Piercer Questions

Cheek Piercing Advice

I received this message from someone who clearly is in need of serious advice:

Subject: Piercing Question

"Elayne.....I'm an ameutar piercer and have excepted a client who wants her dimples pierced. she has chubby cheeks, but otherwise no reason not to go ahead with the piercing. I am not sure how to go about the procedure and were I should properly pierce. Can you share some advice?"

I sent him the page from my book The Piercing Bible called "The Worst Piercing Story" and it is all about cheek piercing:

Septum Piercing Procedure

I received this message from a Facebook friend:

Hey Elayne, i just yesterday did a septum and I'm used to doing them with either septum clamps or just a needle and cork. I am not a big fan of the clamps cause I have found that they just plain hurt! So I almost always use the needle and cork method. I have heard recently that using a receiving tube for the procedure was very easy and comfortable..so I tried this method last night on a client and it was a mess..now granted its my responsibility to control my needle no matter what..

well this guy sneezed four times and moved around like a fish out of water..so the piercing was completely off and had to be redone..2nd time around he sat fine and it was still extremely off..at this point I just went back to my old method and used a cork and needle and the final product was just as it should be.

My question is this: Why is there so many good things i am hearing of the receiving tube method for septum's? Is there a secret that i am not aware of that makes it better or am i just misinformed? I have done more research and I'm still reading rave reviews of that method..does an angled receiving tube make a difference as opposed to a flat one?

My reply:

Question about Hepatitis Vaccines

I received this question from someone who works in a body art studio:

Hi Elayne, do you advise for or against Hepatitis B vaccinations for piercers and artists? if so would you advise getting A+B or just B?

Thanks for your time. S.

Hi S.,

Well I think it is wise to get the Hep B vaccine, given that there is potential for needlesticks in our work and Hep B is a bloodborne pathogen.

Also, in the US there is a law involved: wherever there is potential for exposure to bloodborne pathogens, an employer has to offer the vaccine to his/her employees and pay for it--and allow them to get it during business hours (OSHA ruling). And the employer must document it. If the vaccine is declined, a declination from must be filed with the employee records.

Since Hep A is not transmitted through blood, it isn't as necessary for a piercer.

Have you taken a bloodborne pathogens class? There's lots of good information in them. I recommend the industry specific class given by David Vidra and associates through Health Educators. In fact, I just took it recently, and it was fantastic.

Hope this is helpful,

A Technique Question from a Piercer

I received this message from a Facebook friend:

Elayne, Let me begin this note by telling you that I am a huge fan of yours, and I am extremely thankful for all the hard work that you, Jim Ward, Doug Malloy, Paul King and so many others have done for the industry we are in. If it weren't for you and others like you, body piercing would be no where near where it is now, so THANK YOU!!!
Now then, my question to you:

I have been piercing professionally for 6 years, a good career so far but only a few steps in comparison to yours... When I first began, I used the "piggy-backing" method I saw in your recent video post. I have since moved on and now pierce with like sized jewelry and needles. I was under the impression that the method described was amateur and generally looked down upon, and yet here I see a MASTER PIERCER using it. Now please don't get me wrong, your title of master piercer is correct and very well deserved, I just find it strange. So I come to you with thisa humble question, why do you prefer this method? I have found that the piercings tend to bleed too much when using this method. Are there benefits that I am unaware of? Thank you for your time and any info will be appreciated.

By the way, the "bible" is one of the books in my modification collection that I am most proud of, and I consult it regularly so thank you!!!!

A fan and fellow body modifier, -J.

My reply:

Piercer's Inspiration

I just finished reading your article in Pain Mag this month not ten minutes ago. :) and before you are bombarded with comments and questions, let me just tell you how much I value your opinion, your ethics, and your procedures for piercing. I'm sure you hear this often, but YOU are a big reason I became a piercer. Thank you so much for being such a big part of this industry and being so open with your advice.

And are you going to be in Arizona anytime soon? I want my triangle done, but I do not trust anyone else to do it... even my fellow local piercers. ^_^

My reply:

Thanks so much for the positive feedback; I'm thrilled to hear that you find my information helpful.

