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Published Wednesday, February 8, 2023

12 Questions to Ask Your Piercer

It’s natural to have a lot of questions when getting a new piercing. There are questions that come up when you're researching a studio or a piercer that you haven’t worked with before. There are questions you’ll have about the piercing itself, both before and after it’s done. And then there are questions you’ll want to ask about the jewelry that the piercer is using and what you should consider before buying new pieces. It’s easy to forget some important questions in the excitement of choosing and caring for a new piercing. So if you’ve ever thought back on your body modification experience and regretted a missed opportunity to gain some valuable insight, you might want to review the questions below in preparation for your next visit to the piercing shop.

Finding the Right Piercer

1. How much will it cost?

When researching a studio, it often saves time to ask the simplest questions first. When you ask a piercer how much they charge for a piercing, you should ask them to give you the exact quote for the type of piercing you want. Confirm whether the initial jewelry is included in the price or not. Finally, don’t forget to ask if a jewelry change is included free of charge after the initial healing phase is complete. You will want to change your jewelry when the swelling is gone, and it can be helpful if it’s done the first time by a professional. Don’t forget to factor in a tip when your piercing is finished!

2. Do you have experience with the piercing I want?

For general knowledge, it’s good to know how many years a piercer has been working in the industry, and whether they are experienced with the type of work you are interested in getting done. Even a reputable piercer with a long career may not have recent practice with certain modifications. It will improve your piercing experience, and boost your confidence, if you can be certain that the piercer is prepared and knowledgeable before you make your appointment.

3. What tools and practices are used to protect the health and safety of your customers?

While the first two lines of inquiry can be deal breakers when you are looking for the piercer that is right for you, this last question is the most important. Your piercer should be able to walk you through all the safety measures they take to eliminate health risks for customers. They should be able to tell you about the autoclave they use to sterilize the tools and jewelry before the procedure, and they should be able to show you the most recent test results proving that it is working according to code. They should be able to describe the means they use to prevent cross contamination. The piercer should be able to demonstrate the ways they will clean your skin and theirs, how they sanitize the area where they will be doing the piercing, as well the way they will dispose of any tools after the piercing is complete.

Before and During the Procedure

4. How should I prepare before getting pierced? 

It’s always important to be in a good physical state before getting pierced. Your piercer may have recommendations for the best way to get ready for the piercing procedure. It may concern your blood sugar or the amount of rest you’ve had recently. They may have concerns about any health conditions you may have or what medications or supplements you currently take. Depending on the location of the piercing, they may even have advice about what clothing to wear or bring for after the piercing.

5. Can you explain each step of the procedure to me?  

Don’t be afraid to ask for details. Your piercer should be able to explain each stage of the process to you. They should be prepared to explain what tools they will be using, and what each one is for. They should be able to describe the order of events, why they are doing things the way they are, and how long each step will take.

6. Will it hurt?

Yes, it hurts, but most piercers will be able to share techniques they’ve learned that will help you to handle the pain. They should be able to let you know the sensations that you’ll be experiencing at each stage of the procedure, and they’ll probably remind you to breathe when you forget. Everyone’s pain tolerance is different, but your piercer should be able to let you know when a sensation is normal, or when it is unusual and why.

After the Procedure

7. What is the aftercare routine for this type of piercing?

The body reacts to different piercings in different ways when it is trying to recover from having holes poked in it. For the continued health of your piercing, and yourself generally, it’s a good idea to ask your piercer about the aftercare routine they recommend for the type of piercing you received. They will be able to provide verbal instructions, but often have helpful printed material, as well. Their directions will involve how to clean it, but will often extend to other practical measures, like what sleeping position is best to avoid irritating the piercing. They will probably also have aftercare products they prefer, like soaps or saline rinses, that aid in the healing process and keep your new piercing clean. Conversely, they may be able to give you some ideas of substances to avoid using, or clothing that they advise you to wait until after healing to wear.


8. How long should healing take, and what do the stages of healing look like?

Everyone’s body is different, so healing times can vary from person to person. However, a piercer can usually provide a rough estimate of the healing time of a variety of piercings, and they can inform you of what to expect at different stages of the recovery process. They can also tell you what signs show that you may be experiencing problems while healing, and what those problems might be. Some reactions simply require more time, and others may need prompt medical attention.

9. What type of initial jewelry did you use, and what material is it made of?  

The first question many people ask after being pierced is when they can change out the jewelry, but it is a good idea to get the facts about what you're currently wearing first. Some piercings allow you to wear different jewelry designs in them, and it is often useful to know which one the piercer has chosen. Sometimes that choice is a result of a personal preference or what is available in the shop, but it’s also determined by the specifics of your anatomy. It is good to know if a particular jewelry shape or material is best suited for your piercing while it is healing. It is also useful to know the material in case you experience a reaction to it, and why that might have happened. If the piercer uses gold or steel, it’s important to know if the alloy used contains any elements that you’re allergic to.

After Your Piercing is Healed

10. What gauge is my piercing and what wearable length will I need when it is healed?

After your new piercing you’ll want to find the type of jewelry that made you want to get pierced to begin with. It’s best to get the basic specifications memorized first. After the adrenaline rush of the procedure and then the rush of aftercare information that you’ll receive, it is easy to forget simple but necessary questions like what gauge jewelry the piercer used and what length you’ll need when the piercing is healed.

11. What types of jewelry will feel and look great in my piercing after it’s had time to heal?

Once you know the specific sizes of the jewelry you’ll need, there are many other questions about comfort and style that will help you decide what jewelry you’ll want to look for. You may prefer discs or a ball, a certain size bead, a gem or opal inlay, a particular manufacturer, or you may want a certain weight, color, material or shape of jewelry crafted for your specific piercing. The jewelry possibilities are virtually endless, and your piercer is a great resource to learn about the varieties available!

12. What jewelry do I want?

This final question is one that you can only ask yourself. A piercer will have many useful recommendations, but ultimately only you can decide what piercing and what jewelry will make you look the way you want to be seen, and feel the way you want to feel. It’s important to take that into consideration at every step of the piercing process.

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Don’t be afraid to ask your piercer about any aspect of the piercing process, it’s unlikely that it’ll be anything that they haven’t heard before. Most piercers care deeply about your experience in their studio, and want to help make it a great one. If the piercer you’re talking with isn’t willing or able to answer your questions, that’s a good sign that you will be better off going to someone else. A bad piercing may leave a scar, but a bad piercing experience may never heal.