You’ve thought about it for a while now, and you’re 100 percent sure you want a piercing. There are just too many cute feather belly rings, cool tragus earrings, and fun labret jewelry to pass up. That just leaves one more important question: How do you go about choosing a piercer?
While it may seem like all practicing tattoo artists and body piercers should have enough experience under their belt to give you a safe, well-done piercing, there are a few things the Association of Professional Piercers says you should look out for.
1. A license. Despite what you may think, this is not always a given. Some areas do not require a license, and there are studios out there in operation without Health Department approval.
2. Clean tools and sterilizer. Some things are obvious, make sure they wash their hands and wear gloves, but unlike a hair salon, tools should not be soaked in a cleaning liquid. Unless the needle and equipment came out of a sealed, sterile package, do not let a piercing artist use it on you!
3. Hygienic studio. Are the rooms divided up based on their happenings? You don’t want people in the waiting room distracting your piercing artist. Also, if the place isn’t clean, don’t put yourself at risk of infection. The walls should be washed and the floor should be vacuumed or swept. Furthermore, the building shouldn’t be your only concern. The artists should also appear bathed.
4. Artist credentials. Browse the artist’s portfolio when choosing a piercer. It takes experience to know how to properly pierce a belly button. In the photos, does the piercing compliment the client’s anatomy? Does it look like the artist knows what they’re doing? It’s ok to trust your gut. If the portfolio contains oddly placed piercings, are their photos showing the piercing healed up and looking cute? If you don’t like the artist’s work, don’t let them make your body their next canvas.
5. Aftercare advice. Even though the word “after” is in the title, ask for a pamphlet, brochure, paper (whatever they call it) before you get your piercing done. If they don’t have written aftercare instructions, it should be a red flag. If the writing instructs you to use alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or harsh soap on your piercing, don’t get a piercing at that salon. These products are too hard on your piercing and can consequently cause infection and irritation. Mild liquid soap or sea salt water are considered the best cleaners.
Now that you’re aware of the major salon warning signs you should be able to make a decision that you can be confident and happy about. Now all that’s left is to enjoy your new piercing!