Piercing Pointers This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

     Are there some areas of the body that shouldn't be pierced? Sorry to be a killjoy, but yes, there are. So read this before you buy those belly-friendly low-riders, tight tees or a barbell tongue stud.

Doctors cringe when teens talk about body piercing because there's a risk of infection and allergic reaction, which can lead to serious and often permanent damage. There's also a chance you'll develop thick scars (called keloids) in the pierced area.

On top of all that, after piercing your tongue, lip or cheek with metal studs, you could chip or break your teeth on them or accidentally swallow your jewelry. Bellyrings are easy to catch, which is very painful. Believe me, I've done it!

Other risks include nerve damage and paralysis from improperly placed piercings, extended holes from heavy earrings, and rejection by the body (healthfactsandfears.com). Your ear lobes are basically the only relatively safe parts of your body to pierce. That's because lots of blood circulates in the fatty tissue of the lobe which helps fight off infection.

Still interested in poking holes through numerous body parts? Unfortunately, there are no nationwide standards set for piercing parlors, so you'll have to hunt down a place that's clean, safe and professional. Then ask the piercer some smart questions. If "Yes" is the answer to these three questions, you're probably in safe hands. Hopefully this will prevent you from getting tongue-tied in a bad piercing situation. What to ask:

- Do you have an autoclave? That's a special sterilization device for a piercing instrument that looks like a toaster oven, but opens at the top.

- Are you a licensed practitioner? Certification varies by state; so call your local health department to see what makes a piercer up to snuff in your neck of the woods.

- Could you give me some names of satisfied customers? If this is a problem, run!

Do your research, ask these questions and play it safe. When in doubt, don't pierce.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Lily">This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jan. 10 at 8:03 am
i love this so much!
practicerandomkindness said...
Jun. 25, 2009 at 7:11 pm
good article, good subject to choose. this will help many teens.
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