I recently had a bit of a crisis re: my birthday. (I turned 19 on Nov. 13th!)
In a nutshell, I felt like I had spent the better part of the year being not-quite-true to myself — I let people push at my (very clear) boundaries and agreed to take on more work than I could handle. So I iced a few people out, quit the club I was helping run, and ghosted out of the music department, which was a break I desperately needed.
It felt extraordinary, and even though I still have a few more changes I’d like to make, I decided to commemorate the occasion with the piercing I’d been silently wanting for two years.
I decided to take the process more seriously than the last piercing I’d gotten, which was giving myself a second earlobe piercing with an unsterilized sewing needle in a truly spectacular display of dumb teenage shit.
Yeah, don’t do that.
Even if you’ve been pierced before, it’s a good idea to do some research. (This is especially true if you haven’t gotten a piercing in a while, or you’re getting a new type of piercing. Oral piercings require different care than ear piercings, for example.)
Basically, when I was reading up on piercings, I came across “the piercee’s bill of rights.” In a nutshell, you have a right to be pierced in a clean, safe environment, and to be fully informed about the procedure. In full, you have the right:
- To be pierced in a hygienic environment by a clean, conscientious, sober piercer wearing a fresh pair of disposable medical examination gloves.
- To be pierced with a brand new, completely sterilized single-use needle that is immediately disposed of in a medical Sharps container after use on one piercing.
- To be touched only with freshly sterilized and appropriate implements, properly used and disposed of or re-sterilized (where appropriate) in an autoclave prior to use on anyone else.
- To know that piercing guns are NEVER appropriate, and are often dangerous when used on anything — including earlobes.
- To the peace of mind that comes from knowing that their piercer knows and practices the very highest standards of sterilization and hygiene.
- To a have a knowledgeable piercer evaluate and discuss appropriate piercings and jewelry for her/his individual anatomy and lifestyle.
- To be fully informed of all risks and possible complications involved in his/her piercing choice before making any decisions.
- To seek and receive a second opinion either from another piercer within the studio or from another studio.
- To have initial piercings fitted with jewelry of appropriate size, material, design, and construction to best promote healing. Gold-plated, gold-filled or sterling silver jewelry is never appropriate for any new or unhealed piercing.
- To see pictures, be given a tour of the piercing studio, and to have all questions fully and politely answered before making or following through on any decision.
- To be fully informed about proper aftercare, both verbally and in writing, and to have continuing access to the piercer for assistance throughout the healing process.
- To be treated with respect, sensitivity and knowledge regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, ethnicity, ability, health status or piercing choice.
- To change her/his mind, halt the procedure and leave at any point if the situation seems uncomfortable or improper.
this was taken from the association of professional piercers, and is pretty widely distributed online
Basically: get yourself pierced in a sterile, professional environment, and follow your aftercare instructions! You have a right to control your own body and take care of it.