Piercing FAQ

These are some of the most common questions that we are asked. If you don’t see the answer you are looking for here please don’t hesitate to drop by or call or email us at the studio.

How much does a piercing cost?

The cost is broken into two parts: the fee for the procedure and the cost of the jewelry.  Piercing fees average $25-30.  Specialty level I and II piercings require separate licensing and have an additional service charge, averaging between $45-60.  Jewelry costs start at $15 and increase from there depending on your taste and budget.  Adorn has the finest custom jewelers in the world making exquisite pieces in gold and platinum with genuine diamonds and sapphires and rubies as well as solid top of the line reputable American-made implant grade titanium options to suit every budget and style.  For a more detailed look at piercing prices click the link or drop by the studio to look at the jewelry selection.

See our piercing price list.

Why is it so expensive?

We have made a commitment to using only the top-of-the-line, American-made, implant-grade jewelry. Our jewelry is all manufactured in state-of-the-art facilities by trained, inspected and compensated adult workers. It is a matter of health and safety and a support of local economy. We want your piercing to heal with as little risk of problems as possible. Cheaply made jewelry, bargain priced services and lack of professional expertise often results in the following problems: poor/impossible healing, hyper-pigmented scars, allergic reactions, excessive scarring, migration, rejection, irritation, infection, etc. Then there is the jewelry. Our manufactures proudly represent their impressive names and reputations by their superior products. They stand behind the quality of their jewelry even if there is ever a problem regarding repair or replacement. Cheap imported jewelry does not stand up over time and is not guaranteed when gems fall out, components break or threads fail. Our jewelry is guaranteed for life against manufacturing defects. After years of experience in the industry, we have found that the cost of cheap jewelry/piercings is a short term saving with a heavier price to pay in the end.

Does it hurt?

The single most common exclamation post piercing is a joyous “That wasn‘t as bad as I expected!”  Each of us has a different tolerance and response to pain that is primarily determined by our attitude. Even if you can’t shake the pre-piercing jitters, the quick pinch/pressure of a piercing is over almost immediately.  By the time you see how awesome your new jewelry looks, you’ll forget all about it.  Stop allowing fear to hold you back…Live your life NOW! On the related subject: Pain killers will not help, nor are they necessary. We are not legally able to tattoo or pierce anyone under the influence. Check out this article on swearing and pain.

How old do I have to be to get a piercing/stretched?

Individuals 18 and over can make independent piercing/stretching decisions. If you are under 18, you will need a verifiable parent or legal guardian present at time of piercing/stretching to sign documentation.  All parties will need to provide proper state or federal photographic identification with date of birth. (Simple jewelry changes such as gem size or color may be provided without parental consent.) Insert link to Age and ID Requirements Additional criteria and restrictions to what can and cannot be safely pierced are based loosely on actual age and more specifically on levels of physical and emotional maturation and lifestyle in combination with the different professional piercers ideologies and comfort zones with regards to minors. It is best to call or drop by adorn to determine the best timing for your minor piercings. Adorn does not perform infant ear-piercing or any piercings on clients who cannot have a discussion about the care and consequences of piercings and give informed consent. ^^^insert link on infant ear-piercing

Can I get pierced while Pregnant/Nursing?

We do not pierce anyone who is pregnant or nursing.  Your system is under tremendous stress from dramatic changes that leave you and your baby susceptible to increased risks of infection, allergic reaction and/or rejection.   It is best to wait until you are finished nursing before considering a new tattoo or piercing.  On a brighter note, if you already have a piercing that is healed and comfortable there is rarely a medical reason to take out your jewelry.  There are flexible jewelry alternatives available if as your pregnancy progresses any problems with fit or comfort arise.

Will you pierce my infant?

We agree with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) who recommends waiting until a child is old enough to take care of the piercing his/herself.   Additionally, while we respect that many cultures have a tradition of infant ear piercing we have chosen to honor the rights of the individual over those of society.  Consequently, we will not perform any piercing on anyone who cannot engage in some sort conversation about the risks and benefits.   This age of reason seems to occur around 6yrs of age for most children.

