What are the Real Risks of Body Piercing? — Advice for Parents & Teens

Are you or your teenager considering a body piercing? Is it difficult to see eye-to-eye on this subject, or are you just not sure what the real risks of body piercing are? Sometimes it’s hard to separate the facts from the myths surrounding body modification. When that happens, it can make it even harder for parents and teenagers to come to an agreement on whether a body piercing is an acceptable form of self-expression.

First, you should understand that the risks of body piercing are very real. There are genuine problems that can and do arise, and these shouldn’t be ignored. On the other hand, by taking certain precautions and taking proper care of your piercings, you can minimize your chance of having a problem and greatly increase the chances that you will be one of the millions of people who will end up with a healthy, normal piercing.

What are the health risks of body piercing?

Infection. Without proper care, infection can lead to scarring and even blood poisoning. Infections of piercings are unattractive and can be very dangerous.
Allergic Reaction. Some people are sensitive to certain metals and only discover this when they are pierced and have a severe reaction to the jewelry. The rash, swelling, and difficulty breathing can lead to shock and hospitalization.
Nerve Damage. If a piercing isn’t placed carefully, it can be pushed through a nerve, severing it and making the surrounding area permanently deadened to any feeling.
Excessive Bleeding. This is just what it sounds like. If you get pierced and happen to hit a large blood vessel, you could have difficulty stopping the bleeding and may end up in the emergency room getting it cauterized. Not pretty.
Risk of Cross-Contamination. You may become cross-contaminated by Hepatitis, the HIV virus, or another blood-borne pathogen is you are pierced by improperly sterilized needles.
Keloids. These are toughened knots of scar tissue that look like cysts at the base of a piercing that sometimes form for no reason at the site of a piercing.
Can’t donate blood. Is it important for you to be a blood donor? Is there someone in your family who is ill and may need blood donations in the near future? Don’t get pierced. You cannot donate blood for one year after getting pierced — no exceptions.
Dental Risks. There are several problems that can arise from oral piercings, including chipped teeth, worn tooth enamel, damage to the gums and jaw line from wear, and even aspiration (inhaling) of a loose piece of jewelry into the lungs. Infection and swelling of the tongue is also a possibility, and is very unpleasant.

Are there other body piercing risks?

It depends on what you consider a risk. There are certainly things you should consider that you could call potential drawbacks to getting pierced. Among these are:

Pain. How much of a weenie are you? If you can’t tolerate pain, you may be risking suffering more than you like for your vanity. Some piercings hardly hurt at all, others can be pretty rough for a few weeks.
Cost. Do you have the money to pay not only for the piercing and jewelry, but for the aftercare products, such as Provon® or Satin® and H2Ocean®?
Commitment. You are putting yourself at risk if you can’t clean your piercing every day, twice a day. Period. End of discussion. And you have to do your sea salt soaks or H2Ocean® treatments without fail.
Judgment of Others. Let’s get real. You may not want to hear this one, but face it; others may judge you based on your piercings, so really think this one through. Will it bother you if others stare as though they are afraid of you? Do you want to have to explain yourself or remove your piercing for job interviews? Will you feel badly if your piercing upsets your grandparents or family friends?

Okay, we’ve looked at the risks of body piercing, and you (or your teenager) are still certain that a piercing is a “must have.” How do you prevent all of those scary possibilities we mentioned in our list of health risks? By doing your homework! A good piercing with a low risk of infection or other complications is the result of choosing a good, professional piercer and having the piercing done in the proper environment.

What should you look for in a piercing parlor that will reduce the risks of body piercing?

First impressions count! When you walk in the door, scan the waiting area. Is it clean, neat and professional looking? If the front of the shop isn’t clean, it’s a sure thing that they can’t keep the back area clean. If you first impression makes you wary, turn around and walk out the door.

Credentials

Check to make sure they are licensed by the local board of health to operate as a piercing studio, and make sure their license hasn’t expired. Also look for membership in a recognized group such as the Association of Professional Piercers (APP), which sets high standards for membership and requires extensive training. An APP certification will indicate that the piercers have taken classes and been through a rigorous apprenticeship program.

