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Picking Your Piercer - FAQ


In this era of bloodborne diseases you MUST be very careful whom you choose to perform your piercing!! For your own safety, you should make sure any piercing studio you visit meets certain criteria. Here are some things to consider and questions to ask.

Since there are no regulations in Idaho for tattoo & piercing studios, Black Cat Tattoo & Piercing voluntarily upholds the health, safety and sanitation standards outlined by the Association of Professional Piercers (APP), an international organization dedicated to the art of safe body piercing.

  • See their autoclave (sterilizer) and spore tests. This is the most important thing you need to do when choosing a studio. A spore test is the only way to know if an autoclave is properly sterilizing the instruments that will be used to pierce you. If they don’t run regular spore tests, don’t let them pierce you! Run away!
  • Ask questions of the staff and the piercer. How long have they been piercing? What kind of training have they received? A professional piercer will have completed an apprenticeship (usually 2 years) and be trained in things like preventing cross-contamination, bloodborne diseases, anatomy and physiology, first aid, etc. Check to see if there are any plaques or certificates on the walls. Don’t be mislead into believing piercing is easy! You have the best chance of having a successful piercing experience if you go to a properly trained professional.
  • Do they use NEW needles for every client? Never let anyone pierce you with a used needle. All needles should be in individual sterilized packages and be opened in your presence.
  • Does the studio seem clean? Look around! The studio should be immaculate, with clean walls and floor. Are the staff bathed and neat? Is the restroom clean and tidy? If you feel they are not, chances are that other stuff is not clean, too. Walk out!
  • Are they using ear piercing guns? Guns can’t be sterilized properly. If the studio you are looking at is using ear guns, run away!
  • Do they have an aftercare sheet? Professionals will always explain to you how to care for your piercing and give you an aftercare sheet. If they tell you to clean your piercing with ointment or hydrogen peroxide, they are clearly not keeping up with industry standards and you should be concerned about the quality of their services.
  • Ask your friends where they got pierced. Did they get a good piercing? Did they have any problems? Would they get pierced there again? Get some information, and follow your instincts.
Piercing Facts

BODY PIERCING - FREQUENT QUESTIONS & ADVICE

Things to be careful of during the healing period:

  • Clean your hands before touching or cleaning the piercing during the healing process, and don’t let others’ hands touch the piercing at all during healing.
  • Avoid contact with other people’s body fluids (saliva, sweat, etc.). Even your own sweat may irritate the piercing. Be sure to rinse the area after all exercise to remove all sweat.
  • If you have genital piercings, always use a condom or dental dam during healing.
  • Always wear clean clothing and change bed sheets during healing.
  • If you have an ear piercing, clean your telephone with some rubbing alcohol.
  • Check any threaded jewelry (such as barbells) twice a day to make sure the ends are tight, otherwise you may find yourself trying to digest your tongue bar.

Commonly asked Questions:
Can I remove the jewelry, even for a little while?
Do not remove your jewelry until your piercing is healed. Even then, the holes may close very quickly, especially in some piercings like the tongue. If you absolutely need to remove the jewelry for a short time (such as for surgery), come in and we can put in temporary nylon retainers.
Should I take vitamin supplements?
You make take vitamin supplements (C, E, and B-complex) to help the healing process
How can I tell if I have an infection, and what should I do?
The most obvious sign of infection is pus coming out of the piercing (although on tongue piercings, what looks like pus is often just plaque). If the pus is white, the infection is very minor. Use a strong antiseptic for just a few days. If the pus is yellow, the infection is a bit more serious. If a strong antiseptic doesn’t clear it up within a few days, come in and let us look at it. Green pus indicates a serious infection. Come in as soon as possible, and if you can’t do that, see a doctor. Whatever the case, do not remove your jewelry, as the holes may close around the infection, resulting in an abscess. Do not use ointments, such as Neosporin; they block air from circulating.
If I clean it more, will it heal faster?
Do not over-clean; over-cleaning will irritate the piercing and lengthen the healing time. Remember, it’s not your cleaning that heals the piercing. What you are doing is just making it easier for your body to heal.
What is this red bump?
A small ridge or bump of scar tissue looking a bit like a pimple or small infection is probably a keloid. Whatever you do, do not pick at them as this can make them bigger. There are a few things you can try to reduce them (what works is different for everybody): put vitamin E or aspirin on them; see a dermatologist for recommended medical techniques; reduce the jewelry gauge (although this is not always an option). Generally, a keloid appears because of irritation, so your goal is to remove the irritation. Catching keloids early is important in stopping them.

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR PROBLEMS, CALL US IMMEDIATELY AT: (208) 368-9960

Piercing After Care

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THIS PAGE IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND CONTAINS THE BASICS, NOT THE FULL INSTRUCTIONS AVAILABLE IN THE CARE SHEET YOU RECEIVE AFTER YOU ARE PIERCED. IT IS ALWAYS ADVISABLE TO CHECK WITH YOUR PIERCER IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, PROBLEMS OR CONCERNS ABOUT YOUR PIERCING.

BLACK CAT PROFESSIONAL PIERCERS ARE HIGHLY TRAINED IN ANATOMY, JEWELRY PLACEMENT, AND STERILIZATION STANDARDS. GETTING YOUR PIERCING DONE PROFESSIONALLY AT OUR STUDIO GIVES YOU THE BEST CHANCE OF HAVING A SUCCESSFUL EXPERIENCE!!!

