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A Handy Checklist on How to Choose a Body Piercing Parlor

How to Choose a Body Piercing Parlor
Getting a body piercing is no small matter; it requires forethought and extensive research on which piercing parlor is the safest. If you're absolutely certain that this is what you want to get, then we're here to help on how to choose a body piercing parlor, without regretting the experience.
Naomi Sarah
Last Updated: Aug 12, 2017
The Ouch Factor
According to Statistic Brain, the most popularly pierced areas are the navel for women (33%) and the nipples for men (18%).
Heavily-pierced individuals are usually eccentric, unconventional people, who view the act of body piercing more as an art form than a fashion accessory. While many of us won't hesitate to call them weirdos, it's their interpretation of body piercings that ruins our overall perception. Yes, it is ridiculous to pierce your entire body or even private areas like the genitalia, where abusing this so-called 'art form' comes off as distasteful to others.

So when a teenager or young adult opts to get one, the first thing they'll hear from naysayers of body piercings, is that they're uncouth, shoddy accouterments aren't the least flattering or acceptable. But what if it's an ordinary, uncontroversial sort of piercing? Who gives anyone the right to badmouth something so misunderstood because of those who abuse the practice, right? We're here to tell you that getting a piercing is absolutely OK, as long as you don't go overboard. First timers can breathe, because we're here to tell you how to safely choose a body piercing parlor; adults will also need to pay heed to what we have to say, if kids below the age of 18 want a piercing.
Choosing a Safe Body Piercing Parlor
Woman getting pierced
The Association of Professional Piercers (APP) has a list of trusted, competent piercers, working in parlors that meet the safety standards of the APP. Watch out for frauds that claim to be APP-certified but in reality, aren't. The official website has everything you need to know about locating legit members.
Piercing Parlor Hygiene
Piercing hygiene
They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but in this case, you have to totally judge what you see. One look at a place and you'll be able to tell if it's trustworthy, even if the telltale signs aren't noticeable just yet. Scan the parlor like a vulture does while circling its prey, and make a mental note of all that you see―do you get a whiff of something that is reminiscent of a restroom? That means it's located close by and not kept clean. Is the sterilization area a separate room altogether, or is it in the proximity of the restroom or waiting area? Pick up these key factors that spell trouble, since hygiene above all else, is the most important criterion.
License or Certification
While visiting a parlor, take a brief look at the walls to see if they've put up their license for all to see. If not, inquire about this and have them show it to you. Piercing and tattoo parlors alike, need a license in order to operate within a city, where those who do have a permit don't necessarily meet hygiene/safety standards. But even if basic requirements are covered, some parlors can get away with not-so-respectable tactics to gain a following, especially by hacking prices to lure youngsters. Be on your guard about such deplorable parlors, since piercing is not exactly rocket science and can be done by practically anyone that sets out to make a business out of it.
Sterile Piercing Equipment
Sterile piercing tools
We cannot stress on how crucial this step is, for it will ultimately put you in harm's way or steer you far from it. Piercing parlors that stringently follow every rule that is laid down about hygiene and safety, will keep hollow piercing needles on hand, and not just ear piercing guns. As the name suggests, a ear piercing gun is meant only for everyday lobe piercings, and nothing that involves cartilage or tougher areas of the body. A lot of people use piercing guns, who aren't aware of the repercussions of their ignorance.

A piercing gun can cause severe tissue damage, skin deformities, and come into direct contact with a customer's blood and other bodily fluids. While plastic ear piercing guns cannot be sterilized in an autoclave, some piercers attempt to use antiseptic wipes or liquids to rid the mechanism of bacteria. This move can backfire since bacteria can skulk into the insides of the gun, while having you believe that it is microbe-free. An infection of any sort is a likely occurrence because of a parlor's juvenile antics to skip simple sterilization methods, like using disposable hollow piercing needles that perform a clean piercing.

Ear piercing guns have blunt studs that are affixed to their ends, where they can be lodged midway (blunt force trauma) through cartilaginous areas, forcing the piercer to physically dislodge it, push it manually through the punctured hole, or pry it out with possibly unsterilized pliers. Why expose yourself to such horrendous circumstances when it's safer to go to a parlor that respects the law when it comes to piercing? The problems linked to ear piercing guns aren't a blithering hype, but a known issue that is prevalent in parlors. The best way to go about this is to choose a parlor that has an autoclave―a sterilization mechanism that uses steam and pressure (not just heat) to sterilize equipment.
Spore Test Proof
Instruments in autoclave
Those who do have autoclaves at the parlor, portray themselves as upholders of the law who genuinely care for a customer's safety. But do ask for spore test results that offer proof of an autoclave's ability to do its job, by asking the piercer to hand over the test results. Autoclaves are known for pulverizing the worst and meanest of bacteria, where the spore test results should ideally prove this point once you take a look at it. Autoclave spore tests should be conducted frequently, so be sure to take notice of the date mentioned on the papers. If the piercer feigns regret for not keeping the papers at the parlor, offer to come back the next day to give it a look. Don't fall prey to gullibility no matter what he says to you.
Portfolio Reference
After you've scoured the place for any equivocal evidence, ask the piercer to show you the portfolio of his previous work. It'll give you a good idea of what he's done in the past, and that he isn't attempting to do a piercing he isn't familiar with. It's advisable to ask him a series of questions pertaining to his qualifications and expertise in body piercing. If he's pursuing an apprenticeship, you can ask him about whose tutelage he's worked under and try to locate him/her if possible, to gain a clearer picture of the piercer. If he's self-taught, there's no need to fret―just ask around the neighborhood about the parlor's reputation, and you'll have your answers by the end of the day.
APP-Certified Members
The Association of Professional Piercers are run by fastidious individuals who don't believe in compromising a customer's health. They set the bar by making known a series of standards that parlors around the world need to meet, to be able to certify as eligible members of the APP. Currently, APP members are largely localized in the US and in some parts of Europe. Look for similar associations that are meticulous when it comes to such a fragile business.
Additional Prerequisites
Piercing parlors must have a non-lenient view on the age limit when it comes to body piercings, where kids aged 18 and below need a parent's/guardian's consent before having one performed. A consent form is generally presented by the adult in charge―they'll need to be present at the parlor when the child undergoes the procedure. Also, those who are 18 and below aren't allowed by law, to have their nipples or private areas pierced.

A bona fide form of identification is required from the minor as well as photo identification of the accompanying adult, with additional documents in case the adult in question is separated/divorced/related to the minor indirectly. Proof of whatever kind is usually requested by the piercer; failure to ask for such details should raise a red flag.
While it may seem like a painstaking task to look for a reputable, safe body piercing parlor, it is crucial that you select one without negating the perils of randomly picking one. After careful consideration, you'll be happy that you selected a parlor that doesn't leave you nursing a piercing gone wrong.