Helpful, Knowledgeable Staff

Ask questions, and lots of them. If the employees don’t know the answers and are more like sales clerks pushing jewelry than anything, you should be wary. They may have a high turn-over of staff for some reason; this is also a red flag. If, however, they can answer your piercing questions and give you good, clear advice, then they have been well-trained by someone with experience.

The one exception may be if the studio is very large and they have a few sales people who only work the front counters. If this is the case and you begin asking questions, they should answer honestly that they are salespeople, and be willing to refer you to a piercer or apprentice who can discuss your concerns with you. There should always be a piercer on location at the studio or parlor when it is open — always.

Printed information

Ask to see the aftercare information they provide to individuals getting pierced. If you hear, “Oh, your piercer will explain all that to you,” insist on seeing the printed version before getting pierced. If they don’t have printed, step-by-step instructions, walk away. It is too easy to forget what you need to do, forget the name of the product you should be using, etc. if you don’t have printed instructions. If they aren’t willing to spend the money to print the instructions for their clients, who knows where else they might be cutting corners!

Read through the aftercare instructions and see if they are current with the prevailing standards. A good way to evaluate this is by checking them against what you see on sites such as BME, Tribalectic and APP. If the piercing literature still recommends using alcohol or hydrogen peroxide, for instance, to clean your piercing, then the studio is not keeping up with the current research in body piercing care and may cause you unnecessary suffering and longer healing times.

The rules are there for a reason

If you’re a teenager and they don’t ask for I.D. or tell you to come back with a parent or guardian, do not thank your lucky stars. Leave! The law says your parent has to be present, and any studio that bends or breaks the rules on one issue will do the same on others.

In other words, if they are willing to “ignore” one rule to grab your money, they will ignore others to turn a higher profit. They may decide that the expense of an autoclave is unnecessary, or that reusing piercing needles is a great way to save some money. You are a minor and have little or no protection without your parents present, and they know this — that’s why they do it — to take advantage of you, pure and simple. If you are going to get pierced, make sure you take a parent or guardian with you for your own safety. If they’ve been cool enough to get this far with you, they’ll survive going to a piercing parlor, trust me.

The rest of the place

We’ve made it past the waiting room and decided that the piercing parlor seems okay so far; they have current credentials and health certificates, their aftercare instructions look good, and they had Dad sign a consent form. Are we ready to go? Not yet. You still need to check a few more things. Don’t be afraid to interrogate them about the piercing room and the sterilization process itself. These are two of the most important things to consider.

Ask these questions before ever getting pierced:

Do you sterilize your tools in an autoclave? May I see your most recent spore test results? If they don’t do spore testing at least once a month, don’t get pierced there. Spore testing is the only way to know if an autoclave is effectively sterilizing the equipment, and autoclave sterilization is the only method approved by the Association of Professional Piercers.
How long have you been piercing, and how did you learn? Body piercing is complex, and any piercer who is a professional will gladly explain where he learned and from whom. It takes quite a while to learn what types of jewelry and needles are best for each piercing and to learn how to place the piercings optimally. If a piercer seems defensive or less than forthcoming, be hesitant to let him touch you with a needle.
May I see the room where you’ll be doing the piercing, and can I watch you set up? Check out the area where the piercings are done. Do they wipe down the area before and after every piercing? Do they maintain a clean, dust free environment at all times? When setting up, make sure that the sterilized instruments are put on a tray and not touched except with washed, gloved hands. Make sure the piercer uses gloves for the entire piercing and changes them frequently.
What type of piercing needles do you use? There is only one correct answer: Single-use, pre-sterilized, disposable needles. These should not be opened except in your presence at the time of the piercing. If they use a piercing gun for any piercing, leave immediately. No body piercing should ever be done with a piercing gun, which causes bruising, trauma and excessive tearing and bleeding.

“I’ve chosen the parlor and piercer and I got a really cool body piercing. Now what?”

AFTERCARE!!! There is nothing as crucial to addressing the risks of body piercing as properly following the guidelines for piercing aftercare. Since you’ve chosen a reliable, professional piercer, you will have a set of aftercare instructions that will tell you what to do to properly care for your piercings.

