How to Choose a piercing artist

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Answered by: Brittany, An Expert in the Body Art - General Info on Piercings Category
Choosing the Right Piercing Artist

When getting your first piercing it can be a daunting task to choose where to get your new art done. With the recent surge of acceptance for body modification there are shops on every corner and people hawking their supposed knowledge left and right. However getting a piercing that will look good, and remain in good condition is more difficult that walking into any random shop.

Complications can arise during even the most standard of piercings that paying attention to a few small factors can minimize and make the difference between an awesome experience and an awful one. When you choose a piercing artist take into account the following:

-Location of the shop

-Overall Traffic in the shop

-Selection of jewelry available

-Proper inspection via health department or suitable local agency

-Experience of the piercing artist

-Portfolio of the work the artist has done

Location of the shop

The location of the shop in which you use to have your body modification done affects several things. Cleanliness being one of the higher ranking concerns. Shops have popped up everywhere from flea markets to shopping malls and it’s important to take into account the location. Some places shops have popped up don’t even have running water, never mind the required sanitation equipment such as an autoclave. Even if running water and proper sanitation concerns are met certain questionable locations have downsides that cannot be overcome. If a venue allows high traffic and/or non-service animals then you are exposed to the repercussions of that as well as your new piercing.

Overall Traffic in the shop

Privacy, sanitation and client comfort are huge things to take into concern when getting a piercing. Regardless of if you’re getting a simple earring or getting a more daring piercing that requires removal of clothing, you need to account for if your piercer will be able to make you comfortable and respect your privacy. This is where the overall traffic of the shop comes into play. Locations where people are entering in and out in high number, making large amounts of noise and distracting the piercer are not places where you want to get your body modification done at. Not only does it make you the client feel highly uncomfortable to have people coming in and out at high number and possibly distracting someone who is about to place a sharp object through your flesh it is a sanitation concern as they bring new elements to the environment with them such as dirt, dander, dust and other allergens you do not want exposed to broken skin.

Selection of the jewelry available

While this may seem like a cosmetic concern it’s actually more important than someone might think. Some shops carry jewelry that isn’t appropriate for someone just getting a piercing done or for someone who has never had a piercing before. This can lead to clients accidentally selecting the wrong type or shape of body jewelry and becoming discontented with their new jewelry and removing it. Which can end up costing you the client a bunch of your time and money, not to mention discomfort. A high selection of jewelry also indicates that if your jewelry breaks, comes out or otherwise needs replacing you can return to the artist who pierced you in order to have the problem taken care of.

Proper health and safety inspections

The health department doesn’t license piercing shops everywhere but when they do you should make note of their grade. When considering trying a new shop their health and safety information should be looked up online. Are they members of the American Association of piercers? Do they have any other professional credentials that carry over to maintaining a standard of safety?

Experience of the artist

This one is tricky. It’s completely unfair to say that you shouldn’t let an apprentice or a newly trained artist pierce you however it’s not recommended to let just anyone stick a needle in you. That’s why first time peircee’s and people seeking a new body artist should ask about the experience their potential new piercer have. Have they been an apprentice for six months and shadowing/ assisting with the type of piercing you want every day? Or do you need to ask them to let their master do it because it’s a complicated thing? Most piercers will not get offended if you ask them about their skills and credentials. Those who do should be a bit of a red flag. Experience of the artist brings up the last point to ensure picking a good artist.

The portfolio of the artist’s work

Much like tattoo artists, piercers take pictures of different things they've done in order to show case that not only have they done a type of piercing before it looks good. You can look at their portfolio and if they have one and see if the piercings look professional. This can be gauged by if it appears they had to try multiple times to pierce a spot, if the swelling in the area looks normal for what your research says, also you can check to see if they align the piercing with the marks they make indicating where it should come in and out.

The long short of it is simple, this guide is just that a guide. You can never ask too many questions when trusting the health and appearance of your body to a veritable strange for modification. You should ask questions, check with friends and visit shops and see what sort of vibe they give before you choose a piercing artist. After all it’s your body and the experience should be memorable, long lasting and visually appealing.

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