It’s crazy what people do to their skin in the name of fashion, ever heard of the fetish practice named corset piercing? Forget tattoos, belly button piercings and Lady Gaga-style silicone implants – the latest craze in body modification is ‘corset piercing’ where metal rings are pierced into the skin and joined together with a ribbon to give a corset effect.
The ‘decoration’, which can cost up to £300, can be applied to any area of the body where the skin is loose enough to pinch in order to thread a needle through. Popular areas include the back, ribs and, in some cases, even the throat.
Corsetry has a long history, it coming into practice with the establishment of the body piercing industry in the late 1990s; it is associated with erotic behavior and aesthetics, particularly fetish aesthetics. Also paralleling corsets, most wearers of corset piercings are women.
But a cosmetic surgeon has now warned of the dangers of the bizarre trend which is sweeping the UK, saying the scarring following the procedure can be ‘absolutely horrendous’.
Some have endured an hour of pain to achieve the corset effect but it’s only temporary – after a few weeks of wear they simply grow out, leaving scars in their place.
Today it’s possible to be branded, scarred and even has silicone implanted under the skin to create bumps and ‘horns’.
Eccentric popstar Lady Gaga is just one celebrity who’s jumped on the bandwagon. She sported bizarre flesh-coloured ‘horns’ on her face during a television interview in February this year. According to piercing experts, the ‘corset’ modification is growing in popularity as more and braver the pain.
But consultant plastic surgeon Kevin Hancock, a council member of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons who works at Spire Murray field Hospital, Merseyside, warned of the problems it can cause.
He said: ‘I can’t believe it’s something that people would be attracted to.
‘Any piercing, superficial or otherwise, produces a scar and different people scar in different ways.
‘For some, the scarring may be slight but for others it can produce problems where the tissue overgrows and you end up with a red lump which is permanent.
‘In some cases this can be absolutely horrendous.
‘I have to say it seems absolutely barking to me. I was amazed when I saw pictures of this piercing – it would be extremely painful and it’s only temporary.
‘This is a row of rings which could also bleed and become infected. There is a risk of the rings pulling the skin and also becoming caught on something.
I can’t believe that people are going out with these things on display – they’re open to any sort of infection. It’s verging on masochistic.
‘It’s just bizarre. I saw a picture of a girl who had the front of her chest done like this, that area is very prone to scarring. It’s an awful thing to do.’
Laura Hunt offers corset piercing at her Tattoo and Piercing Studio, called Dragstrip, in Southampton, Hampshire, and charges £5 per hoop.
The 25-year-old, from Southampton, who has had the piercing herself, insisted it wasn’t dangerous.
She explained: ‘Corset piercing is becoming more popular. Body modifications have recently become really popular as everyone wants to be different.
‘It can be quite painful. It involves pinching the skin and pushing the needle through by hand.
‘A lot of people know about it and would like to have it done but for some it can be too painful.
‘It’s not dangerous because it’s a surface piercing and doesn’t go deep enough.
‘It’s an open wound so it has to be cleaned to prevent infection – it’s just like any other piercing.
‘It only lasts for three to four weeks and after that it will just grow out. It does leave a few red scars.
‘We get a lot of different people asking to have it done – one was a 45-year-old mum who wanted it done for a tattoo convention.
‘We’ve also had a couple of students doing art degrees and others who are in to fetishes and pain. Others have it done because they want to look nice for a particular occasion.’