internet. I thought I was the coolest, but I ended up with a serious infection and flesh-eating bacteria that ate away the tip of my ear. I definitely learned an important lesson: Go to a professional so you don't lose any body parts!
2. The sliced ear lobe.
On my 8th birthday me and my mum went to get my ears pierced. The woman who did it was new and pushed the back of the earnings on too tight. I didn't want to seem like a baby after begging to get them done, so even though it hurt I didn't say anything for two weeks. By that time the stud part of the earring had been into the inside of my earlobe. I ended up having to go to the emergency room when they couldn't get the back off they sliced open my earlobe, took the earring out, then stuck it back together. I never tried to get them pierced again.
3. The hanging gun.
I was visiting my sister in California when I was 15 and we thought it would be fun to get my cartilage pierced. I already had one piercing in it so I didn't think it would be bad. The piercer didn't want to use a needle, so she used the gun, which proceeded to get stuck in my ear. She let go of the piercing gun, and it hung from my ear – stuck. She yelled to the back for some tweezers, but before someone could bring them to her, she yanked it off my ear. I didn't even get a free piercing.
4. The bloody face.
A couple of months ago I really wanted to get my cartilage pierced and one of my coworkers recommended a place in our city that did $15 piercings on Tuesdays! So I went there and showed her where I wanted it and she gave me no jewellery options and then just pierced it! Everything was alright until the next day when my brother pointed out that the entire side of my face was covered in dried blood.
5. The self-piercer.
Not me but a girl I worked with and went to school with (around 15/16) used her supermarket employee name tag to pierce her snakebites. It worked. But got massively infected.
6. The opening wrist.
I was addicted to piercings. I had the back of my neck pierced, my hips, wrist, and a few more. The only problem is that my body rejected almost every single one. The grossest was the barbell that I had in my wrist. My wrist DID NOT like that shit and at one point it looked like the skin around the barbell was splitting and opening just to push this thing out. Lots of pus...not worth it.
— Angela Christine, Facebook
7. The bloody exam.
As a freshman in college, my friend and I went to pierce our cartilages. I forgot my ID so I ended up piercing it myself. We were taking an exam, sitting every other seat, when the bump on my cartilage was driving me nuts. I squeezed it, it popped, and I had great relief. After my exam I went to the bathroom and saw blood in my ear. I told my friend this after he came out of the exam, sitting one seat over. He freaked out and told me a drop of blood got on his test and he was frantically checking his face for where it was coming from – except it came from my ear! Oops!
8. The disastrous haircut.
I had my cartilage pierced and went to get my hair cut a day or two later. As the hairstylist was combing my hair, the comb somehow caught on the back of my earring and pulled it clean out. I didn't know I could scream that loud, lol. On the bright side they didn't charge me for the haircut!!
9. The crusty ear.
Being the laid-back, piercing-addicted (think: eight piercings in six months) youth that I was, I simply shrugged my shoulders and said "that's cool" when the shop apprentice offered to do my rook. They have to practice somehow, right?
When my unbearably itchy ear woke me up the next morning, I looked in the mirror to witness what would be the first of many horrific moments of healing my new ear hole. Blood caked the entirety of my inner ear, well into the canal. Following mornings would host a variety of blood, pus, bloody pus, layers of crusty torture in my ear.
Bonus: Within a week of getting my 14-gauge, three-hole, spiral cartilage piercing my best friend came in for a hug and his backpack strap tried to take my spiral with it. High schools haven't heard a scream so piercing. Six years later and the pain still haunts me to this day.
10. The pus bubble.
Got my belly button pierced on a couch by my friend (who had legit needles and jewelry to say the least) but it got massively infected right after. It had a huge pus bubble in between the beads and I took it out after less than two weeks. Ten years on now and I still have the scar from the infection, which is completely stretched out because I'm eight months pregnant and it causes me so much pain. My belly skin is tight to begin with, the scar tissue just makes it worse.