Do not skip a day because you are too tired, too busy, or because you “forget.” Aftercare is literally preventative care — you are taking care of your piercing in order to prevent an infection and to enable the wound to heal properly. While following your aftercare instructions, watch for signs of trouble so that you can address them early on before they turn into real problems.

Signs of a potential problem that you should bring to the attention of your parents (if you are a minor) or your piercer are:

Discharge that is green or yellow from the piercing
Splitting, oozing or cracking and bleeding of a piercing more than a week old
Swelling and redness after the first few days
Pain and redness or red streaks radiating out from the piercing
Migration (movement of the piercing) up through the layers of skin
Difficulty breathing and swelling of the tongue within hours of a piercing, especially an oral piercing
A rash or hives soon after a piercing
A lump or bump forming at the base of the piercing

In some cases, you will need to see a doctor; in others your piercer will be able to advise you on the proper steps to alleviate the situation. The important thing is to catch any small problems before they turn into big ones. If you follow your aftercare instructions and monitor your piercing carefully, you can minimize the risks of body piercing so that you can enjoy your new body piercing completely!

This article “What are the Real Risks of Body Piercing?” reprinted with permission.
Copyright © 2004 Evaluseek Publishing.

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Top 10 Questions about Body Piercing

Body piercing has grown so much in popularity in recent years that it has become almost mainstream, with more and more people sporting navel rings and multiple ear rings. Facial piercings, surface piercings and lots of others to choose from can make things confusing. If you don’t know what to expect when you decide to get a piercing, it can be even more intimidating. Here are some of the top questions people have about body piercing. 1. I want to get a body piercing. How much will it cost? The cost of a body piercing varies depending on several factors, including where you’re located, how close to a major city you are, and what kind of piercing you’re having done. Generally the more difficult the piercing, the higher the cost. Keep in mind that you get what you pay for as well, so don’t depend entirely upon cost to choose your piercer. If a piercer is charging significantly under the market cost in your area, he may be cutting corners in areas he shouldn’t, such as sterilization and other safety procedures. On average, the cost of piercings fall somewhere in these ranges:

Ears (lobes, cartilage, etc.)…..anywhere from $25-$50
Navel……………………………..$45-$55
Tongue……………………………$45-$55
Labret…………………………….$50-$60
Eyebrow…………………………..$40-$50
Nipple……………………………..$45-$55
Nostril…………………………….$45-$55
Genital…………………………….$75-$100

2. Does it hurt? In simple terms, yes. Does it hurt much? Most people will tell you, “No, not really.” It’s usually more like a pinching or popping sensation than anything. The sensation of pain is relative–some people feel it more than others. The adrenalin rush of the piercing usually means the pain in minimal. After the initial pain when the needle goes through the piercing, you may feel some dull pain or an aching sensation for a few hours, which can be relieved with an over the counter pain reliever. One piercing that does hurt a bit more than others is the tongue piercing, which will swell and be sensitive for a few days. Ice chips and popsicles will help soothe the pain of this kind of new piercing. 3. How long does it take a body piercing to heal? The healing time for a body piercing varies depending upon what you’ve had pierced. Some parts of the body heal more quickly than others. For instance, if you pierce your earlobes, you can expect them to heal within two months and be ready for jewelry other than the original piercing jewelry. The belly button is in an area that heals slowly, however, because it’s right where the body twists and turns, which slows the healing process. It also doesn’t get as much air circulation because it is covered much of the time. It can take up to six months or even a year for a belly button piercing to heal completely. Some general healing times are:

Ear lobes……….6-8 weeks
Cartilage………..4-8 months
Eyebrow………..6-8 weeks
Nostril…………..3-4 months
Septum………….6-8 months
Labret…………..2-3 months
Tongue………….4-6 weeks
Nipple…………..4-6 months
Navel……………5 months-1 year
Genitals…………6 weeks-6 months

