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Body Piercing

Ear Piercing

Things to know before you get your ears pierced

There are two ways to have your ears pierced, with a hollow sterile needle or a piercing “gun” or “device.” Most tattoo and piercing shops will use the hollow sterile needle, while hair salons or spas will use the “gun” or “device.”

Things to Look For

  1. Make sure the area where the piercing is being conducted appears clean.
  2.  The piercing device must have disposable cartridges or adaptors that are used only once and then discarded. The only part that touches your earlobe should be the cartridge/adaptor and not the actual device.
  3.  Only ear lobes can be pierced using the piercing device. Cartilage can only be pierced using the sterile hollow needle method. The device could crush the cartilage causing infection and/or deformation of the ear. Other parts of the body such as the nose or naval must be pierced using a hollow sterile needle and not a piercing device.
  4. The piercing device must be stored in a clean, closed container. It should not just be sitting out on a counter top.
  5. The person piercing your ears must wash his or her hands first and wear disposable gloves.
  6. The ear must be cleaned using a skin antiseptic, marked with an iodine pen, then wiped again with the skin antiseptic.
  7. After your ears have been pierced, the cartridge must be discarded.
  8. Before leaving, you must be provided with written and verbal aftercare instructions.


Body Piercing

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After Care Information

This document has been prepared to provide information on how to care for your piercing while it is healing. A hair salon or jewelry store may have provided you with this information if your ear lobe was pierced using a piercing gun. Professional body piercers are required to provide you with more documentation on how to care for your specific piercing. Professional body piercers will interview you prior to piercing to determine if you have any allergies, whether the piercing is appropriate and answer any of your questions . These are only basic minimum requirements.

Never use a piercing gun for any part of the body other than the lobe of the ear.

  • Always wash your hands thoroughly (immediately) before touching your jewellery or pierced area.
  • Soak or rinse the pierced area in warm water to loosen any dried matter (from discharge of bodily fluid). Any crusted matter (dead white blood cells) is part of normal healing which may be removed with soap and warm water. A clean swab may be used if necessary. Preferably, a liquid antibacterial soap should be used to clean the jewellery while turning or rotating it, so that the soap is worked into the piercing. Rinse under running water, if possible, while turning or rotating (showering is preferable to bathing). Never use alcohol or hydrogen peroxide on your piercing, and beware of hair sprays, heavily perfumed soaps, shampoos, etc.
  • Never touch a pierced area or jewellery without washing hands first. It may lead to an infection. Ensure clean clothing, linen, pillowcases, etc. are always used.
  • Other than normal bathing and showering, or when washing piercing, keep the pierced area dry. Avoid swimming pools, hot tubs, lakes, rivers, etc., until your piercing is completely healed.
  • Never touch, turn or move your jewellery when the wound is dry, only when wet (during cleaning). Beware of irritating the piercing (clothing, brushes, phones, etc.).
  • Do not over wash the piercing. Twice a day is sufficient (morning and night). Three times a day maximum.
  • Do not closely cover wound (with a bandage, for example). Allow access to air.
  • A piercing may take from 1 to 6 months to heal and some may take as long as one year to heal completely (for example, cartilage). Your piercer will have more specific information on healing times. On average it takes 4 to 12 weeks, but depends on the area pierced, lifestyle factors and the individual’s healing ability.
  •  People heal differently. You may experience some itching, burning or tightness during healing. Tightness may remain after healing. Bleeding, bruising, tenderness, discoloration and/or swelling is not uncommon, but prolonged soreness, excessive swelling or redness, or purulent discharge (pus)may indicate an infection. If these symptoms persist contact your piercer and consult your physician.
  • Never remove the jewellery from an apparently infected piercing. Contact your piercer and consult a physician. Removing your jewellery may lead to your hole(s) closing up, entrapping the infection, possibly resulting in an abscess.



Oral Piercing

Tongue piercing remains a trend despite the dangers to oral health. People with tongue piercings chip their teeth on the jewellery while eating, sleeping, talking and chewing. The fracture can be confined to tooth enamel and require a filling, or it may go deeper, which can lead to a root canal or tooth extraction. It can even impair speech and the ability to chew.

Infections are also common with oral piercings. The tongue can swell after being punctured, and in some cases can become infected and swell to such a degree that it interferes with breathing. Unclean piercing equipment can cause other infections, such as blood-borne hepatitis.

If you decide to have your tongue or lip pierced, there is some information that you need to know:

  • Oral piercing should be done in an inspected premise. Ask for the most recent inspection report. If the premise cannot provide it for you, it may have something to hide.
  • Piercing is most often done in unregulated parlours by untrained staff.
  • Choose a parlour that is clean, sanitary and well lit.
  • There must be sterilizing equipment present and used on tools for piercing.
  • Follow after-care instructions closely.
  • Never pierce yourself or a friend.
  • Maintain excellent oral hygiene by brushing at least twice a day and flossing once a day.
  • Visit your dentist regularly.

Contact your dentist or doctor immediately if you experience any symptoms of infection, such as swelling, pain, fever or chills.


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