11. The yanking.
The second time I got my eyebrow pierced the piercer almost ripped the jewelry out immediately after he pierced it. He had pushed the needle and the jewelry through and was holding on to the giant-ass clamp still. Then he dropped the ball that screws onto the end, so homeboy leans over to grab it off the floor while still holding the clamp and basically yanks my whole head down via my freshly pierced eyebrow. The piercing also ended up super infected and rejected out a month later. It was nasty.
— Hali Lawrence
12. The giant cheeks.
I got my cheeks pierced about six years ago, and they got incredibly swollen. So much so that the ball on the outside of one popped off, and my skin on the inside AND outside grew over the piercing. I ended up having to get surgery to physically cut them out.
13. The ripped nose.
When I was 18 I decided to get my nose pierced – it was really painful but I liked it. Couple of months later I was wearing my glasses and when I took them off my face I somehow got the frame caught on the stud and ripped the piercing right out of my nose... The pain was unbelievable. Never again.
14. The cartilage spiral sticks.
I had a cartilage piercing in college. It got infected (I'm pretty sure from my hair being down too much and getting it dirty). It started to hurt just a little, and within a matter of hours half of my face was really hot, my ear had swollen, and it felt like my ear was being shut in a car door over and over. My bestie/college roomie helped me get it out. She twisted and twisted but nothing worked. Finally I told her just yank it not matter how much it hurts. She did and it popped out along with about an inch or two of cartilage spiral sticks. Blood and pus were seeping out, and it was so gross, but at least I felt better.
— Holly Williams , Facebook
15. The new tongue.
Celebrating Memorial Day Weekend with a bunch of friends on a boardwalk, I found out one of them had the web of their tongue pierced...you know, the thin little piece of flesh in your mouth that keeps your tongue basically attached to your face? Yep. That thing.
Well, long story short, your girl here thought it was the most amazing thing...and got hers done. Right there. On the boardwalk. After about my body weight in beers. Having over 13 piercings (not from this said boardwalk), I knew immediately something was not okay with this one... And less than three hours later, so much pus and shit had built up under the skin of the piercing, I basically grew another tongue...
— Stephanie DiCindio, Facebook
16. The puppy and the nipple piercing.
About 3.5 years ago I got both my nipples pierced. It also should be noted I like to sleep "freely", i.e., in the nude, totally normal, and an important fact of this story. Flash forward a little bit later: My boyfriend and I got a puppy, who slept with us most of the time on the bed. He usually laid on the bed till we turned off the light, stayed with us another 15 minutes and then went onto the floor.
One night before bed, our dog was on the bed on my boyfriend's side, all very normal. Boyfriend went to turn off the light. I was under the covers but my chest was exposed beside him. The next thing I know as the light gets turned off, our dog lunges at my tit, and the worst pain imaginable happens. I start screaming and crying that the dog has ruined my nipple and get him off the bed. Boyfriend doesn't know what is happening, so I keep yelling about my ruined nipple, clutching it with my hand feeling blood. My nipple piercing was ripped clean out, blood everywhere.
To this day my nipple still looks wonky and my boyfriend always teases me about the dog ruining my nipple, since that's all I could cry out in shock bleeding on the bed.
— HK Woods, Facebook
17. The loud pop.
I decided to get my nose re-pierced in the same place that i had it originally. There was a slight dimple so she marked it perfectly. She struggled for two straight minutes to get through the skin, and finally had someone come over to grab the bridge of my nose. She clamped the ever living fuck out of my nostril, and jammed the needle through with a shockingly loud POP. Then she had the audacity to say "You don't cry when you're getting pierced!"
18. The horrific hair-brushing.
When I was 18 I got shitfaced and got my nipple pierced whilst living abroad. Was all fun and games until I got home and drunkenly brushed my hair. I ripped it clean out, like, four hours after getting it done. My nipple has looked like a half-chewed wine gum ever since.
19. The spraying blood.
First time I got my nose done, it bruised slightly – no big deal. Wrong! Once it had "healed" I went to change it. Not only did it cause a nose bleed but blood was spraying out of the hole of the piercing. The guy had pierced through my vein in my nose. Six weeks with a bruised, bleeding nose!
— Hazell Angela Wooton, Facebook
Note: Submissions have been edited for length and clarity.