How do I chose a practitioner? Getting pierced, especially for the first time, can feel a little daunting. Knowing what to look for in a quality practitioner should help you alleviate any concerns somewhat. It's natural to feel nervous, but you should feel comfortable in your piercer's ability and hygiene practises before making your shiny commitment! It is important to note that there is no such thing as a 'Piercing Qualification'. The Local Authorities/ City Council will grant a licence to any piercer so long as the premises is considered safe to host one. Piercing courses are a huge red flag, so please note that the certificates are not worth the paper they are printed on. It is impossible to learn how to become a well rounded safe piercer on a two week long paid piercing course, if anything, it is a sure fine way to have picked up slap-dash bad habits. Experience is the major component when looking for a piercer. Not necessarily in terms of time practising, (I know some incredible piercers fresh out of apprenticeships!) but evidence of a large volume of procedures performed, and steady number of positive reviews. It is incredibly important to do your research, and reviews, (you can read ours here) are a great place to start. This should then be followed with a REALLY thorough delve into your piercers portfolio, and website, should they have one. Make sure you see plenty of both fresh, and healed work of the piercing you would like to have. Bonus points for angles, and evidence of downsizing. If you cannot see much of the piercing you are looking for, reach out - they may have a case load they haven't yet uploaded. It may also be the case that they do not regularly receive clientele for a particular procedure, or simply aren't comfortable offering it for various reasons. They may be able to point you in the direction of a safe piercer who does though! You can view my portfolio of ear and limited body work (please message direct for examples of piercings below the neck) via Instagram. @needlesandnoodlespiercing - Do give us a follow, we might inspire your next shiny!
So, here's the check-list.
Licensing/ Certification/ First Aid:
Check that your piercer is licenced by the local authority.
Bonus points for further voluntary certification such as: APP Membership, APP Attendance certificates, First Aid Certificates, Blood Borne Pathogens Training.
Ask if your Piercer uses piercing guns. If the answer is yes - keep looking elsewhere! This indicates severely lacking Hygiene practises.
First Aid Kits should be visible throughout the studio. This is a great indicator that your piercer values your safety. First Aid training should also be evidenced.
Needles/ Piercing Tools:
Ask if your Piercer uses single use disposable needles. If the answer is yes, you are entitled to ask to see them. They should be singularly packaged and have an indicator to prove that they are sterile. An expiry date should also be visible. The packaging should be unbroken and in good condition, and they should only ever be handled with gloves. Do feel free to ask any questions you may have about their use. If you are concerned, most piercers are happy enough to demonstrate how they work on a rubber ear or piece of paper.
Ask about chemical products used to ensure cleanliness. The buzzwords you should could hear likely include: Anti-microbial, Anti-fungal, Biocidal, Alcohol, Purklenz, Sterile Saline, Chlorhexidine, Iodine, Reprochem, Rapidex - the list goes on. In short, if they can reel off at least 5, then they probably know their onions! Feel free to quiz us.. we're nerds and we love it.
Piercing Room, Handwashing Facilities, Sanitisers, and Gloves:
All treatment rooms should contain a sink with both hot and cold running water. Where possible, this should be operated by wrist, or elbows. Disposable paper towels should be used to dry hands - NOT a hand dryer or towel.
Check that all surfaces and storage units are fully wipeable and non-pourus - the treatment couch/massage table should be wiped down with Biocide between each client to prevent cross contamination. (You will likely know this as you may have to wait a second or two to avoid a damp bottom when you sit on the couch! - Sorry!)
Anti-bacterial/antimicrobial hand soap should be visible and used before gloves are donned. Hand washing should be performed for a minimum of 30 seconds. If you're feeling particularly nervous, if you ask politely, I'll sing Happy Birthday twice over.. extra charges may apply. ;)
Gloves should be Nitrile and Powder free to prevent allergic reaction in those with latex allergies.
Gloves should be changed multiple times during a procedure. If your piercer uses Examination gloves (gloves directly from a box vs from a sterile packet), then at an absolute minimum, fresh gloves should be donned once during marking, once during cleaning, and once again for the piercing. Bonus points for sterile gloves. (These are usually blue and come from a packet which can be folded onto a piercing trolley for a completely sterile base! Awesome!)
Bonus points for the use of Medical Grade sanitisers such as Cutan between glove changes!
