Ballpark Estimate: $25 to $100
If you appreciate the art of body piercings, you probably know that a “hole” lot of options exist. In fact, today most body parts can be pierced and then adorned with the jewelry of your choice, and the cost of this service isn’t likely to set you back much – as long as you don’t experience any side effects.
The Art of Body Piercing
While many young people pierce different parts of their body as a form of self expression, the use of body piercing actually dates back to ancient times. Some of the earliest forms of this practice were seen in Egypt, Greece and Rome, and allowed people a non-verbal way to communicate their positions in society, as well as a way to banish evil spirits.
In more modern days, body piercing has been viewed as an alternative practice and even as a mild form of rebellion, but over the past decade or so, it has been becoming much more mainstream. As a result, now it’s very common to see people with multiple ear, nose and naval piercings. Just keep in mind that certain parts of the body heal better, and more quickly, than others so you’ll want to do some research first so you’ll know exactly what to expect in advance.
In order to have body piercing professionally done, most states require you to be 18 years of age or older. Therefore, young people may need to bring proof of age, such as a birth certificate. However, some places will allow people who don’t meet the age requirement to bring a parent or guardian with them to the piercing salon in order to give their formal consent for the procedure.
Before you select a body piercing salon, it’s important to find a place that comes highly recommended by clients and professionals. Also make sure that any place you’re considering is extremely clean, uses proper sterilizing techniques and meets the local board of health regulations (if any exist in your state).
Further, be sure that the staff members have their license to perform piercings. This is a requirement in some states, but not all of them, which means that some piercers have very little training and can put therefore put you at unnecessary risk for things to go wrong. You should also steer clear of salons that use piercing guns, since these can’t be sterilized after use and can pose a risk of infection for the client.
The Association of Professional Piercers (APP) provides a list of registered members who follow proper safety regulations. When looking for a reputable body piercing shop, the AAP website can be a great place to start finding reliable places in your area.
Play It Safe
In addition to selecting the right place, you’ll also need put some of your own precautions in place. For instance, you’ll want to be up-to-date with your vaccines (including hepatitis B and tetanus). For mouth or tongue piercings, you’ll need very healthy gums and teeth for best results. You’ll also want to be prepared to care for your piercing while it heals and to recognize the signs of any side effects.
Finally, people with diabetes, as well as those who suffer from immune system disorders, heart disease or other chronic medical conditions should always check with their doctor before considering piercing any body parts, since they may not be able to heal properly. The rule of thumb is that you should also avoid getting any body piercings done while pregnant.
What to Expect
When you get a piercing (or multiple piercings) done, the piercer usually uses a needle to make a hole in the designated spot. The jewelry you select is then inserted into the hole. This can be painful in some cases, and it can also cause a small amount of bleeding. Both issues usually resolve quickly, though. The experts recommend that you do not take aspirin or other pain medication when you have this done, since this can cause heavier bleeding. The amount of pain you experience will depend on the part of the body being pierced. Your tongue will be especially sensitive and can swell up afterwards, so be prepared if you decide to have a piercing done on your tongue. You’ll probably need to ice to help numb the spot for a few days following the procedure as it heals. Most other piercings feel better much more quickly.
Piercings require some ongoing care afterwards, so you should be ready to clean the area regularly and help avoid an infection from occurring. To this end, you should always wash your hands with soap and water before touching your piercing, and use warm water to remove any crusting on your skin. A gentle saline solution (look for one that’s fragrant-free) or non-iodized sea salt mixture can be used to wash around the piercing. Carefully rinse the area and pat it dry. You should repeat this cleaning ritual twice a day until the piercing heals. Also be sure not to let anyone else touch your piercing, and don’t let it come into contact with any fragranced lotions, soaps or hair products until your skin has completely healed.
You should also know that the amount of time it takes for a body piercing to heal will depend on where the spot is located. For instance, your tongue will heal in about a month, while your ear lobe and eyebrow will heal within two months or less. A pierced lip or nostril can take as long as four months to recover. A pierced nipple or belly button can take up to six months or more to completely heal.
To help speed up the recovery process, you can take a multi-vitamin that contains Vitamin C and Zinc.
Most people tolerate body piercings without any ill effects, but there are some serious risks that do exist and it’s important to know them up front. Some of the dangers include infections, bacteria, allergic reactions, hepatitis, HIV, tetanus and other problems. If you suspect you have these or other problems after a body piercing, always seek prompt medical care.
What It Costs
What you can expect to spend for body piercing depends on the area of the body you want pierced, since some places are more difficult and time intensive to do than others and therefore will cost more.
Here is a sampling of about what you can expect to spend to pierce different body parts. These prices include basic hypoallergenic jewelry that is inserted into the hole as part of the procedure. (Note that many salons will let you pay an additional fee to upgrade to higher quality and/or more elaborate jewelry options.)
- Ears: $25 to $50
- Nose: $40 to $60
- Eyebrows: $30 to $60
- Tongue: $50 to $85
- Belly Button: $40 to $65
- Intimate Body Parts: $50 to $100
So you can expect to spend between $25 and $100 for most body piercings.
A Word of Caution: It’s important to keep in mind that although you may be able to find piercers who will charge you less, this isn’t necessarily a good thing if they are keeping their overhead down by relaxing their sterilization or cleanliness standards. Since this could put your health in real danger, it’s important to be sure you are using a reputable place regardless of how much they charge.
Part of the allure of having a body piercing is selecting fun jewelry to give your look some pizzazz. Until your piercing heals, you’ll need to select jewelry that meets the safety standards for “implant grade” that are set by the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM). In general, implant grade stainless steel is a practical and inexpensive choice. If you want higher quality, though, you can spend more for 18-karat gold or higher, titanium or niobium. (Just keep in mind that the experts advise against using silver until your piercing has healed correctly and is no longer sensitive.)
You can find jewelry in a variety of styles, too, such as studs, barbells and ball closure rings. To give you an example of price, you can expect to spend under $10 for a basic stainless steel stud, while a gold naval bar can cost you in the $150 range of higher, depending on the quality, length and thickness/gauge.
Since body piercings are done for cosmetic reasons, they are not covered by insurance. However, if you experience any negative health reactions or side effects, these usually will be covered under your medical plan.