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  • Can I schedule an appointment?
    Absolutely! To schedule an appointment just stop in and talk to the artist you want to work with. The artists all prefer to schedule their own appointments, that gives them an opportunity to discuss your ideas and have a dialog about your tattoo. If you don't live here in Murray area feel free to email us with any details and your contact information. We'll get back to you ASAP. We do not do same day appointments, you are welcome to come in as a walk in if you are wanting to get tattooed today.
  • What is the minimum age to get a tattoo or piercing
    For Tattoos the minor has to be 16 years or older. For basic ear piercings 6 years of age or older. For some body piercings 14 years or older The following paperwork is required for tattoos & body piercing: -Appointment is required for tattooing or piercing of minors. -Valid photo ID of person getting tattooed or pierced, such as a passport or State ID card. -Valid photo ID of parent/guardian. -Notarized letter giving the minor permission to be tattooed or pierced. -Parent/guardian present during tattoo or piercing. We are limited in what piercings we can and will offer to those under 18, for legal and other reasons. For any minor wishing to get pierced, we need to feel that this is a conscious choice and that the aftercare will be followed. The piercer will have a consultation with the piercee and a parent prior to agreeing to any piercing. We will perform the following piercings with these age guidelines: Earlobes, ages 6 & up Simple cartilage, ages 10 & up Complex ear cartilage, ages 16 & up Nostril, ages 16 & up Navel, ages 16 & up The other major issue with piercing minors is that the results can be very unpredictable. Even though many 16- to 17-year-olds appear to have stopped growing their bodies do, in fact, continue to change in ways very important to the success of a piercing. Most professionals will not provide piercing services to minors on the well founded basis that it is unlikely to turn out well. We have two licensed piercers on hand with over 36 years of combined experience to give you a safe, simple piercing experience
  • Do you take walk ins?
  • Is my jewelry safe in an MRI/CT/etc scan?
    The quick answer is yes. One of the many advantages of titanium jewelry, on top of its biocompatibility, is that it is completely nonmagnetic. This means it’s completely safe for MRI scans, X-rays, CT scans, PET scans, etc. The only time it could be an issue is when the jewelry could block the view during the scan, say nipple piercings in a lung X-ray. If your doctor still insists your jewelry needs to come out, we often have safe glass retainers to wear during the scan. This is especially important if your piercing is still new or freshly healed. You can read about it (and pass it on to your doctor) in the Broucuers found in the Aftercare section of this site.
  • How should I care for my tattoo?
    Your artist will go over this in person, but just in case you forgot anything, here is the rundown. Clean and moisturized is the goal. Every few hours, wash your hands with the soap you bought here, or as an alternative, antibacterial soap. Once hands are clean, wash your tattoo with hot but not scalding water while gently massaging it. Pat dry with a paper towel, then lotion it using either what you bought here, or a non-scented , non-dyed lotion. Keep it out of direct sun or tanning beds for three weeks. Showers are fine, but do not submerge your tattoo in any type of water including pools, ocean and or rivers for three weeks. Do not pick or scratch it. If scabs form, leave them alone. Secretion is normal in the first few days, peeling skin is normal between week 2 and 3, blacks will fade to a lighter black, and color will lose some of its initial vibrancy. These are all normal. You can contact us directly if you have any questions. If signs of infection develop, let your artist know and seek out your medical professional of choice.
  • Do you offer apprenticeships?
    We only offer apprenticeships when we are need of a new artist or piercer. Many places will charge you a few thousand dollars and give you a very basic training then kick you out the door. We've never done that. When we do take on an apprentice we also have a job opening for them and make them a welcome member of our family. If you are intarested in joining our family stop by with your portpholyo for a consultasion.
  • I've heard your prices are high, what's Up With That?"
    Compared to most shops in our area we do charge more. The quality you expect to get from us is much higher as well. We are a real business. We pay taxes, carry insurance, get inspected by the health department, and operate responsibly. We use the highest quality pigments and supplies from American manufacturers, never mystery inks from the flea market. We are also fully disposable. Many studios still use the older steel tubes for each tattoo. These are used over and over again and can still harbor bacteria even after being processed through an autoclave if not cleaned impeccably. Check out our artist portfolios and consider that your new tattoo or piercing will be with you the rest of your life.
  • How should I act in your studio?
