What are Piercing Forceps?

Pamela Pleasant

Piercing forceps are used to hold skin or an appendage in place before it is pierced. These forceps clamp onto a specific area and create a small amount of pressure. This can slow down the blood flow to prevent excess bleeding and also can help numb the area. There are several types of piercing forceps. They are specifically made for each area being pierced.

A woman with two ear piercings.
A woman with two ear piercings.

Piercing involves inserting a needle into the skin. The needle can either be solid or hollow. For example, if an ear is being pierced, a solid needle is commonly used. If the belly button is being pierced, a hollow needle is used. This is done to make sure that the hole is big enough to insert the jewelry.

Piercing forceps are used to hold the tongue in place for piercing.
Piercing forceps are used to hold the tongue in place for piercing.

Tongue piercing forceps hold the tongue in place for piercing. The tools have tiny horizontal slots on the circular tips to clamp onto the tongue so there will be no slippage due to saliva. They clamp tightly onto the tongue, but they generally do not cause any discomfort or pinch the tongue area. There are also smaller slots seen on the circular tips. The slots make the piercing forceps easier to remove after the piercing is completed.

Circular-tipped forceps used for piercing the navel area.
Circular-tipped forceps used for piercing the navel area.

Body piercing forceps have tips to hold the skin in place but they do not have any horizontal slots. The tips can be seen in various shapes and sizes. They can be circular, square, or triangular, depending on which areas of the body they're made to clamp. Circular-shaped tips can be used to clamp onto the belly button area and triangular-shaped forceps can be used to pierce hard-to-reach areas. Unlike tongue piercing forceps, the body forceps clamp down tightly and can create a slight numbing effect.

Non-locking forceps are commonly used for genital piercing. This includes labia and clitoris piercing. In these sensitive areas, excessive pressure and clamping can cause pain or added discomfort. The non-locking feature makes it possible to hold the skin in place while the needle is inserted but it can also be easily removed. These types of forceps can also be used to avoid bacterial infections because there is no contact between the hand and the area being pierced.

Using the wrong piercing forceps can result in needle slippage or a crooked piercing. Any piercing should be done by a qualified professional to avoid bacterial infections. All piercing tools should be completely sterilized before use.

Body piercing forceps have tips to hold the skin in place, but they do not have any horizontal slots.
Body piercing forceps have tips to hold the skin in place, but they do not have any horizontal slots.

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