Tattoo and Piercing Safety

Overview

If you are thinking about having a tattoo or body piercing, go to a reputable studio. Look for or ask about the following:

  • Is it clean?
    • The entire studio, including the bathroom, should be clean.
  • Do the tattoo or piercing artists follow these steps to prevent infection?
    • Wash their hands before putting on new, disposable gloves.
    • Clean the client's skin properly with iodine or alcohol before the procedure.
    • For tattoos, they use sterile equipment, new needles, and disposable single-use ink cups for each tattoo. And they use sterile water to dilute ink or rinse needles during tattooing.
    • For body piercing, they use sterile needles that are only used once.
  • What type of training does the person doing the tattooing or piercing have?
  • Is a piercing gun used to do the procedure?
    • Do not have any kind of piercing done with a piercing gun. These instruments increase your risk of infection because they cannot be sterilized between procedures.

  • What kind of jewelry is used for the piercing?
    • For a new piercing, use nonallergenic jewelry made of material such as surgical steel, gold, or titanium.
    • Do not use nickel or brass-plated jewelry.
    • Choose jewelry that has not been used or worn or that has been sterilized.

Credits

Current as of: November 15, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
H. Michael O'Connor MD - Emergency Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine