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Body Piercing

Considering a body piercing? It’s not just about finding the right jewellery or place on your body to pierce. You also have to be smart customer to protect your health!

Piercings involve breaking the skin to insert jewellery such as rings, studs and barbells. If not done right, you can be at risk for a skin infection or scarring, as well as potential exposure to blood-borne diseases such as HIV, Hepatitis or Hepatitis C. 

Protect yourself by doing your homework. Find a professional body piercer to do the work – one whose studio is inspected by the Health Unit. You can call the Health Unit to find out about a studio and its inspection history. Consider different studios, looking for ones that are well-lit, clean and tidy and that have a sink with hot and cold running water, liquid soap and paper towels. An approved sterilizer such as an autoclave or dry-heat sterilizer should also be on-site. Ask for examples of the piercer’s work, and be sure that the piercer can provide satisfactory answers to all of your questions.

What else to consider:

  • Before starting the procedure, the piercer should wash hands with soap and water or use 70 per cent alcohol sanitizer. The piercer should also put on new gloves before starting.

  • Piercing guns should only be used on the ear lobes, and not on any other part of the body. These piercing guns should also be approved, meaning they are equipped with sterile, single-use, disposable plastic cartridges/adapters that protect against contamination.

  • Before starting the piercing, your skin should be cleaned with an antiseptic such as 70 per cent alcohol.

  • Be sure the piercer removes needles and jewellery from sterilized, sealed packages in front of you, just before starting the procedure. A piercer should only use clean and sterile instruments intended to go through the skin.

  • Used needles should be thrown out immediately into a special ‘sharps’ container and not into regular garbage.

  • The piercer must ensure all instruments are properly cleaned for the next client by using an approved sterilizer

Following the procedure, you should be given verbal and written instructions on how to clean and care for the piercing to help prevent an infection. Be sure to wash your hands before cleaning your piercing or the surrounding area. Keeping it dry and clean is the key to healing. If your piercing develops pus or becomes red, very swollen or tender, seek medical assistance.

To learn more, contact the Health Unit toll-free at 1-866-888-4577.