Body Piercing News
Archive for July, 2010
Body piercing is a technique that is learned, not an artistic talent or endowment. Although professional body piercers perfect their techniques over years of experience and practice, a successful body piercing can be performed with the proper materials and instructions. The decision to purchase a body piercing kit for home piercing is becoming a more common occurrence. Most people that purchase piercing kits have already had some experienced with body piercing. Many times when a genital or nipple piercing is desired, people choose to self-pierce, rather than be subjected to the awkwardness of a stranger touching them. For this reason, home piercing by couples is gaining momentum throughout the past few years and has become quite common.
Although it is not recommended for inexperienced amateurs to pierce nipples or genitals, the growing numbers of people ordering piercing kits demonstrates this phenomenon is not going away. If you are determined to home pierce, make sure you purchase a kit that includes sterile tools, needles and body jewelry, as well as proper skin prep materials and aftercare instructions. Ideally, find a kit that includes some type of video instruction so you can see examples of how the piercing is done. Remember, if an infection develops or there are any complications or excessive bleeding during piercing, seek medical attention immediately!
In the body piercing industry, the term ‘freehand’ means to perform a body piercing without the use of forceps. A freehand body piercing kit for a lip piercing, for example, would include a sterile body piercing needle, benazalkonium chloride pad, and a piece of sterile body jewelry.
A freehand body piercing kit (also known as a ‘mini’ body piercing ki’) can be purchased at a lower cost than a piercing kit that includes forceps. Another benefit of freehand piercing is that it is faster and sometimes more comfortable for the client to be pierced without forceps. However, by not clamping the tissue to be pierced, the risk of extended bleeding is increased, since clamps act as a tourniquet to reduce blood-flow to the area. The other drawback to freehand piercing is the loss of stability and accuracy afforded by clamps. Freehand body piercing should only be attempted by experienced and certified body piercers.
Navel piercing has become one of the most popular body piercings performed in the United States. The navel piercing requires a sterile 14 gauge piercing needle, a pair of sponge forceps (slotted or un-slotted okay), skin disinfecting preparation pads (benzalkonium chloride preferred for it’s superior disinfecting abilities over alcohol swabs) and finally, a sterile 14 gauge curved barbell at least 1/2 inches in length (or more to allow for swelling during healing). These materials can be found already sterilized in a comprehensive body piercing kit.
Although the materials needed for a proper navel piercing are standard, the techniques involved differ according to the body piercer’s own personal preference. While many body piercers prefer the client lying completely flat during the piercing, it has been found that if there is any body fat in the abdominal area, lying flat will tend to distort stomach’s surface so that once pierced, and the client is standing erect, the piercing may be off balance. Always keep in mind the physical dynamics of each client and always adapt your technique to the situation so that the piercing matches your client’s expectations. Failure to do this may result in never seeing that customer again.
In the past, body piercing has been associated with tattooing. This is because when the beginning of the body piercing boom began (in the early 90’s) the only places you could go to get a body piercing were tattoo parlors. However, while some tattoo artists offer body piercing services, the two disciplines (tattooing and body piercing) are completely separate trades altogether. And since a tattoo artist can make many times more money tattooing than piercing, the fact is most of them would rather tattoo a client than pierce them.
Recently there is a new breed of body artist that is a body piercing specialist, who has devoted their time and energy to perfecting their craft to the point that they have mastered body piercing in all it’s variations. There are now body piercers that work independently of tattoo shops and in some cases, have shops of their own dedicated solely to body piercing. Because they do not require the space and staff of a tattoo parlor, they are able to offer their services at substantially lower prices than the tattoo shops. In this case, a body piercing specialist that charges less for body piercing not only saves you money, but will give you a superior body piercing, since piercing is all they do. If you are fortunate enough to have found a dedicated body piercing shop in your area, then you already know the difference in the quality of service, and the money you save by trusting a master body piercer to do what they do best.
Finding the correct body piercing kit can be a daunting task considering how many kits there are available online. The main variants on body piercing kits are the types of tools offered in them, if they include sterile body jewelry, and the price. By law, professional body piercers must use sterile body piercing needles, sterile tools, and sterile body jewelry to avoid infection to their clients.
Make sure that the body piercing kit you chose to purchase has the right tools, needle size(s), prep materials (benzalkonium chloride as opposed to alcohol swabs) and STERILE body jewelry. Many kit sellers will say their kits include sterile needles, but when it comes to the sterility of the body jewelry offered, it may not be readily apparent. If you are not crystal clear on if you are actually getting sterile body jewelry in the kit you are considering, feel free to ask the seller to clarify it for you. Also, if not readily accessible through their site, ask to see a copy of the seller’s recent spore test results to make sure they are in compliance on sterilization protocol. Proper kits also should include Aftercare guidelines and video instructions, whether on DVD or streaming via web.
Learning how to body pierce correctly takes many months, and years of experience. Although there are not any accredited degrees in body piercing, there are certain requirements you must fulfill before you begin body piercing clients. These requirements vary from state to state and from county to county. Usually, such requirements consist of taking an approved (as in approved by your local Health Department) blood-borne pathogen course and then a series of Hepatitis B vaccinations over a period of 9 months time to ensure you are not carrying the Hepatitis B virus.
Once you have completed your pathogen class and vaccinations, you must register with the county you will be working in. The fee for registering is usually nominal, but there may also be additional fees required from the city you are in. Check with your local Health Department for information on all requirements just to be sure, and make sure that you have all documentation present at your shop for inspection when requested by clients or health inspectors.
