Performing piercings in a safe, clean and responsible manner is our number one priority. It doesn’t matter how nice your piercing looks or how cheap your piercing was if you get an infectious disease as a result of it. We use an aseptic technique to perform all piercings.
• We use disposable gloves for all piercings. These gloves are changed frequently throughout the piercing to avoid contamination of the client and surfaces in the piercing room.
• Needles are autoclave sterilized before they are used. Needles are disposed of, in front of the client, immediately after the piercing is performed. Needles are never used more than once.
• Any implements that are not disposable, such as forceps or receiving tubes, are cleaned, disinfected and autoclave sterilized prior to use on anyone.
• 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.
• We never use ear-piercing guns, not even for earlobe piercings. Guns typically cannot be adequately sterilized. Ear-piercing guns have long been accepted as the way in which to have your earlobes pierced. However, there are some things to consider about ear-piercing guns before you should decide to have your ears, or the ears of your child, pierced in this fashion. While you may think "it's just my ears", your ears are an important part of your body. As such, the same precautions should be taken when getting your ears pierced, as when getting any other body piercing.
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 (this is called a spore test) at least monthly. We spore test both of our autoclaves weekly. In addition, we use a combination of indicator strips (which react to heat exposure) and integrators (which react to time, temperature and pressure) to monitor every autoclave load.
If a piercer is unwilling to show you these items, or states that they are unnecessary, it is in your best interest not to be pierced by this person.
ARE THERE HAZARDS IN PRICE SHOPPING?
PIERCED OUT takes every precaution to provide our clients with a safe, hygienic piercing environment. Unfortunately, as the popularity of piercing has increased, so have the number of individuals performing piercing who are far more interested in making a quick buck than protecting your health. In order to increase their profit, these individuals typically cut corners in the health and safety areas. Cutting corners in these areas puts your health in danger.
If someone is offering you a deal too good to be true, it probably is.
Body piercing, when done correctly, under appropriate conditions, is a beautiful art. Body piercing done incorrectly, by a “hack”, can result in infection, scars or the spread of infectious diseases.
We like to use this analogy:
If you or a loved one needed medical attention, would you call around for the cheapest physician or would you look for the best care available? A few extra dollars spent now, may save money for fixing a “good deal” gone bad later. We are very proud of the work we do.
Follow-up questions, check-ups, and troubleshooting problematic piercings are always free to customers of PIERCED OUT.
DOES IT HURT TO GET PIERCED?
There is a small amount of pain, but usually not as much as people anticipate. People often tell us that the procedure was considerably less painful than they thought it would be. We do everything we can to make the experience as pleasant and comfortable as possible.
CAN YOU NUMB THE AREA BEFORE DOING THE PIERCING?
We do not use or suggest anesthetics because injectable and topical anesthetics can be deadly in the hands of someone who does not know how to use them. Only properly licensed medical professionals can legally administer injectable and topical anesthetics. In addition, a properly performed piercing by a knowledgeable professional hurts far less than such an injection.
DO YOU PERFORM THE PIERCING 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 bloodborne 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.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE MY PIERCING TO HEAL?
Healing times will vary from piercing to piercing. The healing time will also vary depending on your body’s own rate of healing, and the care the piercing is given. The following can significantly lengthen your healing time: touching the piercing with unwashed hands, moving the jewelry throughout the day, contact with bodily fluids, and using inappropriate cleaning solutions.
HOW LONG BEFORE I CAN TAKE THE JEWELRY OUT AND NOT LOSE MY PIERCING?
There are two stages in healing a piercing. After the initial healing time, the piercing will be healed enough that you will be able to have your piercer change the jewelry, at which time he/she can instruct you on how to change it yourself in the future. However, it takes significantly longer for the new skin inside the piercing to toughen up enough for you to safely remove your jewelry for extended periods of time. The hole will begin to shrink down as soon as you remove the jewelry. The amount of time it takes for your piercing to shrink down to the point where you would be unable to reinsert your jewelry will vary. Never force a piece of jewelry into your piercing; obtain an insertion taper, or go to a professional piercer to have your jewelry reinserted or changed.
HOW WILL MY PIERCING LOOK AND FEEL WHILE IT IS HEALING?
Healthy new piercings will look attractive and feel comfortable while they are healing, but you can expect the piercing to be tender to the touch at first. This tenderness will remind you not to touch your piercing unless you are cleaning it. Most piercings will go through a series of ups and downs during the healing process. Remember to be patient. If you have a question about how your piercing is healing, feel free to visit your piercer.
