Getting Pierced: How to Find a Good Piercer January 30, 2020 – Posted in: Default, Piercing Advice – Tags: , , , , , ,

How to find a good piercer highlights:

  • Finding a reputable piercer sets your piercing up for success.
  • Consider things like past piercings, hygiene, and licensing.
  • A reputable piercer will be a partner throughout the life of your piercing, so you want to make sure that they know what they’re doing.


Choosing a reputable piercer is the best way to set your piercing up for success. Besides hygiene, you need to make sure that your piercer has the experience and ability to conduct the piercing properly and provide guidance throughout the life of your piercing.

Some piercing complications, like piercing bumps, may occur due to being pierced at an improper angle. Furthermore, there are a variety of piercing complications that might appear, even if you do everything right. You need to be able to rely on your piercer to properly analyze the complication and point you toward the best fix. 

Finding a good piercer is about proper research. Here are some things to look for.

Do they have a list of happy clients?

All professional piercers will have past piercings that they have successfully done. In order to become a piercer, they must have at least 1200 hours under a mentor piercer, 100 hours of documented procedure observation, and at least 50 piercings done under mentor supervision. This means that even newly qualified piercers will have tons of experience with many different piercing types.

One easy way to check their experience is to look at their social media channels. These days, most studios and piercers have at least one form of social media where they showcase their abilities. Check out their photos, and read the comments to see if there are any red flags. You can also check out Google reviews to see if they have a long list of happy clients. Remember, one or two poor reviews are okay; some people like to complain, and it’s impossible to earn top reviews every time, especially if your client list is vast. However, if there are loads of bad reviews, especially if they say similar things, then you might want to try another studio.

Visit the piercing studio and ask questions

After you’ve vetted a potential studio online, talk to them in person. This gives you a chance to take a look at the studio to make sure that it looks clean. It will also give you an idea of the service you’ll receive. 

Getting a piercing can be an intimidating experience, and you want to vibe well with your piercer. They should be more than willing to answer any of your questions and patiently help you through any anxiety. If they act as if your presence or questions are an inconvenience, visit a friendlier piercer who will treat you well—there are plenty of them.

Some questions to ask

If you’ve never been pierced before, it can be difficult to know which questions to ask and what the correct answers are. Here are some good questions for your piercer to make sure that they’re the real deal.

How are your tools sterilized?

The Association of Piercing Professionals says that the best (and, really, only) way to sterilize piercing tools is with an autoclave sterilizer. If they don’t sterilize their tools in this manner, you should probably keep shopping for a piercer who does.

What certifications do you have?

To become a piercer, one must first go through an apprenticeship. Then, they can earn their piercing license. If they are not licensed, then they are not legally qualified to pierce you.

They should also get a yearly bloodborne pathogen training class with certification. This is really the minimum certification they should have, and it’s always a plus if they have more.

If they’re a part of the Association of Piercing Professionals, this is always an excellent sign. To be a part of the Association of Piercing Professionals, a piercer has to have had proper training, and their studio must be reviewed by their peers, so you know that the piercer is not only qualified but held up to peer-reviewed standards.

What experience do they have with your desired piercing?

Not all piercings are the same, and not everyone’s anatomy is suitable. If the piercer you’re considering has done the piercing that you’re looking for many times, then it’s a good sign that they know what they’re doing.

Some piercings are rarer than others. If your piercer doesn’t have a lot of experience with the piercing you want, it doesn’t mean that you have to find another piercer. However, they should be able to give you related experience to prove that they’ll be able to conduct the piercing properly. Think of it as a job interview. They need to show you that they can do the job confidently and correctly.

There are some types of piercings that require specific expertise, and you should find a piercer who has a lot of experience in these piercings. 

Cheek piercings are located next to an important saliva-producing gland. If this gland is damaged, it cannot be repaired. Therefore, you need to find a piercer who is confident in conducting cheek piercings. (Many piercers might refuse to do this piercing altogether.)

