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Piercing FAQ






(Or questions you should ask)
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 piercing?

       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.
Diabetes & haematopoietic abnormalities (Thrombocytopenia, Neutrogena, and anemia): 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
Hemophilia: 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: 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 needed. 
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 http://www.safepiercing.org/
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 use.
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 to use. Healing times and complications vary greatly depending on the piercing and jewelry chosen, the piercer should inform you about this.
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 knowledgeable Body 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 it's over!   
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 piercing?
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 on 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 Hepatitis.
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 wound.
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 infection.
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 get pregnant?
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 pleasurable orgasms. 
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 points?
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 your piercer.
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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quotes from the Health Dept & newspaper about Guns 2 Roses


"Good work providing sterilized ink and tattoo machines."  

Brian Hurst, Lancaster County Health Dept


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