Heavy Metal: The Pros and Cons of Facial Piercings
Administrative assistant by day, body piercer by night, Tara Woodard lives a double life in the Brandenton, Florida area. Though she has been piercing since 2006, Woodard feels she is unable to get them herself. “While facial piercing would help my career as a piercer, it hinders one’s career in the professional world where it is not openly accepted,” she explains. “Also…facial piercings, combined with my glasses, is just too much for me to try and pull off.”
But she loves piercing others. Originally intending on tattoo artistry, Woodard found herself drawn to piercing. “I consider it a type of art form that not everyone can do…” she says. “Also, if I have a particularly annoying client, you only have to spend a short amount of time with them, and you get to stab them.”
Stabbing aside, Woodard says she loves being able to help people appreciate their bodies: “I love to help people make a part of their body that they might not have loved so much, become something they want to show off.” She was also drawn to the perfectionism that piercing requires. She likes “the organization needed to keep your equipment sterile, neat and organized.”
Woodard’s perfectionism is well-suited to the piercing profession, where laxity can have serious consequences for both piercer and piercee, including tuberculosis, hepatitis B and C, and HIV/AIDS. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommends that piercers follow these steps to avoid exposure:
• Use single-use, disposable needles and razors. Disposable piercing needles, tattoo needles, and razors are used on one person and then thrown away. Reusing needles or razors is not safe.
• Safely dispose of needles and razors. Used needles and razors should be thrown away in a biohazard-labeled, disposable container to protect both the client and the person changing or handling the trash bag from getting cut.
• Wash hands before and after putting on disposable gloves. Gloves are always worn while working with equipment and clients, changed when necessary, and are not reused.
• Clean and sterilize reusable tools and equipment. Some tools and equipment can be reused when creating body art. Reusable tools and equipment should be cleaned and then sterilized to remove viruses and bacteria.
• Frequently clean surfaces and work areas. Chairs, tables, work spaces and counters should be disinfected between procedures to protect both the health of the client and the artist. Cross-contamination (spreading bacteria and viruses from one surface to another) can occur if surfaces are not disinfected frequently and between clients. Any disinfectant that claims to be able to eliminate the tuberculosis germ can also kill HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C viruses. Use a commercial disinfectant, following the manufacturer’s instructions, or a mixture of bleach and water (1 part bleach to 9 parts water).
If you are getting an oral piercing (tongue, lip), Josh Berd, MD, a cosmetic and restorative dentist, warns that, “complications from oral piercings include injury and recession of gums, chipping and cracking of teeth and restorations (such as crowns and veneers), as well as infections from food impaction in the piercing site. A tongue piercing can act as a ‘wrecking ball’ and fracture teeth, particularly the front incisors.”