Get your piercing done by a professional
PortlandGirl submitted the following article.
Dear mybellyring.com, I live in Portland, OR, which may take the prize in the "Most liberal city in America". We may not have invented things like naked bike rides, or zombie walks, or body piercing, but as a native daughter, I'd like to argue that we've perfected them.
So with that in mind, we have a lot of people practicing these things, activities that may be considered counter-culture in other areas of the country but are commonplace here. As such, we've got experience, and that translates into knowledge. Good, useful knowledge that can help anyone looking to get into these things.
Take body piercing. There's a lot of practical wisdom when considering getting a piercing. You may realize that having sterile equipment is important. Right? That almost goes without saying. You don't want to risk getting an infection, or worse, from whatever else is lurking on that needle. However, something maybe not everyone realizes is that a piercing gun cannot be sterilized. That's right, they are made of a material that can't stand up to the temperatures of an autoclave, which is a device that uses heat, steam and pressure to ensure that no bacteria or other contaminants are present anywhere on whatever is inside. Using an autoclave is the sign of a professional piercer.
The guys and gals down at the mall that have a piercing gun are probably good people, and they may swab the needle down with an alcohol wipe, they might use gloves, but it's not really enough to prevent you catching something. The whole device needs to be sterile, the piercer needs to know about proper cleaning techniques and how to do their job without introducing cross-contamination and they need to use high-quality jewelry that won't introduce their own problems, e.g., 14k gold or better, not cheap stainless steel. You'll have that piercing for the rest of your life. It's smart to pay a little more to have it done by a pro. Take it from us hippies in Portlandia.
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