WHAT ARE THE CHANCES OF MY PIERCING BECOMING INFECTED?
If you are pierced by a professional piercer and follow the procedures outlined on the aftercare sheet (a copy of which you should receive to take home with you), your chances of infection are virtually nonexistent. Your piercer should go to great lengths to ensure that you leave the studio with full understanding of appropriate aftercare and no unanswered questions. There are some conditions that are not infections, though they may appear to be. These can include reactions to the cleaning agents you are using or to the metal itself. Should any problems arise, your piercer should be happy to consult with you and offer suggestions based on their experience. He/she should never discourage you from consulting your physician, if that is your desire.
CAN I LOSE MY PIERCING?
Yes, there is always a chance of rejection (“growing out”). This can occur for multiple reasons (consult your piercer). There is also the chance of an infection that can force you to abandon the piercing. If you handle or play with your piercing too soon, or without washing your hands first, this can lead to an infection. In all cases, jewelry must be left in the piercing for the entire healing time, and not removed for cleaning. If jewelry is removed for even a few minutes, the piercing can close up and you may not be able to reinsert the jewelry. For “lost holes”, see your body piercer immediately. Reinsertion is possible if you act quickly.
WHAT SHOULD I DO TO PREPARE FOR A PIERCING?
• Bring a valid state or government photo ID, such as a driver’s license, state issued ID, passport or military ID. In the state of California, valid ID must be presented before any piercing service.
• Eat something substantial one or two hours before you come in. This will help support your blood sugar level.
• Avoid alcohol, aspirin, excessive caffeine and all recreational drugs 24 hours beforehand.
DO YOU PROVIDE SERVICES TO MINORS?
We provide most piercing services to minors. We feel that most piercings, when done on those under 16, have a much greater chance of being problematic or experiencing healing difficulties. At such a young age, most people’s bodies are going through rapid hormonal changes as well as growth spurts. These factors can influence the healing of a piercing as well as appropriate placement for the piercing. No one under the age of 18 will receive nipple, genital or surface-to-surface piercings. Piercing of any minor without parent/legal guardian consent is also prohibited by California law. We strongly urge you to seriously question the professionalism of any piercer willing to perform such a procedure on a minor. If a piercer is willing to break the law to provide you with piercing services, it is unlikely that they perform piercing with the highest possible standards in mind.
A parent or legal guardian must accompany a minor. Guardians must present paperwork documenting their status of legal guardianship. Both the minor and the parent or guardian must present a state or federal issued photo ID.
WHAT MATERIALS ARE SAFE FOR A FRESH PIERCING?
It is important to keep in mind that there is no single metal that every person can wear in their piercing. Individual biochemistry plays a large role in what metals the human body can and cannot tolerate. If you are pierced with the highest-grade metals, you can reduce your chances of a metal reaction so drastically that it is hardly a consideration.
PIERCED OUT uses the following metals for initial piercings:
• Implant-grade stainless steel: 316LVM (ASTM F-138)
• Implant-grade titanium: 6AI4V ELI (ASTM F-136)
• 14 & 18kt SOLID gold
We also have mill certificates that state the origin of the metal and its molecular composition. This helps us ensure that the metal is implant grade. If you would like to see mill certificates for jewelry, please ask us.
WHAT SIZE JEWELRY IS BEST?
The appropriate size jewelry varies from piercing to piercing, and person to person. Jewelry will have to be custom fitted to your body to ensure proper healing. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that one size is standard for a particular piercing. A trained professional (not a sales clerk) will be able to tell you what is appropriate for your body.
WHY DO YOU ONLY USE INTERNALLY THREADED JEWELRY ON A NEW PIERCING?
Any jewelry that is threaded, such as barbells, should be internally threaded. In other words, when you disassemble the jewelry, there should be no exposed threads on the shaft (this is called externally threaded jewelry) of the jewelry. Externally threaded jewelry causes many problems. Imagine having those exposed threads pass through your brand new piercing when the jewelry is inserted. Also, exposed threads can damage tissue even on healed piercings and the threads can trap bacteria.
Many piercers will use externally threaded jewelry because it is easier to make, therefore they pay less to buy it. What this means is that they are sacrificing your safety and comfort to make an extra buck. In addition, the craftsmanship of externally threaded jewelry is typically far inferior to that of internally threaded jewelry.
