Piercing Pointers: Make Your Next One a Little Less Painful for Everyone


Piercing Pointers: Make Your Next One a Little Less Painful for Everyone

by K. A. Kristmanson

Piercings can be scary, especially if it’s your first one, or if you’ve lived through a bad experience. Well, I’m here again to help! With these tips you should feel confident, comfortable, and you might even end up becoming the shop’s favorite client.

There are key differences between piercing and tattooing procedure. So, read carefully!

What to Bring:

Your piercer will most likely for two pieces of ID to keep you on file in their records, and to ensure you meet the age requirement set for their services. You may need one of these to be a piece of photo ID. Find that out before your appointment.

Bring enough money to pay for your piercing. Maybe even a little extra in case you change your mind about jewelry style. Jewelled beads are often a bit more expensive than standard steel ones, for example.

The Morning of:

Eat a good breakfast, to avoid dizziness and fainting. If you are feeling faint, stay in the chair and do not get up until the dizzy spell passes. Ask the piercer for some water, or ask if they have candy (which I always like to keep around just in case) to get your blood sugar up.

Don’t take pain killers or apply a topical numbing agent. It makes you bleed more, excess blood can obstruct the piercer’s view, compromise their grip on small pieces of jewelry, and will add up to extra time spent in the chair—which can cause unnecessary swelling during the healing process due to additional trauma to the area.

On another note, don’t come in hung-over. It ruins the whole experience. The piercing will hurt more, you will bleed more, and you’ll be irritable. It’ll be easier for everyone if you get a good night’s sleep before your appointment.

Don’t forget personal hygiene. This might seem obvious, but we get really close to your body. Whether we’re piercing your lip and you’ve forgotten to brush your teeth, or we’re piercing your ears and you haven’t cleaned them, it’s uncomfortable for everyone involved. So, just ask yourself before you leave for your appointment: have I done everything to ensure that I will be comfortable?

Dress in loose, comfortable clothing for body piercings. Trust me, you don’t want the waist of your jeans scratching up against your new Belly Button piercing. Also, wear dark clothing if you’re worried about blood stains. The piercer should thoroughly clean your piercing before you leave the shop, but there’s always the chance it might get bumped or snagged and start bleeding again.


Politeness, patience, and respect are appreciated. Remember that while, yes, this person works for you, they are a human being.

If the placement is not working for you, be honest with your piercer. A professional will want you to walk out of the shop feeling great about your new piercing, and they should adjust the placement as many times as necessary to achieve that effect.

The Do Not List:

A shop is no place for children. Piercers use needles, and dispose of them in sharps containers, which often have openings large enough to stick a small hand in. There is an area for sterilization of bio-hazardous tools, and many dangerous chemicals kept in storage. Yes, a piercing may only take ten to fifteen minutes, but you are unable to supervise your child while in the chair, and the front desk manager is not a babysitter.

Please don’t bring a group of friends. A piercer’s workspace is enough room for two, because they are designed for a one-on-one service.  We’re making a permanent change to your body, and we need you to sit still for most of the process. We also need to navigate around the chair, to grab tools from drawers in our workspace and prep our tray before we get started. Having someone else lingering can make that difficult in a small space. It would be nice to just get to know each other so that you’re comfortable around me!

Do not bring your own jewelry. Your piercer will have industry standard 316LVM surgical steel jewelry to pierce with, and they cannot take you on your word that yours will meet that requirement.

And there you have it!

If you have questions, leave them in the comment section below, or email kyra@westcoastinkmag.com. If you’re wondering about how to prepare for a tattoo, check out this post!