THE HTT GUIDE TO SAFE BODY PIERCING
Wherever you choose to get pierced, we care about you doing it safely! We hope the following information is helpful. Should you have any questions or concerns relating to any body piercing – whatever the cause, or whoever the practitioner – please don’t hesitate to come and see us! We’ll help if we can!
There is no such thing as a piercing qualification, the local authority will simply grant a license if they are confident that the premises and practitioners are safe and competent to carry out body piercing. In regards to skill – in this industry, experience is everything, ask how long your practitioner has been trading
Choosing your practitioner:
- Check that the premises AND practitioners working within the premises are all licensed with the local authority.
- Ensure all work surfaces, couches, sinks, walls etc. have been designed so that they are easily cleaned in the event of a spill or liquid splashes.
- Floors should be slip resistant, and carpets/curtains should be strictly forbidden in treatment rooms.
- Check that a suitable adjustable couch/bench/chair is present in the treatment room, and check that it is wiped down with biocide after each client to eliminate the risk of cross contamination. If in doubt of this practice – ask your artist!
- Ask about the products used to ensure cleanliness.(similar to an operating theatre)
- All treatment rooms should contain a sink with hot and cold running water, to ensure the practitioner can easily wash their hands before, during and after each client as required. This should not be operated with their hands. Hands should be dried using paper towels – not a hand dryer.
- A separate pair of gloves should be worn by the practitioner after opening sterile packs, cleaning and marking for the piercing, and just before the piercing procedure.
- A separate sterilization area should be provided, which should have two separate deep sinks for the exclusive use of washing instruments and equipment. This area must be distinctly separate from the clean treatment rooms.
- The practitioner should have a medical sharps bin in the treatment room.
- Ask if the practitioner ever uses piercing ‘guns’ as this indicates poor hygiene practices – this is because piercing guns cannot be sterilized. Don’t ever let anyone pierce you with a gun!
- Ask about the studio’s policies. Most responsible body piercers will not perform any piercings on anybody under the age of 8 (for lobes) or 16 (for other areas) as the body is still growing. It is extremely questionable to perform surface, nipple or genital piercings on anybody under the age of 18.
- Ask if the practitioner uses anaesthetics. Strictly speaking, nobody should administer anaesthetics of any kind unless they are medically trained. If you choose to apply a topical anaesthetic before you go to get pierced, that is up to you and would not discourage most practitioners from performing a piercing on you, however, bear in mind that it could delay the healing and cause some problems and don’t forget – part of having a piercing is the ‘ritual’ of it – the pain is over so quickly, you might just enjoy the adrenaline rush associated with a non-numbed piercing….
- Ask what type of jewellery the practitioner uses for initial piercings. Titanium or niobium is the best industry standard, as it is a very inert metal that very few people are allergic to. This should also ideally be internally threaded as this is the best quality available in the UK and limits tissue damage.
- It is desirable if your practitioner has air purification systems such as Medivents or HEPA filters in place to reduce the number of airborne microorganisms which could present an airborne infection risk.
- Check that the practitioner has an autoclave, has it serviced regularly and has it checked (by third party spore testing) that it actually works!
- If your practitioner is a member of an accredited body such as the Association of Professional Piercers (APP) or similar it gives you peace of mind that they have been peer reviewed and are competent.
Ask about your practitioner’s Cleaning Process
Your practitioner should be more than happy to show you around the sterilization room within their premises – as long as they aren’t mad busy of course! If this is the case, they should be happy to arrange a time and date with you in order to show you the method by which they ensure the jewellery and equipment used for your piercing is absolutely sterile.
Minimum industry standard would suggest the use of a 2 stage cleaning process, which involves using an ultrasonic and an autoclave to sterilize jewellery and equipment.
If possible, a 3 stage cleaning process is much preferred. This would involve the following:
This involves soaking any re-usable items that come into close contact with client tissue, such as forceps and receival tubes. The cold soak solution contains a chemical which kills any tissue or blood or bacteria/viruses on the equipment – essentially this stage kills, but does not physically clean. The equipment is thoroughly rinsed of all chemicals with fresh water prior to moving onto the next cleaning stage.
The ultrasonic contains a detergent and cleans using vibration to remove debris from equipment at the microscopic level. This process mechanically and chemically cleans the equipment. The equipment is thoroughly rinsed of all chemicals with fresh water prior to moving onto the next cleaning stage.
This uses extreme pressure and heat up to 134°C to fully sterilize and dry the equipment. Every item placed in the autoclave is medically bagged prior to insertion, to ensure that the equipment within remains sterile until the bag is opened just before use.
Before your piercing:
You MUST ensure that all alcohol (and drugs) are OUT of your system before any piercing. You should question the ethics of your practitioner if they consent to pierce you knowing you are under the influence. This isn’t because your practitioner is a kill-joy or T Total, its because you’ll bleed more and prolong your healing time if you have alcohol in your system before you get pierced.
Rest assured, for all NON oral piercings, it should be fine to have a tipple AFTER your piercing. However, for any oral piercings including lip, tongue, frowney, smiley, tongueweb, madonna, medusa, cheek etc, it is very important NOT to drink alcohol after your piercing for at least a few days (weeks in the case of cheek piercings).
When selecting your new piercing – think carefully regarding your lifestyle and if your piercing with fit in around your job, and bear in mind that it may affect sleeping in a certain way for a while. Consider your initial jewellery choice carefully as you may not be able to change it until the piercing is fully healed.
We have a strict code of ethics when it comes to whether or not we will perform a piercing. If we don’t think it will work (has a very high likelihood of rejection due to your anatomy or lifestyle), we will be honest. We would rather turn a piercing away and have a happy healthy client than take your money for an unethical job.
We have a strict age policy for all piercings, tattoos and modifications; which is as follows:
Piercing age requirements:
Earlobes (only) – from age 8+ with parental consent. Please note both the parent and child will need to present valid photo I.D. We will not accept other adults giving consent for a child to have their lobes pierced – strictly a parent must be present. Please note the child needs to have grown enough ears to support a healthy piercing (if their ears are too small they will have wonky/stretched piercings as an adult!) and the child must be mature enough to ask for the piercing him/her self and also explain proper aftercare to us. We reserve the right to politely ask you to return in a few months if we feel your little one isn’t quite ready.
Nipples, genitals, surface piercings, microdermals, cheeks, translobes and large gauge piercing strictly 18+ with valid photo I.D.
All other piercings (including ear cartilage, navels etc) strictly 16+. Parental consent is not required but we will need valid photo I.D.
For Tattoos you must be over 18 years of age and we will ask for a copy of valid photo identification – it is the law. Parental consent is not accepted below this age.