The better you care for a body piercing, the more quickly it will heal, so be sure to discuss the proper care of your piercing with the piercing professional who does your body piercing to ensure a quick, clean piercing and you will heal in the least amount of time possible. 4. How can I tell if a piercing is infected, or it’s just normal healing stuff? All body piercings will have some drainage during the first several days. This is because you have basically given your body a puncture wound, and your body will bleed for a while, and then have drainage of some fluids as it heals. These fluids are actually good for you, as they keep the area moist and clean and will wash away some of the dirt and germs that might otherwise stay in the area. Bleeding should stop within a few hours or the first day and be only small amounts. Often it will look watery. Drainage will be mostly a clear, watery discharge, although it can sometimes be somewhat white in color. The drainage will form “crusties” around the jewelry that can be washed off with warm, soapy water when you clean your piercing each day. A piercing is infected when the discharge is either green or yellow. Also, if the area becomes swollen or inflamed again after the initial swelling has subsided. Any time you see green or yellow pus or discharge; you should see a doctor and get appropriate medical treatment. It won’t necessarily mean you have to remove your piercing; you may simply have to take a course of antibiotics. If the area becomes red and inflamed with red streaks radiating out from the area, see a doctor right away. 5. What should I look for in a good body piercing studio? A good body piercing studio must first and foremost be clean, clean, and clean! The most common cause of infection is piercings is simple exposure to germs, so look for a piercing parlor that is very strict about its cleanliness and sterilization procedures. They should have a separate room where nothing else is done but piercings. They should always have an operational autoclave, which is a wet steam sterilization unit that is to be used to clean and sterilize all tools and equipment used during piercing. They should also pierce only with single-use, disposable needles that are pre-wrapped. Ask them if this is what they use, and insist that the needles not be opened until they are actually ready to do your piercing so that you can confirm they are sterile-wrapped. Look for experience and qualifications. Have all the piercers been through an apprenticeship program? If so, for how long did they train and where? Also make sure they are licensed to operate a piercing studio by their state’s department of health. In most states this is now mandatory. Also check the date to make sure it isn’t expired. Finally, look for a certificate of membership in a professional society such as the Association of Professional Piercers, an organization that supports safe and professional piercing practices and offers extensive ongoing training. 6. Why can’t I just pierce myself? You can pierce yourself, but it’s not really a good idea. It’s simply too hard to keep the area in your own home (or wherever you happen to be) clean and sterile enough. You also may have trouble lining up and placing a piercing squarely where you want it, and if you lose your nerve half-way through the piercing, you’re stuck with it half done. If you do it at home, you’ll probably do it on an impulse, which will mean you won’t have the right tools. Piercing needles are incredibly sharp in order to reduce the pain and make a good, clean cut. No matter how sharp that sewing needle is at home, it’s not as sharp as a piercing needle, so it will hurt more, bleed more, and may not heal as cleanly. 7. What should I clean my piercing with? Today most professional piercers agree that the best way to clean a fresh piercing is with a mild antibacterial soap. These should not contain perfumes or dyes, which can irritate a piercing and lead to discomfort or an allergic reaction. There are a few on the market that are specifically designed for body piercings, including Provon® and Satin®. After cleaning, you should follow up with a sea salt water soak. Sea salt is available at natural health stores, piercing and tattoo studios and a variety of other stores. The sea salt solution helps soothe the area and draw impurities out of the wound to promote faster healing. H2Ocean is an excellent pre-mixed sea salt solution that can be sprayed on for ease of use. It’s highly recommended by many professional piercers and is convenient especially if you’re traveling or on the go. 8. What kind of jewelry should a piercing be done with? A body piercing is, in the simplest terms, a puncture wound, so you want to use a high quality metal that won’t react with your body chemistry to create an allergic reaction or contaminate the open wound. Never use cheap or base metals to get a body piercing. The best metals to use are titanium or surgical steel, both or which are essentially inert and won’t react with your body. In some cases, you can use high quality gold, but even this sometimes creates a reaction because of the nickel content, so do be cautious. Once a piercing is completely healed, you have more leeway on what you can use, but if you are at all nickel sensitive, you will probably always have to stick with surgical steel and titanium for your body piercings, unless you are using alternatives such as glass, which is completely non-reactive and safe for nearly everyone. 9. What causes migration? Is it the same as rejection? Rejection is a more severe form of migration. Migration is when a body piercing begins to move through the flesh because the body is trying to force it out of the skin and get rid of it. In some cases, the body only partially succeeds, and the piercing “migrates” so that it ends up being crooked or misaligned. When the body completely forces a piercing out of the body, it is called a “rejection,” because the body has completely rejected the piece of jewelry, basically “spitting it out.” This is because any piercing jewelry is a foreign object that the body sees as an invader to be gotten rid of, especially if the piercing is poorly done so that the jewelry aggravates the skin tissues. 10. What if I want to become a professional piercer? Behave responsibly. Visit a few piercing parlors that you know are top quality and ask about internship programs and other options. Order some videos that take you through the introductory steps of piercing and educate you on the process of proper preparation and sterilization. Many of the larger piercing websites offer these video series’ at a reasonable cost. You should also take courses in first aid in blood borne pathogens and other illnesses that are commonly transmitted by needles. Many of these courses are offered through community colleges or local hospital extensions. The most important thing is to be fully trained and completely experienced in all manner of piercing before setting yourself up as a piercer on your own–both for your own legal protection and the safety and well-being of those who come to you for body piercing. The Association of Professional Piercers (www.safepiercing.org) is an excellent source of information on how to get started as a professional piercer. In Conclusion Body piercing and wearing body jewelry should be an informed choice, not a snap decision. If you have been thinking about getting a body piercing, talk to others who have done the same and get their feedback. Ask them if they are happy with the results and for their suggestions on good piercing studios. Ask yourself if you’re ready for the commitment to proper care and the expense of a body piercing. Remember that a body piercing is a form of body modification that will affect how others perceive you. Obviously, this is part of the appeal for most people. However, the reactions will be mixed, and you should keep in mind that while some people will love it, others will not. So think through the consequences of body piercing thoroughly before you proceed. Then, if you decide its right for you–follow the tips above for a safe, attractive body piercing you’ll be proud to wear! This article on the “Top 10 Questions about Body Piercing” reprinted with permission.

