What’s your reason for getting an ear piercing?
You might be doing it to impress classmates, for an edgier look, because a loved one bought you earrings, or for countless other reasons. You could also be getting your little one’s or older child’s ears pierced as a cultural tradition.
Whatever the reason for getting a piercing, everyone shares one priority: a comfortable and healthy experience.
Asking questions about piercings is key to meeting that goal. Take a look at this list of vital things to ask before getting an ear-piercing.
1. Do You Have a Certificate to Do This?
Becoming a piercer doesn’t take as long as college, but piercers still get certificates proving competency. The APP, or Association of Professional Piercers, offers memberships for this purpose.
Visiting an APP-accredited shop with certified piercers assures you they’ve studied under supervision, know CPR, first aid, sanitary practices, and more. You’re guaranteed the right instructions for looking after your piercing and the least chance of getting an infection.
2. How Long Have You Pierced?
The shop you visit should be certified no matter what. Even so, your piercer might be uncertified—if you’re OK with it, that is. Shops hosting apprentices let students nearing the finish line get supervised hands-on experience.
Piercing apprentices learn for hours and do 50 or more practice piercings before working on their own. If they follow the APP protocol, they won’t pierce ears—or any other body part—without a mentor watching close by.
Responsible shops tell you the piercer is an apprentice, but you’ll avoid any awkwardness by asking upfront. They might not tell you until right before the piercing when switching piercers is a hassle.
If you like the idea of helping out, you may be rewarded with a side benefit. Many shops offer a discounted price on apprentice piercings. However, most practice piercings approach or meet the quality of an accredited piercer’s work.
Ask this question even if you’re not concerned about who does your piercing. Supervised apprentices don’t often make horrible mistakes, but you should know there’s a higher risk before proceeding. Plus, even the willing might want to know if it’s a student’s first-ever piercing.
Another reason to ask is that if the shop doesn’t disclose an apprentice before you ask, be wary. Who knows what else they could be hiding by omission! They could be trustworthy…but consider moving on for safety.
3. What Ear Piercing Tools Do You Use?
If your piercer doesn’t use one sanitized needle per customer, look elsewhere. That’s the only way to go for a quality ear piercing.
Cheap shops advertise piercing guns as a quick, near-painless way to pierce ears. Some people find the idea less scary than needles.
The reality is much worse than advertised: These devices can mangle earlobes since they’re less precise than individual needles. Plus, piercers use the same gun for customer after customer, spreading infections.
Reusing needles also spread dangerous pathogens. The instruments should come straight from a sanitized package. Other tools should include things like cotton balls or gauze, alcohol, and gloves.
4. Which Materials Do You Use?
The possibilities of ear piercings are endless, and your end goal may be gold, wooden, or another kind of earrings. Whatever you want is easier to find than ever, thanks to sites like bodypiercejewelry.com.
No matter your goal, you must start with a surgical-quality metal to avoid infection and any allergic reactions. Your best bet is to buy your starter earrings from the shop—some require it. A reputable shop won’t sell anything dangerous for new piercings.
Only switch to other kinds of jewelry after the piercer-approved time passes. Having your piercer or doctor sign off on the healing is a good idea. You can also bring your next pair of earrings into the shop to make sure they’re safe, or purchase earrings there.
5. What Aftercare Do I Need?
Ask about aftercare even if the shop tells you the basics. Knowing the details ensures you know exactly what to do to avoid painful and even dangerous infections.
Don’t think you’re all-knowing if you have a piercing elsewhere. Caring for a body piercing can be very different from standard ear piercing care.
The basics are the same: Saltwater is your best friend and you shouldn’t mess with the piercing or piercings. There are some special tactics and techniques for the varying parts of the ear. Ask so your piercer can fill you in on the details.
Ask secondary questions like, “How long does it take for a piercing to heal?” as you may be surprised by how different the healing times are between areas of the body and parts of the ear.
You wouldn’t want to stop aftercare too early and continuing for weeks or months after you can stop is a waste of time. Above all else, pay attention to how the piercings look and feel. Consult other reputable sources if you want an extra layer of assurance.
6. Can I Make an Appointment?
This question isn’t a must, but calling or dropping by to set up an appointment is a wise idea. Some piercers may not offer appointments, but most reputable shops do.
For one thing, you’ll have a lower risk of catching COVID-19 or another nasty virus from a crowded shop. Even when that’s not an issue, you may get more attention during an appointment. All the other clients prepare to wait for their appointments, rather than being anxious to get to the front of the line.
Any good piercer won’t rush no matter how many customers they have. Still, 100% resisting the crowd is no cakewalk in an understaffed shop. Try finding a piercing business with set time slots.
Get Informed and Look Sharp
Nobody should consent to a piercing without knowing what they’re doing to their body. Asking these quick questions will ensure your next ear piercing is simple, heals well, and looks great.
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