Body piercing is an invasive procedure. As such, there are risks involved with body piercing. Depending on where you are having pierced, the risk level varies. Being extremely vigilant with choosing a body piercing expert, using the right jewelery and being absolutely scrupulous with aftercare can all help reduce the risks of body piercing.

It goes without saying that if you are going to let someone near your skin with a needle, you should know their credentials and be satisfied that you are happy to place your health in their hands. Choose a studio that is clean and sterile and ask people locally where they recommend for word of mouth advice.

Be sure to choose jewelery of the right size and of surgical grade stainless steel or gold. Silver is definitely not advisable for a fresh piercing. Buy the best possible quality jewelry you can afford to minimize the risk of infection.

The most common risk of body piercing is bacterial infection. This risk is considerably higher with tongue piercings, because of the number of bacteria in the mouth. Bacterial infection can start from being a small infection, and quite quickly develop into septicaemia, which can be fatal. Be sure to follow all cleaning and hygiene guidelines given to you by the person who did your piercing, and, if an infection develops that does not clear up or subside within 48 hours, it's important to seek medical advice. Some piercings, such as nipples, require a long time (months) to fully heal, so be sure to know how long you should expect the healing process to take and do not ease off or forget to keep your piercing clean until it is completely healed.

If you are having your body piercing overseas, be sure that the equipment is fully sterilized and the needle used is fresh and has not been used before. Many countries are quite lax on hygiene regulations, so better still, wait until you get home to get pierced. Transferable diseases, including Hepatitis and HIV can be passed on via poorly sterilized equipment, so you must be vigilant.

Severe blood loss. Depending on the competency of your piercer and the location of your piercing, you may suffer considerable blood loss. This can be due to a badly placed needle, or simply that the area being pierced is full of blood vessels. Be sure to check how much blood loss to expect, and if you are seeing more than that, seek medical advice.