WHAT DO I LOOK FOR IN A PIERCER?
There are a lot of people - from tattooists to hair stylists - cashing in on the popularity of body piercing by calling themselves “professional body piercers”. Do not let your desire to be pierced prevent you from doing careful research. Be sure the person you are considering uses appropriate clean and sterile techniques. They must use sterile piercing needles that are disposed of in a sharps container after a single use. They must autoclave all implements used for the procedure and wear fresh, clean gloves at all times during the piercing. Be sure to find out where and when they got their training and how much experience they have. Ask to see photos of their work, or better yet, speak with other customers. Ask to see their autoclave and spore test records. It is also important that piercings are done in a specific area designated just for that task.
HOW WILL PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND SWEAT AFFECT A NEW PIERCING?
For most people, this does not cause problems, although you may want to clean your new piercing after engaging in strenuous activity. Always listen to your body. If something is not good for your piercing, your body will let you know. Generally, if an activity is not causing you any discomfort, it is probably just fine.
CAN I GO SWIMMING WITH MY PIERCING?
Yes, but until your piercing is fully healed, use a gas permeable patch (such as Tegaderm or Duoderm) if you go into a hot tub, pool, ocean, lake, etc. These patches allow oxygen through so that your piercing can breathe, but are impermeable to water and fluids. They work best for navel and nipple piercings, for some piercings, they may be impractical, and you may have to stay out of the water until your piercing is healed. Use one patch per swim. These patches are not reusable. If you have a problem finding these patches, call us for information. For a facial piercing, you can simply keep your head out of the water. All bodies of water contain microorganisms, and pools and hot tubs are treated with harsh chemicals that can irritate your piercing. When your piercing is healed, you can stop using the patches, just make sure to clean your piercing thoroughly when you get out of the water.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO MY PIERCINGS IF I GET PREGNANT?
You will want any piercings to be well healed before conceiving a child. The changes that a woman’s body undergoes during pregnancy can make it next to impossible for piercings to heal during this time. The best thing to do when you get pregnant is to keep in touch with your piercer and inform him/her of your changing situation. You can expect some change in a navel piercing during pregnancy, since your abdomen will be stretching considerably. Many women find that the original jewelry they had in their navel is not comfortable as the pregnancy progresses. We suggest a barbell made of PTFE, which is a surgical implant grade plastic. This barbell is flexible, and therefore more comfortable for many women. We suggest discussing with your health care provider whether you will be able to leave your jewelry in during delivery. If you will be removing the jewelry, we can instruct you in removal and reinsertion of the jewelry in advance.
WILL I BE ABLE TO BREAST-FEED A BABY WITH A NIPPLE PIERCING?
In our experience, a well-healed nipple piercing does not interfere with nursing a child. A piercing that is not healed, however, would be problematic. Remove jewelry when breast feeding to avoid injury to the piercing and for maximum comfort for both mother and child. Beads, balls, rings and barbells are choking hazards for infants if they come loose accidentally. If you have a well healed piercing, the jewelry should be easy to remove and reinsert. Before removing the jewelry, remember to wash your hands with antibacterial soap. If this is not always possible, carry disposable, germicidal, nontoxic hand wipes with you. Be sure to lay your jewelry on a clean surface, such as a disposable paper towel or plastic cup, and to clean your hands again before reinsertion. You may find that a small amount of milk will come out of the piercing. This is normal and quite harmless.
WHAT ABOUT SEX WITH GENITAL PIERCINGS?
Piercings that are still healing must be protected from contamination during sexual activities. A good quality condom or dental dam is vital to protect your piercing from contact with other people’s body fluids. Even if you are in a monogamous relationship, contact with body fluids will greatly increase the chance of infection. After being pierced, you can have sex, depending on how the tenderness of the piercing affects your desire for sexual activity. Patience and creativity are important. And remember to always use protection!
WILL I SET OFF METAL DETECTORS?
It is not likely, but if you have a large number of piercings in one small area of your body, or if your jewelry is a thick gauge, it is possible.
DO PEOPLE USUALLY TIP THEIR PIERCER?
While tipping is never expected, body piercing, like tattooing, hair styling, waitering/waitressing, etc., is a service industry. Tipping is a nice way to let your piercer know you thought they did an exceptional job or simply let them know your appreciation for the work they did.
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