Don’t let a few horror stories about piercings gone wrong deter you from getting the piercing you want. Sure, there are a few bad piercers out there, but the majority of them are pretty decent. Most potential issues can be prevented if you know what to look for next time you’re at a piercing shop or tattoo parlor. If you spot any of the issues below, don’t be afraid to leave immediately.
Everything should be clean in the piercer’s shop – the counter, the floor, the tools used, and the piercer himself. Ask to use the bathroom, especially if it is located towards the back of the building, and take a look around. Is there dirt or dust on the counter? Does the floor look like it hasn’t been mopped in weeks? Some dirt is normal, but there’s a difference between being slightly dirty and disgustingly filthy.
After you finish inspecting the floors and counters, take a look at the piercer who will be doing the piercing. Do they look clean, or is it obvious that they haven’t seen the inside of a shower recently? Are they coughing or sneezing? We all get sick sometimes, but the last thing you want is a sick piercer giving you a new nose stud or lip ring. Also, don’t forget to look for sterilization wipes and sprays.
Some states don’t require formal training for piercers or tattoo artists. All you need is a shop and a few tools, and sadly enough, that’s all some piercers have. Look for licenses, certificates and other signs of formal training when you visit a new piercer. If you don’t see any, ask how long they’ve been in the piercing business and where they learned their techniques. Don’t be scared; this is your body we’re talking about. Treat it well.
It seems like everybody has a friend or cousin who does piercings, but that doesn’t mean you should trust them – especially if they do piercings in their basement. Ask around and find out where other people had their piercings done. Read reviews of local piercers online and see what people are saying about the services they received. Google terms like "piercer scam" or "bad piercer", followed by your city or state. A little research can help prevent many different types of piercing-related problems, so do your homework and choose your piercer carefully.