Are You Ready For This Year’s Black Friday?

Everyone is always busy running after this or that deal. It’s the busiest day of the year and for good reason- there are irresistible deals calling from the left, right and centre. There’s much commotion alright, but that is nothing compared to all the gains you get.

Black Friday is mainly about fashion and electronics. But the key word is mainly. That means it can be extended to other products and services, too. For example, you will find it easier to get Glasgow airport parking promo codes and other services during this time.

This year, Black Friday falls on November 25th. That is about a month from Christmas and a great time to get whatever you can for the December holiday. Normally, the day marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping period.

As things have been changing with the coming of the internet, so has Black Friday. Earlier, the shopping was done traditionally� offline. Just in 2014, hordes of shoppers stormed Currys PC world and Asda, placing the two companies ahead of the flash sales volume-wise. A couple of fights erupted, unfortunately, as everyone tried to clench the biggest deals.

2015 was much different. The retail store aisles were for the most part empty as most people chose to shop online. There was 60 percent more shopping and this led to sites like PC World crushing a number of times.

What to Expect This Big Friday

If you have been observing the participants of Back Friday, you might have noticed that most are retailers of electronic products. That seemed to have been less of the case last year. There are expected to be more of such this November meaning services like Glasgow airport parking promo codes will be in abundant supply.

Last year’s exodus from offline to online shopping caused most websites to crash. That can be annoying if you cannot wait to get those juicy deals. But was the first the shopping bonanza took place online to that degree and most retailers were caught unawares.

This year, everyone knows what’s coming and they are prepared. Your shopping will be smoother with little downtime time if any.

How to make the most of this Year’s Black Friday

Apart from keeping all your gadgets charged up and ready to bust the doors of cyber retailers, simply plan ahead. It’s easy to just jump on any deal that flashes before you. But to make the most of the event. Make a list of what you actually want. Remember, you are still spending money and you want to see it put to good use.

But You Don’t Have to Wait Till November Always

There are still lots of products and services that you can get discounts on throughout the year. Although the sales may not be as big as on Black Friday, they’re still worth it. For example whenever you need vouchers like Glasgow Airport parking promo codes, you could always go to the Parking at Airports website, anytime of the year.