Once you are legitimately certified to body pierce, it is best to begin an apprenticeship with a seasoned body piercer. You will be mostly observing the process until you are deemed ready to pierce. When that time arrives, you will be supervised by your mentor. Until then, your apprenticeship will basically involve doing shop clean-up or other menial chores without pay. As with tattoo apprenticeships, you will also need to purchase your own professional starter body piercing kit and tools you will need to properly body pierce. There is a growing number of tattoo artists and body piercers that are choosing to be self-taught, viewing the old-school apprenticeship method as exploitative and unnecessary. Since apprenticing yourself to a shop is not a legal requirement for body artists, it will not affect your ability to become certified. However, it is still strongly suggested and by far the best way to learn, resulting in fewer mistakes and a safer environment for the client during the learning process.
There is a major debate amongst the body-piercing community about the increasing use of ear piercing guns for piercing areas of the body other than ears. There are many untrained and unlicensed users of these guns that are using ear-guns to pierce not just ears, but noses, lips, cartilage, and even navels. Where ear-piercing is not regulated by the same laws as body piercing, the use of ear-guns to pierce areas other than ear lobes is considered body piercing as is subject to the same standards and regulations applied to body artists.
As all experienced body piercers know, there are clients that for whatever reason (usually from fear of piercing needles) will request the use of a piercing gun. Although it is not standard procedure to use ear guns for body piercing, there are newer cartridge-based piercing guns that can be employed for piercing nostrils. Recent innovations in sterile cartridge design now allow body piercers another choice for ear, cartilage and nose piercing. This is possible due to the cartridge’s inherent design that drastically reduces the possibility of cross-contamination via sterile jewelry that is completely encased within a sterile enclosure. The cartridge contains all exposed parts that move and are discarded completely after use. These new cartridge system guns (as well as the cartridges themselves) cost much more than the old ear guns commonly sold on ebay, for instance. (The ear gun shown is an example of an obsolete and inferior Chinese ear gun design being sold as a ‘body piercing kit’ on ebay. This kit does NOT incorporate the new sterile cartridge system for ear piercing and more importantly, does not include sterile body jewelry.) The risk of cross-contamination from the new cartridge ear guns is about the same as a tattoo machine. (The use of plastic to cover the body of tattoo guns can be used as well for the body of the piercing gun to minimize airborne droplet contamination risk to the body of the gun.)
Remember, it is always best and strongly recommended to use traditional hollow body piercing needles and piercing tools for all body piercing, using all tools (including ear piercing guns) for the purposes intended by the manufacturer.
If you have made the decision to become a professional body piercer, congratulations! The body art industry is booming and in desperate need of certified body piercers. A professional body piercer can easily make over $100.00 per hour, and enjoy a growing customer base year after year, no matter where they live.
Whether you are self-taught or an apprentice to a professional body piercer, the first step is to purchase your own piercing equipment and supplies. You will need all the sterile body jewelry, tools and skin preparation materials used by professional piercers in order to learn your craft properly. A great way to get everything you will need is to purchase a professional piercing kit. Most apprentice body piercers will look for everything they will need in a single starter body piercing kit, sold in a range of sizes and tool configurations to suit your needs.
When choosing a professional body piercing kit, the first important thing to pay attention to is what is actually included in the kit. Does it include the option of getting the body jewelry already sterilized and pouched? Does it include the proper tools you will need to properly pierce all major areas of the body. How many actual piercings can be done with the kit? Does the kit include streaming unlimited access instructional videos and a start-up aftercare booklet? What kind of prep materials are included, and is there any bonus jewelry or items included? Be careful of kits that include ear piercing guns and studs, since they are actually ear piercing kits with a few needles thrown in. Be aware of where the kit is coming from (many kits sold online are coming from China and can take weeks or months to reach you, if at all…). Also, if the piercing kit you are interested in has a carrying case, make sure the case is steel reinforced, not plastic, which tends to break with extended use.
A cheek piecing is a type of body piercing that is usually done symmetrically on both sides of the face to emulate dimples. This piercing can be done as a standard piercing with straight piercing needle either 14g or 16g in size, or can be performed using a micro-dermal implant, with dermals being the more popular (due to complications associated with this area of the body). The problems that are common for cheek piercings are possible nerve damage during piercing and the possibility of piercing through a saliva-gland, rendering a constant ‘leak’ of saliva from the hole. These piercings also tend to produce a bad odor similar to the odor associated with ear-stretching.
The body jewelry used for a cheek piercing are normally labrets (featuring the flattened back to hold it in place inside the mouth). The flat back of the labret keeps the jewelry in place better and helps protect against the chance of gum and tooth damage from biting the jewelry. The initial labret should be a bit longer in length to allow for swelling. Once healed, you can wear a shorter length piece that will fit more comfortably. Since cheek piercings run the above mentioned risks, and dermals are becoming illegal in more and more areas of the country, many body piercers shy away from this practice. If you do find a piercer willing to pierce your cheeks, make sure he or she has experience with the procedure and as always, that they are certified and are using all sterile tools and that the body jewelry they are inserting is pre-sterilized in color-changing pouches.
Using the correct tools is crucial in any profession. Professional body piercers use specific tools for their craft that are borrowed from the medical field. Body piercing tools differ in size and material, primarily consisting of either stainless steel or plastic in construction. The stainless steel forceps, ring opening and closing pliers (shown), and the various tools used in dermal implants are made to withstand the pressures and temperatures of repeated autoclave cycles for sterilization and re-use.
Plastic body piercing tools are designed to be used once and discarded, and come sterilized and individually packaged for immediate use. Although some plastic forceps can be autoclave sterilized and re-used, most piercers will use them once and discard them. Sterilized and disposable tools are recognized by the Health Department as a viable alternative if a body piercer does not have an autoclave. If you are re-using steel tools, you must use an autoclave to sterilize them.