    Yes lets talk Tattoo Etiquette! Let's do the quick run down. Do your research. Always know what you want when you go into a tattoo shop. Bring reference photos (but not an overwhelming amount) that can give the artist an idea of what you want. They can’t read your mind, so they will need your help on this. Remember artists specialize in particular styles. Don’t go in wanting a realistic black and grey portrait of your grandmother and ask a color New School artist to do it, or vice versa. Don’t be offended when they tell you there are other artists who would do a better job. That doesn’t mean they don’t want to do your tattoo, that just means there’s an artist out there that can render your idea more closely to the style you are looking for. Be open to your artist’s ideas. Your tattoo artist is (hopefully) a professional for a reason. They know best. So when they tell you the lettering should be bigger or that a mandala on your back will come out cleaner than one on your ribs, it’s most likely because it will hold up better in the long run and read more clearly. Don’t be a back seat driver. Again, your tattoo artist knows best. Don’t overwhelm them with nitpicky details about every single shade of blue that you want added to your tattoo, how many centimeters apart something should be in the design, or how many hairs that portrait of your grandmother should have on her head. If you did your research and picked an artist you trust, your tattoo will turn out beautifully. That being said, if there is something major in the initial design you really don’t like, speak up and let them know. A good artist wants to work with you and make sure you’re happy with the final result. Good tattoos aren’t cheap and cheap tattoos aren’t good. This is nonnegotiable. Your artist has his or her set prices for a reason. Respect that. If you haggle for a price, you are disrespecting the artist. Be patient. Setting up a tattoo station and preparing to tattoo someone takes time, especially if you are getting a walk-in tattoo. Allow time for your artist to design the piece or even finish up with the clients who walked in before you. A patient client is an appreciated client. Have good hygiene. Your tattoo artist is going to be up close and personal with you while you get tattooed. Make sure to shower, shave and brush your teeth before your appointment. You don’t want to be known as Sir Stinks-A-Lot every time you get inked. Be sober. Always get a tattoo sober. This should be a no brainer, but make sure you go into the studio without any alcohol or drugs in your system. Not only will this ensure that you pick the idea you actually want, but it will make saturating the tattoo easier for the artist. This means try not to drink the night prior to getting a tattoo as well. Alcohol thins your blood and will cause you to bleed a lot more. Don’t bring your whole family to the tattoo parlor. One friend is fine, but more than that is overkill. It crowds the shop and creates distractions for both the client and the artist. Also, no one wants to deal with your rude, nitpicky aunt who keeps claiming you should have gone with that other photo of grandma halfway through the portrait session. Don’t set time restrictions. Yes, some artists charge by the hour instead of by the piece, so don’t go into the session saying you can only afford three hours and ask for a six-hour tattoo. If you can only sit for a few hours, let your artist know before hand so they are prepared in case you have to tap out after several hours and come back to finish the piece. Don’t eat while getting tattooed. To eat while getting tattooed forces you to wiggle unnecessarily and is unhygienic, and in some states, like New Jersey, it is also illegal. Take a break if you need to get your nom on. Tip your artist. Tipping is not expected, but it is appreciated. It shows that you love the tattoo and appreciate all of the hard work the artist put in to make it. Tips should probably be somewhere between 15-20% if they are monetary, but sometimes cool gifts that you know your artist would be into are just as acceptable!
  • How should I prepare for my tattoo?
    To prepare for your tattoo you should start by lotioning your skin a few days prior to your appointment. Make sure to eat well and also be rested. Be at the peak of your daily energy. Don't come in sick or with a hang over, you'll hate life. Make sure that you are wearing comfortable and accommodating clothing. Think about the area that you are getting tattooed, and how the artist will get to that area. Are you a woman getting upper chest work done? Then a white blouse and your favorite bra would be a bad choice. Are you getting your upper thigh done? Then tight pants would be a bad choice. Remember, we are using ink. Children are not allowed in our shop unless they are getting pierced. If you have children, make sure you have someone to watch them.
  • Do you reuse tattoo needles?
    Absaluty not! We carry only single use, starile needles for your safety we use 100% desposable tubes. We also cover everything that we touch or that can touch you as well as our surfaces with protective barriers. Every year our artists are required to take continued education on how to maintain a sanitary studio.
  • Does getting a tattoo hurt?
    Getting a tattoo does hurt. However, it is a pain that a very large amount of people have no problems dealing with. Pain management is crucial to assist with getting a great tattoo. Taking deep breaths, staying relaxed, and not moving is the best thing you can do.
  • Why don’t you use piercing guns?
