Welcome to everyone. This hub is ideal for people looking for more information on getting a piercing, caring for a piercing and choosing a piercing before they go on holiday.
Summer is here/coming and people want to look good before they hit the beach and what better way is there than getting a pretty jewel in your skin?
A lot of people want to get piercings done before they go but are unsure of when to get them, whether it is safe, how old you have to be, etc.
How old must you be to get a piercing done?
It depends entirely on the studio but most will not allow you to get one without parental consent if you are under the age of 16-18 years old in most places, some studios differ. Different piercings can have different age limits for example, it is very common or a professional studio to refuse to pierce lobes on anyone under the age of 7 years old, lips, navels, etc are often done at aged 14 and over, intimates must be 18 and over.
How does a studio get parental consent?
If they believe you are under their set age limit (you can phone up and ask what it is) they will either ask you to bring a parent with you or they will phone your house phone to ask their permission. There is no use trying to get a friend to fake because they will know instantly, they deal with these things every day.
What if I am old enough to not need it, will I need to prove my age?
In most cases, yes you will. They will ask for a form of identification such as a passport, drivers license or work ID. Something that is photographic, displays your name and date of birth. Fake ID is not accepted e.g. school ID cards, a note from a parent, etc. You can also take a parent with you. You may not be asked, but if you are then you will absolutely need a strong photo ID with your date of birth on it for intimate piercings, it is classed as sexual assault to a minor if they pierce you under the age limit for them (breast is usually 16-18 whilst intimate areas are 18+ only)
What are the cutest piercings for my holiday?
Navel: aka the belly button. This is probably the most common piercing for people who are going on holiday, especially girls, but guys can have them too. Done with a needle only.They are classed as a surface piercing and should be pierced a minimum of 6 weeks before you go, the longer, the better. These can be prone to infection, tearing, migration, scarring and irritation much more so than a lot of other piercings. It is important to do thorough research and watch plenty of videos online and ask your piercer lots of questions.
Cartilage:aka, top ear. This piercing is done with a needle ONLY as a gun can and will shatter your ear which can cause it to collapse, it is put through the top part of your ear with either a ball closure ring or a stud an can look extremely pretty. This piercing is simple to look after, less prone to infection but prone to catching, migration and it can take up to two years+ to fully heal over. It should be done at least 3-4 months before you go as cartilage heals very slowly. They are very subtle and flattering on anyone.
Nose: Nose piercings are very feminine and very pretty on almost every girl, guys can have them too. It is pierced only with a needle (see cartilage reason above) and will be done with a stud, rings can cause a misshapen hole, migration, etc. This piercing tends to heal very well and is less prone to infection, however, it should be pierced 4 months before you go as you will be applying lots of sun lotion, makeup, powders, water, etc to your face whilst you are away which are not the cleanest. These are very easy to heal and can be very subtle.
Lip: aka labret. The lip piecing can be done anywhere on the lip or in pairs aka bites, these are extremely easy to heal, are not prone to infection and can look very nice on most people if the sizing is correct. They are done with a needle only and should be done 4-8 weeks before you go, leaving it longer is better but most lip piercings are healed enough in 4-6 weeks.
Dermal Anchor: aka microdermals. These are actually implants and are usually for 18+, they can be placed anywhere on the body by using a punch to remove a small piece of skin and have them slotted into place so the skin can grow through the holes in the "anchor" and hold the gemstone in place. They last long and you can have them anywhere but they are prone to rejection, migration, tearing and they tend to collect dirt, but are not prone to infection. As it is an implant and not a piercing, it should be done 3-6 months before you go.
Tongue: Painless, fast and done with a needle, these are the least likely to infect or cause problems, can be very subtle. However, not everyone can have a tongue piercing as it depends on the placement of their veins, the tongue length, etc, some tongues are too short. If placed correctly they will not damage teeth or cause a speech problem even when healing. You could get it done a day before you go, however, this would only be if you are not using foreign water, sharing personal items, kissing or being intimate orally, swallowing pool water or sea water, etc. It is best to get it done 2 weeks before you go so the swelling has gone down, however, you still won't be doing any of the above for another 2-8 weeks. To be on the safe side, get it 4-8 weeks before you go.
