Venerable organizations--American Academy of Dermatology, American Dental Association--frown upon the popular practice of piercing. And the American Medical Association goes as far as considering some forms of body piercing, as illegal surgery.
There are some potentially harmful results if associated with body piercing. Here are some things to keep in mind before you pierce your tongue, eyebrow, belly button, lip, nipple, genital or navel:
The mouth contains an abundance of bacteria and introducing a foreign body into the environment can lead to serious infection. In addition, piercing with infected needles can lead to HIV exposure, tetanus and hepatitis.
Tongue studs and rings are hard, and have led to chipped and cracked teeth. They can also cause potential choking hazards if the jewelry ring becomes loose and is swallowed. Loss of taste buds and numbness may occur if a nerve is accidentally pierced. Excessive drooling and speech impediments are minor, but are common problems with tongue rings.
Keloids are a type of scarring seen in areas of skin trauma that is prevalent among those with African or Asian descent. If you are prevalent to developing keloids you may want to think twice before piercing, as it could result in a cosmetically unappealing scar.
Diabetics and Hemophiliacs
Diabetes and hemophiliacs should also reconsider having piercing done. Diabetics can have poor wound healing and hemophiliacs may have prolonged bleeding which could be life threatening. People with nickel allergies also want to stay away from piercing.
Lack of Health Standards
One problem with the body piercing industry is that it is unregulated. There are only ten states that regulate the practice of body piercing, and often vary widely in how strictly the regulations are enforced. Although some body piercers have formed organizations hoping to raise health standards, there are many fly-by-night operations still out there trying to make a quick buck.
Prior to Entering a Shop
Make sure the establishment where you are going to have the piercing done, has an autoclave machine present, which sterilizes surgical instruments. The piercers should wear gloves and so should anyone involved in the process. Needles should be disposable.
Whether it be a signature of Y2K rebellion or an adolescent dare, it is important to think of the consequences before subjecting yourself to body art. Your health may depend on it.