Body Piercings & Tattoos

Body Piercings
What You Should Know

It's a really good idea to check out a few places before making your decision of where you want your piercing done.

What to Ask to Make Sure It's Safe

  • "Do you have an autoclave?" (This is a sterilizer for piercing utensils)
  • "Can I see your record for safety for this year?" (Every year this should be updated)
  • "Do you use a piercing gun for anything other than piercing the fatty part of the ear"? Piercing guns used anywhere else on the body can cause damage to delicate tissues or skin infections.

What to Watch For

  • Make sure that any needles and piercing are coming out of fresh packages, make sure they are opened in front of you.
  • Make sure the person doing the piercing has washed and sterilized their hands and that they are wearing new sterile gloves.
  • Make sure you watch them dispose of your needle into a Plastic puncture proof container labeled "biohazard".
  • Be sure that you receive proper verbal or written aftercare instructions.

**It's a good idea to completely read over the waiver form you are given so that you understand what you are getting into.**

**Anyone under the age of 16 will need parental consent**

How to Take Care of It

The healing of your piercing depends entirely on the care you give it. You will need liquid antibacterial soap, Q-tips and sea salt. Always wash your hands before touching your piercing or jewelry!

Clean the piercing two or three times a day with soap and water and a clean q-tip. Gently remove all dried plasma from both sides of the jewellery before moving the jewellery through the piercing. After the ring and exit holes are cleaned, soap the jewelry and rotate it through the piercing to clean the inside. Once or twice a day, mix a tablespoon of sea salt into a cup of warm water. Soak the piercing for 5-10 minutes, and rinse with fresh water afterwards.

Signs of Infection:

  • A reddish patch around the piercing/ tattoo
  • Pus oozing from the pierced/ tattooed area
  • Itching around the area
  • A lump or swelling at the piercing
  • Fever

If you you have developed an infection or think you are starting to you should call your doctor or the piercing professional for advice.

Body Piercings & Tattoos - More Information

Grey Bruce Health Unit Fact Sheet on Body Piercings & Tattoos
University of Toronto Q&A about body modification


Got the Itch for Ink?

Tattoos have made a huge comeback in the past few years. Today it seems everyone has at least one tatty. However, when getting ink done there are a few things you should be aware of.

First of all the obvious is to be 100% sure that you get something that has meaning, not just any random picture. Remember, you're stuck with whatever you get for the REST OF YOUR LIFE. So once you've chosen a tatty that you will still like ten years down the road, it's time to get the ink done.

I can't stress this enough, this is a lifelong commitment, so do it right.

The first thing you have to do is choose a shop. Choose one that is clean and well maintained. Make sure only clean, sterilized utensils are used. Look at the shops cleanliness, make sure the floors and counters are clean. Remember your health could be in jeopardy as blood is the carrier of many diseases that YOU could get from a dirty needle.

Choosing an artist is also very important, don't just go to anyone with a tattoo gun, make sure that they're good at what they do. Ask to see pictures of some of the work that they have done in the past. Most professionals take pictures of their work, so look at them.

Now one more word to the wise. A lot of people think it is cool to get drunk and get a tattoo done. Well bad idea. Having alcohol in your system thins your blood and will cause you to bleed more during the tattooing process. That might not matter to you now but it might when you faint or when your tattoo gets messed up because the artist can't see properly through the blood.

For signs of infection see Body Piercing above!

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