I would be delighted to pierce you but I'm not entirely certain what my upcoming travel plans will be. If you would like to be notified when I make travel plans, please sign up for my newsletter in the box on the left lower portion of the page: http://piercingbible.com It is an "opt-in" list, so I can't add you mysef.

Feel free to send me some clear, close-up photos so I can give you an online consult to determine if you're anatomically suited to a triangle. Information on this page of my website: http://piercingbible.com/female-genital-piercings#Photos
explains the images I'll need to see.

If you would like to watch me performing piercings, you can see videos of me piercing at 
http://clips4sale.com/10557  They aren't "how-to" videos, per se, but you can see exactly how and where I place piercings, and how I do them.

Phlebotomy and Piercing

I received this message from a Facebook friend:

A few years back I decided to go through a phlebotomy program at a local college. I was wondering (while I know one can not learn how to be a "piercer" through Phlebotomy, and that an apprenticeship is key, as I have done mine a while back) what you thought about the sterilization practices? Do you find the practices of a phlebotomist are condusive to the practices of a body piercer? Do you feel it could help, or hinder?  (I know that a lot of the medical field is anti body modification).
Thanks again for your time,

Hi S.,

Ah. Well, obviously you're already into piercing, so I'm not concerned that a medical education of any type would turn you against it. So that's not an issue.

My concern is how poor the cross-contamination practices often are in medical settings--especially phlebotomy. When I get my blood drawn, I almost always have to request a glove change following the phlebotomist touching the sharps container and then trying to touch the site my stick, or some such.... I can say with certainty that the procedures we followed in my studio for hygiene and cross-contamination control are clearly much stricter than what is put into practice by most phlebotomists.

So, if you're able to maintain the level of sanitation and hygiene required of a safe piercer, then I'm sure additional experience with needles and bodies can only be a good thing!

Piercing: Training Is Needed

I got this message from someone who wants to be a piercer but seems to have a misguided idea on how to go about it:

I want to become a piercer... well, I wanted to ask if you knew a great web site that sells good kit or tools especially for microdermals... It's hard to find something safe on the net... and when I think it's safe I can't buy cause I'm not a professionnal... Well, before to practice and learn I want to buy all that I need to start the project... hope you will help me, it's gonna be very appreciated...

Have a nice day!!

Hi there,

I'm afraid I can't advocate that course of action and there's are good reasons why quality piercing gear is not sold to individuals who are not professionals. Here's some information from The Piercing Bible:

Piercing: Not a Do-It-yourself (DIY) Hobby
At the beginning of the modern piercing movement, few competent practitioners were available. Lacking pros to help, people who felt the urge lanced their own bodies with heated sewing needles or common earrings. Even today, amateur or unethical hack piercers can be found who will pierce anything on anyone, badly. Young teenagers who cannot obtain parental permission for a piercing and those who cannot easily afford professional services in a studio often take this route.

Many online shops sell piercing kits, which advertise that they come with “complete instructions” and are “easy to use.” Wrong! These are no safer than a home root-canal kit and must be avoided. A DIY piercing is often poorly placed and has a greatly increased risk of infection and other problems. Piercing studios are common now, so there is no longer any excuse for shoddy piercings.

Piercer Referrals in California

I received this message through The Piercing Bible website

Hi Elayne,

First off I want to thank you for the wealth of information on your site and in The Piercing Bible. I have been researching female genital piercings for the last few months and have found a lot of conflicting and often just plain wrong information. Your site and book answered a lot of my questions and impressed upon me the importance of finding a piercer who knows what they're doing.

Secondly, I was wondering if you still evaluate peoples' photographs to see if they're suited to a particular piercing.  I would love a triangle piercing, but I'm not 100% sure if I can get one, obviously.  I intend to get a consultation once I find an experienced piercer, but if you're able to take a look at some photos and let me know if it would be a waste of time or not, it would help me out immensely.  If you're able to do this, I can send you some pictures.

Thanks for your time,

HI Jennifer,

Certainly. Just follow the instructions at the bottom of this page:

I'd be happy to take a look and let you know whether you appear to be suited to a triangle.


Elayne Angel, Author
The Piercing Bible--The Definitive Guide to Safe Body Piercing
Medical Liaison, Association of Professional Piercers


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