THINGS TO CONSIDER
(Or questions you
How old do I have to be to get a piercing?
18 or older or with a parent. Any reputable body
piercer will insist that you be over the age of consent. This is
because a minor can't legally sign the disclaimer or waiver form,
which protects them from legal liability, and informs you of the
possible problems resulting from getting a piercing. Many states and
countries outlaw the tattooing of minors and Health and Police
departments' view it as an offence and can use other laws regarding
the protection of minors to enforce it. So if you're considering
getting a piercing you must usually be over 18 or have the express
permission of your parents. Any responsible piercer will insist on
the presence of a parent, with their written consent before piercing
a minor. We pierce teens above the waste only. We pierce infants at
any age for a simple ear piercing.
Are there any reasons which totally prevent me from getting a
Be clean and sober!
There are several medical problems that make it dangerous to get
a piercing. If you have one of these conditions, it may be dangerous
for you to get a piercing. If in doubt consult your doctor.
All present difficulties for piercing,
because they reduce the bodies ability to heal wounds properly. In
the case of Diabetes, it has been well established that wound
healing is impaired in people with Diabetes Mellitus. Diabetics'
experience reduced collagen synthesis, impaired wound contraction,
and delayed epidermal migration. An increased incidence of
infections in diabetics may also contribute to impaired wound
healing, hypoglycemia-induced leukocyte dysfunction and vascular
insufficiency are believed to be the possible causes for this
increased infection rate
Diabetes & haematopoietic abnormalities (Thrombocytopenia,
Neutrogena, and anemia):
This disease precludes piercing for the obvious
reasons, Hemophiliacs have a greater tendency to hemorrhage and they
have a greatly reduced ability to heal wounds. I seriously doubt
that anybody suffering from this condition would even consider
piercing, however if they did, they should be deterred because of
the obvious dangers.
Keloids seem to occur only occasionally from the
process of piercing, they seem to happen mainly on the navel, ear
and tongue. There is no way of determining which people will develop
keloids, although people with dark skin, or people with a family
history of Keloid development are far more likely to develop this
problem. There are several treatments available, Come in and see us
if you suspect keloids.
What factors affect my ability to heal a piercing?
There are many factors that may affect your body's ability to
heal a wound, which is what a piercing really is. The major factor
affecting wound healing is you general health, if you are sick, run
down or over-worked then you will have a depleted immune system and
will experience delayed healing and an increased chance of
infection. Smoking, poor diet, obesity and lack of exercise can also
result in delayed healing.
If you have a job where you must wear tight clothes like
pantyhose, shorts, skirts etc. you will have problems if you have
your navel pierced. Any pressure on the piercing causes aggravation
and if continued for a long period can result in inflammation. If
you play contact sports you must consider if the piercing is going
to get knocked repeatedly, this most affects nipple piercings.
Taping up the piercing with an Elastoplast bandage while playing can
generally solve this. If you work in a job that requires manual
labor then you should carefully consider whether a nipple or navel
piercing is practical as lifting objects and knocking the piercing
will aggravate it. If you swim in public pools you have more chance
of developing an infection, however you can cover the piercing with
a waterproof bandage.
How can I find a good piercer ?
You want to find someone with a
minimum 5 years experience in one company, 8 years would be better.
You want to find a piercer that
has taught other piercers the trade.
Your body is something that must be treated with the utmost
care, everyone should be aware of the danger of HIV-AIDS, but Hepatitis
is another disease that is potentially fatal. It severely reduces
the length of your life and can cause severe lifelong side effects.
Therefore, utmost caution should be exercised when selecting a body
piercer. Unfortunately, because of its increasing popularity, body
piercing has attracted a lot of unqualified and ill-informed people
who are doing it just for a quick profit. Proper body piercing
requires a great deal of experience and knowledge of a broad range
of subjects, most importantly proper cross contamination and
sterilization procedures due to the high risk transmission of blood
borne pathogens between patients.
You don't learn something as complicated and skilful as body
piercing by watching an instruction video, reading a book, or doing
a short term so-called "Instruction Course". There is only one way
of learning, and that is from spending time learning from an
experienced body piercer. You will be better served by going to a
person who specializes solely in body piercing because they spend
all their time perfecting just one skill.
