Overview Policies Prices Aftercare Jewelry Questions The A.P.P.


The following Piercing F.A.Q. (Frequently Asked Questions) is designed to provide you with answers to questions you may have, and to provide you information about body piercing you may not have previously considered. The information contained in the F.A.Q. is based upon both scientific research as well as the culmination of the experience of hundreds of professional piercers and thousands of people who have been pierced.

If you don't find the answer to your question here, please don't hesitate to contact us.

How clean is the procedure at Saint Sabrina's?
What is an autoclave and why is it important?
Why do some shops offer piercing so cheaply?
Does it hurt to get pierced?
Can you numb the area before doing the piercing?
How long will it take my piercing to heal?
Do you perform the piercing with a piercing gun?
How long before I can take the jewelry out and not lose my piercing?
How will my piercing look and feel while it is healing?
What are the chances of my piercing becomes infected?
Can I lose my piercing?
What should I do to prepare for a piercing?
Do you provide services to minors?
What materials are safe for a fresh piercing?
What size jewelry is best?

Can you use jewelry I already have for a new piercing?
Is there a school available or any certification required for piercers?
Can you recommend a piercer outside of Minneapolis?
What do I look for in a piercer?
How will physical activity and sweat affect a new piercing?
Will I set off metal detectors?
Can I go swimming with my piercing?

Can I get pierced if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
What will happen to my piercings if I get pregnant?
Will I be able to breast-feed a baby with a nipple piercing?
What about sex with genital piercings?

How clean is the procedure at Saint Sabrina's?
Performing piercings in a safe, clean and responsible manner is our number one priority. It doesn't matter how nice your piercing looks or how cheap your piercing was if you get an infectious disease as a result of it. We use an aseptic technique to perform all piercings. This means:

  • We use disposable gloves for all piercings. These gloves are changed frequently throughout the procedure to avoid contamination of the client and surfaces in the piercing room.
  • Needles are autoclave-sterilized before they are used. Needles are disposed of, in front of the client, immediately after the piercing is performed. Needles are never used more than once.
  • Any implements that are not disposable, such as forceps or receiving tubes, are cleaned, disinfected and autoclave-sterilized prior to use on anyone.
  • All jewelry is ultrasonically cleaned, individually packaged and autoclave-sterilized before insertion into any new piercing. Jewelry that cannot be sterilized (i.e. acrylic, bone, wood) is never inserted into a new piercing, and is thoroughly disinfected before being inserted into a healed piercing.
  • We never use ear piercing guns; not even for earlobe piercings. Guns typically cannot be adequately sterilized.

What is an autoclave and why is it important?
An autoclave is the same device used by hospitals, doctors and dentists to sterilize equipment. Autoclave sterilization is the only way to ensure that all equipment is properly sterilized and safe to use on you.

Autoclaves achieve sterilization through the use of intense steam-heat and pressure over an extended period of time. Items such as dry heat sterilizers, chemical solutions, boiling and alcohol do not achieve appropriate levels of sterilization. Any autoclave being used for piercing should be tested by an independent lab (this is called a spore test) at least monthly. At Saint Sabrina's, we spore test both of our autoclave weekly. In addition, we use a combination of package indicators (which react to heat exposure) and integrators (which react to time, temperature and pressure) to monitor every autoclave load. Before ever being pierced, you should ask the piercer to see the autoclave along with all spore test results and integrator logs.

If a piercer is unwilling to show you these items, or states that they are unnecessary, it is in your best interest not to be pierced by this person.


Why do some places offer piercings so cheaply?
Saint Sabrina's takes every precaution to provide our clients with a safe, hygienic piercing environment.In addition, we only use the highest-quality jewelry to ensure your health and safety. Unfortunately, as the popularity of piercing has increased, so have the number of individuals performing piercing. Many of these individuals are far more interested in making a quick buck than protecting your health and safety. In order to increase their profit, these individuals typically cut corners in the health and safety areas and especially in the quality of the jewelry they are putting in your body.

Cutting corners in these areas puts your health in danger. If someone is offering you a deal too good to be true, it probably is. Body piercing, when done correctly, under appropriate conditions with safe jewelry,, is a beautiful art. Body piercing done incorrectly by a "hack", using low-quality, unsafe jewlry, can result in infection, scars or the spread of infectious diseases.

