Getting a Piercing Abroad – Know the Risks & Be Safe

Getting a Piercing Abroad

Piercings and travelling are famous for being a bad combination. Whether you’re getting a piercing abroad or going travelling just after you’ve got a new piercing, you may face some issues.

This is what we’ll be discussing today. One of my readers bought up this topic recently and I feel that this may be of benefit to some of you guys.

I am going to go over the main issues which may crop up if you do decide to get a piercing overseas and how to prevent them to some degree. I am also going to cover the issue of caring for a new piercing whilst you are overseas.

Generally speaking, I would advise you against getting a piercing abroad. The health and safety standards of some countries around the world are not quite as high as our own.

Why is Getting a Piercing Abroad so Risky?

Getting a piercing in a foreign country can be risky business.

Whenever you get a piercing, you are deliberately making an open wound in your skin. Obviously this comes with risks, which vary slightly from piercing to piercing. Read about the many risks of a poorly executed piercing here. The chances of something going wrong with your piercing is multiplied if you get it done abroad, so take extra care!

Language Barrier
Find a piercer who can speak English or learn their language!

What is it That Makes Overseas Piercings so Risky:

  • The language barrier will make it difficult to communicate with your piercer. You will need to be able to tell them what piercing you want and will most likely want to ask a few questions concerning aftercare or jewelry.
  • Overseas piercing studios may not be required to meet the hygiene and/or health & safety standards that we’re used to in our piercing studios. This is due to the fact that each country has different laws around piercings.
  • Piercers may not be required to have the same certifications as in the UK and USA.
  • Use of unsterilised equipment. This could result in the spread of bloodborne pathogens.

How to be Safe About Overseas Piercings

If you’ve settled on the idea of getting a piercing whilst your on your travels (great souvenir from your holiday that will be with you at all times!), there are certain measures you can take to ensure that you do not regret your decision.

Top Tips for Getting Pierced Safely Overseas:

Tip #1: Research Piercers and Studios

First and foremost, always research the piercer you intend to go to. Get online and find a directory for all the piercers around the area you will be travelling to. See what their reputation is like.

Check your piercer has all the necessary qualifications. Many countries do not require piercers to have these certifications by law, so you have to be vigilant about this.

Check the piercing studio has an autoclave

Tip #2: Look Around and Assess the Hygiene of the Studio

Have a quick look around the piercing studio. Make sure the studio is clean, of course.

You should also ask to see the autoclave. The ultimate method of sterilizing equipment and jewelry is autoclaving it – this is done by the machine. Most piercing studios in the UK and the USA will own one and foreign studios should too.

Your piercer should sterilize all jewelry and equipment before it is used, even if it is fresh out of it’s pack! If the studio does not have an autoclave you should avoid getting pierced there, as there is no way they will be able to effectively sterilize the equipment.

Tip#3: Find a Piercer Where a Language Barrier Won’t Get in the Way

you would be better off finding a piercer who speaks some English. Failing that, try and learn some of their language! You only need to learn piercing related phrases. There are certain questions you should always ask your piercer on your first time in their studio. You will need to tell them what piercing you want and ask them about aftercare. You should also ask them a few questions about themself and their experience in piercings and certifications.

Tip #4: Check Out the Piercer’s Portfolio

Ask to see the piercers portfolio. More specifically ask to see some examples of the piercing you plan on getting. You need to see proof that they’ve actually done this piercing before – you don’t want to be their human guinea pig do you?

Bonus Tip: If you have a smart phone and internet access, download a language translator!

Caring for Your Piercing Whilst Travelling

I know of many people who have had bad experiences with travelling after getting a new piercing. Many of these people ended up losing their piercing unfortunately. The reason for this is that gets infected and they’re unsure how to deal with this problem away from home.

I’m just going to get straight to the point and tell you the best way to care for your piercing and prevent infection whilst you are overseas.

Keep in mind: New piercings should be cleansed twice daily for the entire healing period.

EasyPiercing Care Kit
Carry Cleansing solution on you everywhere whilst abroad

Here we go:

  • Avoid using foreign tap water to cleanse your piercing. Carry a bottle of  mineral water or spring water on you everywhere you go.
  • You should always make sure you have some kind of aftercare solution to clean your piercing with. You could simply carry a pot of sea salt and some pure water on you but I would suggest you buy yourself a piercing aftercare solution such as the EasyPiercing Care Kit.
  • Be careful not to let sunscreen get on your piercing or jewelry.
  • Carry paper towels and cotton pads on you everywhere.
  • Carry anti-bacterial handwash with you and never touch your piercing with unclean hands!

