3 Things to Know Before You Go In For a Piercing

With sites like Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest making a case for masterful, delicate, and multiple piercings, the pros have seen an influx of young clientele into their parlors. When it comes to emulating a celebrity's look, the sexiest — and possibly most attainable part, outside of their lipstick — is their body piercings. But celebs don't leave these accessories to just anyone, and neither should you.

Stars like Beyoncé and Bella Thorne trust Brian Keith Thompson of Body Electric Tattoo in Los Angeles to outfit their piercings. Brian, a leader in the industry since 1992 whose studio recently won a Best of Los Angeles Award, works to create a look that is tailored to each of his clients. "I don't have a chart I go by; I do it uniquely with every client," says Thompson. "I don't want to stereotype things. It's more organic than that. It's the way you come in dressed; it's the way you're wearing jewelry, your style. Are you a lawyer or a pop star? You can be a blonde lawyer and a blonde pop star and I'm going to pick different things."

Before your next piercing appointment, Brian suggests you keep these things in mind. Scroll through the gallery to read his advice and get some piercing inspiration!

Using a Needle Is Less Traumatic, Even Though It Sounds Scary

Many of Brian's clients received their first piercings as children, using a gun. While a gun appears to be less traumatic than a giant needle, Brian begs to differ.

Brian Keith Thompson: Some piercers use a gun. That’s dumb. I don’t use a gun. It’s the needle’s job is to pierce the skin, not the gun. The gun is using a piece of jewelry and blunt-force trauma to make the hole.”

POPSUGAR: This is interesting; doesn’t the needle do the same thing? Why is it better to go gun-free?

BKT: Contrary to popular belief, piercing with a needle is faster and less painful than the piercing gun. The “gun” is using a blunt jewelry stud and forcing it though the lobe. The needle pierces with little trauma to the ear and is used only once and then discarded into a sharps container. The needle really is a safer and less painful way to pierce. Also, in the state of California, it’s against state law to pierce anything other than the lobe of the ear with a piercing gun.

Avoid Hydrogen Peroxide When Cleaning Your Piercing

Many people worry about causing an infection with their new piercing, and while Brian suggests not getting too worried about it, you do need to be careful about how you’re cleaning it. Many of us run to the hydrogen peroxide bottle when we get a cut to help kill bacteria and prevent infection, but Brian suggests using soap and water or Dr. Bronner’s all-natural soap.

PS: Why do you use soap and water and not alcohol or hydrogen peroxide?

BKT: If you read the bottle of hydrogen peroxide or alcohol, it says “warning: not for prolonged use.” Alcohol is for use if you skin up your elbow skateboarding and need to disinfect it one time. If you are using alcohol and or peroxide every day trying to heal your new piercing, you’re probably going to have an adverse reaction; some people will have an allergic reaction. After it stops killing the bad guys, peroxide starts killing healthy skin cells. Also, science has proven that it can actually do more harm than good. Your body has an immune system. Let it do its job. It doesn’t need our help. So the basic thing is soap and water, once, no more than twice a day — and leave it alone.

Your Lifestyle Can Affect the Healing Process

Love to party? Sleep on a certain side? These are all things Brian suggests you keep in mind when going in for a piercing.

BKT: If you’re out partying every night, drinking alcohol, using drugs, and not sleeping, your body’s going to heal at a slower rate. If you’re constantly pulling the piercing, hitting it, messing with it, bumping it, irritating it, that’s going to hinder it from healing properly. You have to leave it alone. Less care is best care.

PS: What should you consider before you get pierced?

BKT: Do I have enough maturity to take care of this piercing? Am I riding motorcycles? Am I gonna pierce my ear when I’m wearing a helmet everyday? That’s probably not the best idea. Am I going on a camping trip for two months and not being able to shower? It’s probably not good to get pierced then.