A guy just hanging out
in a tattoo parlor is not a qualified body piercer.
So how do you decide if a piercer is competent? Ask around, see
what reputation they have, best of all ask someone who has been
pierced by them about their experience. The best way to judge a
piercers skill is to look a their work, if you see someone with a
piercing that looks good ask where they got it done.
There is a tendency within the piercing community to use
questionable certification, there is no such thing as a "Certified"
piercer. All piercers learn on an Ad Hoc basis, meaning that there
is no formal, rigid training to become a piercer. Unlike doctors,
nurses and health professionals who receive extensive formal
education, all you require to operate as a body piercer is the
registration of your operating premises. These requirements are
minimal and only deal with hygiene principals. There is no
requirement that the piercer exhibit any knowledge of aftercare,
proper metals, appropriate jewelry and placement, aseptic technique,
anatomy, physiology, psychology or any other of the many skills
needed to perform a piercing safely.
Piercers learn their trade one of 3 ways, (1)a formal piercers
training course, of which only Fakir Musafar's in California has
Official Government approval. (run like hell from this guy as he is
a wild man). (2)Through trial and error, i.e. piercing their
friends and guinea pigs for nothing, or (3)working as an apprentice
to a qualified piercer (this is how Gary Mayo - Guns 2 Roses lead
piercer did it). However, in the last case the person giving the
training often has a poor understanding of the appropriate
techniques required, so it's simply a case of the blind leading the
blind (as Gary has also learned). Gary studied from text books on
anatomy and from the internet to balance out the information
This lack of formal qualifications in the piercing industry has
led to a plethora of "So Called" Professional Piercing
Organizations. Most of them only require a small payment in return
for a glossy "Certificate". Don't be fooled by any of these
certificates, they are meaningless and are no indication of a
piercers ability or knowledge. One out of business piercer in our area has 8 or 9
such certificates hanging on his waiting room wall. They cost 3
bucks each from Huck Spaulding, a tattoo supplier, and they mean
nothing, except this person knows the value of showmanship. The A.P.P. in the USA is probably the only reputable professional
piercing organization. See their website at
Once you've decided on your choice of piercer, call or see them;
don't be afraid to ask questions. Have a look around the shop, it
should look clean and the piercing should be done in an area not
open to other artists in the same shop
(for privacy and hygiene). The shop should be a relaxing
environment, ambient lighting, nice music, aromatherapy and overall
cleanliness should be the first impressions you receive. If the
decor is grungy or down market, they're playing loud or obnoxious music and the piercers don't pay much attention to their personal
appearance, that's a fair indication generally that they're not too
professional in other aspects of they're business i.e. hygiene?
Compare the studio to a doctor's office, you expect a doctor's to be
neat, clean and professional, then why not somewhere that's going to
put a needle and jewelry into your body?
Ask them how they sterilize their instruments and jewelry.
Autoclaving is the only safe method for instruments. Needles should
be chem-claved and not sterilized by heat. To minimize the possibility of infection, the
piercing should be performed using Aseptic or "Sterile" technique,
this requires that all tools and jewelry used during the piercing should come
out of a hot autoclave or at second best, a sterile package. It is
unacceptable to clean jewelry or tools in any liquids for piercing
Before the piercing starts you must inform the piercer if you
have any medical problems, which may affect the healing. Most
piercers will require you to fill out and sign a detailed disclaimer
or waiver form, you may also be required to produce proof of age.
Most piercers will refuse to perform certain piercings that are
dangerous or have a low likelihood of success. You are quoted a
price for the piercing and the money may be collected up front
in some studios. They should provide you with a
detailed aftercare sheet (Guns 2 Roses gives you a booklet)
which should outline the procedures you need to follow to look after
the piercing while it's healing and the aftercare products you need
Healing times and complications vary greatly depending on the
piercing and jewelry chosen, the piercer should inform you about
The piercer should be able to answer any questions or concerns
you have before the piercing. They should make sure that you aren't
rushed, and make every attempt to calm and relax you prior to the
piercing. You should be informed of what is happening during the
procedure and they should allow you a few minutes to sit down after
the piercing, if you are feeling a bit light headed.