A piercing is healed by your body, not by cleaning agents. Aftercare simply helps your body be in the optimum state for healing. All pierced areas should be clean and free of contaminants. An antibacterial soap is a good starting point for the cleaning of most (not all) piercings. Be sure that your regular soap does not contain any fragrances, moisturizers or deodorants. These can irritate the area. In addition to keeping the area clean, you should eat well, drink a lot of water, take your vitamins and be well rested. These things will all help your body heal. Salt water soaks can be used, but are not generally recommended for piercings other than the mouth.

TORSO PIERCINGS
Gently wash piercing and surrounding area with antibacterial soap. Carefully remove all crusty formations from the piercing and jewelry. Rotate jewelry. Rinse off soap and rotate jewelry again, making sure all soap residue is gone. If piercing is slightly infected or irritated, soak it with antiseptic solution and work it into the piercing by rotating the jewelry, and allow it to soak for one or two minutes. Always rinse off all cleaning agents after cleaning your piercing.
Warm saltwater soaks remove crusty deposits and secretions during healing. General healing times are: Nipple, men: 2-3 months; Nipple, women: 3-4 months; Navel: 3-9 months.

FACIAL PIERCINGS
These piercings are best cleaned with Bactine twice a day. Any crusty formation around the piercing and on the jewelry should first be softened and removed with a cotton swab dipped in warm water or warm salt water. Apply and rotate the cleaning agent through the piercing. Allow piercing to soak for one to two minutes before rinsing with warm water. Avoid heavy lotions, make-up, foundations or powders during the healing process. Cover piercing with hand or tissue when using hair spray. General healing times are: Ear lobe: 4 weeks; Eyebrow: 4-8 weeks; Nostril: 6-12 weeks; Ear cartilage: 8-12 weeks; Septum: 6-12 weeks.

MOUTH RELATED PIERCINGS
Tongue - Use a 50/50 solution of antiseptic mouthwash and water for at least 15 seconds after putting anything in your mouth other than water (this includes cigarettes). Avoid giving oral sex (receiving is fine) and wet kissing during the initial healing period. Try to avoid alcohol and spicy foods, and try to do everything slowly (i.e. Eat small bites slowly and speak slowly at first). Do not use straws for at least two weeks. General healing time: 1 week for your tongue to become "mostly functional" again, and 4-6 weeks for total healing.
Lip, Labret, Cheek - Should be cleaned on the inside as described for tongue piercings, and on the outside as described for facial piercings. Occasional warm salt water rinses can be used. General healing time: 6-8 weeks.

GENITAL PIERCINGS
Genital piercings should be cleaned following the instructions for torso piercings. However, the cleaning products may irritate the urethra in both men and women. For piercings that pass through the urethra (Prince Albert, Apadravya, Ampallang), drink a lot of water and urinate often, especially after cleaning, to flush out any residues in the urethra opening. Your urine is sterile to your body. Women should take care not to let any cleaning agent enter the vagina, as yeast infections may result from the depletion of bacteria. Genital piercings should be cleaned after intercourse as well. Use of a condom is necessary during the healing period, and oral contact should be avoided. Also, certain lubricants and spermicides may irritate piercings. General healing times are: Prince Albert, Clit Hood, Labia Minora, Clit: 6-6 weeks; Ampallang: 6-12 months; Labia Majora, Frenem, Scrotal: 2-3 months; Dydoe, Apadravya: 4-6 months.

INFORMATION ON CLEANING AGENTS:

STRONG ANTISEPTICS
Betadine (may discolor gold or plastic jewelry). Strong antiseptics need only be used in the case of infection, and are not generally required.

MILD ANTISEPTICS
Salt Water Soak - good for loosening up crusty formations. Sea salt is best; do not use table salt.
Bactine - Bactine is an appropriate cleaning agent for facial piercings, since it contains a small amount of lidocaine. It is good for ears. Also appropriate for infected piercings.
Neutrogena Antiseptic Cleanser - a good alternative to Bactine for those people with sensitive skin or an allergy to lidocaine.

ANTIBACTERIAL SOAPS
Dilute soap 50% with bottled water, shake and apply as a liquid. Fragrance-free and color-free are best.
Provon Soap - gentle on the skin.
Antibacterial Dial - Not for sensitive skin.
Lever 2000 Antibacterial Soap - This is the best type of cleaning agent to start with. For most piercings, it is enough to keep it clean and bacteria-free, and allow the body to do its healing unassisted.

MOUTH-RELATED CLEANING AGENTS
Gly-oxide, Peroxyl - Used by oral surgeons and dentists to enhance healing, these rinses should be used only in the case of mild infection.
Mouthwash - There are many suitable brands of mouthwash, but it is important to choose an antiseptic one that does not contain alcohol. Tech 2000 is a good example. For some people, too much use of mouthwash can kill the mouth’s own bacteria (if this happens, you’ll notice bad breath and an off-color tongue).
Anbesol - Anbesol is appropriate for tongues and the insides of lips. Although it stings a bit when you apply it, it also numbs the area and is good if the piercing is particularly sore. Anbesol may also help reduce keloiding. Zinc supplements are not generally recommended.

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