As a tattooer who respects body piercing and has spent the last couple years constantly traveling to studios across the country and seeing the vastly different views on piercing from shop to shop, I wanted to point out a few things, ask a few questions and really just try to understand the thought processes of some. I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to the piercing side of shops. Some of the things I've seen are truly horrid and others are amazing. When a client walks in for a navel, tongue, industrial, TFH etc and the person piercing them doesn't even check their anatomy before having them fill out paperwork and picking their jewelry, you know you're gonna have a bad time!
People at most shops I've visited will totally geek out on tattoo related topics, from the latest and greatest machines, inks, needles etc. More often than not, the topic of untrained "scratchers" using junk inks and machines from China will come up and turns into a lengthy discussion about how dangerous imported inks are due to the lack of quality control and use of toxic ingredients. You would have to assume that this same thought process would apply to the training of those performing the piercings and the jewelry they carry, right? We hear that price doesn't matter when it comes to quality tattoo supplies and equipment, so again, you would assume the same applies to piercing as well, wouldn't you? Sadly, this is far too often not the case. The issues of health, safety and quality is often limited to tattooing and is completely ignored when it comes to piercing for some reason.
When you discuss the topic of tattoo apprenticeships with many tattooers, the view is that one has to pay their dues not only financially, but often over a period of years. Piercing on the other hand is just something you can teach someone in a week or 2, I mean, what's there to know? It's not like you're actually putting needles and pieces of metal THROUGH someone's body and leaving them there. It's not like there's any need to know the locations of vessels, ducts, nerves etc, know tissue types and what is anatomically necessary for certain piercings to be viable right?
I have even seen situations where a tattoo apprentice is required to learn to pierce first. My question about that is pretty simple. Is it that piercing doesn't deserve to be respected and properly taught, or that tattooing is easy enough that it doesn't require or deserve your full attention and dedication?
You could say it's about the money, but as most tattooers say, it's not about the money, it's about the quality and the art. If it's not about the money, there would be no hesitation in buying quality American made jewelry rather than the 10 cent junk being made in china that, as we know and acknowledge based on the reasoning not to buy imported inks, is not safe to use.
So the final question is simple. Why do tattoo clients deserve the best and safest experience possible as well as the best materials available, but piercing clients don't? Feel free to share far and wide!