Thinking about having a piercing?

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
  • Make sure you 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. 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
  • Females 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
  • You are not allowed to donate blood for 4 months after having a piercing
  • Healing times vary depending on the type of piercing. Information on healing times and aftercare can be found in Part C of the Tattooing and Body Piercing Guidance Toolkit

What are the risks involved in ear and body piercing?

  • Jewellery embedding beneath the skin surface - this commonly occurs after the inappropriate use of ear-piercing guns on other body parts (eg: navels)
  • Migration of jewellery – this can happen 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
  • 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. There is a greater risk of infection with nose piercings, as the nose cannot be disinfected effectively
  • Bleeding – can be expected for some piercings, but may be increased in areas where the blood supply is rich eg: lips and tongue
  • Nipple piercings can damage milk ducts and cause problems with breast feeding
  • Septicaemia – a serious systemic infection (ie: affecting the whole body). It may be life threatening and requires immediate treatment with antibiotics

If you have any queries or concerns about practices and procedures, you can contact Environmental Health Services for further advice: Contact the E.H Admin Team.