You should ring or return to the piercer if you have any
problems, and they must help or advise you on what to do, it's their
responsibility and your right to receive aftercare service. Guns 2
Roses never charges for aftercare. We do charge a nominal fee to
change jewelry, usually $5.00 plus jewelry.
Does it hurt?
Not really, if done correctly. Pain should
be reduced to an almost imperceptible level if performed by an experienced
Piercer. If your piercer says YES this is going to hurt, run, don't
walk away. Most people's reaction immediately after it's done is " I
thought it would hurt more than that!" or " It hurts more to have
your ear pierced!" The sensation of being pierced is similar to a
light quick pinch, you feel a sharp sensation for a second or two than
Can you numb the area to be pierced?
Yes! Anesthetic creams or liquids can take
time to work, and need to be done correctly to be effective. Guns 2
Roses uses several pain fighting products. It is strong
stuff and very effective and legal for piercing. It works very well
in giving our customers freedom from pain that might cause a person
to not want pierced. We also have oral numbing products for mouth
procedures. Gary also numbs tattoos!
Does Ice work for numbing during a
Some piercers use Ice but Ice is a old idea. Ice is only used if
nothing better is available, like in schools where a zero tolerance
rule about drugs is present. A real piercer should have available
more tools than is available to a third grader. Ice is never used by
a dentist for numbing just before a root canal. Why? A doctor
never uses ice just before he puts stitches in a child's knee. Why?
It is because there are better things available. We use a over the
counter reduced discomfort medication recognized to work effectively.
Does it hurt afterwards?
There may be some initial sensitivity for the first 2-3 days,
more so with any piercing of a mucous membrane area like tongues,
lips and the genitals. This is due to them being highly vascularised
(areas of high blood supply) which naturally swell when pierced.
Does it bleed?
Normally the bleeding is very minimal provided you are not
taking aspirin or alcohol, which thin the blood. A good piercer
uses the same size jewelry as the needle used to make the hole. So
there is very little bleeding. If you use a big needle and put in a
small piece of jewelry, the gap remaining tends to bleed easily.
Many piercers do it this way because it makes for easier piercing.
At Guns 2 Roses, we do what is best, not what is easiest!
Should I keep it covered?
With nipple and navel piercings, the wound should be covered
with a sterile bandage protecting the wound for the first 4-5 hours
until antibodies move in to protect the wound from infection. If
you can keep the piercing away from non-sterile objects, the open
air is fine. If you cannot, cover it with a bandage, as loose as
possible to let it breath.
How long does the piercing take, and are you sure it does not hurt?
The whole process usually takes about 10-15 minutes, most of
which is to prepare the instruments and supplies. The actual
piercing takes only 1 split second and it causes a very small dull
sting, equivalent to getting a pinch from a friend.
How many piercings can I get done at once?
This has cause some disagreement within the piercing community.
We will only do several piercings in one session, any more than that
can be dangerous, make you ill and prolong the healing time.
However, this depends on the individual and their ability to deal
with the piercing and their amount of effort used to care for the
piercings. Discuss it with the piercer of your choice.
What should I do before I come in for a piercing?
Come into the store freshly bathed. It helps if you have an
early night the day before, if you do go out try not to drink too
much, it can make you nauseous after a piercing and increases
bleeding. Have something to eat approximately 1 hour before the
piercing. Drinking a 12 oz bottle of Sports drinks (which contain
electrolytes) or eating a small amount of something sweet (cake or
chocolate) beforehand will help you feel better.
Can I bring my friends into the piercing room with me?
Yes! Some people like to bring their friends along for moral support,
but many piercers prefer to limit the number of people in the
piercing room. The piercer needs to concentrate in order to perform
the piercing as quickly and efficiently as possible, and your
friends can disrupt the piercers concentration, they make it hard
for you to relax and it's more hygienic when there's less people
present the piercing room. We ask you come in with your best friends.
Can I have a few drinks or a joint to relax me?
Any responsible piercer will not pierce people who are under the
influence of drugs, alcohol or medication, it dangerous for the
piercer and for you. Alcohol makes you nauseous and uncomfortable
and marijuana makes you paranoid and hard to relax. We run a drug
free shop. Everyone here is clean and sober and we ask the same of
you while you are in our shop.
What if I have a phobia of blood or needles?
