Thinking about having a piercing?
I want to get a piercing, where should I go?
Select a reputable piercer and one that is registered with the local authority. Both the practitioner and the premises they operate from must be registered and you can check this by asking to see their registration certificate, which should be on display. These premises will have been inspected and should comply with the Council's Byelaws PDF, 530.45 KB and Code of Practice PDF, 2000.06 KB.
If you have any concerns about a premise, contact us Online: Contact the EH Support Team.
Things to consider when having a piercing
- Never pierce yourself or ask a friend to do it – you are likely to be at risk of infection and loss of a friendship!
- Make sure you select a reputable piercer and one that is registered with the Local Authority. Ask about hygiene and cleanliness. The 'Code of Practice for Hygienic Skin Piercing' and the 'Tattooing and Body Piercing Guidance Toolkit' are both available to download, and can help you understand the procedures you can expect to be followed. If you have any queries or concerns about practices and procedures, you can contact Environmental Health Services for further advice.
- The law on indecent assault states that a female under the age of 16 years cannot give consent for a nipple or genital piercing, and a male under the age of 16 years cannot consent to a genital piercing.
- Do not get a piercing if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- You are not allowed to donate blood for 4 months after having a piercing.
What are the risks involved in ear and body piercing?
- Jewellery embedding beneath the skin surface - This commonly occurs after inappropriate use of ear-piercing guns on other body parts (eg navels).
- Migration of jewellery – this can happen to any pierced area, especially if the jewellery is too thin or is agitated before healing.
- Scarring – this is sometimes the result of poor jewellery insertion, jewellery migration or of infection and poor healing generally.
- Allergies to jewellery – usually the result of nickel allergy, poor gold plating, or sometimes the use of 9 carat gold materials.
- Severe localised swelling – this is particularly dangerous with tongue piercing, where there is a risk of swelling, choking and possible restriction of the airway.
- There is a risk of infection, including blood borne viral infections such as HIV and hepatitis.
Localised infections – usually caused by bacteria on the skin – good aftercare can prevent infection, or improve recovery. There is a greater risk of infection with nose piercings, as the nose cannot be disinfected effectively.
- Septicaemia – a serious systemic infection (i.e. affecting the whole body). It may be life threatening and requires immediate treatment with antibiotics.
- Bleeding – must be expected for most piercing, but may become excessive, particularly in areas where the blood supply is rich e.g. lips and tongue.
- Nipple piercings can damage milk ducts and cause problems with breast feeding.
Can you give me any advice on healing times and aftercare?
Ear and face piercing aftercare PDF, 525.7 KB
Oral piercing aftercare PDF, 515.69 KB
Body and Surface piercing aftercare PDF, 520.1 KB
Female genital piercing aftercare PDF, 293.39 KB
Male genital piercing aftercare PDF, 295.1 KB
Microdermal implant aftercare PDF, 439.87 KB
The standard of cleanliness at the premises I went to was very poor, who do I complain to?
You should contact the local authority where the premises are based. If this is Dartford Borough Council contact us online: Contact the E.H Support Team.