Non-specialist Piercers

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Saturday April 18th, 2009 @ 1:06 PM

Filed under: Piercing

Hi people,

I’m a reporter writing for the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism about body piercing and the growth in non-specialist businesses like hairdressers and beauticians who are performing piercings.

What do you think: Is this trend real, or just anecdotal?

How widespread is it?

What are the issues related to unqualified or inexperienced piercers: hygeine, use of guns, lack of advice or information, piercing kids who are underage?

If this trend is real, what impact is it having?

My story is mainly about Sydney, Australia but I welcome comments from around the world. Please too feel welcome to share any contacts you would speak to if you were me writing this story.

Thanks for your help,


I’m going to throw this one out there. Get sharing your thoughts, folks.

Personally, I believe that piercings should only be performed by competant piercers who have gone through decent apprenticeships and performed in purpose built studios, not hairdressing salons or the like. Unfortunately in the UK it is real, it does happen and piercing guns are frequently used. The reason why it is popular is mainly due to it being a cheaper option and also the fact that the majority of people out there are ignorant to the risks of being pierced by someone I would struggle to refer to as a professional piercer in an inappropriate setting.

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11 Responses to “Non-specialist Piercers”

  1. There is a place here in WEM in canada that does this, a jewelry store. Trying to cut out the middle man they claim to be fully trained and fully sanitized. But i have my doubts. I think the main reason people go to these is that many older women are afraid or not comfortable with going into piercing places, or it’s just convience.

    Lucas on April 18th, 2009 at 1:57 pm
  2. Good Morning Jason

    I’m a body piercer from up in Gladstone, QLD.

    We used to have the problem with all sorts of shops from hair dressers to just beauty therapy shops having a crack at piercings. Even a few started to get into using needles with no formal training and no real competetance. Alot of mistakes being made.

    Nowadays the hairdressers are starting to pull back from the idea of piercing up here. Too much risk and insurance from them. And pretty much know that there is a couple of options out there for the clients.

    But still saying this alot of the time people won’t come to me for the simple piercing eg. ear lobes, because i’m holy against the piercing gun. Theres is a awesome video on youtube pretty much sums up why its so bad:

    Not just because it is blunt as a brick, but about 70-80% of the time the person operating it has no clue on how to use it. Plus they don’t understand it can’t be clean 100%
    And believe anything can be pierced with the gun. Seen millions of nose’s attack with them. Even eyebrows.

    We as piercers have knowledge of what we are performing. This is why we taken up the art form. We understand as a whole that the human body is fragile and know where, what and how we are performing.

    In the end its just people out there trying to make some money out of a growing industry. Only caring about the dollar in the end.

    Cheers Dion

    sorry if the grammar or spelling is crap ^^

    Dion on April 18th, 2009 at 8:05 pm
  3. I have two shops like this in my town. They are both owned by one guy though so you could say its one shop in two locations. They are tattoo shops that dont advertise they do piercings but you walk in and they have a jewelry display and will put em in if you ask. I got a transverse lobe at one and he clamped it and the needle came out the back and now I got a big ole scar on the back of my ear.

    bob on April 18th, 2009 at 10:46 pm
  4. I’m from sydney and it’s a pretty real problem. Pretty much every hairdresser, beauty salon, chemist, etc. does piercing. I’ve also had some personal experience with it. When I was 14 (and completely uninformed about piercings) I got my navel pierced at a beauty place (my mum was with me) It was expensive, about the same price as a reputable shop. They charged $95 for standard externally threaded jewellery and provided very little aftercare instruction.

    steph on April 22nd, 2009 at 5:55 am
  5. I am body piercer, and one of the only in the small area that i live in. Ive notice some of the salons (hair) doing more and more piercings because they see the profit i am making, but what they dont realize is that i went through alot of training to be able to do this and am discouraged when i have clients that have had something done by someone that didnt know what they were doing besides putting a hole and some jewelry in someones body. Its more complicated than that obviously. Im just sick of fixing other peoples mistakes! although it is a leaning experience… They should have to have special qualificatios for sure. And hello, im sure they arent insured to be doing unhygenic and unsafe things to peoples bodies? How bad can you hurt someone while cutting their hair? We pay out the ass for our insurance here…not that we would ever have to use it, its just the right thing to do. Ditzy hair dressers doing piercings is scarey, all i have to say…

    Jennifer on April 22nd, 2009 at 7:05 pm
  6. I tottally am in agreement with Dion. People have tried to use piercing guns for everything, which I absolutely will not do on anything! It seems like, for an inexperienced piercer, that would be the simple way. Like I said before, not that simple! I actually had someone come in that got her tongue done with a piercing gun?? seriously…

    Jennifer on April 22nd, 2009 at 7:09 pm
  7. Would you go to a butcher to get your hair coloured, or to a clothing store to buy your groceries?