It's imperative that you inform the piercer if you have these
fears. We've pierced dozens of people with exactly the same fears,
guess what? Not one fainted. Unlike doctors who usually rush, a
responsible piercer will set extra time aside to ensure that you are
fully relaxed and in a calm state before the piercing.. You won't
see the needle and if there's any blood it will be bandaged up
strait away so you won't see it.
What should I do after I've had the piercing?
If you are getting pierced during lunch or you're in a hurry,
it's important that you set enough time aside afterwards for a rest,
sit down in a cafe‚ and relax for 10-15 minutes. Have a drink,
preferably juice or a soft drink, sugar will bring the glucose in
your blood back up and make you feel better. You may also have
something sweet like cake or chocolate (not too much though!). If
you're not feeling well it may probably be a good idea to get a
friend to drive you home. However, in general 99% of people are fine
within a few minutes, its only people that work themselves up who
ending up feeling unwell.
How long will it take to heal?
The Navel is the longest piercing to heal,
6-9 months to heal. Other piercings heal quicker, but most
piercings (even ears) take a minimum of 6 weeks to heal. The time it
takes to heal depends on the individual and is affected by a variety
of factors. Smoking, Obesity, Diabetes, Poor health, Poor Diet, and
Age can all make it harder for a piercing to heal. If you're worried
about these factors see us for a consultation.
Wearing tight clothes, touching the piercing with dirty hands,
contact with bodily fluids, rough treatment, using inappropriate
cleaning agents i.e. Dettol, Methylated Spirits, straight Listerine,
Tea Tree Oil, or Betadine, will all hamper the healing process.
Following the instructions in the care sheet carefully will minimize
problems and dramatically reducing the healing time. See our chart
typical healing times
Why is Body Piercing more expensive than having you're ears pierced?
The Ear Piercing Gun requires no training, experience or skill
to use. It is dangerous if used to pierce anything but the Ear
lobes. Body piercing must be done using Aseptic or "Sterile"
technique, this is a medical method devised to reduce the chance of
infection and transmission of deadly pathogens i.e. AIDS and
Aseptic technique requires that the piercing be performed in a
purpose-built enclosed room. The piercing must be performed
using sterilized instruments, sterile supplies, sterile gloves,
specific jewelry and the wound should be covered after with a
sterile bandage. All these things cost money, but they are
imperative to minimize health hazards.
Body Piercing is a highly skilled operation, the person doing
the piercing needs to have a full understanding of Aseptic or
"Sterile" technique, the appropriate type of jewelry for each
individual piercing, the proper placement and understand how to
solve any complications which might arise.
So the reason it's more expensive is that you're paying for the
highest standards of Jewelry, hygiene and experience. You wouldn't
get your car reduced discomfortted by a mechanic, or your engine fixed by a Panel
Beater, so why trust someone who's not experienced with your body.
Your Health is your most important asset, see a Professional who
specializes in Body Piercing.
Is it safe to get a piercing with an Ear Piercing Gun?
No! Not even for ears. The Ear Piercing Gun was designed to
pierce ear lobes but it can even cause problems then. The studs in
the Gun are blunt and are forced through the flesh by brute force,
this tends to cause reduced discomfort and swelling. Because the studs are not
adjustable they can't accommodate any swelling and the studs can
become embedded. This is reduced discomfortful in the ear lobes, but can be very
dangerous anywhere else on the body.
The Gun should never be used for anything apart from Ear Lobes.
If it's used to pierce the nose or the top-ear it can cause reduced discomfort and
swelling. Because the action of the gun damages the tissue it can
lead to Sarcoid Granulomas and Keloids which are unsightly lumps
which can require surgery to remove. The gun is especially dangerous
if it's used to pierce noses, the Gun was designed to work on the
"No Contact" principle. When it's put inside the nose to pierce it,
the gun comes in contact with potentially fatal bacteria i.e.
Staphylococcus and Streptococcus and because the Gun can't be
sterilized properly these bacteria can be transmitted from the
previous person to you!
Why can't you use Sleepers or earrings for body piercing?
