You've decided to get a piercing? Excellent! We love that you caught the piercing bug, but we don't want you to catch an infection. That being said, use this handy reference guide to make a well-informed decision about your piercing artist. We'll take you step-by-step through the decision making process and what to expect when it's time to get pierced:
Step 1: Figure Out What You Want
Consider your body type and lifestyle before deciding what piercing you want to get. If you think the piercing could perhaps be in danger of rubbing, tearing, getting squashed, or tampered with in any way, then it's probably not the piercing for you. For instance, a field hockey player may get grief from their coach if they get a belly button piercing. Likewise, a football player probably shouldn't get their eyebrow pierced, which a helmet could irritate during a game.
If you don't think these types of concerns apply to you and the peircing you want, then you're all set to be pierced.
Step 2: Find a Shop
You'll want to find a reputable shop with good reviews and recommendations. This isn't as simple as walking into the nearest shop, throwing down some cash, and saying, "Pierce me!" Take the time to do a little research, so you can ensure you will enjoy a safe and healthy piercing process.
What to Look for in a Piercing Shop:
- Cleanliness: When you walk into a studio, check the walls, ceiling, and floor. If the studio appears clean and well tended to, this is a good sign of professionalism and safe procedures.
- Business License: Any legitimate shop should have a license to operate.
- Certifications: Ask your piercing if he or she is APP-certified. You should also ask if he or she has a Bloodborne Pathogen Certification and/or a First Aid/CPR Certification.
- Sterility: Make sure your piercing artist uses an autoclave. If the autoclave is not out in the open, ask to see it. You can also ask to see the studio's spore test results and ensure the autoclave is being used regularly to sterilize needles and piercing tools. You should also ensure your piercing artist is using piercing needles in individually sealed sterilized packaging.
- Portfolio: Ask to see your piercing artist's portfolio to sure he or she has experience performing the kind of piercing you'd like to get.
Remember that you should feel comfortable wherever you choose to get pierced. If you feel uncomfortable for whatever reason, it is okay to look for another establishment.
Step 3: Make an Appointment
Some shops are perfectly willing to pierce clients on a walk-in basis. However, to ensure that you get the proper attention and care, we recommend making an appointment ahead of time. That way, the piercer will know what to expect, and you will know when to begin preparing for your piercing. Additionally, you'll be able to schedule your piercing at a time that is optimal for you. For example, if you're a swimmer, you shouldn't get any new piercings during swimming season, and would be advised to make an appointment during a time when you won't be in a swimming pool.
Step 4: The Day of the Piercing
Be sure to do the following the day of your piercing:
- Eat beforehand: Eating before your piercing ensures you won't have low blood sugar. Low blood sugar can cause dizziness or potential fainting, particularly during more extensive piercing procedures.
- Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing: Bear in mind where you're getting the piercing, and ensure it will not be irritated or inflamed by close-fitting fabrics.
- Take a friend: A companion can drive you home if you're feeling woozy or dizzy after the procedure.
- Bring a photo ID: Any professional shop will require a photo ID. You should also be sure to bring along any other required documents the shop may need from you.
Step 5: The Piercing Procedure
Your piercer should follow several steps during the piercing procedure.
- Your piercer should mark the piercing site and show it to you, checking to ensure that you like the placement.
- Your piercer should change his or her gloves every time they touch anything that could potentially contaminate their gloves.
- All of the equipment your piercer uses should come in sealed, pre-packaged, sterilized wrappers with indicators on the bottom and the top to let you know the jewelry and needles are sterile.
- The room should be clean; your piercer should be clean; and the piercing site should be cleaned off prior to piercing.
If you have any questions or concerns, be sure to have them addressed before you are pierced.
Step 6: Post-Piercing and Aftercare
Your piercer should give you a sheet of aftercare instructions with information on how to keep your piercing healthy. Helpful tips will include keeping your piercing clean with Recovery Saline Solution or another high-quality sea salt wash approximately 3 to 6 times per day. Your piercer should check everything over one last time, check to see if you are feeling well, and ensure you have a thorough understanding of your aftercare instructions before sending you on your way. Then, it's time to enjoy a safe, healthy recovery process.