We curated a list of piercers and piercing shops around North-America and the rest of the world in which we have confidence in their ethics, skills, and techniques. The majority of the piercing shops you can find here are members of the Association of Professional Piercers. The piercers were it states APP Member are members of the APP, although other piercers at the piercing shops where they work may not be. If you’re interested in receiving our Piercing Shop list send us a message via our contact page. Please check to make sure that the piercer you select is actually a member. If you are interested in how to pick the perfect piercing shop and piercer then read more below. If you want to add your Piercing Shop to our directory please send an email to us!
Picking Your Piercing Shop
You always have to be careful and aware when you pick a piercing shop. During times where blood-borne diseases can be easily spread through contamination by blood and other body fluids, you have to be careful as to which piercing shop you choose to perform your piercing. It is important to do your research and with the limitless possibilities of the internet, you will find all the information and reviews you need to pick the right piercing shop and piercer. Below are some tips from the AAP that will indicate the quality of a piercing studio.
Review their sterilizer
An autoclave is a device that sterilizes the jewelry, tools, and equipment necessary to perform your piercing by eliminating bacteria and its spores. The most effective units available to studios use a combination of steam and pressure.
A spore test is the only way to know that an autoclave is working properly. Biological indicators test the autoclave’s ability to kill the most dangerous and resistant organisms. The studio should keep recent results on file and be willing to show them to you.
Piercing shop should not use ear piercing guns
A number of states have made it illegal to use a gun on body piercings and with good reason. Most ear guns can’t be sterilized in an autoclave and thus don’t meet the criteria for APP piercers’ use of sterile disposable equipment.
Piercing shop set-up
Ask if you can watch them set-up for a piercing and be in the room when they set up for yours. The piercer should first wash and glove their hands. The equipment should be sealed in individually sterilized packages and be placed on a tray. The piercer should change gloves if they touch anything in the room other than you and the sterile equipment. All needles should be in individual sterile packages and should be opened while you are present. Never let a piercer use a needle on you that was soaked in a liquid. All needles should be disposed of in a sharps container (usually, a small red box marked “biohazard”) after they have been used on a single client.
Piercing shop hygiene
Are the walls washed and the carpet vacuumed? Is the staff bathed and neat? Is the restroom kept clean and tidy? Ideally, studios should have 5 separate areas: the counter, waiting room, piercing room(s), bathroom, and a separate sterilization room.
Piercing shop licenses to operate
In most cases, a license to operate means that the studio meets minimum requirements and has passed some sort of inspection. To find out if your area has established standards and inspections, call your local Health Department. If a studio is operating unlicensed in an area where licenses are required, report them to your local health department or city business license division.
Piercing shops aftercare guidelines
The aftercare for your piercing should be explained to you and provided in writing. Always read this sheet before you have the piercing done. If it tells you to treat your piercing with harsh soap, ointment, alcohol, or hydrogen peroxide, the piercing shop is not keeping up with the industry standards and you should consider any other of the many piercing shops.
Don’t be misled into believing piercing is easy. It takes time and dedication to acquire the ability to correctly place and skillfully perform piercings. Piercers either serve an apprenticeship or are self-taught. Apprenticeships will generally last from 6 months to two years. Those who are self-taught will ideally have sought guidance from others in the field. Continued education is the hallmark of any conscientious piercer. It is perfectly acceptable and advisable to inquire about how long your piercer has been piercing, how they learned to pierce, and what they have done to keep their knowledge base current.
Look at their piercing photo portfolio. Are piercings placed to accent the anatomy or do they look awkward and poorly matched to the individual? If the portfolio features unusual looking placements, are there pictures of healed piercings, showing the actual viability of the placement?
Regardless of any local legislation being more lenient, the following is an appropriate minimum standards policy on piercing minors: For any piercing of a minor, a parent or legal guardian must be present to sign a consent form. Proof positive, state issued photo identification is required from the legal guardian and a bona fide form of identification from the minor. In the event the parent has a different last name or address from the child, court documentation, like divorce papers, is needed to prove the relationship. Under no circumstances is it acceptable or appropriate for piercing shops or piercers to perform piercing on the nipples or genitals of an individual under 18 years of age.
Use your instincts
If you don’t feel comfortable with the piercing shop or the piercer you should leave. “I should have listened to my gut feeling” is something you should never have to say. It doesn’t hurt to look for new piercing shops, it does when you get a piercing that you are not satisfied with or even worse.
Use your head
Don’t act impulsively or be swayed by a low price. You generally get what you pay for (but some unskilled piercers charge plenty). Get referrals of a piercing shop and piercer from knowledgeable friends, the local health department or read reviews on the internet (however not always as trustworthy as a friend).
In the end, it all boils down to keeping your mind clear and make a well thought out decision. Do not let friends or piercers get in your head and listen to your gut feeling. There are many piercing shops that have great ethics, skills, equipment and techniques. A piercing is something that impacts the body so take your time before you rush into anything. Keep these tips and list of piercing shops as a guideline and always consider using a member of the APP.