piercing, piercer, find a piercer, find a reputable piercer, new piercing, piercing tips

How To Find A Reputable Piercer

So, you’ve decided that it’s time for some new bling in your life, now what! While it’s easy to believe that selecting the location of your next piercing is the hard part, your work is only just beginning! Arguably the most important decision you will make is what piercer you should go to. So, how do you find a reputable piercer? 

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The role of a piercer is more than the final act of piercing your body, they are there as a source of knowledge, wisdom and guidance to assist you in making the right decisions along the way. For example, there are some piercings that are suited to specific body types or conditions for fear of the irritating or even outright painful process of rejection. They will help ensure that you select suitable jewelry to avoid complications, ensure that the area they are working in is clean and sanitary, and, at the end of the day, have your best interests at heart each step of the way.

piercing, piercer, find a piercer, find a reputable piercer, new piercing, piercing tips

As I have revealed in other posts (and likely not a surprise to anyone that has spent much time here at Alternatively Speaking) I have had a few different piercings of my own over the years. Looking back, I’ve had some PHENOMENAL piercers and I’ve had at least one situation that I am lucky I came out of unscathed (I was young and stupid). I hope that in sharing this, I will help you avoid my mistakes and potentially worse consequences.

When selecting the piercer for your next work, I believe that there are 4 categories that you should focus your selection on: Piercer, Portfolio, Atmosphere and Price. Take the time to thoroughly examine all of your options with these 4 criteria in mind – Be selective, don’t settle for anything that doesn’t feel right, after all this is your health on the line!

Most importantly, don’t be afraid to walk away. If you’ve checked all 10 piercers in your local city and none of them are meeting your standards, take a deep breath, you aren’t done yet! Start looking into neighbouring towns and cities. You’d be shocked to see how many options are out there, and even more importantly, how many phenomenal piercers are out there.

One great resource that you may wish to consult is the Association of Professional Piercers (APP). An international organization, the APP is dedicated to sharing quality information regarding body piercing and promoting a safer experience for all involved. Their members are upheld to a high standard of safety and hygiene, even more so than the basic government regulations. Therefore, if you start by locating any APP members in your area, you’re off to a good start! You can search their list of members HERE.


Never agree to get a piercer done without first getting to know who is going to be doing the work. Why? This is the person that you are allowing to directly touch and alter your body, and you shouldn’t hand out that level of trust lightly!

When you meet with a prospective piercer, don’t hold back. Ask them any questions that you may have about their experience, the piercing itself, the methods they use, jewellery selection, and more. This will help you to gauge whether you are talking to someone that is knowledgeable and whether they are going to take the time to answer your questions throughout the process. You also want someone who is confident in what they do.

A few important things to watch out for: You want to ensure that you’re working with someone who has obtained any licensing required in your area. Make sure you do your research before you go so that you are aware of what you’re looking for. Furthermore, you want someone who is willing to take the time with you individually, not just knocking piercings out without care for the person in their chair. Pay attention to the way they interact with their fellow staff and the clientele that you see come in.

Finally, ask about the methods that they use. This is a BIG one. You want to find a piercer that uses a needle as opposed to just the gun (that can cause more damage than it’s worth), as well as the necessary clamps and receiving tubs (all of which should also be sterilized).


If you are speaking with an experienced piercer, they will have a portfolio available that you will be able to look through. This should showcase a selection of different piercings from all over the body to show the capabilities of their work. Watch for any big red flags, like straight piercings where curved bars should have been used (a surface piercing for example), poor placement or obvious signs of irritation. If you notice any of these, run the other way.

Some may fight me on this point BUT I also believe that the quality of a piercer’s portfolio says a lot about their work, as it’s a great insight into their professionalism. Is it neat and carefully laid out, with good quality photos? Are any 18+ type photos stored in a separate book, available upon request? Do they store it as though they respect what it stands for, or do they just throw it aside as if it’s unimportant?

If you see anything in the portfolio that you are unsure about, or that triggers specific questions, don’t hesitate to ask them!


When you meet a piercer at their shop, you’re not only checking out the quality of the piercer, but also the location that they are working in. You want to ensure that you are getting your work done in a clean, sterile environment. This doesn’t mean it has to be a bigger, fancier shop. There are some great shops that are smaller in size.

Is the shop visibly tidy or is there garbage laying around? Is their jewellery stored in a clean and safe location? What vibe do you get off the staff that you met? While many people will write off the idea of a ‘gut feeling’ as a silly waste of time, don’t be so quick to dismiss it! Your gut is there to warn you that something isn’t right, and while you may not be able to put your finger on it, don’t chance it. There are enough options out there that you don’t have to settle for a situation where ‘something’s off’.

