Cocaine

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Until it was made illegal (in the United States), cocaine was commonly mixed with tattoo ink in order to make the process of tattooing painless due to is anesthetizing properties. This entry refers primarily to cocaine use in a recreational context and how it affects the body modification process.

While frequent cocaine use causes inflammation of blood vessels and an increase in blood clotting, many piercers (and piercees) have reported that cocaine use greatly increases the amount of bleeding they experience (probably due at least in part to the increased blood pressure after use). Long-term nasal use (snorting) of cocaine can break down those membranes and increase the amount of damage from septum and nostril piercings.

One piercing studio worker writes us,

I have witnessed firsthand someone losing a LOT of blood after getting her clitoral hood pierced thanks to snorting cocaine. No, the piercer shouldn't have performed the procedure in the first place but at the time she was battling her own demons and as a result her capacity to judge sober from not was greatly diminished. Nonetheless, the customer had to remove her hood jewelry a few days afterwards.

Cocaine use may also slow healing,

Usually, when I do coke (by itself), the next day, I wake up feeling like it's the greatest day of my life. I've gotten tattooed the day after doing coke, and it was the same. It didn't appear to affect me, while getting tattooed, but I did have a lot longer healing time. Of course, I was doing coke the entire duration of healing. However, I'm not 100% sure that the two are related, as this experience was a different artist.

In addition, some people have reported that cocaine use can damage the healing of a tattoo, in part due to simply not following aftercare, but perhaps as a direct side effect as well:

Cocaine can cause the ink to actually come out of the tattoo within the first two days of it getting done. It's weird.. you just see the ink come out like it was never put in in the first place!

Finally, it should be noted that any drug use that affects your health will also affect the healing of the modification. In addition, it is important that you let the artist that works on you know exactly what street drugs you're taking regularly in order to get the best service and advice from them.

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