Surface anchor piercings are made by inserting an anchor beneath the skin that will stay there for the duration of the piercing. If it’s not placed deeply enough, it could get rejected. If you’re going for one of these piercings, it’s a good idea to find a piercer who has done them a time or two.

Surface piercings have a higher risk of rejection since they are placed parallel to the skin, rather than perpendicular (like ear piercings). You need to make sure that your piercer pierces you deeply enough and chooses the correct jewelry to avoid rejection. Try to find a piercer who can show you a few successful surface piercings that they’ve produced.

Genital piercings have many individual considerations, and although they are growing in popularity, they are still quite rare. Choose a piercer who has specific knowledge and training in genital piercings to ensure that your piercing is done safely.

Things to look for during piercing

After you’ve vetted your piercer and sat in the piercing chair, your due diligence isn’t over. Keep an eye on your piercer to make sure that they are maintaining proper practices throughout the piercing process, and don’t be afraid to stop if you see something fishy.

Before you even sit in the piercing chair, you should have signed a waiver and provided ID. This is the law, and if the studio fails to adhere to this, it’s a sign that they’re willing to overlook other legal requirements as well. They’ll also likely have many questions for you, including but not limited to any allergies, whether you’ve been drinking or taking recreational drugs, and what you’ve eaten that day. If you’re under 18, they’ll ask for your parent or guardian’s identification, as well, to prove your relationship. Keep in mind that they might ask to provide a birth certificate or proof of guardianship if you have different last names.

If they come at you with a piercing gun, RUN. Piercing guns are not safe for piercings, and if they use these tools, it means that they are not reputable piercers. 

Have a checklist of proper piercing practices, and make sure your piercer adheres to them.

The piercer should have clean, disposable gloves on at all times. If they drop something on the floor and pick it up with their gloved hand, they should change gloves before starting the piercing. Sterile gloves, donned aseptically, are a good sign.

The piercing room should feel scrupulously hygienic. If you walked into a dentist’s office and there were dust bunnies everywhere, you’d probably walk right out. The same goes for your piercing studio.

The piercer should talk you through the piercing, mark the piercing before they start the procedure, and have you take a look and confirm that it’s the piercing and location that you want. You should never feel any doubt or confusion over what’s coming next. Feel free to let your piercer know whether you want more or less information about what’s going on during the procedure.

If you have to remove clothing for the procedure, your piercer should be respectful and shouldn’t make you feel uncomfortable. Some piercing studios require their piercers to remain with their piercees at all times, so you might need to undress while the piercer is in the room. However, you should never feel violated or that your piercer is overstepping their bounds.

After the piercing is complete, you shouldn’t feel rushed out of the door. Your piercer might offer some water, and you should be allowed to sit down, especially if you’re feeling a little dizzy after the procedure.

To any properly trained piercer, these practices should be second nature, and if you’ve done your research, you likely won’t have anything to worry about. However, it’s best to be safe and keep an eye out for these proper practices.


Once you’ve been pierced, the studio should give you a sheet with proper aftercare practices and recommended products. A good studio will also provide free consultation while your piercing is healing. As your piercing heals, you might want to change to a smaller jewelry piece after the swelling has gone down. Most piercing studios will offer this for free, not including the cost of the new jewelry. 

The piercing studio should also be willing to (and want to) confirm that the piercing is fully healed. (Remember when we talked about how the piercing studios should have fully healed versions of their work on their social media pages? This is how they get them.) Often, piercings appear healed before they’ve fully completed healing internally, but your piercer will be able to take a look and give you the thumbs-up before you change your jewelry on your own or stop aftercare practices.

The recipe for a perfect piercing is choosing a proper piercer and conducting proper aftercare. Make sure that the piercing studio that you choose follows the above guidelines, and as long as you stick to a daily cleansing regimen, there’s no reason why you won’t have the piercing you’ve always dreamed about.

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