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If you are a piercing studio operator or artist go to body piercing or ear piercing for operators

Piercing

What is ear/body piercing?

A piercing is a hole made in the tissue beneath the skin for inserting jewelry such as rings, studs and barbells. Body piercing is piercing of the nose, eyebrow, tongue or belly button.

How is piercing done?

Piercers use either a piercing gun or a hollow needle to push through the piercing area.

Ear lobe piercing is usually done with a piercing gun.

Piercings on parts of the body other than the ear lobe are made by a hollow needle. The piercer pushes the needle through the piercing site then guides the jewelry through the hole.

The needle should only ever be used once. Both the needle and jewelry should be sterile.

What are the health risks?

A piercing needle breaks the skin, so you could get a bacterial skin infection, have an allergic skin reaction or the piercing can cause scarring or keloid formation (an overgrowth of scar tissue).

If the piercing is not done properly, you could also get a blood-borne disease such as HIV, Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C.

How can I protect myself?

Lower your chance of infection by checking and asking about:

The piercing studio and piercers

  • The shop should be well-lit, clean and tidy.
  • All of the artists should be trained professionals.
  • Ask your artist about his or her experience and background.
  • Don’t let anyone other than a professional pierce your skin. You can develop severe infections if the equipment is not sterile. †

What should I expect from my piercing artist?

  • He/she will ask you for your contact information (for record keeping purposes).
  • The artist may ask for parental consent if you are under 18 years of age.
  • The artist will answer any questions you may have about getting a piercing. 

A piercing gun should only be used on your ear lobe.

Donít let your piercer use a piercing gun on your ear cartilage (high ear), nose or belly button.

Using a piercing gun on these areas can damage tissues and increase your risk of infection.

The equipment, jewelry and procedure

To protect you from infection, your artist should:

  • Wash his or her hands with soap and water and wear gloves.
  • Clean your skin with soap and water and apply an antiseptic, like alcohol.
  • Put on new gloves after touching any other equipment like the light switch or phone.
  • Remove needles and jewelry from sterilized sealed packages before your piercing.
  • Use only instruments that have been cleaned and disinfected by an approved disinfectant.
  • Use only earrings that come in individually wrapped, sterile packages for earlobe piercing.
  • Tell you and give you written instructions on how to care for your piercing while it’s healing.

What should I expect after getting my piercing?

Caring for your piercing

  • It is normal for your piercing to be slightly sore, swollen and red for few days afterwards.
  • Follow your piercer’s instructions on how to clean your piercing. 
  • Always wash your hands with soap and water before cleaning or touching your piercing.
  • Wear loose clothing that won’t rub against the piercing.
  • Wear fabrics that will let the pierced area breathe.

Healing time
While most pierced skin takes between six and eight weeks to heal, some can take a few months and others up to a year. Protect yourself from scarring and infection by following your piercer’s instructions to care for your piercing properly.

When to call your doctor
See your doctor if your piercing develops pus or becomes red, very swollen, or very tender. These might be signs that your piercing has become infected.




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Revised: Tuesday July 31 2012

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