Health Guide    

Getting Pierced? Choosing a Safe and Clean Piercing Shop

The CDC provides these guidelines

There’s no national testing or certification that makes a person eligible to do piercings, says Jesse Madre, a professional body piercer affiliated with Millennium Tattoo in the Town of Newburgh, and adds,“And there are no New York state laws for licensing.” State law does require a person to be 18 to legally get a tattoo; this doesn’t apply to piercings, says Madre, who performs piercings for teens 16 or older. “And sometimes I’ll do one for a younger person, but not if they’re under 14, and only if a parent accompanies them,” he says.

Since there’s no overall safety regulation, it’s vital that teens opt to have piercings done in a professional, safe environment. “That way, a parent can come along and have a consultation first and ask questions,” says Madre.

All you need to know about teen piercings

The CDC has these guidelines for parents to help steer their teens to reputable piercing shops.

Considering Body Art? 

  Photo: A man's pierced and tatooed back. Photo: A girl's pierced tongue. Photo: Wash hands with soap and water.

If you decide to get a tattoo or body piercing, make sure you go to a licensed facility and take time to discuss the safety procedures with the artists working at the shop or tattoo parlor. They should explain the process and clarify what they do to keep everyone safe and healthy by using sterile needles and razors, washing hands, wearing gloves, and keeping surfaces clean.

Safety Procedures

Body piercers and tattoo artists protect themselves and their clients when following safe and healthy practices, such as:

Use single-use, disposable needles and razors. Disposable piercing needles, tattoo needles, and razors are used on one person and then thrown away. Reusing needles or razors is not safe.

Safely dispose of needles and razors. Used needles and razors should be thrown away in a biohazard-labeled, disposable container to protect both the client and the person changing or handling the trash bag from getting cut.

Wash hands before and after putting on disposable gloves. Gloves are always worn while working with equipment and clients, changed when necessary, and are not reused.

Looking for a great doctor?

Clean and sterilize reusable tools and equipment. Some tools and equipment can be reused when creating body art. Reusable tools and equipment should be cleaned and then sterilized to remove viruses and bacteria.

Frequently clean surfaces and work areas. Chairs, tables, work spaces and counters should be disinfected between procedures to protect both the health of the client and the artist. Cross-contamination (spreading bacteria and viruses from one surface to another) can occur if surfaces are not disinfected frequently and between clients. Any disinfectant that claims to be able to eliminate the tuberculosis germ can also kill HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C viruses. Use a commercial disinfectant, following the manufacturer’s instructions, or a mixture of bleach and water (1 part bleach to 9 parts water).