Here’s the scenario: you’ve done your research, you’ve considered your lifestyle, and you are finally ready to get a body piercing. The first trip to a piercing parlor can be a nerve-racking experience, but you can minimize your stress if you understand what to expect during your piercing experience.
Always go to a professional piercing parlor. Never get pierced in malls or chain stores. If you follow these two maxims, you’ll decrease your chances of infection immensely. Scout the piercing parlors in your general vicinity – and remember, just because you walk into a piercing parlor doesn’t mean you have to get pierced there right away. If you know anyone who has received a body piercing from a particular parlor, inquire about their experiences.
While the internet is also a valuable resource in determining which parlor is right for you, nothing beats walking into a piercing place and getting a feel for the environment. While every parlor is different, some aspects to ensure a successful piercing are universal. You want to make sure the piercing parlor is well lit, so that the experts can see what they are doing; you also want to make sure that the professionals use disposable needles, autoclave disinfecting for their non-disposable tools, latex gloves (or some sort of disposable gloves, if you are allergic to latex), and it is perfectly fine to ask a person that works there for a step-by-step explanation of their sterilization process.
In addition to learning about each piercer method for ensuring sterilization, looking at the overall cleanliness of the store is also an important factory. A piercing parlor that is dingy and dirty could be an indication of how they treat their jewelry and tools. Much like a doctors office is usually sparkling clean, a professional piercing studio should have the same environment.
Feel free to converse with the piercers that work there. If the professionals put you at ease, answer your questions to your satisfaction, and are patient and unhurried when talking with you…congratulations! You just may have come upon the right piercing studio for you. If piercers don’t give you the time of day, or are rude and snobby, it’s perfectly reasonable to leave the store and not get pierced there. Getting pierced is a somewhat vulnerable experience, so you want to be comfortable for the best results.
If you are under a certain age (and the age depends on where you live), you may need your parent or guardian to accompany you to the piercing studio. Parental consent is usually only valid when the parental consent form is signed in front of the piercers. If you are over the designated age limit, you can visit piercing parlors whenever their business is open.
When you’ve found the place where you want to get pierced, you may or may not need to schedule an appointment. Most piercing places accept walk-ins, but sometimes arranging a specified time makes the whole process go quicker.
Now, it varies from one parlor to the next, but generally speaking, you will pick out your jewelry and pay before you get pierced. The total amount you will owe depends on two things. First, you will pay for the jewelry, and second, you will pay for the piercing site (the spot on your body getting pierced). For example, a helix piercing with a captive bead ring will usually cost less than a navel piercing with a curved barbell.
When it is time to get pierced, you will be led to either a separate room or area. The chair you will lie or sit on strongly resembles a dentists chair. Your piercer will clean the area about to get pierced with antiseptic, mark where he/she thinks the piercing will look best (you get to okay or rearrange it if you want), and using completely sterile gloves, needle, and jewelry, give you a new piercing. It’s usually okay to bring someone with you into the room (but ask your piercer first), and it’s okay to make some small chit-chat. A good piercer wants you to be comfortable; although the actual piercing (that is, the needle going through the skin and subsequent jewelry placement) takes seconds, the entire experience at the piercing studio can take anywhere from ten to thirty minutes. You may be nervous right before the needle penetrates the skin, but take comfort in the fact that the pain imagined is always worse than the pain experienced.
After the piercing has commenced, and if you feel like the piercer did a good job, it’s very reasonable to tip the piercer (of course, in some countries, tipping does not apply). Your piercer may suggest some aftercare cleaning solution, which is very useful and inexpensive. Listen closely to the aftercare procedures the piercing professional advises you to follow. If you feel light-headed, giddy, or strangely happy after the piercing, it’s because of the adrenaline and endorphins (two feel-good hormones) your body releases. However, if you feel dizzy, weak, or have trouble breathing, just sit in the chair until you calm down and those feelings pass.
Getting pierced in a professional environment is truly the best way to get body modifications and decorations. In a nutshell, you want a clean and sterile environment and you want your piercers to be trained, sterile, and friendly. Good luck finding a piercing studio that is right for you, and enjoy your new piercing(s)!