When to get a piercing and what to do before hand.
A lot should go into the consideration of getting a new piercing. There is selecting what piercing you want, considering the risks, and of course, finding the right piercer. However the thing that many clients don't consider is what they may wanted to do to prepare for the piercing or when the right time maybe to get the piercing. So in this installment I thought I would give a few suggestions on what to do before getting your piercing and when it is best to get your piercing.
- Work - If you work in a industry where you are in contact with the general public, where there is a dress code or health concerns, you should talk to your employer about the piercing before hand. This especially true if the piercing is going to be visible to clients or co-workers. You should also consider weather the piercing will effect your ability to preform your job. For example a Tongue piercing may effect your speech for a few days or a piercing in other areas may effect your movement. In most situation where work will be effected I suggest doing it when you have a couple of days like a three day weekend to give you time to adapt to the new piercing.
- Sports and School Activities - You should talk to your coach before hand to insure that having the piercing won't prohibit you from competing. Over the past 5 or 6 years I've seen an increase in the number of school athletic programs installing rules against wearing jewelry. Many of these rules are more for uniformity than health risks but the jewelry can not be removed during the healing period and even after healing the jewelry shouldn't be removed for long periods of time. You may want to consider getting pierced during the off season or after you are done with the activity.
- Aftercare Products - Some studios provide aftercare products for sale but some including the Axiom, do not. This is in part because the availability of the suggested products. Contact your piercer before hand and ask what products you may need to buy. With non-oral piercings aftercare needs to begin the next morning and with oral piercings immediately after the piercing, so have these on hand will be much easier than running around town looking for the right product to use. I suggest the following:
- Above the neck piercing -A Benzalkonium Chloride based solution such as Ear Care Solution or Sensitive Ear Care Solution that can be found pretty much anywhere that does ear piercing or beauty supply stores and Sea Salt which can be found in the Bake Goods aisle at your local food store.
- Oral Piercing - Except for tongue piercings you will need the above and a non-alcohol antiseptic mouthwash. I suggest Biotene which most drug stores and large department stores stock. Also with tongue piercings you will need sea salt. Since there is diet restrictions with oral piercings, you may want to talk to your pierce before hand and have foods they suggest on hand. Another thing to consider is swelling, having ice chips, ibuprofen and cold items at home will be helpful.
- Below the neck piercings - A good antibacterial liquid soap without additional additives like moisturizes and fragrances. Also you will need sea salt.
- Genital Piercings - You will need antibacterial soap, sea salt and feminine pads. I would also suggest that if you are sexually active you pick up proper latex barriers like condoms, dental damns, latex gloves and finger clots.
- Food, a good meal and blood sugar - It is best to make sure that you have a good healthy meal before getting a piercing. This would especially be the case with oral piercing because you maybe on a restricted diet for a few days after the piercing. The biggest thing to consider though having low blood sugar from not eating will increase the likelihood of you becoming light head or passing out during or after the piercing.
- Vacation - If you are planning a trip, especially if it will involve swimming, you should consider getting the piecing after you return. Not only will dealing with a healing piercing during vacation add additional stress and hassle to relaxing vacation, but the differences in water quality and hardness can increase the chances of infection or other problem.
- Leave the Kids at Home - A piercing and tattooing studio can be a very exciting place. Filled to the bring with exciting new experiences, new people, noise and areas to explore and with younger children it can be over stimulating. Asking a toddler or grade school child to sit quietly in a corner with all these stimulation all around them can be pure torture and often boring. The focus of both the piercer and the person they are piercing during the piercing are important to insure that the piercing is done safely but also correctly. The Skin Kitchen may also have up to five or six artists tattooing clients and a disruptive child can effect their focus and the outcome of their art too. Though the piercing itself is very quick, the whole procedure involve basically three lectures, the pre-piercing consultation, the overview of the release form and the post piercing outline on aftercare. Though I try to make it as entertaining as I can, it can quickly become rather boring to a child and a bored child can be very distracting to say the least. Also you need to consider that child are very apt at picking up on their parent's metal state. Often they will pick up on your fears and anxieties which can make the overall experience of being in the room when their caregiver is getting piercing very frightening. There is a sign on the door that state no children and we ask that if you have to bring your child, there is another adult that can watch them in the car while you are getting pierced.
