By Hannah Maine

A body piercing is created often by using a needle to create a hole in the body and inserting jewelry into the hole. Most commonly, we see body piercings in the ears. Noses, belly buttons, lips, cheeks, and tongues are also common.

Find the Right Body Shop

Before getting a piercing, it’s important to do your research. Find a reputable piercer that you trust to perform the procedure in a safe and sterile environment and to help you find the right jewelry and care routine. Examine the shop’s procedures to ensure they are using sterilized instruments in sealed packages and single-use needles. It is best to get a piercing from a licensed practitioner who follows proper procedure for sterilization and handling and disposal of waste in order to avoid infection.

Keep in mind when researching your shop, many places will not allow you to get a piercing if you are under 18 without a parent’s permission or a parent being present. Do your research to find the best place to get your piercing and all of the requirements necessary.

Research the Piercing

Getting a piercing is essentially creating a wound, which takes time and specific care to heal. Everyone’s body heals differently or reacts to specific metals in jewelry differently. It’s important that you know if you are allergic to any metals. To be safe, pick a higher quality jewelry piece made from surgical stainless steel, solid gold, or titanium, which are less likely to cause irritation.

Just as every body reacts differently, every piercing location heals and feels differently as well. For example, getting the lobes of your ears pierced is very different from getting your cartilage pierced. Ear lobe piercings take about 6 weeks to heal fully, while cartilage piercings take about 12 weeks to heal. Though these are just estimations, and many take much longer to fully heal or stop being sensitive. Be sure you are fully aware of and prepared for what the healing and aftercare process will be like for your specific piercing.

After Your Piercing

The area you get pierced may get slightly sore and swell after the piercing, which is normal. However, even at a reputable shop, problems happen. Common issues may include infection, bleeding, pain, scarring, keloids, and allergic reaction. If you experience intense pain or signs of infection, call your doctor as soon as possible.

Be sure to take good care of your piercing throughout the healing process by washing your hands before touching it and always using water and soap.