We like to use this analogy:
If you or a loved one needed medical attention, would you call around for the cheapest physician or would you look for the best care available? A few extra dollars spent now, may save money for fixing a "good deal" gone bad later.

We are very proud of the work we do. Follow-up questions, check-ups, and troubleshooting of problematic piercings are always free to customers of Saint Sabrina's.


Does it hurt to get pierced?
There is a small amount of pain, but usually not as much as people anticipate. People often tell us that the procedure was considerably less painful than they thought it would be. We do everything we can to make the experience as pleasant and comfortable as possible.


Can you numb the area before doing the piercing?
We do not use, or suggest, anesthetics because injectable and topical anesthetics can be deadly in the hands of someone who does not know how to use them. Only properly licensed medical professionals can legally administer injectable and topical anesthetics.

In addition, a properly performed piercing by a knowledgeable, professional hurts far less than such an injection.


How long will it take my piercing to heal?
Healing times will vary from piercing-to-piercing. The healing time will also vary depending on your body's own rate of healing and the care the piercing is given. The following can significantly lengthen your healing time: touching the piercing with unwashed hands, moving the jewelry throughout the day, contact with bodily fluids, and using inappropriate cleaning solutions.


Do you perform the piercing with a piercing gun?
There are several reasons why we do not use ear-piercing guns for any type of piercing.
First: there is no way to sterilize piercing guns. Most guns are made of plastic and will melt under the extreme heat and pressure of an autoclave. Chemical sterilization has not been proven to kill all bloodborne pathogens; this is extremely dangerous since fluid micro-spray (microscopic particles of tissue, blood and other body fluids) might be present on the gun after a piercing.
Second: guns are considerably more painful than a piercing needle because guns use the blunt end of the jewelry to do the piercing - actually tearing the skin, traumatizing the area, and complicating the healing.
Third: since both the instrument and the jewelry were designed for earlobes, they are not compatible with other areas of the body, increasing the risk of infection and further complicating the healing process.
Fourth: standard piercing gun studs are usually made of low-quality metal that can cause additional complications.
Lastly: the jewelry is poorly designed in that the backing traps and collects waste, hair and debris, holding it against or close to the piercing. This is far from an ideal healing environment.


How long before I can take the jewelry out and not lose my piercing?
There are two stages in healing a piercing. After the initial healing time, the piercing will be healed enough that you will be able to have your piercer change the jewelry, at which time he/she can instruct you on how to change it yourself in the future. However, it takes significantly longer for the new skin, inside the piercing, to toughen up enough for you to safely remove your jewelry for extended periods of time.

The hole will begin to shrink as soon as you remove the jewelry. The amount of time it takes for your piercing to shrink down to the point where you would be unable to reinsert your jewelry will vary. Never force a piece of jewelry into your piercing; obtain an insertion taper, or go to a professional piercer to have your jewelry reinserted or changed.


How will my piercing look and feel while it is healing?
Healthy, new piercings will look attractive and feel comfortable while they are healing. You can expect the piercing to be tender to the touch at first. This tenderness will remind you not to touch your piercing unless you are cleaning it. Most piercings will go through a series of ups and downs during the healing process. Remember to be patient. If you have a question about how your piercing is healing, feel free to visit your piercer.


What are the chances of my piercing becomes infected?
If you are pierced by a professional piercer, avoid touching your piercing with unwashed hands and follow the procedures outlined on the aftercare sheet (a copy of which you should receive to take home with you), your chances of developing an infection are very small.

Your piercer should go to great lengths to ensure that you leave the studio with full understanding of appropriate aftercare and no unanswered questions. There are some conditions that are not infections, though they may appear to be. These can include reactions to the cleaning agents you are using or to the metal itself.

Should any problems arise, your piercer should be happy to consult with you and offer suggestions based on their experience. He/she should never discourage you from consulting your physician, if that is your desire.


