What is a Disposable Piercing Studio?
When Laura and I moved to Ann Arbor and started planning Gamma Piercing, we knew from the very beginning that we would be a “disposable piercing studio”. We feel it is one of the things that makes our brand of piercing special, and the concept deserves some explanation.
A Disposable Piercing Studio does not reuse any piercing tools, needles, or jewelry.
Most piercing shops reprocess their used instruments, but what does that mean? Let’s say a piercer uses a clamp on your navel piercing. They will then soak the tool in a chemical that removes proteins, run that tool through a cleaning machine called an ultrasonic, hand scrub the tool, rinse it, dry it, and then re-sterilize it for use on the next person. When this process is performed correctly it is a safe way to operate a piercing studio, and both Laura and I have worked at many piercing studios that operate this way.
Unfortunately, reprocessing piercing tools has some pitfalls.
First and foremost, the person reprocessing the tools has a lot of contact with potentially infectious material, as well as harsh chemicals. Yes, they should be wearing appropriate personal protective equipment to minimize the risk, but there is no way to completely eliminate the danger. Laura and I decided that avoiding this contact with contaminated instruments altogether was the best choice for our own health and that of our family.
Secondly, reprocessing tools leaves little room for human error. Because the process is so important, most piercing studios take exceptional steps to prevent the possibility of mistakes happening. Of course, no system is perfect. Our opinion was that eliminating the risk of a piercer or apprentice making a mistake altogether was the smartest approach for our client’s safety.
Finally, we had to take a really serious look at the environmental impact of a disposable piercing studio versus a piercing studio that reprocessed equipment. We understood that “disposable” has a certain connotation of environmental damage. That said, when we compared throwing away a piercing clamp from time to time versus the use of water, plastic, chemicals, personal protective equipment, and electricity that reprocessing involves - we felt the environmental choice was clear. In this rare instance, disposable meant less waste, not more.
A tool that is used once and disposed of is simply safer for our clients and our piercers. Since we put safety as our number one priority, being a disposable piercing studio was the logical conclusion.
If you have an interest in any aspect of the piercing process at Gamma Piercing, please don’t hesitate to call us, email us, or visit our shop located in the heart of the University of Michigan campus, on South University Avenue in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
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Confessions of a Piercing Nerd. Behind the scenes piercing theory, technique, health and safety and ethics discussions.