Your friends say it won't hurt and that it would look cool, but are you truly ready to let a needle pierce your flesh? Are you willing to take the risk of adverse health conditions that may occur because of piercing?

PIERCING??

Body piercing has been a common practice in many cultures over the centuries. Piercing was once used to identify royalty and often portrayed courage. For example, ancient Roman soldiers would pierce their nipples to show their manhood. Today piercing is a fad or trend, and a method of self-expression for many teens.

THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE PIERCING

Are you considering a piercing because your friends have one? The first thing to ask yourself before getting a piercing is, do you REALLY want one? Sanitary conditions of the piercing studio is a major concern. Did you know the American Red Cross is concerned enough about the risk of infection posed by body piercing to include it as a disqualifying factor in screening potential blood donors? After getting a piercing, you can't donate blood for a year. Ask a friend whom you trust, someone who has had a piercing, about his or her experience. Would he or she do it again? Where should you go for the piercing? Were there any problems?

WHEN CHOOSING A PIERCING ARTIST

You should talk to the artist about what you should do to prepare for the piercing. When choosing an artist, always look for a clean studio. Don't go to the first one you find; check out a variety of studios. When you decide on one, ask around about their success rate. Friends are a great way to find out about customer service and satisfaction.

HEALING TIMES FOR A PIERCING

Healing time depends on the location of the piercing. The tongue heals the fastest; the naval and ear cartilage can take up to one year to completely heal. During the healing process, you should make sure to keep the pierced area clean. This is crucial! Infection can set in if you don't clean the area daily. When cleaning the area, use an antibacterial soap. Don't use alcohol! Alcohol dries out the skin and kills the newly forming cells around the pierced area. Piercing can be a unique way of adorning yourself but it pays to be cautious.
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