Once you’ve decided to get a piercing, the next step is figuring out who should do the job. It’s important to choose your artist carefully, since the wrong one could leave you with a variety of blood borne illnesses, including HIV. Ask around for recommendations and examine your chosen facility with your own eyes before consenting to a piercing procedure. When checking out your potential piercer, here are three things they absolutely need to be: licensed, insured and immaculately clean. Find someone who possesses all three of these qualities before having your piercing done.
When performing a body piercing, it is important for the artist to know where certain nerves and other important anatomical structures are located. Piercing is risky when done improperly, leading many cities to legislate who may and may not perform the procedure. In order to operate legally in these places, a piercing parlor must meet certain health and safety requirements and submit to periodic inspections. Those who comply are issued a license to display so customers know that the facility has been inspected and is in compliance with all of the related laws and safety requirements. If an operating license is not displayed, ask to see one before going any further. If the facility should be licensed but isn’t, leave immediately and report them to your local health department or city licensing bureau. Be aware, however, that not all areas require licensure for piercings. Know the rules for your area before you start shopping for a piercer.
It is imperative that the individual or company who performs your piercing be insured. Verify that your potential piercer has insurance for the body piercing business. This insurance protects you by ensuring that your artist has adequate coverage to pay your expenses in the event of a serious infection or another problem. If you are at a festival or other event when the mood for a piercing strikes you, verify that the piercer’s insurance coverage applies when he is working outside of his permanent studio. It is also wise to make sure any guest artists are also covered before letting one perform your piercing.
When you go to your piercing appointment, take a look around and make sure everything is clean. If you find a single surface that you would refuse to eat off of, reconsider your decision. All needles and equipment should be individually packaged and opened in front of you. Ask to see both the facility’s autoclave and spore test results. A spore test measures the autoclave’s ability to kill HIV, hepatitis and other infections. The results should be recent and handed over to you without hesitation. Your piercer also needs to wear gloves and change them after touching anything other than you or the sterile piercing equipment.
Of course, you’ll want to take a look at your artist’s portfolio before working with them, as well. This gives you an opportunity to see their work before they work on you. Your final decision about where to have your piercing done, however, should never be based on a portfolio alone. The portfolio will show you the finished product, but not what the subject went through to get there. A picture can’t warn you about a bad infection or other problem that may have been encountered along the way. Be sure to stick with someone who is licensed, insured and clean. With these three attributes from your piercer and your aftercare instructions in hand, you can leave your piercing appointment confident in speedy, problem-free healing.