Another important factor to consider is how they are treating you as a potential client. Are you being pressured to make a decision, or are they answering your questions and encouraging you to move at your own pace? You may be nervous, unsure or not 100% committed quite yet and that’s okay! A professional piercer will talk it through with you, helping to ease your concerns.  


When you read ‘price’, this may not be here for the reasons you think. I am in no way advocating for selecting your piercer based on the price that they are charging. Honestly, you get what you pay for and selecting based on price is likely going to steer you down a very concerning road. However, there are a few things regarding the price that you need to consider.

Having done your research in advance, are they a reasonable price compared to others in your market? It’s fair to want to know that you aren’t being taken advantage of. On the other hand, if their price is lower, is there a reason? Are they using high-quality jewellery or using lower quality items to cut the price down? Does the price including the piercing and the jewellery, or is there a hidden cost that you may be overlooking? Make sure you are 100% aware of what you are committing to.

If you’re getting your first piercing, you may find yourself feeling completely overwhelmed. Know that you’re not alone! In fact, Riana from RianaShahid.com is currently deciding on a new piercing, her first outside of a basic earlobe piercing, so she’s currently walking in your shoes! Stay tuned as she shares her own experience, including the highs and lows, the questions she has along the way and the information she wished someone had given her in advance. You may just learn something new!

Do you currently have any piercings? What was one thing you wish someone had told you before you pulled the trigger? I’d love to hear it in the comments!

20 thoughts on “How To Find A Reputable Piercer”

  1. This is such a good (and different) post! Where I’m from, there’s really only one well-known piercer/tattooist. He did my belly button, which I had for 6 years and no complaints. But he also did my nose (which I had for a short time until my work yelled at me for it) and I couldn’t get the damn thing out cause the very tip of it was curved inward, so it wasn’t big enough to go through the hole, and my dad had to use pliers to break it off.

    But what you said about looking in different areas I totally agree with. People around here just go to the same person instead of taking the time to look at someone better. It’s similar to tattoo artists.

    However, I’ve said for years the first thing I’m doing when I quit my current job is getting my nose re-done 🙂

    1. It’s so true, people often settle for ‘who they heard is good’ or ‘who is available’ and they don’t realize that in doing so they may be settling for less

    1. I’ve been itching for a double nostril piercing, so I might have to just go for it in the near future lol – it never seems to be top priority haha

  2. While the only thing I have pierced is my ears, these are great tips for any type of body piercing/tattooing. I think too many people kind of “go with the flow” and do these things on impulse without thinking about the repercussions that may result. Great post!

    1. Definitely, as I admitted, I have in the past! We’re quick to forget that this is something that could be risking our health if we’re not smart about it

  3. I have a few piercings. I have a nose stud (which i’ve had done 4? times now), my septum and my tongue pierced. I used to have my lip pierced but had to take it out for work and let it close up. You give some great advice here and I cannot agree with the pricing part more. Some people chose their piercers (and even tattoo artists) based on their prices and think if one does it for a low price that all should and the quality of work is never on par with artists and piercers who charge more. While I don’t want to be ripped off, I want someone who takes pride in their work. The piercer I go to won out because a) they were amazing and honest and answered all my questions when I walked in and met them. I told them I wasn’t getting pierced that day and they were totally fine with that. b) their store front was SOOO clean and sterile that I felt comfortable having them put needles through my skin and c) while they were higher priced and 20 minutes away, their work is always great, no infections, no side effects, no problems of any kind other than the typical swelling issues (specifically tongue) and they have no problem helping me switch out my jewelry if i’m not comfortable doing it myself and they never charge for it.

    1. That’s just it, while we should be aware of pricing across the industry to be sure we’re not being ripped off by an overconfident or ‘fad’ piercer, choosing who is going to do your work based on price is a dangerous option… My health is worth more than saving a few dollars.

  4. A really useful and informative post! I’m lucky to have found a reputable piercer in my local area. My grown-up daughter uses the piercer too now and we have never had any problems. I’ve been struggling to find a reputable piercer for my 5-year-old who wants her ears pierced. (She must be 14+ to visit our piercer). Some stores offer the service but their staff have received very little training. xxx


    1. I always cringe at the idea of stores offering this service. They take barely trained people and then put a piercing gun in their hands, which statistically causes more problems… I’m glad you’re looking for a better option!

  5. I’m actually quite lucky that I never had any problems with my piercings, because I did exactly zero research! I even got my eyebrow and tongue done together because the place had a 2 for one special, haha. I didn’t even want a tongue piercing, but I didn’t think I could get away with returning to work with 2 visible piercings.

    Then I did my nose piercing myself with a piercing needle I bought off ebay! This all happened 15 years ago, or more, so I blame youth.

    1. We’ve all been young and stupid – I got a fresh tattoo then went swimming in the lake later that day (because I was young and invincible, right?)

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