- Scheduling and Time Needed - I usually suggest allowing yourself 15 to 20 minutes. Though the piercing may only take a minute or less, there is the pre-piercing consultation, filling out the release form, set up, clean up and aftercare instruction which make up the majority of the time I spend with a client. You should also understand that their maybe time needed to answer any questions you have and additional time if you become lightheaded or pass out and dealing with any anxiety that you may have. How quickly the piercing goes depends on the client and they set the pace of the piercing. Since I'm dealing with a great number of different body shapes, jewelry and piercing some piercings become a great deal more complex than others and will require more time.
- Time of the Day - Though I'm open till 9pm, I like everyone often have requirements that dictate that I leave at 9pm. Though often I will stay later if a client shows up late, I can't always do this. It's always best to come in early in the day but if you are not able to make it in till 8:45, please call ahead to make sure that I can stay late or schedule an appointment with me before hand. I'm as flexible as I can be and often I'm able to come in on my days off, early or even later if my schedule conflicts with you. If you need to schedule an appointment call me at 515-966-4814. My normal schedule can be found on the Hours page.
- Alcohol, control and uncontrolled substances - Though you might feel more relax after a couple drinks or whatever your stimulate of choice maybe, chances are that it will increase your anxiety about getting the piercing, increase the chances of light headiness and passing out and of course prolong bleeding. Also if I feel that you're intoxicated I will refuse to piercing you.
- Pregnancy - If you are expecting I will not pierce you. If you are trying to get pregnant or trying to get pregnant in the next 6 months, it is best to wait until after the child is born to get the piercing. The main concern is the strain on your immune system and your body's ability to heal. Combining pregnancy with a healing piercing may result in having to remove the jewelry.
- Hygiene - This should go without saying but it is greatly appreciated by piercers if their clients are clean and bathed.
- Shaving and trimming body hair - In most cases body hair is not a problem but when the body hair in the piercing are is trimmed it is much easier to pierce. Also it reduces the chances of hair being introduced into the piercing during the procedure.
- Clothing - It depends on the piercing but with most below the neck piercing, you want to wear clothing so that the piercing area can be easily exposed. If you are modest you might want to consider what would be best to wear that would give access to the area but limit exposure. With genital piercing the piercer may need to be positioned between your legs, meaning you may have to remove one paint leg and underwear too. So wear shoes that are easy to remove and put on or clothing that can be removed without removing your shoes. After the piercing the are will be sensitive and you want to avoid clothing that is tight, restrictive or rubes against the piercing. Bleeding is a part of all piercings and even though it is rare, bleeding can start up again on the ride home or later in the day if the jewelry is shifted or the piercing is bumped. So, it is a good idea to wear clothing that you are sure you can get a blood stain out of or that you can throw away.
- ID, Consent and Payment - It is always a good idea to call ahead and ask your piercer what they require but I require that if you are over the age of 18 but under 25 that you have a government issued photo ID. If you are under 18 years of age, you must have a parent present at the time of the piercing to sign a consent form or a notized letter of consent. I know take payment by cash, Visa, Master Card, Discovery, American Express or Paypal.
- Summer Vs. Winter - Hands down the best time to get a piercing is during the period of the year when you are less likely to be swimming or doing activities in areas that you are likely to introduce contaminates to the piercing. If you are getting a piercing that is going to take 6 months or even 2 months and live at the beach, love camping, live to fish or on the boat, September is a much better choice than June. Environments and activities where you may not have access to a clean shower twice a day or are more likely to introduce dust, dirt, sand, sun block, water from natural water bodies are just going to increase the chance of infection or other problem.
- Moral Support - Getting a piercing can be a very stressful experience and having a friend come with you can help you feel more comfortable. Also it never hurts to have a second pair of ears there during the aftercare instructions and if you become light headed to provide support and maybe drive home.
- Aftermath and Rest - Every piercing is different and the after effect varies greatly from client to client but it is a good idea to set aside a day or so that is free of activity to recoup and rest after getting a piercing. Like any trauma to the body, a piercing will be sore and tender for a few days afterwards. Usually pain is sparked by movement or contact with clothing and other objects. Giving your body a day or two of laziness is not only going to reduce discomfort but will aid in a faster healing time. Especially in areas of the body that are in areas that effect by movement and exercise. Just put on the comfy pants, camp on the couch and catch up on some TV.
There's are really some very basic suggestions and concerns but it is always best when considering a piercing to either call or stop by the studio before hand.