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Health Licensing
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Body Piercing

The Department began registering body piercing facilities effective October 1, 2000, and on May 24, 2002, DHEC Regulation 61-109, Standards for Permitting Body Piercing Facilities went into effect. Facilities registered with the Department prior to May 24, 2002 are exempt from modifying the square footage required in the procedure room as noted in Section 103.D. of the regulation.

Body piercing is defined as the creation of an opening in the body of a human being so as to create a permanent hole for the purpose of inserting jewelry or other decoration; this definition excludes the ear lobe.

Body piercing technicians are required to attend certain infection control and blood borne pathogen training on a periodic basis, as well as adhere to other standards such as specific sterilization procedures and CPR certification.

Talk to your friends or others who have been pierced. Ask them about their experiences, the cost, pain involved and healing time. Ask them what they would do if they had a chance to do it over again.

Make the decision to get a pierce a sober one. Do not get a piercing while under the influence or alcohol or drugs. Your body will react physiologically different while under the influence, and you might not like the choice you made the next morning. Make sure the technician performing the procedure is not chemically affected either.

Getting a piercing needs to be a personal decision. You have the ultimate say over your appearance, and what you do to your body. Understand that you do not have to pierce your body to belong, or fit in, even if a friend tells you otherwise.

Have a registered professional perform the piercing. Professionals have industry standards and South Carolina state standards to uphold. They must provide a safe and hygienic setting to perform the procedure. A professional will be happy to show you their registration. If you decide to have a body piercing, never pierce your own body or let a friend do it because of potential complications.

Discuss infection control and sanitation beforehand - if the technician refuses to talk about safety issues with you, take your business elsewhere.

Take care of the affected skin area after the procedure. Healing times for a piercing can vary anywhere from six weeks for an earlobe piercing up to one year for complex body piercing procedures. If a piercing area hurts, swells or drains fluid for an unusual amount of time, consult a doctor right away.

For information regarding applications, permitting, or other facts regarding the body piercing program in SC, call (803) 545-4370.


For additional information, contact: Division Director Gwendolyn Thompson - (803) 545-4370