Body art salons can prove to be a point of cross contamination if proper hygiene standards are not maintained. Health council requires the tattoo and piercing parlors to maintain highest degree of sanitation and sterilization. As most salons indeed adopt safe piercing practices, the risk of contamination and infection has greatly reduced. Nonetheless, one must be well informed about what are the safe practices of sterilization at home as well as commercially. Home piercing may also lead to infections, if no sterilization has been ensured.
How to Sterilize Piercing Needles at Home
Piercing at home is not recommended unless absolutely necessary. Home piercing may cause a lot of discomfort, pain and increased risk of infection. Besides, you are also likely to pierce unevenly, if you are not careful or do not know the correct technique to use piercing needles. However, the most important issue is that of sterilization. Home sterilization techniques cannot get rid of microbes completely and effectively. Nonetheless, you can try any of the following techniques of needle sterilization at home.
Place the tip of the piercing needle on a burning flame of a candle or any other heat source. Allow the tip to become red hot. Take some rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide solution on a cotton ball and wipe the tip with this solution. Do not forget to wear sterile latex gloves while touching needles. Apply rubbing alcohol on your earlobes as well to disinfect them. Although, this method does not assure complete sterilization, it is the best you can do at home.
Clean the piercing needle with antiseptic solution. Place the metal portion of the needle in boiling water. Let it stand for at least 5-10 minutes. Wear your sterile latex gloves and remove the needle tip from water. Wipe it with rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide solution. Treat your earlobes with rubbing alcohol in the same way as mentioned above.
One must note that piercing at home carries increased chances of scarring and infection. If you must, you should never go beyond earlobe piercing at home. Complicated body piercings such as tragus piercing, navel piercing or tongue piercing must be done by a professional only. While doing ear piercing, apply an analgesic cream or some kind of numbing agent to the earlobe to reduce pain. Do not numb your ear with ice packs, as it will make the skin coarse, thereby leading to rough piercing.
How to Sterilize Piercing Needles Professionally
In commercial parlors or salons, needles are sterilized using a specialized device named autoclave. Needles are packaged in special sterilization pouches and only then placed in an autoclave. A indicator strip that changes color when sterilization is completed, is also placed in an autoclave. Once you have filled all the needles and loaded the indicator strip in an autoclave, set the timer and adjust the pressure. At the end of cycle, vent the autoclave by putting on the vent option. Wear sterile latex gloves and remove the needles when the pressure and heat gauge read zero. Ensure that the needle pouches are dry.
This is the safest and most effective method of needle sterilization. However, this method can be used only if the needles are metal pointed. Piercing guns, which are made of plastic cannot be sterilized in this way. Hence, there is a fair amount of risk involved if you choose to have piercing using a gun. Although there is no direct contact of the needle with the customer's skin, indirect contamination may occur, when the professional touches the person's skin and then the gun.
The safest way of getting a body piercing is to get it done from a professional, using a piercing needle only. Ensure if the professional sterilizes the needles in an autoclave or not. If not, it is best to give such a salon a miss and opt for other safer solutions.