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I was a teenager. It was my birthday. I wanted a belly button piercing, really badly and right on that very day. I hadn't looked into tattoo shops, or made an appointment, or even actually thought of getting a piercing before that day, but that wasn't going to stop me. Two friends and I headed to town, straight for the red-light district where most tattoo shops were located. We walked around a bit, saw some shocking things, and finally found a tattooist who was willing to do my piercing for the amount of money I was willing to pay.
A few minutes later, I found myself sitting on a big scary chair — something like a dentist's chair — and the tattooist told me to lift my shirt up. He disinfected my belly button with something out of a bottle. Then, he went away for a while. When I found myself looking around, because my friends were giggling hysterically, I saw it: the tattooist was eating a cheese sandwich. Then, without washing his hands, he pierced my belly button. It happened before I knew it, and I have no idea what kind of needle he used.
What should you do before deciding whether and where to get your belly button pierced, then?
Piercing Contemplation: Do You Really Want That Body Mod?
This should not even need to be mentioned, but I'll do it anyway. I myself got a piercing about an hour after I decided I wanted one, after all, and I am pretty sure teens in man parts of the world are tempted to do the exact same thing, though they may Google "belly button piercing" first. Before you go ahead:
- Ask yourself why you want a belly button piercing.
- If it's to fit in, for the thrill, because your romantic partner thinks it will look sexy, or some other such silly reason, don't get a piercing.
- Ask yourself if you really want the piercing.
- Ask yourself if you'd mind having a small hole, sometimes with a bit of scar tissue, on our belly button if you get fed up with the piercing.
Where To Get Your Piercing
If you don't want a blood-borne disease, choosing a reputable piercer is important business. Regulations vary across the globe, but you'll want to check out whether a piercer is licensed and a member of a professional organization for piercers, tattooists or body mod artists wherever you live. Don't just take their word for it either: verify it with the relevant bodies, which can sometimes be done online.
Once you have those biggies out the way, the Association of Professional Piercers recommends that you see the piercer's autoclave (sterilizer). Machines that use a combination of steam and pressure work well, while "dry heat" is not considered effective at all. Also ask to see recent spore test results, so you're sure the autoclave actually works properly.
- The piercer should wash and glove their hands.
- The equipment should be in individual sterilized packaging and placed on a sterile tray.
- If they touch anything but the sterile equipment, the piercer should change gloves.
- Needles should always be in individual sterile packages and opened in front of you. Needles that weren't in packages or were soaked in liquid are not safe!!!
- Needles should be thrown into a biohazard container after use.
You want your piercer to provide aftercare instructions in writing, to have a portfolio, and to run a clean-looking studio. Piercing is an art, and placing piercings is a lot harder than it looks. (That's just one of the reasons you should not be tempted to do a DIY piercing, by the way.) Use your common sense and make sure that you have a good feeling about the piercer, and that they are passionate about piercings and safety. Choose your piercer because you trust the studio, not because they offer a low price.