To Summarize

What I’m basically trying to say is, if you do decide to go ahead and get a piercing while you are on holiday, take extra care and really follow these tips I have given you.

Piercings really do make for one of the best souvenirs you can get if you’re into that kind of thing. Having a constant reminder of your wonderful holiday attached to your body at all times is wonderful! It can trigger many happy memories and good feelings.

I hope this article will be of use to you!

If you have had any experiences with getting a piercing abroad, tell me about it in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you!

>> Click Here to Find Out About the Best Piercing Aftercare Products <<

12 Comments on Getting a Piercing Abroad – Know the Risks & Be Safe

  1. Hi Hannah, this is a great information!

    It’s funny because almost 30 years ago, I had 4 x piercing done on my ears in London (Camden Market!) because it was cheap – each cost £1 (US$1.50), they never gave me an antiseptic or anything, but told me to “turn” the studs every now & then. They would have told me more but I didn’t understand English… I was lucky I survived!

    Years later I had another one on top of my ear, cost me much more but they had all the equipment and it was less painful. Sorry that’s just my story, but I realise hygiene & safety are important. I like your other pages, so much information! Great job, thanks!


    • Hey thanks Raymundo.

      It’s amazing how cheap piercing were back then! Getting any piercing in Camden Market these days would cost closer to £20 or maybe even £40! It is worth paying extra though as the risks are so much lower.

      I’m glad you like my site and find it useful. Much appreciated.


  2. Hi there! Excellent tips you have listed down. When I wanted to my ears pierced a few years back, I put much effort in searching for legit, clean and safe Piercer. I am too afraid I would get ear infection and hence I will never consider getting any of my body parts pierced overseas.

    • Hey. Thanks very much, I appreciate you taking your time to read my post and leave a comment. You’re better off just not getting the piercing if you’re not sure about the cleanliness of the studio and/or reputation of the piercer, that’s for sure. You made the right choice not getting the piercing done in that case.


  3. Hi Hanna I would to thank you to share all your information, I understand that some local source of water can be polluted and I compliment you to remind us to use bottled water , it is a very good idea and we can keep a good souvenir of our vacation. Cheers

    • Hi Daniel.

      Cleanliness of local water is very easy to overlook, but could cause serious enough problems. Just not worth the risk, for the sake of buying a bottle of pure water.

      Thanks for reading. Nice one.


  4. So the guy standing on the corner with a cardboard sign advertising the lowest piercing prices around should be avoided? lol
    I liked your article and seriously, it makes really good sense.
    I can imagine there are all kinds out in the world, and I would think at the very least a good look around the workspace will answer many questions.
    Nice article, thanks!


    • Hi Shawn.

      The guy holding the cardboard sign with the lowest piercing prices is probably up to something you wouldn’t wanna get involved with haha.

      I’m really glad you enjoyed my article and could make sense of it. That’s what I was aiming for!

      Thanks for your input and making me laugh.

  5. Hey Hannah, I love that you went into this topic because even though I myself have not traveled, but I have friends who have. Sometimes its the fact that’s it’s cheaper or simply because they want to have a memory of the vacation to take with them. Also by going to a different country they have different designs because of culture differences. Either way I think its great that you discuss why it might not be best, but also give tips if they plan do to it anyway. Good job.

    • Hi Jessica.

      I agree with you – rather than just tell people not to get pierced abroad, I would rather them know how to be safe about it. What you don’t know can harm you!

      Thanks for your input.

  6. This is such a great post! I’m currently living in Thailand and was thinking about getting a tattoo and most of the shops did piercing as well. Even in the big cities the shops were not the cleanest and eventually I didn’t feel as though I “trusted” any of the 5 shops I went to. The language barrier is a problem also, I speak a little Thai and it was even difficult for me to communicate what I wanted. Great advice, thank you 🙂

    • Hi Kimmy.

      If you do not feel comfortable getting pierced in any of the piercing studios you’ve visited, keep on looking. You’ll find one eventually and it really is worth putting in the effort to finding a piercer you are comfortable with! I think it is very important to trust your gut instinct when finding a trustworthy piercer!

      Glad to hear this post helped you out a bit.


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