General Piercing FAQ

Questions
Is it safe?
What is an autoclave and why is it important?
Does it hurt?
How is it done?
What type of metal can be used for an initial piercing?
What is the difference between internal and external threading?
What should I do to prepare for a piecing?
Will I be able to breastfeed after I have had my nipples pierced?
How does one become a piercer?
Can I go swimming with a fresh piercing?
Can I put a bandage on my piercing?
Do you perform any piercings with a piercing gun?
What type of ID do I need to get pierced?
What are the age requirements for piercings
Will I get an Infection?
Is it appropriate to tip my piercer?

 

Answers
Is it safe?
At Piercology, your health and safety are our priorities. We use aseptic technique which means: 

We use fresh gloves for every piercing, and you will see us change gloves a minimum of 3 times during your visit to prevent cross-contamination.

We use a new sterilized needle for every client. You get to see the package opened in front of you, and the needle disposed of immediately afterward.

All tools and instruments that are not disposable, such as forceps and tubes, are cleaned, disinfected and autoclave sterilized before use on each client.

All jewelry is ultrasonically cleaned, individually packaged and autoclave sterilized before insertion into any new piercing. Jewelry which cannot be sterilized (i.e. acrylic, bone, wood) is never inserted into a new piercing, and is thoroughly disinfected before being inserted into a healed piercing.

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What is an autoclave and why is it important?
An autoclave is the same device used by hospitals, doctors and dentists to sterilize their equipment. Autoclave sterilization is the only way to ensure that all equipment is properly sterilized and safe to use on you. Autoclaves achieve sterilization through the use of intense steam heat and pressure over an extended period of time. Items such as dry heat sterilizers, chemical solutions, boiling and alcohol do not achieve appropriate levels of sterilization. 

Any autoclave being used for piercing should be tested by an independent lab at least monthly. This is called spore testing. At Piercology, we spore test weekly on all three of our autoclaves.

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Does it hurt?
Most piercings are just a slight pinch for a second, and most of our clients saying, “it was so much easier than I thought it would be”, or “that didn’t hurt at all”. 

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How is it done?
We perform all of our piercings with single use, sterilized surgical needles. They are extremely sharp, therefore making the piercing as painless as possible. You get to watch us break open the needle package, and dispose of the needle immediately after the procedure. 

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What type of metal can be used for an initial piercing?
The following are the metals safe for initial piercings: 

Implant-grade stainless steel: 316L or 316LVM (ASTM F-138)
Implant-grade titanium: 6AI4V ELI (ASTM F-136)
Niobium
14k or 18k solid gold

All jewelry must be free of scratches, nicks, burrs and polishing compounds.

Threaded jewelry must be internally threaded.

You can read more on this here: http://piercology.com/n/jewelry_quality.php

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What is the difference between internal and external threading?
Internally threaded jewelry has the threading attached to the ball, with a hole in the shaft of the barbell. While externally threaded jewelry has a hole in the ball and the threads exposed on the shaft of the barbell. 

What this difference means to a piercing is that when the threads are exposed, as on externally threaded jewelry, those sharp threads can cause tears to the inside of a piercing. This can lead to pain, irritation, bleeding, scarring and prolonged healing, The quality of externally threaded jewelry is generally inferior, specifically the finish is duller, the steel is usually a lesser grade, and in the case of curved barbells, is not shaped correctly.

When inserting internally threaded jewelry, the threads are inside the shaft, and therefore the transition from needle to jewelry is painless, with no harm done to the piercing. This means faster healing time, less chance of excessive scar tissue and happier clients.

So why does externally threaded body jewelry exist? Because it’s much cheaper to make, and therefore your piercer makes more money off of it, but at your expense.

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What should I do to prepare for a piecing?
You must bring state issued photo ID, such as a drivers license, military ID, or passport. It is Ohio State Law, that we cannot perform services on anyone without a copy of their ID on file. 

Eat something substantial an hour or two before getting pierced. This will help support your blood sugar level.

Avoid alcohol, aspirin, excessive caffeine, and all recreational drugs for 24 hours beforehand.

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Will I be able to breastfeed after I have had my nipples pierced?
Having your nipples pierced will not impede you from breastfeeding. However, you want to make sure your piercings are well healed beforehand. Also, be sure to remove your jewelry before breastfeeding, as it can be a choking hazard for infants. 

