A reputable studio will never use a gun for a piercing.
Finding a safe piercing studio can be quite daunting. It seems like there are so many things to know, and everyone is claiming to be the best. There are few simple attributes that can be identified upon entering a piercing studio that can help determine if they are a safe establishment.
Carpets are unable to be sufficiently cleaned, and they collect bacteria. It is recommended there is no carpet in a studio, or at the very minimum, none in the work areas.
All professional studios should have a working and serviced autoclave, which sterilises jewellery and tools by removing germs and their spores.
Liquid soaks and cold sterilisation are never an adequate or safe way to sterilise jewellery and instruments.
If asked, a studio should be more than willing to provide results for their spore tests on their autoclaves. A spore test provides proof that the autoclave is able to kill all bacteria, including the most dangerous and resistant organisms, such as hepatitis.
Even though a piercer will wear gloves, it is imperative that a piercer wash and dry their hands thoroughly before and after piercing. Therefore, the piercing room should have a sink for the sole purpose of hand-washing, with running warm water, appropriate hand-wash, and paper towels.
The piercer should also be changing their gloves when touching the client, or things outside their setup. All needles and tools should be individually wrapped, unless the studio chooses to work directly from a statim steriliser. Needles, jewellery, or instruments should never be used after soaking in a liquid, as this means they are not adequately sterilised.
There should also always be a sharps container (a wall-mounted, yellow box with bio-hazard signage) in the procedural room. The sharps container is used to dispose of the single-use needles used for piercing procedures. A lack of a sharps container may indicate that the needles are not being disposed of safely – or worse, that they are being re-used.
Professional piercers will only use safe body jewellery.
Although all states have different age restrictions, a minimum standard of proof of age should be a government issued photo identification, which displays full name, date of birth, and a signature.
The piercer should require three forms of identification in order to pierce a minor. These three pieces of identification should be: a government issued photo ID for the client, a photo ID for their parent/legal guardian, and a document linking them together, such as a birth certificate or a Medicare card. The parent/legal guardian should be required to be present to sign the consent form.
There should be separate rooms for the waiting area, piercing procedure room(s), and an enclosed room where the contaminated tools are cleaned and processed for safety purposes.
Although passing an inspection by the local health department may mean the studio meets the minimum requirements, remember that this does not guarantee a piercer has received adequate training, as there are no specific requirements of ability, skills, or education.