How long does a piercing take to heal?

Different individuals and different piercings have different heal times. See our basic guide to initial healing times. These times represent an average first stage of healing; actual healing can take well over a year. Even if your piercing is no longer swollen or tender it is not necessarily healed. Most of what people consider healed is far from it. Not even Superman could heal a piercing in two weeks. It is best to come to Adorn and see a piercer if you are unsure about your current stage of healing.

Why can’t I touch my piercings in the studio?

Even fully-healed piercings secrete substances specific to your body than can create a health and safety risk to others you expose. We aren’t trying to say you are dirty, but… well, you are dirty. We all are!  What we are truly saying: “We care about your well-being and that of the clients who will come after you.”   You wouldn’t share your chewing gum with a stranger so please don’t take your tongue piercing out of your mouth and put it on the counter.  We will gladly take care of everything.  Just let us know what you would like with your words not your hands.  And if we do have to ask you to use the hand-sanitizer, you do not have to feel embarrassed or admonished…You are not the first nor the last and we aren’t judging but we have to protect you. That’s our job.

See our article on The Tender Tome of Touching.

Should I twist or rotate the jewelry during the healing period?

Twisting came into popular lore from ear piercing guns that use blunt force trauma to put inadequately sized, improperly designed jewelry of dubious metal quality into jagged and brutally formed “holes”. Professional piercings provide little to no risk of adhering because the jewelry is implant-grade properly polished mirror smooth and custom sized to be of appropriate length to your specific anatomy. There is nothing to gain from twisting, in fact, rotating the jewelry increases your risk of infection, rejection and scarring dramatically and therefore increases healing time. Hands off for better healing!

Should I use Peroxide, Bactine, Anti-bacterial Soap, Neosporin etc.?

NO! Chemicals most often cause more damage than good and increase the likelihood of complications.  The only thing you should clean your actual piercing with is a spray can of sterile saline. Feel free to jump on over to the aftercare section for more detailed information.

Can I start with a ring?

Yes and No.  Whatever your ultimate jewelry choice is your piercer can discuss any and all questions you have regarding proper jewelry size and placement. It is important you let them know what your goals are and then trust them to guide you on the best way to get there. Even if we are telling you something you don’t want to hear, it will always be based on our professional experience with your best interests in mind. Some facts to consider when starting with a ring: 1) Rings are more likely to get bumped and snagged. Physical injuries set back healing and can create some unsightly scarring. 3) Initial piercings require jewelry that will allow your body to swell. Barbell posts are just slightly longer- with rings the whole diameter gets bigger.  This creates a look that is not as snug as current American fashion prefers.

Why do I have to have a bead on my ring?

The captive or threaded bead provides a gentle stop to the jewelry which prevents excessive spinning and also smoothes out edges that could harbor bacteria or irritate fragile tissue. The bead also provides a visual clue and reassurance that the piercing remains fully intact. The minute gap in the continuous/seam/infinity rings can be irritating to piercings and has the added potential of lodging in your piercing and allowing a disconnected channel - effectively rendering your piercing incomplete and necessitating abandonment or re-piercing. There is an array of beautiful jewelry awaiting you once you are properly healed.

How long should I wear my jewelry?


The appropriate time for changing jewelry varies depending on what you get and how well you take care of it. (For instance, if you sleep on your piercing it will likely take longer than average time to heal and subsequently lengthen the amount of time before jewelry can be changed or removed.) Unless your jewelry change is prompted by a healing issue it is best to wait and err on the side of caution. We have put together a list of piercings and their average heal times here to use as a guide.^^^insert guide to heal times^^^ It is always advisable to have the first few jewelry changes done professionally and to wait a minimum of 6 months before doing changes independently. Come in to see Adorn for a quick post-piercing check-up. We will gladly help you determine your readiness to switch and go over some of the long-term care considerations that will keep your piercing happy for the long haul.

