Content Supplied by NHS Choices

Body piercing

A few days before having your piercing, visit the shop to check for any potential health risks.

A few days before having your piercing, visit the shop to check for any potential health risks.

Make sure you can answer "yes" to the following questions before going ahead:

  • Do they use a clean pair of disposable surgical gloves for each customer?
  • Do they wash their hands regularly and use disposable paper towels to dry them?
  • Is the shop clean, with wipe-clean surfaces throughout (including the floor)?
  • Do they use single-use needles and discard them after each piercing?
  • Are instruments kept in sealed packaging ready for use, or in an autoclave (steriliser) until needed?
  • Have the earrings been pre-sterilised?
  • If the piercer is piercing just one ear, will they take the earring from an unopened, pre-sterilised pack of two (rather than using a loose earring left over from a previous piercing)?
  • Is the piercer wearing clean, practical clothing, with long hair tied back?
  • Have they covered any cuts or wounds on their hands with waterproof dressings?
  • Is the jewellery used appropriate for the type of piercing?
  • Is it made of non-nickel metal?
  • Does the piercer have a clear policy regarding age restrictions and parental consent?
  • Is the piercing area a no-smoking zone?
  • Are food and drink banned in the piercing area?
  • Are animals prohibited from entering the shop?

If you're taking medication, have heart disease, diabetes or any other medical condition, and are in doubt about the risks of piercing, talk to your GP. 

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