    REUSABLE EAR PIERCING GUNS CAN PUT CLIENTS IN DIRECT CONTACT WITH THE BLOOD AND BODY FLUIDS OF PREVIOUS CLIENTS. Although they can become contaminated with bloodborne pathogens dozens of times in one day, ear piercing guns are often not sanitized in a medically recognized way. Plastic ear piercing guns cannot be autoclave sterilized and may not be sufficiently cleaned between use on multiple clients. Even if the antiseptic wipes used were able to kill all pathogens on contact, simply wiping the external surfaces of the gun with isopropyl alcohol or other antiseptics does not kill pathogens within the working parts of the gun. Blood from one client can aerosolize, becoming airborne in microscopic particles, and contaminate the inside of the gun. The next client’s tissue and jewelry may come into contact with these contaminated surfaces. There is thus a possibility of transmitting bloodborne disease-causing microorganisms through such ear piercing, as many medical studies report. As is now well known, the Hepatitis virus can live for extended periods of time on inanimate surfaces, and could be harbored within a piercing gun for several weeks or more. Hepatitis and common staph infections, which could be found on such surfaces, constitute a serious public health threat if they are introduced into even one reusable piercing gun. Considering the dozens of clients whose initial piercings may have direct contact with a single gun in one day, this is a cause for serious concern. Babies, young children, and others with immature or compromised immune systems may be at higher risk for contracting such infection. Additionally, it is not documented how often piercing guns malfunction. Some operators report that the earring adapter that holds the jewelry will often not release the earring, requiring its removal with pliers. These pliers, which contact contaminated jewelry immediately after it has passed through the client’s tissue, may be reused on multiple customers without full sterilization. Few, if any, gun piercing establishments possess the expensive sterilization equipment (steam autoclave) necessary for such a procedure. PIERCING GUNS CAN CAUSE SIGNIFICANT TISSUE DAMAGE. Though slightly pointy in appearance, most ear piercing studs are quite dull. Piercings must therefore be accomplished by using excessive pressure over a larger surface area in order to force the metal shaft through the skin. The effect on the body is more like a crush injury than a piercing and causes similar tissue damage. Medically, this is referred to as “blunt force trauma.” At the least, it can result in significant pain and swelling for the client, at the most in scarring and potentially increased incidence of auricular chondritis, a severe tissue disfigurement. Occasionally the intense pressure and speed of the gun’s spring-loaded mechanism is not sufficient to force the blunt jewelry through the flesh. In these cases, the earring stud may become lodged part way through the client’s ear. The gun operator, who may not be trained to deal with this possibility, has two options. S/he can remove the jewelry and repierce the ear, risking contamination of the gun and surrounding environment by blood flow from the original wound. Alternately, the operator can attempt to manually force the stud through the client’s flesh, causing excessive trauma to the client and risking a needlestick-type injury for the operator. How often such gun malfunction occurs has not been documented by manufacturers, but some gun operators report that it is frequent. When used on structural tissue such as cartilage, more serious complications such as auricular chondritis, shattered cartilage and excessive scarring are common. Gun piercings can result in the separation of subcutaneous fascia from cartilage tissue, creating spaces in which fluids collect. This can lead to both temporary swelling and permanent lumps of tissue at or near the piercing site. These range from mildly annoying to grossly disfiguring, and some require surgery to correct. Incidence can be minimized by having the piercing performed with a sharp surgical needle, which slides smoothly through the tissue and causes less tissue separation. A trained piercer will also use a post-piercing pressure technique that minimizes hypertrophic scar formation. Cartilage has less blood flow than lobe tissue and a correspondingly longer healing time. Therefore infections in this area are much more common and can be much more destructive. The use of non-sterile piercing equipment and insufficient aftercare has been associated with increased incidence of auricular chondritis, a severe and disfiguring infection in cartilage tissue. This can result in deformity and collapse of structural ear tissue, requiring antibiotic therapy and extensive reconstructive surgery to correct. Again, medical literature has documented many such cases and is available on request. THE LENGTH AND DESIGN OF GUN STUDS IS INAPPROPRIATE FOR HEALING PIERCINGS. Ear piercing studs are too short for some earlobes and most cartilage. Initially, the pressure of the gun’s mechanism is sufficient to force the pieces to lock over the tissue. However, once they are locked on, the compressed tissue cannot return to its normal state, is constricted and further irritated. At the least, the diminished air and blood circulation in the compressed tissue can lead to prolonged healing, minor complications and scarring. More disturbingly, the pressure of such tight jewelry can result in additional swelling and impaction. Both piercers and medical personnel have seen stud gun jewelry completely embedded in ear lobes and cartilage (as well as navels, nostrils and lips), even when pierced “properly” with a gun. This may require the jewelry to be cut out surgically, particularly in cases where one or both sides of the gun stud have disappeared