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How does one become a piercer?
There are several contributing factors to a well-rounded piercing education. The three most important factors are: apprenticeship, classes and the Association of Professional Piercers (APP) annual conference. 

The first thing you want to do is acquire an apprenticeship with a professional piercer. It would be wise to choose a piercer who is a member of the APP, to ensure they are following industry standards. Most studios promote from within, so you would probably have to work the counter first. That studio may send you to classes if they use that as part of their apprenticeship. These classes by themselves do not make you a professional piercer. They are to be taken only as a supplement to an apprenticeship.

And finally, all piercers who want to stay current with the industry attend the APP annual conference. This is where you hear about the latest in aseptic technique, studio management, client care, anatomy relating to the piercing industry, you can take the required CPR, First Aid, and Blood Borne Pathogens classes, and also get to mingle with other piercers.

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Can I go swimming with a fresh piercing?
For the first month it is a good idea to avoid swimming unless you can cover your piercing with a Tegaderm patch bandage. This is a clear, adhesive, water proof bandage that can be comfortably worn on some piercings, such as navels with curved barbells, and nipples. It can usually be found at most pharmacies. Of course, if it’s a facial piercing, just avoid submerging it. 

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Can I put a bandage on my piercing?
A bandage is not going to help heal your piercing faster, so if that’s why you would want to bandage it, don’t bother. 

If the bandage is to hide the piercing, be sure that the bandage is not holding the piercing down, and that the adhesive is not getting on the piercing or jewelry.

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Do you perform any piercings with a piercing gun?
There are several reasons why we do not use ear piercing guns for any type of piercing. 

First, there is no way to sterilize piercing guns. Most guns are made of plastic and will melt under the extreme heat and pressure of an autoclave (the piece of equipment used to sterilize implements) and chemical sterilization has not been proven to kill all blood borne pathogens; this is extremely dangerous since fluid micro-spray (microscopic particles of tissue, blood and other body fluids) might be present on the gun after a piercing.

Second, guns are considerably more painful than a piercing needle because guns use the blunt end of the jewelry to do the piercing – actually tearing the skin, traumatizing the area, and complicating healing.

Third, since both the instrument and the jewelry were designed for earlobes, they are not compatible with other areas of the body, increasing the risk of infection and further complicating the healing process.

Fourth, standard piercing gun studs are usually made of a poor quality metal that can cause additional complications.

Lastly, the jewelry is poorly designed in that the backing traps and collects waste, hair and debris, holding it against or close to the piercing. This is far from an ideal healing environment.

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What type of ID do I need to get pierced?
Piercology will follow the letter of the law and only pierce clients with the proper ID and at what we feel is an appropriate age.
FOR PIERCING MINORS; We require that the parent or legal guardian have a valid government issued photo identification. The last name of the parent or guardian MUST be the same as the minor, or legal documentation as to why they are different. The minor being pierced MUST ALSO have photo identification; this can be a passport, drivers license, military ID or a certified birth certificate, accompanied by a school ID or a photo in a yearbook. We do this to protect ourselves and the minor.
The guardian of a minor must also be prepared to be present while the piercing is being performed.
Piercology will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law anyone attempting to use a fake ID, or trying to impersonate another person as this is a federal offense.
For those over 18, a valid government issued photo ID is required.
 

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What are the age requirements for piercings
First. I would like to state that any minor getting a piercing must be accompanied by their parent or legal guardian with the appropriate ID and documentation. (See above question.)
Having said that, we will perform the following piercings starting at the corresponding ages.
Earlobes…Age 7
Navel, Cartilage, Nostril, Septum, and Eyebrow…Age 15
Tongue, Lip, Labret, Monroe….Age 16
All other piercings…Age 18
 

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Will I get an Infection?
Infections are generally the result of improper aftercare. If you follow the aftercare instructions given to you, infections are very rare. Avoid over cleaning or under cleaning, stick with what the guidelines say and you will avoid an infection. The guidelines you will be given are the latest and up-to-date. They have been established by the industry and the APP working with doctors and the piercing community. 

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Is it appropriate to tip my piercer?
Tips are never expected, but always appreciated. Piercing is a service and if you were happy with the service you received, yes tipping is appropriate. 

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