Body Piercing 101

Health, Home & Family
on June 15, 2012

While the idea of having a body piercing may not appeal to you, it’s quite likely that your teen will feel very differently. Piercings are increasingly popular with young people, and piercing studios are starting to appear in more and more American towns. If your teen is keen to get a piercing, consider the following five things before making a final decision, to ensure that you don’t both later regret the decision.

Selecting the right piercing. It is important that you help your teen choose the right piercing and body location. If your teen is governed by strict rules at school, college or work, then he or she will need a piercing that can be hidden. You also need to consider practical issues, such as whether the piercing could be damaged or get caught on anything during sport, work or other activities. Ensure that your teen is able and knows how to care for the piercing once done, too, as you cannot always supervise what he or she does.

Choosing the right provider. Tattoo parlors are increasingly starting to offer body piercing as an additional service, but that does not guarantee quality and standards of work. Most states have individual regulations governing piercing standards, so consult your local authorities about the rules in your area. Ensure that you choose a professional tattoo parlor or piercing studio, even if it means that you have to pay more.

Look for sterile equipment. Body piercing must be conducted under sterile conditions, to minimize the risk of infection. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, you should see evidence of an autoclave, or other sterilizing equipment, to ensure that all needles and instruments are fully sterilized for each customer. Piercing guns should be avoided, unless the part of the gun that touches the body can be removed and sterilized.

Other hygiene standards. The person conducting the piercing should demonstrate high standards of hygiene. New, sterile gloves should be worn by the piercer for each person. If the piercer has to touch something, such as the telephone, during the procedure, then he or she should always put new gloves on afterwards. Look for the same standards of hygiene in a tattoo parlor or piercing studio as you might expect from a medical center.

Choose hypoallergenic jewelry. The human body will often react negatively to a body piercing, particularly when certain metals are concerned. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that you avoid metal jewelry that contains nickel, cobalt or white gold, as these often cause allergic reactions. Opt for items that are made from surgical-grade stainless steel, titanium, yellow gold or niobium.

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