completely beneath the surface of the skin. Such consequences are minimal when jewelry is custom fit to the client, allows sufficient room for swelling, and is installed with a needle piercing technique which creates less trauma and swelling. Jewelry that fits too closely also increases the risk of infection because it does not allow for thorough cleaning. During normal healing, body fluids containing cellular discharge and other products of the healing process are excreted from the piercing. But with inappropriate jewelry, they can become trapped around the hole. The fluid coagulates, becoming sticky and trapping bacteria against the skin. Unless thoroughly and frequently removed, this becomes an invitation to secondary infection. The design of the “butterfly” clasp of most gun studs can exacerbate this problem. Again, these consequences can be avoided with implant-grade jewelry that is designed for ease of cleaning and long-term wear. A FURTHER NOTE ON EAR PIERCING STUDS: Most ear piercing studs are not made of materials certified by the FDA or ASTM as safe for long term implant in the human body. Even when coated in non-toxic gold plating, materials from underlying alloys can leach into human tissue through corrosion, scratches and surface defects, causing cytotoxicity and allergic reaction. Since manufacturing a durable corrosion- and defect-free coating for such studs is extremely difficult, medical literature considers only implant grade (ASTM F138) steel and titanium (ASTM F67 and F136) to be appropriate for piercing stud composition. Studs made of any other materials, including non-implant grade steel (steel not batch certified as ASTM F138), should not be used, regardless of the presence of surface plating. MISUSE OF EAR PIERCING GUNS IS EXTREMELY COMMON. Even though many manufacturers’ instructions and local regulations prohibit it, some gun practitioners do not stop at piercing only the lobes, and may pierce ear cartilage, nostrils, navels, eyebrows, tongues and other body parts with the ear stud guns. This is absolutely inappropriate and very dangerous. Although gun piercing establishments usually train their operators, this training is not standardized and may amount to merely viewing a video, reading an instruction booklet, and/or practicing on cosmetic sponges or other employees. Allegations have been made that some establishments do not inform their employees of the serious risks involved in both performing and receiving gun piercings, and do not instruct staff on how to deal with situations such as client medical complications or gun malfunction. Indeed, surveys conducted in jewelry stores, beauty parlors and mall kiosks in England and the US revealed that many employees had little knowledge of risks or risk management related to their procedure. Considering that a large proportion of gun piercers’ clientele are minors or young adults, it is not surprising that few gun piercing complications are reported to medical personnel. Many clients may have been pierced without the knowledge or consent of parents or guardians who provide healthcare access. Therefore, the majority of the infections, scarring and minor complications may go unreported and untreated. Furthermore, because of the ease of acquiring a gun piercing and the lack of awareness of risk, many consumers fail to associate their negative experiences with the stud gun itself. They believe that, since it is quicker and easier to acquire a gun piercing than a manicure, gun piercing must be inherently risk-free. Often it is only when complications prove so severe as to require immediate medical attention that the connection is made and gun stud complications get reported to medical personnel. Despite these pronounced risks associated with gun piercing, most areas allow establishments using piercing guns to operate without supervision. Recent legislation has begun to prohibit the use of guns on ear cartilage and other non-lobe locations, and the state of New Hampshire has made all non-sterile equipment illegal, but these changes are not yet nationwide. It is our hope that, with accurate and adequate information, consumers and the legislatures will understand and reject the risks of gun piercing in the interests of the public health.
  • Why do piercings reject?
    First, we want to assure you that we have done our best to minimize the risk of a piercing rejecting through years of research and observation. We have researched and developed our techniques and continue to improve upon them to rule out negative side effects clients have experienced. A mixture of simplifications, precautions, and better judgment based on proven clinical and laboratory science makes the resulting piercings much more comfortable, infection free, and faster to heal. We found that friction, contamination, and chemical irritation greatly impede the comfort and successful healing of your piercing. Friction tends to come from jewelry that doesn’t fit properly, trying to heal a piercing with a ring shape, or a piercing that gets bumped around a lot or slept on during healing. Contamination is caused by dirty fingers and dirty fluids (DON’T touch your piercing!). Harsh aftercare products (antibacterial soap, strong salt solutions) and contamination from other personal care products (moisturizing soap, hair spray, shampoo, etc.) are the most common causes of chemical irritation. This unfortunately doesn’t mean that there is no risk of rejection. If you suspect that your piercing is rejecting, let us know. It may just be part of the normal healing process. It may be that we need to adjust the jewelry you are wearing. It may be that we need to help you figure out the source of a chemical irritation. Most of the time there is something we can do, even if it’s just to assure you that everything is okay.
  • How does pregnancy and breastfeeding affect piercings?