Can I lose my piercing?
Yes, there is always a chance of rejection ("growing out"). This can occur for multiple reasons. Your piercer can explain these reasons in greater detail. There is also the chance of an infection that can force you to abandon the piercing. If you handle or play with your piercing too soon, or without washing your hands first, this can lead to an infection. In all cases, jewelry should be left in the piercing for the entire healing time, and not removed for cleaning. If jewelry is removed for even a few minutes, the piercing can close up and you may not be able to reinsert the jewelry. For "lost holes", see your body piercer immediately. Reinsertion may possible if you act quickly.


What should I do to prepare for a piercing?

  • Bring a valid state or government photo ID, such as a driver's license, state issued ID, passport or military ID. In the city of Minneapolis, valid ID must be presented before any piercing service.
  • Eat something substantial one or two hours before you come in. This will help support your blood sugar level.
  • Avoid alcohol, aspirin, excessive caffeine and all recreational drugs 24 hours beforehand.


Do you provide servies to minors?
Please see the Minors area in our Policies section.


What materials are safe for a fresh piercing?
It is important to keep in mind that there is no single metal that every person can wear in their piercing. Individual biochemistry plays a large role in what metals the human body can and cannot tolerate. If you are pierced with the highest-grade metals, you can reduce your chances of a metal reaction so drastically that it is hardly a consideration.

Saint Sabrina's uses the following metals for initial piercings:

  • Implant-grade stainless steel: 316LVM (ASTM F-138)
  • Implant-grade titanium: 6AI4V ELI (ASTM F-136)
  • Niobium
  • 18kt SOLID gold
  • Platinum

We also have mill certificates that state the origin of the metal and its molecular composition This helps us ensure that the metal is implant grade. If you would like to see mill certificates for jewelry please ask us.


What size jewelry is best?
The appropriate size jewelry varies from piercing-to-piercing, and person-to-person. Jewelry will have to be custom-fitted to your body to ensure proper healing. Don't ever let anyone tell you that one size is standard for a particular piercing. A trained professional (not a sales clerk) will be able to tell you what is appropriate for your body.

Can you use jewelry I already have for a new piercing?

In order to maintain our high standards for jewelry, we will only use jewelry that has been purchased from Saint Sabrina's when performng new piercings.

If you have jewelry from our studio that you wish to use for a piercing, we need it at least 24 hours before you want to get your piercing done so we can:

  • Inspect the jewelry to make sure it is of the an appropriate material, shape and size for the piercing in question.
  • Inspect the jewlery to make sure it does not have any nicks or scratches in the surface of the jewelry.
  • Put the jewelry through a cleaning, disinfection and sterilization process .

Jewelry can only have been worn by you previously.

If we are able to use your jewelry, there is a charge of $10 for cleaning, processing and sterilizing the jewelry.


Is there a school available or any certification required for piercers?
While licensing is required for piercers in the city of Minneapolis, this primarily pertains to health and safety issues. Just because a piercer is licensed, it is no guarantee that you will receive a properly executed, attractive piercing. It is essential, before choosing a piercer, that you ask questions about their experience level and training.

We feel that the best training is an apprenticeship, for a minimum of one year, under close supervision by an experienced piercer. This provides the needed time and experience to evaluate all the different anatomy, jewelry choices and placement associated with body piercing.

There are several brief informational seminars offered to the public, but completion of a course such as this does not constitute any legal certification. Completion of such a course also does not qualify someone to pierce publicly. While these seminars are certainly a good source of information, do not mistake them for any sort of a validation of a piercer's abilities.


Can you recommend a piercer outside of Minneapolis?
Although we are not affiliated with any other piercing shops, we are well-acquainted with other members of the Association of Professional Piercers (APP), a non-profit organization set up to promote health and safety standards within the industry and to open lines of communication between piercers. Piercers must meet certain standards to qualify for membership. Based on that fact, we can suggest other shops for you to visit and you can then decide where you would feel most comfortable having your piercing-related services performed.


What do I look for in a piercer?
There are a lot of people - from tattooists to hair stylists - cashing in on the popularity of body piercing by calling themselves "professional body piercers". Do not let your desire to be pierced prevent you from doing careful research. Be sure the person you are considering uses appropriate clean and sterile techniques. They must use sterile piercing needles that are disposed of in a sharps container after a single use. They must autoclave all implements used for the procedure and wear fresh, clean gloves at all times during the piercing.