    Go to a hairdresser to get your hair done. Go to a cosmetics shop to buy your make up. Go to a bong shop to buy your bongs. Go to a piercing shop to get your piercings.

    Would you go to a hairdresser who had 2 weeks of training?

    Dimruthien on April 23rd, 2009 at 5:21 am
  8. here is the hard part: “competant piercers who have gone through decent apprenticeships

    as what or whom decides a person is a competent piercer and has defined what an adequate means of apprenticeship is?

    So far to date no way has been made towards properly defining adequate protocols for efficient and effective training of our practice.

    In order for someone to be competent and go through a proper apprenticeship will mean all shops will need to adhere to the same rules and regulations on which training is performed. Which means individuals will no longer be required to be “shop slaves” and nor will a shop be able to charge a butt load of cash for improper training.

    until we get some sort of standardized training, this is the cross we have to bare. Leaving it up for the customer to do the indepth research and understand whats going on.

    Lucas: Its not just old women either, its people of all ages. Sometimes the type of people that want piercings, don’t want to go into a stereotypical tattoo/piercing parlor looking joint. They want it to look high end almost spa like.

    That is why shops nowadays need to adapt and be more open and accepting of all types of people and have a neutral inviting type of studio environment.

    Warren Hiller on April 23rd, 2009 at 7:28 pm
  9. yeah, i am aware that it is not purely Old women but the place i was refering to seems to cater to older women.

    Lucas on April 23rd, 2009 at 11:47 pm
  10. A trend? I mcan not see, but I can indeed see, that is was always like that. Cheap jewellry shops which are offering ear-piericngs with 30 year old piercing guns directly at the caisse, they exist since, 30.. 50… many more??? years.

    Coiffeurs doing the same, as they found out, haircut = livestyle, piercing = livestyle so, do it…

    Drugstores are so medical that some of them think they can…

    Some supermarkets having a jewellry part, they do…

    The quality of the materiel they’re using is terrible, and sterility is an unknown word.

    and whats worse, since there are more than only ear piercings now, they torture innocant (but silly) costomers woth that machines at every possible impossiple point. Shooting cartilage piercings, schooring nose, lips tongues, navels, nipples, incredible what is possible if you are violent enough, while the dumb sheep, the customer, believes in the “perfect method”. This trend is new, simply because some while ago, nothing more than the ear lobe piercing existed, but now you can get cheap money… So they do…

    Finally there are also doctors which are piercing, usually sterile, but often in very bad quality of work (wrong and / or ugly placement) and using terrible material…

    Stormchaser on April 30th, 2009 at 4:17 pm
  11. I would never consider going anywhere but a proper piercing studio.

    I wonder if regulating the practice would have some effective measure at keeping these rogue piercers at bay. Sure it could be a bit of a hassle but it seems unfair that someone who has no proper training/qualification would be allowed to freely play ‘piercer’ (and sell it as part of their services).

    Perhaps licensing the trade might seem a bit harsh (meaning to be legally allowed to perform piercings, you would need to have a license and of course the qualifications to attain one). I’d be interested to see what qualified piercers think about this?

    In my industry, we need a license to practice (depending on the license, could be anywhere from $60 to $120 a year). Admittedly I get annoyed when I have to pay but really, it’s only annually and becomes a tax deduction anyway.

    Needs to be policed to some extent. Those who aren’t qualified or operate in the correct environment/use proper equipment shouldn’t be allowed to provide these services.

    Including random annual or bi-annual inspections to check standards are being met. Surely someone who runs their studio to a professional standard would have no qualms with this? Again, I’d love to hear what professionals would think about this.

    Tam on May 1st, 2009 at 10:01 am

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