    One important safety consideration is that we are not permitted to pierce anyone while pregnant or for the first 6 months of breastfeeding. This is due to changes in your immune system as well as rare potential complications to the fetus/baby. For existing piercings, pregnancy and breastfeeding can have the following effects on your piercings. Pregnancy Since your whole stomach and breasts will change and stretch, you can anticipate some change in your piercings such as navel and nipples. You may also have generalized swelling due to water retention However, these changes vary widely. Not everyone changes their jewelry as they progress, but some women find that the most comfortable option for pregnancy isn’t the jewelry they started out wearing. A small percentage of women find that their piercings are rejected from the body, but this is far from the most common occurrence. The process of rejection usually sets in when the area lacks circulation, such as if your navel jewelry is too tight to allow your belly to expand. If you are experiencing discomfort, let us know so that we can determine more suitable options such as a looser fit for your jewelry. It is also a good idea to ask your healthcare practitioner whether or not they allow you to leave the jewelry in during the birth. Our clients and friends have worn body jewelry of all kinds through labor and delivery over the last decade. If you will be removing it, we can help you in advance and show you how to remove and reinsert the jewelry if you are not already familiar with it. Breastfeeding Nipple piercing does not prevent breastfeeding from happening. In fact, many lactating women find that a small amount of milk will also come out of the piercing, which is harmless. However, you will want your nipple piercings to be very well healed by the time you conceive. The changes that a woman’s body undergoes during pregnancy can make it next to impractical for these piercings to finish healing at that time. Most mothers choose to remove the jewelry when breastfeeding to avoid injury to the piercing and for maximum comfort for both mother and baby. Beads, threaded balls, and rings are choking hazards for infants if they come loose accidentally with the motion of feeding. If the piercings are very well healed by the time breastfeeding begins the jewelry may be easily removed and reinserted. If the piercings are not well healed, consistent removal and reinsertion will probably prove to be impossible. Remember to wash your hands with a liquid soap before removing the jewelry or touching the piercing. Also, be sure to keep your jewelry on a clean surface, such as in a jewelry pouch or in a disposable cup. If you are pregnant, trying to conceive, or nursing and are interested in getting a nipple piercing, wait until you are finished breastfeeding.
  • How can I find high quality body jewelry?
    With body jewelry being sold everywhere from fine jewelry stores to gas stations, it can be hard to separate the true gems from the worthless junk. It’s important to realize that no government agency certifies or regulates body jewelry. So, how do you make sure you’re getting a good deal, both for your wallet and the health of your piercing? Outlets that care only sell sterilized, ready to wear jewelry. Because you’re putting body jewelry in an enclosed space, it’s important that it be sterilized even if it’s going into a healed piercing. A small number of germs can easily multiply and cause problems. There’s nothing you can do at home to sterilize jewelry. It takes high pressure steam at high temperatures for an extended period to accomplish this. Boiling isn’t enough, and chemicals can damage your jewelry or leave toxic residues. Used or previously worn jewelry should also be completely avoided as even the most effective sterilizers can’t remove someone else’s germs. Make sure returns are not accepted and no one is allowed to try on jewelry. Jewelry for everyday wear should be implant-grade. Materials that meet standards for human implant have been tested and proven safe for you body, especially for extended periods. Manufacturers are also held to higher standards for purity when they make implant materials. While this is most important for new, unhealed piercings, even healed piercings will benefit from implant grade materials. These materials are the least likely to cause allergic reactions or inflammation in the short term. They are least likely to cause long term damage, like damage to nerve endings and blood vessels around the piercing, or damage to internal organs. Beware of generic terms like “hypoallergenic” or “surgical steel” since these terms have no real definition. Also look out for misleading advice like vendors who brag about “grade 23” titanium, which is aircraft/industrial grade, not implant grade. High quality gold (14k or 18k) has had a long history of use inside the body, and may be ok for you. The problem is manufacturers aren’t required to say what else is mixed in, so stay alert for signs of an allergic reaction. It’s safe to stick with titanium (ASTM F136 or F67), glass, or implant-grade silicone or Makralon. Read an article from Brian Skellie about the differences between implant-grade titanium and other standards. Treat other materials as costume jewelry. There are plenty of beautiful materials that may be ok for you to wear for short periods (usually up to 8 hours) but may cause problems. This includes silver, or more traditional/ethnic materials like woods, water buffalo horn, bone, or stone (like for larger ear piercings). These materials shouldn’t be worn in the shower or when you’re sweating either, as this can damage the jewelry or lead to more serious reactions with your skin. It’s also possible that you may be allergic to these materials and simply cannot wear them. Never settle for external threads. Much of the jewelry sold at places like the mall has a screw-thread on the post of the jewelry and a threaded hole in the ball end when it’s unscrewed. This means you have to push a sharp object through your piercing every time you take it in or out, which will certainly do damage. The other issue is that the tolerances between the post and the ball aren’t very tight, so body fluids and bacteria can build up in that gap. This gives an increased risk of infection. And, it makes it more likely for the balls to accidently