Sleepers and earrings are designed for ear lobes, they aren't
even good to put in your ear until they are healed. Sleepers are
very thin and can cause migration if they are used for body
piercing, this acts just like an old fashioned cheese-cutter. The
thin jewelry tears at the flesh like a wire and cuts through the
flesh like cheese causing the piercing to migrate or grow out, this
will cause inflammation and eventually infection.
Ear piercing studs are unsuitable for Body Piercing because they
are too short too accommodate any swelling, so they can become
embedded and cause inflammation and infection. The butterfly clips
on the back have small crevices that are hard too clean properly,
bacteria can feed on the exudates from the wound and can infect the
What sort of Jewelry should I use for Body Piercing?
Piercing jewelry must be made
of Platinum, Niobium, Titanium, Palladium, 316L Grade Stainless
Steel (implant grade, or 24ct & 18ct or 14ct Gold. All
jewelry should be non-colored. Gold is not a good idea for new
piercings, but many piercers still use it. Why not, they make good
money selling gold! Our favorite metal is implant grade surgical
stainless steel as it is very hard and therefore not easily
scratched. It is inert and not affected by body fluids. Silver
should never be used as it oxidizes in the wound and can cause
allergic reactions. Surgical Steel rings must be highly polished and
must have been passivated, which is an acid cleaning process.
Gemstone or plastic beads are not suitable for initial piercing
because they have cracks and pitting which can harbor bacteria, only
metal beads like Surgical Steel, Gold and colored Niobium are
hygienic enough for use in Body Piercing Jewelry.
Is piercing dangerous, can I get HIV or Hepatitis?
Piercing can be dangerous if performed by
inadequately trained operators. Responsible piercers follow the
principles of Aseptic or "Sterile" technique, this is the exact
method used for surgical operations and provides the most minimal
chance of infection. All instruments and used jewelry should be
sterilized by Autoclaving, a process used in hospitals. Sterile
single-use needles should be used for each customer, which are
opened in front of you before the piercing, and immediately disposed
of in front of you, into an approved Sharps container.
The fewer people that work in a studio, the better. Any
studio that has multiple artists, greatly increases the
risk of cross contamination. The safest dentists and doctors
always work in a private practice office.
Provided that you use a reputable, qualified and responsible
piercer your chances of getting an infection, HIV or Hepatitis are
minimal, however it's your responsibility to ensure that the
piercing is performed safely. So do your research and check out the
piercer thoroughly, if they're professional they should be happy and
able to answer any of your queries.
What if I get an infection, or some other problem?
There is always a possibility of infection with any wound, no
matter how small. But, provided you follow the appropriate aftercare
procedures thoroughly the chance of an infection is minimal. Some
people may confuse the small amount of redness that denotes normal
healing with infection, however, infections usually result from the
use of poor grade jewelry and improper aftercare procedures.
Will sweat & exercise affect the piercing?
Yes, sweat affects the Ph balance of the skin and acts like acid
on a wound. If you sweat a lot at work, exercise a lot, or the
weather is hot or humid, you must wash regularly. If you have a
manual job it's best to try and rinse the piercing with clean water
once or twice a day at work. If you're exercising you must be
careful not to knock the piercing, even after it's healed. You can
tear the piercing slightly and if it's not cleaned properly it can
lead to infection. You must wear clean clothes after getting home
from work or exercise, dirty clothes increase the chance of
What about swimming in the ocean, the pool or a spa?
The best advise is - DON'T. Keep your fresh piercing away from
all public beaches and public pools. Even bathtubs are a problem.
Shower whenever possible. If you want trouble, go swimming as soon
as possible after you get pierced! After it is completely healed, go
swimming to show off your new piercing! If you really want trouble,
swim in a lake, or river where things are dead, dying or shitting
everywhere. Use your head!
When can I change or remove the jewelry?
You should not remove the jewelry from a new piercing for
several good reasons. Once it is somewhat healed you can but not
before. A new piercing will close at both open ends rather quickly
and an abscess can develop in the closed over hole. The piercing
goes through several stages of healing. During the initial healing
period, the scar tissue is quite weak (30% strength of normal skin).
If you remove the jewelry the hole will close up and if you try to
take the jewelry in and out to hide the piercing, you will damage
the wound causing inflammation and most probably an infection.
