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Is ear and body piercing safe?

  • Ear and body piercing can be safe when done by a body artist who is careful to protect customers and themselves from infections.
  • Touching the newly pierced area without washing your hands can also cause other infections.
  • Piercing can increase the risk of getting blood diseases such as HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B or C.
  • Hepatitis B vaccination is strongly recommended before getting a piercing.

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Photo of piercing utensils in separate sealed plastic bags.

What are the risks?

  • Re-using needles for piercing is like sharing injectable drug needles.
  • Make sure you watch your body artist open the package of your brand new sterile needle.
  • Piercing guns should be used for earlobes only (or not at all).
  • Only use new, sterile jewellery for your piercing. Surgical steel is best. Old jewellery can hold viruses.

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How do I care for my piercing?

  • Always wash your hands before touching any piercing.
  • Anything that is in with a piercing site should be as clean as possible.
  • Eat well. Be active. Be yourself. The healthier your lifestyle, the easier it will be for your piercing to heal.
  • Follow the steps as given by your piercer to care for your piercing(s).
  • If you have a mouth piercing, you must clean your mouth many times a day to prevent infection.
  • Take a shower rather than a bath. If you prefer a bath, clean the tub well before each use.
  • If any piercing becomes sore, red, swollen or oozes pus, you may have an infection. See your Doctor or Dentist immediately.
  • The body artist should give you a written list of things to do to prevent infection.

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What to consider when choosing a body artist/ shop.

  • Photo of a body artist wearing gloves as he pierces a girl's navel.Take the time to find a professional. How long was their training?
  • Shop around before you get a piercing. Get all of your questions answered.
  • The body artist should not be drinking alcohol or taking drugs while working on you. You should be straight and sober too.
  • Written aftercare instructions should be available.
  • A good body artist will answer all of your questions – just ask them!
  • Is the shop clean? A dirty shop increases your risk of infection, which could ruin your piercing and be harmful to your health.
  • Do they sterilize equipment and disinfect work surfaces to remove blood and body fluids?
  • Do they use an autoclave?
  • Do they have a sink to wash their hands?
  • After the area to be pierced is marked with a pen, do they then cleanse over the area with an antiseptic swab?
  • Do they use new sterile gloves for each piercing?
  • Do they clean the area to be pierced with soap and water and then a skin antiseptic, such as alcohol?
  • Are new disposable piercing needles used for piercing?

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How long does a piercing take to heal?

Placement Time
Earlobe 6 - 8 weeks
Ear cartilage 4 months - 1 year
Eyebrow 6 - 8 weeks
Nostril 2 - 4 months
Nasal septum 6 - 8 months
Nasal bridge 8 - 10 weeks
Tongue 4 weeks
Lip 2 - 3 months
Nipple 3 - 6 months
Navel 4 months - 1 year
Female genitalia 4 - 10 weeks
Male genitalia 4 weeks - 6 months

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