unscrew and fall off. Quality jewelry has internal threading, meaning the post is round and smooth and the ball has threads sticking out of it. In addition to less damage going through your piercing, the tighter tolerances between the post and the threads means cleaner, safer jewelry and a more secure fit. Gemstones should be set with true bezel or prong settings. In these settings the metal of the jewelry securely holds the gem in place. Inferior jewelry has glued on gems. The adhesives can soften at body temperature and/or over time, letting the gems simply fall off. Use quality synthetic or genuine gemstones. There are now high quality lab-grown (synthetic) gems that mimic or even exceed the color, brilliance, and shine of natural gems. And genuine gemstones are always great. However, foil-backed crystals are another issue. These substitutes rely on a foil backing behind a less brilliant material like glass to produce their sparkle. The problem is the foil can tarnish over time leading to black or discolored gems, or simply wear away. Another issue is that many of the foils used contain lead. Jewelry should be polished mirror smooth. Not only does this give you the best looking jewelry, it keeps your piercing healthy. Jewelry that isn’t properly polished has microscopic roughness that can pick at and callus your piercing over time. This can cause inflammation, toughness, and de-sensitivity. It can also cause significantly longer healing times and more scar tissue if improperly polished jewelry is worn in unhealed piercings. Avoid plated jewelry. Many of the platings used on body jewelry are designed for industrial products like tools and were never intended for use inside the human body. The platings can also chip or peal over time and get embedded in your piercing. This can cause significant damage, swelling and discomfort. Stick to nickel-free jewelry. This advice is obvious if you have a nickel allergy, especially since this is one of the most common metal allergies, But even if you don’t, nickel bearing alloys can cause damage such as tougher scar tissue and damage to nerve endings and blood vessels surrounding the piercing. The longer you wear jewelry containing nickel, the more damage occurs. This is a big reason that the entire European Union restricted the use of nickel years ago. Many sites will give misleading information about nickel content in their jewelry, especially when it comes to different types of steel. Don’t wear acrylic / plastic. The price point may seem appealing, but there are several downsides. Acrylic cannot be sterilized as it melts and cannot be chemically disinfected because it absorbs the chemicals. The material contains known carcinogenic chemicals and is rated as a “slightly toxic” chemical on its MSDS. It chemically breaks down and cracks and crazes at body temperatures. This causes an increased release of irritating chemicals. It also means bacteria can start to grow in the cracks. Acrylic is also a very brittle material and can simply crack or break.
  • How do I properly stretch/gauge my piercing?
    First, let’s talk proper terminology. When you make a piercing bigger, you are stretching it or enlarging it. When you measure something, you’re gauging it. Gauging is not enlarging. The trick with stretching/enlarging piercings is to take things slow and easy. Understand that your piercings enlarge naturally. Your body doesn’t like things to be tight, so it makes space around the jewelry you’re wearing. You simply take advantage of that extra room by inserting a slightly larger piece of jewelry, and let the process repeat itself. Our approach to enlarging a fully healed piercing: You should notice that your piercing will be more easily able to fit larger pieces if you work on softening the collagen and elastin bonds in the skin around the piercing. This can be accomplished by massaging your piercing with a skin-friendly oil rich in vitamins such as cocoa butter, extra virgin olive oil, jojoba oil, etc. An easy routine is to take out your jewelry prior to bathing, wash the piercing, dry it, then massage with your oil of choice before reinserting your jewelry. You are likely to find that the skin is smoother and more elastic after a few days of this. Most people can move up a size in 4-6 weeks at smaller sizes, 6-8 weeks plus as you continue to stretch. NEVER force jewelry in. What we DO NOT recommend: We highly suggest that you do not tear your piercings by lubricating pointy jewelry, a taper, etc. and forcing it through your piercing. The stretch marks and excess scar tissue make the results unattractive compared to enlarging the piercing naturally, and can make it harder for you to enlarge the piercing in the future.
  • What Is Aseptic Technique?
    More in depth information on aseptic technique in an article written by Jeff Martin & Brian Skellie. Information provided by Jeff Martin & Brian Skellie Practical application of sterile technique does not mean that everything in the room is sterile (this is a common misconception). Using sterile technique with integrity does mean reducing the amount of microbial contamination from 100% to 1-8%. (An attainable minimum.) Sterile technique is not more expensive than other methods. On the whole most studios spend less to use sterile technique than using other methods. With healing times reduced systematically from 6-12 months to 30-90 days for all piercings, changing jewelry becomes less formidable. Complications, swelling, and infection are greatly reduced. Any time there is a break in the skin sterile technique should be employed, e.g. changing jewelry on an unhealed piercing. Sterile technique is not one set-in-stone method, this is a guideline for establishing your own individual technique. The methods described may at first seem difficult or unattainable, but these methods are most assuredly easier than current “industry standard” techniques. (We are currently aware of just over twenty individuals we have worked with who say they are consistently practicing appropriate sterile technique.Please speak up if you are using this method.) Glove usage can be reduced from 3-8 pairs to 2-3 pairs. Gloves can even be effectively sterilized in an autoclave (powderless nitrile or latex). Having a controlled air flow in the piercing room is a plus, the cleanest air should be traveling over the client/sterile field