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Health and Piercing

In the rush to get a piercing, picking the right piercer, piercing and jewelry, it's easy to forget about one of the main factors in healing a piercing, your health. However it is extremely important the success of a stress free healing period. Also you need to consider that often the price you are paying for a piercing has a direct connection to precautions that your piercer is taking, the expertise of the piercer and the quality of their work and jewelry and equipment they use.

The Bargin Piercing:

It's easy to get caught up in the search for a bargain but you need to consider that piercing like any business has a monitory motivation. There is a lot of overhead involved with running a business. Like any other business overhead involves rent, utilities, advertising, wages, etc.. and most of that is easy to notice once you enter a studio. However with piercing there is another complete level of expediences that are not visitable to the average client. Many of these are expediences directly involve your health as a client and it's my experience they are often the first to go to cut costs. To offer those insanely cheap piercings the discount has to come from somewhere to keep profit up. 

One of the most effective ways for a studio to keep prices down is to hire an inexperienced piercer or to have one of their tattoo arts moon light as a piercer. The most common is the moon lighting tattoo artist. Not to say that I haven't met some that are well schooled and proficient in both arts,  However having an artist that does both reduces wages and the need for another station. Sharing stations brings up an issue of increased cross contamination because of the nature of tattooing and piercing and the different precautions that need to be taken for both. The other issue is time. Regardless of the market, a tattooist that is making $100 a hour is not going to spend time on a pre-piercing or aftercare consultation for $25 of which they maybe only getting 50% of. 

Another way to cut overhead is by reducing the quality of the jewelry. Most see little or no health risk in cheap jewelry. The reality, especially of Steel jewelry is that if the finish isn't of the highest quality, lead poisoning is a risk. Also poor finish can increase the likelihood of contaminates collecting in the porous finish and causing damage during to the fragile tissue during healing. Also not all jewelry manufactures are as concerned about what the alloy make up of their product is. There is a huge difference between 316L bike spokes and certified Implant grade steel. There are the same issues with titanium alloys and gold. Of course the main concern is allergic reactions but fungial infections should also be considered. Especially with the novelty shaped objects sold as ring closers and barbell ends.   

By far the most frightening of all cost cutting measures are those in cross contamination and sterilization. Piercings are wasteful. A majority of the products used in the procedure are one usage to reduce the likelihood of cross contamination. These items cost money and it cost money to deposed of them properly. Also it cost money to properly maintain an autoclave and buy the proper pouches to sterilized items in. There is also the tools that are re-used like forceps and other tools. It cost money and time to properly disinfect, clean and re-sterilize them. 

The Piercee's Health:

Most clients don't even consider health issues they have that might effect the outcome of the piercing. This can be everything for a pre-existing condition like diabetes to poor diet. I for one try to cover pre-existing condition during the consultation while the client is filling out the release form. If you have one, it is best to talk to your doctor before getting a piercing. Not only because it is going to effect the outcome of the piercing but because it may put a strain on your immune system. Which could greatly effect your overall health. 

Diabetes and other conditions that effect circulator system can great prolong healing and greatly increase the chances of infection. Blood supply to the piercing is a key factor in producing new tissue to heal the piercing and fighting off an infection if it occurs. The reality is that a piercing is a open wound that is kept open by the insertion of a foreign object. This is a wound that will be open for much longer than a normal wound, increasing the chances for contamination and infection. It is the main reason behind piercing aftercare. 

Pregnancy and piercing do not mix for a number of reasons. During the act of getting a piercing, stress levels are increased which in theory could produce a miscarriage. Even after the actual piercing there is the risk of an increased stress on your immune system. Also there is the change in your body during pregnancy. For example a navel piercing will be greatly impacted with the development of the child inside you.  Also morning sickness doesn't work too well with an oral piercing. Your body is going through a number of changes and getting a new piercing is only going to add to it.

Hemophilia and other blood clotting conditions like Anemia should go without explanation. However getting a piercing involves puncturing the skin which will have blood vessels. Thus there is going to be bleeding. If your body is unable to clot, it will not stop bleeding. 

Medications, especially blood thinners are another reason I would suggest not getting a piercing. Once again this is because of the risk of the blood not clotting. 

Any condition that can be effected by stress. Regardless of the skill of the piercer or your desire to get a piercing, there is going to always be some level of stress cause by your fear of a new experience. This can be a strain on those with heart conditions or other medical conditions that are effected by stress. Also if your are prone to panic attacks, you may want to reconsider wether or not a piercing is a good idea. I will trained and experience piercer will be skilled in reducing your stress level. However your are the source of this stress and it is your state of mind which is something that is beyond your piercer's control.

Health Suggestions:

Diet is important is important in helping your body to health. Eating healthy will give your body the material it needs to heal and fight off infection. A vitamin and mineral supplement can be helpful. Zinc has been shown to increase your production of skin cells but prolonged use can cause it to build up in your kidneys. So I only suggest taking it for two weeks. Vitamin  C will help to boast your immune system. Supplements or not, nothing can replace a healthy diet.

Reduce stress and get plenty of sleep. There is a reason that when you are sick, the doctor suggests bed rest, the more rest your body has the more energy it has to fight off the infection and heal itself. Also stress can greatly effect your health, how quickly you heal and your immune system. There is a reason why you are more prone to getting sick when you are stressed.

A clean body is a health body. Pathogens are introduced the body by contact with contaminated objects through openings to the body. Like for example a piercing. Practicing good hygiene, washing hands often and keeping your environment clean can greatly reduce the chances of infection or getting sick. Also using clean towels and change linens can reduce the likelihood.