A medical sharps container should be visible in the treatment room. It should at no point be full enough that you can see the contents. Your piercer should dispose of any sharps immediately in front of you.
Ask if the piercer uses anesthetics. If the anwser is yes - run a mile! Unless a practitioner is medically trained, they legally should not me administering anesthetic. You can read our post about the negative side effects of numbing piercings here
Jewellery For Initial Piercings
Ask what jewellery your piercer uses for initial piercings. They should be using INTERNALLY THREADED/ THREADLESS Bio-Inert materials such as Implant Grade Titanium (ASTMF136), Niobium, or solid 14 & 18ct Gold. For more information on safe jewellery, check out our blog post here.
Your piercer should be more than happy to explain their sterilisation procedures with confidence. Some piercers may be fully disposable, meaning that their instruments are purchased pre-sterile from medical wholesalers and disposed of immediately. Whilst this is awesome, it is not always achievable due to expense and eco-consciousness, so often times tools are re-sterilised to a medical standard in the same way you would expect in a hospital setting.
If this is the case, a minimum of three process should be used:
Coldsoaking: (The soaking of any reusable instruments in a soloution designed to kill any bacteria/virus/fungus that may have been picked up from the tissue. This stage kills bacteria, rendering the instrument clean, but not sterile.) Ultrasonic: (A machine containing detergent to soften debris and remove it via vibration. After this stage, the tool is considered mechanically clean, but not sterile.)
Autoclave: An autoclave uses high heat and pressure (to the tune of 134c, you'll often hear us squeak if we grab a tool from the autoclave too quickly) for varying time periods depending on the size and volume of the autoclave. Every item inside an autoclave should be bagged in a sterilisation pouch and stored in a clean dry enclosed area until use. Each item should be date stamped, as the packets begin to break down after a certain period of time. Should you have any concerns relating to a piercing done by ourselves, or elsewhere, please do not hesitate to reach out. You can do so via email @ Piercingbynicky@outlook.com
How much does a piercing cost? All of our prices can be viewed under the 'Book Now' page. Our prices start from just £25 Including a standard design Titanium option to ensure that those on a budget can still have safe quality jewellery. We have additional attachments starting from as little as £5 and working their way up into the £100's should you really chose to treat yourself - but we never push a hard sell.
How old do I need to be for a piercing? Here at Needles & Noodles, we operate a strict ID policy for all of our piercing procedures. If ID is forgotten, we will not be able to perform your piercing. This is to ensure your safety and ages are in line with our ethics and our insurance policy holders guidelines. ID is non negotiable and will need to be a physical copy with name, photograph, and date of birth. Examples of acceptable ID are: Passport, Driving License, Citizen Card. In the case of young children, birth certificate and supporting documentation with a matching surname will suffice. If you do not own any photo ID, Citizen Cards are available for just £15 and can be purchased here. *Earlobes: 8*+/ 14*+ (Photo ID and Parental Consent required) or 14+ With Photo ID. Please read below. Cartilage: 14*+/16+ *(Or 14+ with Photo ID and Parental Consent) This includes Helix, Conch, Tragus, but excludes the Rook, Industrial, and Daith. Nostril: 16+ ( Or 14+ with Photo ID and Parental Consent) Navel: 16+ (With Photo ID*) Nipple: 18+ by LAW. (With Photo ID) Surface Piercing: + 18 (With Photo ID*)
Do you pierce children's ears?
**We are huge believers in safe and ethical ear piercing for children. It's truly important to us to educate the public on why chain stores and gun piercing are not a safe option, and in the interest of doing so, we offer earlobe piercings from the minimum age of 8+ to decrease the 'need' to visit such places. Photographic ID from both guardian and child is required. We endeavour try our absolute best to ensure that your child will be comfortable and calm throughout and we use special needles to minimise any risk of jumping or flinching, and.. they look much less scary! We insist upon one parent being present in the room at all times for support and guidance but we do ask for mindfulness around potentially pressured language or behaviours. (Believe us, it happens!) We retain the right to refuse and reschedule on the day if we do not believe that your little one is ready as we are avid believers in consent and will not adopt the 'just get it done' attitude. If this is the case, we will be able to transfer your booking fee to a later date but refunds are not available due to the time taken and resources used. Prices start from £45 including a selection of the highest quality, implant grade and mirror polished options. Additional choices are available at increased price points.
We do NOT pierce babies ears.
I think my piercing might be infected - what do I do?