first, then the piercer, and then out the exhaust vent. Airborne contamination is the second most common cause for infection, break in field is the first. Airborne contaminants could cause infection, break in sterile field or lack thereof could result in transmission of client to client bloodborne disease, such as HCV (Hepatitis C). This greatly increases the risk to the piercer. Definitions: 1.Sterile: Absence of viable microbes 2.Sterile field: area in which no viable microbes exist 3.Unsterile: has not been appropriately sterilized, has come in contact with an item that is no longer considered sterile, has entered a field that is not sterile, or has exceeded its shelf life 4.Shelf-life: length of time that an item that has been sterilized and packaged is considered to still be sterile if the package is unopened – up to one month 5.Contaminated: an item, surface or field that has come in contact with anything that is not sterile e.g. broken packaging Techniques: 1.Sterile technique starts after the client has been marked and prepped for the piercing, clean exam gloves may be used for the preparation of the client for piercing. 2.Use only sterile materials in a sterile field. 3.A sterile towel or the inside of the equipment package may be used to create a sterile field. 4.Any wet surface will be contaminated as liquid carries contaminants through – “strike through”. 5.Packages placed on a clean surface are contaminated on the outside, but the inside of the sterilized package may be used as a sterile field. 6.If working with others in a sterile field never face the back of another; back to back or front to front is acceptable. 7.Keep sterile gloved hands above waist level; do not let hands hang below waist. 8.Face, eye, mouth protection in the form of goggles, masks, face shields should be used to protect yourself to avoid the possibility of body fluid splatter. 9.Edges of any container are unsterile. 10.We accept the level of contamination from the air, but not from an unsterile object or field. 11.Never remove and then replace any item in the field e.g. picking up a tool then setting it back down, the field is now contaminated. 12.Assume the outside of the single use tube/pack is unsterile. Do not touch any part of the tube including the tip. The contents of the tube can sometimes be squeezed onto a dressing before sterile gloves are donned. (Remember that if the field becomes moistened, it becomes contaminated. If you use lubricants, they must be put on an impervious plastic or metal surface as a barrier e.g. the sterile inside plastic of the equipment packaging.) 13.The inside of a sterile package remains so if peeled open properly. It is safer to open the package all the way to avoid reaching over an unsterile area of the package, but the longer the package is open, the more contamination from the air occurs. 14Masks must be worn to limit the amount of biological material from a person’s breath – both from getting into the client’s tissue and contaminating the field. 15.Remove all dangling earrings, bracelets, necklaces; it is advisable to remove wristwatches, bracelets and rings before hand washing and donning sterile gloves. Hand Washing: 1.Resident skin microbes, while not generally pathogenic, will cause infection when deposited into client’s tissue 2.Microbes may also be transmitted from clients to piercer. 3.Hand Hygiene: hand washing vs. scrubbing vs. alcohol-based hand sanitizer: 4.Hand washing is a vigorous and brief rubbing of hand surfaces together with lathered hands, followed by rinsing with flowing water. Scrubbing is a specific sequence of cleaning required to enter a sterile field that also requires a mask. Hand sanitation uses an alcohol based hand sanitizer to kill microbes on visibly clean hands, but is not appropriate for hands that are visibly dirty. See CDC Hand Hygiene guidelines. 5.Proper hand washing technique avoids touching the sink with the hands. It is preferable to have water controls and soap dispensers that use knee, sensor, or foot controls. If not available, use clean paper towels to touch faucet controls. Proper handwashing may be followed by drying with paper towels, but contact with outside of towel dispenser must be avoided. 6.Turn on faucet with clean paper towel. 7.Operate soap control with foot control or use clean paper towel. 8.Wash inter-digitally for 30 seconds. 9.Rinse thoroughly under flowing water, but do not make contact with faucet or sink. If contact is made, hand washing must be re-started.. 10.Allow water to run toward elbows; do not allow water from arm to run down to hands. 11.Dry with clean paper towels and then turn off water with paper towels. 12.Disposable soap containers are preferred over refillable containers unless sterilized between refills; bar soap should not be used. 13.Avoid being splashed at the sink. 14.Hand hygiene must be preformed before and after each client contact and with any glove changes. Gloving: 1.Inside of package is sterile. 2.Peel package open and be sure all other needed packages are open before gloving and hands will not need to go outside of sterile field. 3.Pull inside package open using folded over part of wrapper in the center. Avoid touching the inner surface of this wrapper. Pull hard enough to keep wrapper open. Wrapper will re-close if not pulled far enough. 4.Inside of gloves are considered unsterile; hands may touch insides of gloves, but not the outside. Outside of one glove may touch outside of the other but not skin or inside of glove. 5.Reach carefully, sliding one hand into glove. With the other hand, pull on the inside surface of glove until fingers are in. Do not try to pull first glove all of the way on, do not try to adjust glove! 6.With gloved hand scoop underneath fold in remaining glove so that the outside of gloved hand makes contact with the outside of the remaining glove. 7.Place remaining hand into glove and pull all of the way on with gloved hand, only touching outside of glove. 8.Then, touching only outside surfaces of gloves, perform final adjustments. 9.When gloves are removed, the outsides of the gloves should only touch the outside of the other glove, not the skin; carefully pull gloves off inside out so that hands only contact inside surface of gloves 10.Wash hands as soon as possible after gloves are removed. Do not write notes, restock supplies, etc. before doing so.