Can I sleep on it?

Ideally NOT. This is especially true for ear cartilage piercings. Sleeping on piercings can be painful and cause healing complications. Even without pain it is likely that sleeping on a piercing will result in unsightly scarring. Often the weight of the body on the jewelry will cause it to move the piercing into a crooked an unflattering position. This shifting out of alignment is especially problematic in cases of multiple or paired piercings, leaving them unflattering and imbalanced.  Do your best to stay off your piercing. Try using the opening gap of a travel pillow to frame your piercing and eliminate some of the direct pressure. If problems still arise come in sooner rather than later so we can help guide you to a solution.

Can I go swimming?

Sorry but NO.  Lakes, rivers, oceans, bays, streams, creeks, pools, puddles hot tubs and even bathtubs (but not showers! Please shower!) are all to be avoided. Chemicals in treated water can irritate piercings and still leave them open to infection. The many and varied bacterial strains in our untreated water sources make infections imminent and difficult to treat. Even baths are suspect as they are often shared with other dirty humans and soap or cleaning chemical residue can be irritating. We suggest not swimming or soaking until you are healed.  Waterproof bandages may provide some level of protection if swimming is unavoidable. Bandages are not infallible, use at your discretion.

Read about Portland's water quality.

Can I eat/talk normally after getting a new oral piercing (tongue, lip, cheeks)?

It takes a little time to adjust but you can do it! We suggest that you stay away from extremely spicy, acidic, or salty foods for the first week.  Sipping ice water will help minimize swelling which will make speech and eating easier. Inebriation of any sort will make you more likely to bite down on it causing healing complications and potentially major dental expen$es. Eat slowly and deliberately being careful to avoid biting down on the metal jewelry and doing damage to your teeth! Last but not least: SHORTEN your jewelry as soon as swelling allows. Downsizing guidelines are in your aftercare instructions.

Read more about piercing aftercare.

I am going on vacation is it a good idea to get pierced?

It is important to factor in personal, family/social and employment concerns when deciding to get pierced. Do you really want to spend your trip pampering a potentially problematic piercing?! We say NO…Go enjoy yourself! Go swim. Go hike. Go play.  Get pierced when you are home and have access to a professional piercer and/or medical care if complications occur.  Whether it’s a family reunion, spring break or rugby season: There is a time for everything! Discuss your concerns with your piercer to find the timing that is best for your situation.

Will my involvement in sports affect my piercing?

Most authorities have specific and variously enforced rules about piercing jewelry being worn during practice and games. While some of these restrictions are unnecessary and even arbitrary, rules are rules. Find out the guidelines to which you will be subject before deciding to get pierced. It is ideal to be fully healed prior to the start of your sport season as removal of jewelry even for short periods can cause complications from mild to severe. There are various options and forms of jewelry available for making piercings less visible Drop by Adorn and we can discuss all the pros and cons and make an educated decision together.

How can I hide my piercing from my grandma/boss/referee?

We’ve got everything from clear glass retainers to titanium ends that resemble freckles.  Nothing will make your piercing completely disappear but we can get pretty darn close. Your specific choices will depend on the type of piercing and how far along it is in the healing process.  Your piercer will help you weigh out the strengths and weaknesses of the options for making your piercings more discreet.

How soon can I stretch my piercing?

Self-stretching without proper training, tools and support results in massive injuries and necessitates countless plastic surgeries every year. Every body is different and many factors (including hydration) affect how readily you can stretch to the next size. In the smaller gauges (16-10g), 2-3 months is usually an adequate amount of time between sizes. In the larger sizes (7/16-1” and beyond) as many as 6 months may be necessary and the ideal method of stretching is taping NOT tapering. It is best have our piercer determine your readiness and provide assistance and/or advice before stretching.

Can I stretch my piercing with wood, bone or silicone?