Hips: These are ones I do not recommend particularly because they are prone to infection, tearing, migration, scarring and other problems. They are expensive and if you get them done, you will need to have them done at least 8 weeks before you go otherwise they will cause you problems. They are generally difficult to heal, will not last too long before they grow out and are done with a needle. But they do look extremely nice.
What if I don't have time to get the piercing I want on your guide?
If you want any of the above piercings but are too close to your holiday to get away with it, you may still get it done if you are extremely careful. That would mean no swimming in the pool or sea, using foreign tap water, kissing or intimacy, touching without washing your hands, etc. You will need to print/write down as much information as you can to take with you on a sheet of paper so you know what to expect, what symptoms of infection are and what you need to do if you think something is wrong.
For example, if you are going on holiday two weeks from today, don't leave it until next week to get the piercing done, the sooner it is done and the more you leave it alone, the faster it will heal.
You can ask your piercing about any information or aftercare they can give you. Some piercings are much harder to heal than others e.g. eat cartilage or surface piercings.
How can I tell if my piercing is going to get infected?
There is no real way of knowing whether it will get infected or not, however, you can lower your risk.
- Get your piercing done a good period of time before your holiday, you can phone up and ask a piercer what they think.
- Get it done in a professional, reputable place by a licensed and experienced piercer, the cheapest isn't always the best.
- Research before you get the piercing and watch plenty of online videos of people getting it done.
- Have aftercare for the piercing sorted; solution from the piercing studio, hand wash, care sheet, etc.
- Know your signs of infection (I will go into these in the next section)
- Keep the piercing area clean but do not overclean it, once a day is fine unless you have been outside or touching it. Never use peroxide or alcohol on a piercing.
- Pierce yourself even with the proper equipment if you are not a professional, kids on the internet posting videos in their bathroom are posing an extreme risk to their health as well as their life.
- Put alcohol or peroxide or anything other than piercing aftercare liquid solution on a piercing as it can cause irritation, rejection, pain and creams can block it causing infection.
- Touch a piercing without first washing your hands in warm water and antibacterial soap. This includes other people.
- Submerge your piercing in water (this includes the bath) until it is fully healed. A shower is fine.
- Use any sprays on the piercing or the area around it.
- Put plasters over a piercing.
- Get it one somewhere just because it's cheap.
- Neglect aftercare or research
- Be afraid to ask your piercer questions or tell him/her ways to make you more comfortable e.g. lying down.
- Restrict the piercing e.g. tight clothing, bandages, etc unless instructed by a piercer, this can trap moisture and bacteria causing infection or bad smells.
- Get it done without parental consent if you need it.
- Just get it done because your friends want you to.
What about getting a piercing on holiday?
Although there are many studio's in foreign countries, many of which do not have the same laws and restrictions as in the UK or the US. Their code of conduct, age limits or health and safety (including sterilisation) may not be up to scratch and the risk of you catching a disease or something going wrong is drastically higher.
Of course there are some studios in massive resorts that offer piercings by people from your own country that DO have the same restrictions and laws, however, it is still better to get one done in your own home by a studio you know well, know the reputation of and know you can trust.
If you have done your research, know the place you can get to then you could have it done, then you may get it done at a slight increase to your own risk. However, you must remember to think of the guide above, once done you won't be: (allow options for each type of piercing and placement)
- Submerging it in water including the sea and the bath
- Kissing or being intimate with anyone
- Allowing anyone else to touch the piercing
- No sharing of personal items including towels or face wipes
- Sharing drinks including bottles of water
- Putting sun lotion on that area of the body
- Taking part in certain other activities e.g. with a surface or navel piercing you won't be exercising including yoga or aerobics in or out of water, you don't be dancing or going on many rides.