Once the healing phase is completed the maturation phase begins,
the scar must mature until it has full strength (app. 80% at 2
months). Removing the jewelry during this phase will cause the hole
to close up, but not as quickly as before. The jewelry may be taken
out and the hole re-opened with a special taper pin. This is a
quick, usually reduced discomfortless operation, which we can perform for our
customers. If you want to change the jewelry during the healing
phase, we will do this for you.
Once the wound is fully healed you may change the jewelry as
often as you wish, no reduced discomfort is involved, and it's just like changing
an earring. If you have a Ball Closure Ring you will have to
purchase a pair of Circlip Pliers (available from us) to open and
close the ring. Navel Jewels undo just like a Nut and Bolt and you
can change these as easily as your earrings.
Will Nipple piercing affect breastfeeding & what about my Navel if I
Breastfeeding is not affected by nipple piercing, however, your
nipples may become very tender during pregnancy and you may have to
remove the jewelry. If you leave the jewelry in you can wear
barbells that allow the infant to still breastfeed or circular
barbells, which are easily taken in and out to feed the baby. The
easiest option is removal of the jewelry and replacement after
breastfeeding is over or wearing barbells with small balls to enable
the child to feed easily.
The navel usually pops out during pregnancy, you can either
remove the ring and replace it later, or insert a larger ring and
replace it with a smaller one once your stomach goes back to normal.
What are the most popular piercings?
The Navel (Belly Button) is by far the
most popular for
women; it's sexy and gives you another place to wear
jewelry! Tongue piercing is the new craze, why? Because it heals in
2 weeks and it's fantastic for sex! Nipple piercing is the 3rd most
popular, it looks sexy and makes your nipple very sensitive. One
customer said "its like a light switch for an orgasm". Clitoris
Hood piercings are the fastest growing craze, and no wonder as women
become more aware that they like orgasms ever as much as their male
counterparts. A hood piercing almost guarantees you easier and more
What effect do piercings have during sex?
A great many of the places to be pierced are erogenous zones
(even the ears slightly), piercings enhance sex by providing a
greater degree of stimulation, tongue and nipple piercings are very
popular because of the extra stimulation they provide. Contrary to
what you would expect, genital piercings aren't very reduced discomfortful and
heal very quickly usually 2-3 weeks. Genital piercings are very
effective for sex, why else would you let someone put a needle
through your genitals?
Does piercing interfere with your energy meridians or pressure
No, Acupuncture Shiatsu or Acupressure all work by stimulating
pressure points and re-aligning the energy meridians of the body.
However, if you cut your leg off and it's sewn back on the meridians
still work because the body realizes it's a wound and re-routes the
energy accordingly. A piercing is a wound, your body realizes this
and therefore it doesn't affect the flow of energy.
What if I want a more unusual piercing?
As piercing has become more popular, people try to out do each
other with unusual piercings. Most piercings have a long history
among tribal peoples, these people found out through a long period
of trial and error which piercings work and which don't. There are
many unusual piercings which many people don't consider because they
aren't aware of them, the ear alone has an amazing variety of
unusual piercings. Some people will see a piercing in a magazine and
wish to get it, however, they don't understand all the hard work
that is required to get these piercings healed, just because a
piercing is done in an unusual spot doesn't mean that it's healed.
Any responsible piercer will inform you fully of all of the
risks involved in unusual piercings, and explain to you that it is
an experimental procedure that could lead to a variety of problems.
There is much contention within the piercing industry about Surface
piercings and how safe and easily they heal, I'd rather not make
judgments here. My advice, do your homework first, find out the
Pro's and Con's, consult people who have the piercing you're
considering and finally find the best piercer you can (Don't budget
with your body, it's false economy!).
Guns 2 Roses
The information contained above is far from the complete
resource for all knowledge on piercing and that book has yet been
put into print, and provability never will be.
Remember the one reason you want to get pierced is what? It may
be to have fun. It may be to set yourself apart from the crowd or to
get in touch with the crowd. At Guns 2 Roses we want to make your
piercing experience the neatest thing you have ever done and set the
stage for a long and mutually enjoyable relationship between you and
Gary Mayo is the owner of Guns 2 Roses and he is always willing
to listen to you about any piercing project you may want done or are
thinking about getting done. He can be reached at 402-217-5000.
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