While it is an honored tradition in many cultures to stretch with materials ranging from buffalo horn to walrus tusk it is not a practice favored in modern society. The potential complications far outweigh the benefits. Borosilicate glass, or implant grade metals such as titanium or stainless steel are superior modern material options that minimize unnecessary risks. Additionally, please, never ever ever wear or use acrylic jewelry or tapers in your piercing.

How do I remove my jewelry?

Different jewelry styles work in different ways. Some thread, some use pressure, some twist some pull, some snap. For examples on our extensive selection of styles and types and hints and tips on how to use them look at the Jewelry section of the website or come in for a tutorial. We are happy to show you all the styles and how they work and answer any questions. We are also happy to install and remove most anything so please don’t hurt yourselves or your piercings trying to do it alone.

What do I do if I think I have an infection, or allergic reaction?

Often times what people think of as an infection is simply irritation. Left unchecked, an irritation can lead to in infection. If your piercing is not 100% come into the studio and let us look at it. If there is intense redness, heat, dark or odorous discharge or pain, seek a professional medical doctor without delay. Important: Bacteria causes infection, not piercings or jewelry. Removing jewelry closes piercings and seals infectious waste in the body. It is counterproductive to actually treating infection but that does not stop some healthcare workers from allowing personal prejudice to affect professional judgment.

Do you take appointments?

We do 97.6% of our piercings on a walk-in basis. A piercing procedure can take anywhere from 7 minutes to an hour depending on the level of client need and the complexity of the procedure. This makes scheduling difficult. Typically you can just walk in and be seen right away or at least within the hour. For lesser wait times mid-week mid-day, non-holidays are the slowest. You are also encouraged and welcome to come by and get on the piercing list and go shop/explore the neighborhoods. We will gladly give you a call when your turn is approaching. Occasionally our lobby gets crazy. Please be patient. Our piercers may wait hours to eat or sit down in order to cater to you but we will not rush our current clients nor sacrifice proper safety.

There’s something wrong with my piercing. What should I do?

Come by the studio at your earliest possible convenience to discuss your situation and options for putting your healing back on track. Call or email for help if an immediate trip to the studio is not possible. Either way, do not take advice from your BF, your well-intentioned Uncle Joe or the mixed bag of “experts” that are found on Google and YouTube. And please do not ignore the problem. Come on in we will be happy to help.

I have surgery/MRI scheduled, do I need to remove my jewelry?

There are some legitimate and not-so-legitimate concerns with wearing jewelry during a medical procedure. If the jewelry is in the actual surgery or image site then it makes perfect sense to remove it. If the jewelry is not in the way then it becomes a matter of professional/personal discretion and bias. We carry copies of the Association of Professional Piercers pamphlet geared towards assisting you in making an informed decision in cooperation with your healthcare provider. Also see this piercing troubleshooting brochure. Stop by the studio and we can tailor options for maintaining the health of your piercing during and after your medical procedure.

Is it safe?

While we cannot guarantee absolute safety, you can rest at ease knowing that every aspect of your care has been considered and measures have been put in place for your well-being. The risks associated with body piercing include but are not limited to: Irritation, allergic reaction, infection, scaring, migration, and even rejection. All these risks can be minimized by choosing a professionally trained piercer in a clean studio with proper quality jewelry. That is why we have gone above and beyond all state, federal and industry standards for sterility, jewelry quality and continuing education.

Do you do ________________? (Insert body modification of choice –scarification, branding, tongue-splitting, magnets, ear pinning, ear cutting, ear shaping, implants, suspension)

Anything that requires a tool other than a needle used to insert visible jewelry into flesh is beyond our scope. We are licensed to perform professional body piercing services. It is important when researching these other procedures that you do your homework. Ask around and get the proper contacts and referrals, look at portfolios, etc. Not all artists/practitioners are created equal and hastily chosen work can turn out disastrous. Be prepared to dig. These underground tribal networks are not always the quickest to trust strangers and neither should you.

Hopefully we have covered all your questions here, but if not…COME ON BY! We look forward to seeing you!

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