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Tattoos and body piercing: Is it safe? FAQs
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Tattoos and body piercing: Is it safe? FAQs

Thursday, December 28, 2023


Body art is a growing trend among all age groups. While ear piercing has been a staple accessory for decades, piercings on other parts of the body are also growing in popularity. Both have become more socially acceptable. You might be thinking about jumping on board and getting a tattoo or piercing. Here are some questions and answers you should consider to ensure you make the right – and safe – decision.

Q: How will I know if a body art studio is clean?
A: The entire shop, including the bathroom, should be clean. If you have any concerns, look for a different studio.

Q: Is there a procedure manual of written standards? 
A: Reputable studios will have a procedure manual of written standards for sterilization among other safety protocols. Ask to see it. 

Q: What type of sterilization procedures does the shop follow?
A: An autoclave is the best way to sterilize reusable equipment. An autoclave is a machine that sterilizes using heat. Reusable equipment should be sterilized and stored in sterile bags. The date of sterilization should be clearly visible on the bags.

Q: How are instruments that cannot be sterilized handled?
A: Make sure that instruments or supplies that can’t be sterilized using an autoclave are disinfected after every use with a commercial disinfectant or bleach solution.

Q: Are sterile needles used for piercing?
A: Needles should be stored in sterilized packages, only used once, and disposed of in safety containers.

Q: Does the person doing the tattoo or piercing wear gloves?
A: A fresh pair of gloves should be used for each procedure. Make sure the operator washes his or her hands before putting on the gloves. Ask the operator to change his or her gloves if he or she answers the telephone or does anything else during your procedure.

Q: Is a piercing gun used to do the procedure?
A: Do not have any kind of piercing done with a piercing gun. These instruments increase your risk of infection because they cannot be sterilized between procedures.

Q: What kind of jewelry is used for the piercing?
A: Only use nonallergenic jewelry.
•    Surgical stainless steel, gold, platinum, niobium and titanium are the only types of jewelry you should use in a new piercing.
•    Do not use nickel or brass-plated jewelry. 
•    Choose jewelry that has not been used or worn or that has been sterilized in an autoclave.

Although the piercing industry is not as well-regulated as the health care industry, some states have hygienic regulations to ensure safe tattooing practices. Check with your city or county health department to find out whether there have been any complaints about the studio you are thinking of using.

Source: Healthwise


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Genesis HealthCare System’s Health and Wellness content conveniently provides accurate and helpful information. Your health history and current health may impact suggestions provided through our Health and Wellness content. Although we hope this information is helpful, it is not a substitute for your doctor's medical advice. Before making any significant changes, please consult your doctor.