A Piercing Professional Reveals What You Should Know Before Getting an Ear Piercing
Getting a new piercing isn't a decision to be taken lightly.
Whether you're a seasoned piercee or looking to get your very first, you might have some questions about the process and what's next. That's why we reached out to Jef Saunders, public relations coordinator for the Association of Professional Piercers, to learn all about the things you should know before you get pierced.
SH: What are the things someone should thoroughly consider before they decide on getting an ear piercing?
Jef Saunders: The Association of Professional Piercers suggests you put your safety first. That requires a little bit of pre-planning when deciding which piercing to get done.
First, it's important to get a piercing that works with your lifestyle. If you're addicted to earbuds, piercings like the tragus and daith aren't a great option. If you're an athlete, make sure your jewelry is allowed to remain in during practices, games and other events. Second, you'll want to make sure you're able to find a qualified piercer. The Association of Professional Piercers has a member locator to find our members scattered around the world. Finally, you'll want to make sure you are able to commit the time, money and effort to maintain your piercing through its healing process.
SH: How concerned should people be about the pain levels of their upcoming piercing?
JS: The pain of piercings has been vastly diminished by high-quality jewelry, state-of-the-art piercing implements and well-trained piercers. In general, I believe everyone is able to endure the minimal amount of discomfort involved in receiving a professional piercing.
SH: Which ear piercings heal the fastest, and which ones take longer and require more maintenance?
JS: The ear lobe is the fastest healing part of the ear. More complicated piercings of the ear, like the industrial piercing—a barbell that is pierced in one helix and spans the ear to get pierced again in the opposite helix—will take significantly longer.
The reason is mostly the nature of earlobe tissue versus ear cartilage. Cartilage heals slower naturally, and the ear lobe has a much richer blood supply. If you plan on getting ear cartilage piercings, especially complicated or multiple placement cartilage piercings, expect to put in some effort to maintain them and keep them healthy.
SH: Are there any specific things people should do before they come in for their new piercing?
JS: There are a lot of things that someone can do to be prepared for a new piercing. Taking care of some basics, like drinking enough water that day, showering, having something to eat and wearing clothing with easy access to the body part you want pierced will all help to make your piercing experience easier. You should arrive prepared with your ID and any other documentation the piercing studio might need to legally pierce you. Also, give yourself plenty of time to peruse jewelry, fill out paperwork and get the piercing.
SH: What steps should always be followed after a piercing?
JS: If your piercer is qualified, they'll have an aftercare sheet that you should follow for maintenance of the piercing. You can also read the Association of Professional Piercers aftercare sheet here. In general, you should shower regularly and follow your aftercare instructions.
SH: Are there any aftercare steps that some people don't take seriously enough?
JS: In general, I believe most clients take my aftercare instructions to heart. They are relatively simple and easy to follow. Perhaps the hardest part about piercing maintenance and aftercare is that it is often a marathon, not a sprint. Taking care of a six-month-old piercing with the same enthusiasm that you take care of a six-day-old piercing is important. That enthusiasm can be a challenge to maintain.
SH: Any other major piercing recommendations?
JS: See a qualified piercer. There will always be inexpensive piercing shops and getting a "deal" is usually too good to be true. Quality jewelry and qualified piercers do not come cheap.
Do your research, and trust your instincts if a piercer doesn't seem to be following important health and safety standards. Piercing is something you choose to do to your body, and you deserve a piercer that makes your health and safety their top priority.
What ear piercings do you have? Click HERE to find out what different ear piercings might reveal about your personality.