Tattoo and Body Piercing
Things To Consider:
Also Make Sure…
- There is a risk of getting hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS and
other infections through body piercing. You can protect yourself from
hepatitis B by getting vaccinated. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C
- Choose the spot carefully.
- Covered piercings (bellybutton, nipple, genitals) take longer to
heal because of body moisture and being rubbed by clothing. Tongue
piercing can change the way you speak.
- Talk to someone you trust. Learn all you can before you get pierced.
Keep asking questions.
- Take time to shop around. Check out many different artists and ask
the piercer if they have done your type of piercing before. Ask to see
pictures of his/her work.
- Shop around; check out different artists. Ask to see examples of
the artist's work. Make sure the artist you choose has made infection
control a priority. Ask if the artist uses new disposable needles every
time. Hepatitis and HIV can be passed on through improperly sterilized
or re-used contaminated needles. Used needles also develop barbs, micro
bumps, and hooks which mangle the skin and can carry micro-rust, causing
infection. Ask the artist how they sterilize their equipment. All
equipment touching the skin must be cleaned first and then sterilized
before each use since blood and other body fluids may be left on the
equipment from a previous client. Proper sterilization is done in an
autoclave (sterilizer using steam) or in a chemiclave (sterilizer using
- Don't let alcohol, drugs or friends influence your decision.
- The place is clean and in good repair. Good lighting and a sink to
wash hands are also necessary.
- The piercer is not under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- A sterile needle is used for each piercing. Piercing guns are not to
be used. They are not accurate and not sterile.
- Cleaning products and sterilizing equipment (such as autoclaves) are
available and used. Autoclaves are the only acceptable sterilizer.
- The piercer uses jewellery designed for the body part pierced. For
example, earrings are only for ears.
- A new pair of latex gloves is used for each piercing.
- Skin is cleansed before each piercing.
- Aftercare instructions are provided.
- Piercer clearly explains procedure and consent forms are used.
- Discuss aftercare instructions with your piercer. Make sure you
leave with written instructions.
- Wash your hands before touching or cleaning the pierced area. Don't
let other people touch your piercing during the healing period.
- Healing time varies from two to six months. Facial piercings heal
more quickly, as they are exposed to the air.
- Remember that body fluids such as blood, saliva or semen that come
in contact with the unhealed area can cause infections. These include
hepatitis and HIV.
- Do not play with your jewellery, as it can cause skin tearing and
- Do not remove the jewellery until the area is healed. Some "O" or
"U" rings are removable only by the piercer.
- If your pierced site looks infected (pain, redness, heat, swelling
or oozing pus) see a health professional, but don't remove the
- Eat well and get plenty of rest to help yourself heal.