Be sure to find out where and when they got their training and how much experience they have. Ask to see photos of their work, or better yet, speak with their customers. Ask to see their autoclave and spore test records. It is also important that piercings are done in a specific area designated exclusively for piercing.


How will physical activity and sweat affect a new piercing?
For most people, this does not cause problems, although you may want to clean your new piercing after engaging in strenuous activity. Always listen to your body. If something is not good for your piercing, your body will let you know. Generally, if an activity is not causing you any discomfort, it is probably just fine.


Will I set off metal detectors?
It is not likely, but if you have a large number of piercings in one small area of your body or if your jewelry is a thick gauge, it is possible. If this is a concern for you, you may wish to wear non-metallic jewelry in your piercings while you travel.


Can I go swimming with my piercing?
Yes, but until your piercing is fully healed, use a gas-permeable, waterproof patch (such as Tegaderm or Duoderm) if you go into a hot tub, pool, ocean, lake, etc. These patches allow oxygen through so your piercing can breathe, but are impermeable to water and fluids. They work best for navel and nipple piercings and may be impractical for some piercings. If the piercing can't be covered, we suggest you stay out of the water until your piercing is healed. Use one patch per swim. These patches are not reusable. If you have a problem finding these patches, call us for information.

For a facial piercing, you can simply keep your head out of the water All bodies of water contain microorganisms, and pools and hot tubs are treated with harsh chemicals that can irritate your piercing When your piercing is healed, you can stop using the patches, just make sure to clean your piercing thoroughly when you get out of the water.

Can I get pierced if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

Based upon the recommendations of doctors we have consulted, other industry professionals and experts and the guidelines of the Association of Professional Piercers (A.P.P.), we don't perform any piercings on women who are pregnant.

We also typically require that at least 3 months have passed, whether breastfeeding or not, before we will perform any piercing services. In the case of certain piercings, our piercers may want you to be more than 3 months postpartum.

In the case of nipple piercings, you will need to have stopped breastfeeding completely and no longer be lactating.


What will happen to my piercings if I get pregnant?
It may be best to remove any piercing that are not well-healed when you become pregnant. The changes that a woman's body undergoes during pregnancy can make it next to impossible for piercings to heal during this time. The best thing to do when you get pregnant is to consult your piercer if you have questions about your piercing(s) during your pregnancy.

You can expect some change in a navel piercing during pregnancy, since your abdomen will be stretching considerably. Many women find that the original jewelry they had in their navel is not comfortable as the pregnancy progresses. If your piercing is well-healed (a year or more), we suggest simply removing the jewelry once it becomes uncomfortable. A piercing that is a year-or-more old is unlikely to completely close during pregnancy. In most cases, the hole will shrink somewhat, and we can stretch the hole slightly to accommodate jewelry once again, after you have given birth.

If it is important to you to have something in your piercing during your pregnancy, please call or stop into the studio and we can discuss several options with you.


Will I be able to breast-feed a baby with a nipple piercing?
In our experience, a well-healed nipple piercing does not interfere with nursing a child. A piercing that is not healed, however, could be problematic. Jewelry should be removed when breast feeding to avoid injury to the piercing and for maximum comfort for both mother and child.

Beads, balls, rings and barbells are choking hazards for infants if they come loose accidentally. If you have a well healed piercing, the jewelry should be easy to remove and reinsert. Before removing the jewelry, remember to wash your hands with soap and water. If this is not always possible, carry disposable, germicidal, nontoxic hand wipes with you. Be sure to lay your jewelry on a clean surface, such as a disposable paper towel or plastic cup, and to clean your hands again before reinsertion.

You may find that a small amount of milk will come out of the piercing. This is normal and quite harmless.


What about sex with genital piercings?
Piercings that are still healing must be protected from contamination during sexual activities. A good quality condom or dental dam is vital to protect your piercing from contact with other people's body fluids. Even if you are in a monogamous relationship, contact with body fluids will greatly increase the chance of infection.

After being pierced, you can have sex, depending on how the tenderness of the piercing affects your desire for sexual activity. Patience and creativity are important. And remember to always use protection!