You get what you pay for.
Gone are the days of $1.99 Vegas all-you-can-eat buffets, as are the days of $20 piercings and $60 an hour for a tattoo—well, that is, if you want things done right. It costs a lot of money for a tattoo or piercing shop to take the necessary steps to maintain a clean and safe environment. Between courses artists need to take, equipment and supplies needed to run a clean shop, the time it takes to keep things clean, and of course the time they take to spend with their clients, safety is a big investment for artists.
An experienced piercer is going to know not only what is the right kind of jewelry to use, but also the correct style of jewelry for your piercing and your body. Your piercer should also be able to advise you about the placement of your piercing, as your friend’s piercing location may look cool but not work for you. Your piercer should take time to consult with you on your piercing needs before starting your work. Also don't forget to take a look at there portfolio Remember to follow the ‘what to do when you’ve found your epidermal artist’ instructions for what to bring to your consultation appointment. And remember look for a clean environment, you aren’t just paying for their skills, but clean shop maintenance.
Metals: There are international standards for what kind of metal is allowed in your body. If you follow these standards, as well as proper aftercare, your piercing, in most cases, will heal correctly.
The below list of approved metals, and general things to know about piercing, has been provided by Gord Zilla Bouchard (profile link).
- Surgical Implant Stainless Steel, 316LVM ASTM-F138 (meets American and International Standards for Implant Grade Steel)
- Surgical implant grade titanium, including Ti6A4V ELI, ASTM F-136
- A dense low porosity plastic, such as Tygon or PTFE
- All jewelry should have a finish which is free of nicks, scratches, burrs and polishing compounds.
- The jewelry must have a mirror finish: high shine/smooth surface
- Rounded end on ring
Your piercer should be able to provide a Mill certificate on their jewelry—this indicates that the manufacturer properly constructed and meets the standards of the piece of jewelry going into your body. In most places, it’s mandatory for piercers to have these on hand for government inspections to ensure that they are following the approved standards. However, these standards are not universal so you need to ask the piercer yourself.
After your piercing, you should receive a detailed list of aftercare instructions and materials needed to clean your piercing. You should get this before you get pierced, during your consultation.
In general, use common sense...do you want jewelry of low quality that could possibly break, rust, or chip off inside you? Or a piercer that isn't placing jewelry right for you? Or using wrong jewelry and you end up having trouble healing? Your health and safety is worth the cash.
When you’re researching good tattooists, take a good look at their artwork. If you've never gotten at tattoo before, start going through our directory to see what quality tattoo work should look like. The more artwork you look at, the better judge you will become. If you've been tattooed before you will most likely know right away when you've come across an elite artist, perfection is a word that comes to mind, and most elite artists are. With awesome art comes a price tag, and usually a wait time, be prepared.
Is your artist designing the kind of artwork that you like? Some artists are able to do anything, and others have chosen a niche style and stick with it. Look at their portfolio and see what they have done. Does it fit with the style of artwork that you want? It’s worth it to pay more to ensure you’re getting what you love—after all, you’re going to be wearing their artwork for life.
Not only are you paying for a tattooists abilities to create amazing artwork, but also the status and state the shop is in. If you are looking at a clean environment and a skilled artist, expect to pay some bucks. If you want a crappy tattoo in a dirty place, that’s your choice, but we don’t suggest backing out on the bucks when it comes to body art. It’s simple: you want great art on your body forever, and you want to stay healthy in the process, so save up coin in the piggy bank if you have to, and get it done right.
Note: At the end of the day it is your wallet, and your body, so it is always ultimately your choice. Our efforts are to help promote education and knowledge for clients, and it is your choice what to do with the information you now know.