  • Use of previously worn body jewelry.
    *For reuse by the original wearer only!* Previously worn jewelry should be handled with the same precautions as contaminated equipment. Universal precautions should be adhered to whenever previously worn jewelry is handled. Before previously worn jewelry is reused, the jewelry should be cleaned of adherent client material by scrubbing with detergent and water. Jewelry should then be autoclave sterilized prior to reuse on the original wearer only. Persons handling previously worn jewelry should wear gloves. Gloves should be disposed of properly and hands washed after completion of work activities. Additional personal protective equipment (e.g., face shield or surgical mask and protective eyewear) should be worn if contact with debris or spatter is anticipated when the jewelry is handled, cleaned, or manipulated. Work surfaces and equipment should be cleaned and decontaminated with an appropriate liquid chemical germicide after completion of work activities.
  • Methods of Sterilization or Disinfection of Equipment
    Before sterilization or high-level disinfection, equipment should be cleaned thoroughly to remove debris. Persons involved in cleaning and reprocessing instruments should wear heavy-duty (reusable utility) gloves to lessen the risk of hand injuries. Placing instruments into a container of water or disinfectant/detergent as soon as possible after use will prevent drying of client material and make cleaning easier and more efficient. Cleaning may be accomplished by thorough scrubbing with soap and water or a detergent solution, or with a mechanical device (e.g., an ultrasonic cleaner). The use of covered ultrasonic cleaners, when possible, is recommended to increase efficiency of cleaning and to reduce handling of contaminated instruments. All critical and semicritical equipment that is heat stable should be sterilized by steam under pressure (autoclaving), following the instructions of the manufacturers of the instruments and the sterilizers. Critical and semicritical instruments that will not be used immediately should be packaged before sterilization. Proper functioning of sterilization cycles should be verified by the periodic use (at least monthly) of biologic indicators (i.e., spore tests). Heat-sensitive chemical indicators (e.g., those that change color after exposure to heat) alone do not ensure adequacy of a sterilization cycle but may be used on the outside of each pack to identify packs that have been processed through the heating cycle. A simple and inexpensive method to confirm heat penetration to all instruments during each cycle is the use of a chemical indicator inside and in the center of either a load of unwrapped instruments or in each multiple instrument pack. Instructions provided by the manufacturers of sterilization devices should be followed closely. In all piercing settings, indications for the use of liquid chemical germicides to sterilize equipment (i.e., “cold sterilization”) are limited. For heat-sensitive instruments, this procedure may require up to 10 hours of exposure to a liquid chemical agent registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a “sterilant/disinfectant.” This sterilization process should be followed by aseptic rinsing with sterile water, drying, and, if the equipment is not used immediately, placement in a sterile container. EPA-registered “sterilant/disinfectant” chemicals are used to attain high-level disinfection of heat-sensitive semicritical instruments. The product manufacturers’ directions regarding appropriate concentration and exposure time should be followed closely. The EPA classification of the liquid chemical agent (i.e., “sterilant/disinfectant”) will be shown on the chemical label. Liquid chemical agents that are less potent than the “sterilant/disinfectant” category are not appropriate for reprocessing critical or semicritical instruments.
  • Sterilization or Disinfection of Equipment
    For the purposes of clarity, equipment used for piercing will be classified into three categories — critical, semicritical, or noncritical — depending on their risk of transmitting infection and the need to sterilize them between uses. Each piercing studio should classify all instruments as follows: Critical. Piercing implements which are used during piercing procedures which may contact blood or other bodily fluids, or which come in direct contact with skin which is not intact are classified as critical and should be sterilized before each use and disposed of. These devices include needles, tapers, forceps, and receiving tubes. Semicritical. Items such as calipers, gauge wheels, and marking implements which do not come in contact with broken skin but may contact mucous membranes and oral tissues are classified as semicritical. These devices should be disposable or sterilized after each use. If, however, sterilization is not feasible because the instrument will be damaged by heat, the instrument should receive, at a minimum, high-level disinfection. Noncritical. Equipment such as client hand mirrors that come into contact only with intact skin are classified as noncritical. Because these noncritical surfaces have a relatively low risk of transmitting infection, they may be reprocessed between clients with intermediate-level or low-level disinfection or detergent and water washing, depending on the nature of the surface and the degree and nature of the contamination.
  • Risk of transmission of HBV, HCV and HIV in body piercings or tattoos "
    Although the possibility of transmission of bloodborne infections from Artist to client is considered to be small, precise risks have not been quantified in the tattoo & piercing studio setting by carefully designed epidemiologic studies. Reports published Reports of transmission this way have been documented in other countries. In the United States, studies have reported no association between HCV infection and body piercing or tattoo exposures. However, the infection control practices among commercial and noncommercial establishments of this type can vary widely. Also, hepatitis B virus (HBV) has been transmitted through these types of exposures.
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