What to look for before you get a piercing

Untraditional body and facial piercings have been popping up more and more in trendy magazines and listicles recently. Whether you’re looking for a bold ring or a dainty stud, piercings can be a great way to express your personal style in a mostly non-permanent fashion. But before you hop on the bandwagon, here are a few things you should know before you head into a shop.

Read up on your future piercing

There’s tons of different places you can get pierced on your ears alone, some within mere centimeters of another. Knowing the actual name of your piercing will not only ensure that you actually walk out of the shop getting what you want, but it’ll reassure your piercer that you’re not just putting a hole in your body on an impulsive whim.

Research shops

Not all tattoo shops are created equal! Don’t base your whole trip on customer reviews, because you never know who came in intoxicated, who was being rude or anything else that may have made that individual’s experience unsavory. However, if you notice that a large number of reviewers are complaining of infection or malpractice, don’t take it too lightly. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call the shop, they should be more than happy to help you out.

Keep everything as clean as possible

Arguably the biggest risk to getting a piercing is getting an infection following it. When you walk into the shop, if you want to know more about their sterilization practices, be sure to ask. Look for a shop that uses surgical steel piercings or another sterile alternative, sterile-packaged needles, gloves and fresh equipment each time a new person is in the chair. On your end, avoid putting on makeup, sunscreen or anything else that could infect the area after your piercing and bring hair ties if long hair could get in the way of the piercing site.

Take aftercare seriously

Listen to the professional piercer, especially about aftercare. While I got the majority of my ear piercings with a gun —which is not recommended by almost anyone, because of the high risk of infection and generally dangerous— the one ear piercing I got at a shop had similar aftercare. The advice I was given was to use saline solution or warm water on cotton swabs to gently wash the area. Since having gone with friends to get various parts of them pierced since, I have heard similar instructions. However, listen to what your piercer tells you, as this could vary widely depending on the location and type of piercing you are looking to get.

Talk to a professional

If you have any questions at all about getting a piercing, talk to a shop (or two or three) about your concerns. This can also help you get a bit of insight as to where you might want to get yours done. Even after you get your new body jewelry, if you think anything could potentially be wrong, don’t hesitate to reach out to someone you trust.

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