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High Quality? Part 16 – Piercing Associations

Piercing Associations might not seem like an important part of high quality piercing but our associations are what drives progression and spreads health and safety knowledge to the industry. As piercing in the UK is currently unregulated and only governed by local bylaws, piercing associations are the main way to look for high quality and safe piercers. This week’s blog will give a little history to our associations, explain their importance to the industry and finally help you understand why you should look for a piercer who is an association member.

In the Beginning there was the APP

APP - Association of Professional Piercers

Many piercing associations have come and gone since the piercing industry started in the late 80’s, early 90s. Only 1 organisation has managed to stay the course and that is the APP (Association of Professional Piercers). The APP formed in California in 1995 to try and create some minimum safety standards for piercing. Since then the organisation has grown to a global entity that has a conference with over 1000 attendees in Las Vegas every year and members all over the world and has been instrumental into raising safety standards globally.

Aiden's Safe Metals Class at APP 2018
Aiden’s Safe Metals Class at APP 2018

The APP’s conference has classes and seminars that cover everything from best sterilisation practices, piercing techniques and discussion about new equipment to discussions about the direction of the industry, history classes from those that were there at the time and anthropology classes looking at the modern and tribal world.

Aiden is proud to have taught the Safe Metals Class at APP in Las Vegas in 2017 and 2018 alongside some of his piercing heroes.

For more information about the APP take a look at their website here.

UKAPP

The UKAPP (United Kingdom Association of Professional Piercers) formed in 2015 to carry on the APP’s health and safety message across the UK. As the APP is primarily based in the USA it was difficult to keep up with legislation changes around the world so sister organisations formed. The UKAPP is a stand alone organisation that works closely with the APP.

UKAPP - United Kingdom Association of Professional Piercers

The UKAPP also has its own conference every year that brings in teachers from across the UK and around the world as well as piercers from across the

UK, Europe and globally. As a health and safety organisation the UKAPP’s aim is to raise standards in the UK for the safety of the general public and piercers too.

UKAPP conference 2017
UKAPP conference 2017

As well as educating piercers the UKAPP also consults with the CIEH (Chartered Institute of Environmental Health) and over governmental bodies to make legislative change for the industry. This is a slow process but the UKAPP has been successful in making change as Wales is currently putting in higher standards for piercing after consulting with the UKAPP. The UKAPP also campaigned to have Female Genital Piercing reclassified so it is no longer considered to be Female Genital Mutilation.

Aiden was one of the founding members of the UKAPP and was the treasurer from 2015-2018 and has taught classes at the first 4 conferences. Rogue will be a UKAPP verified piercing studio in the near future as we are proud of our high standards. We are currently not members as our store is still to young to join.

For more information about the UKAPP or to find a member near you check their website here.

Other Organisations

Other sister organisations to the APP have formed across the world. Notable organisations are:

VPP – Germany
LBP – Latin America
APPe – Spain
RuAPP – Russia

Membership

Around the world piercing is generally an unregulated industry. This means that safety standards can sometimes be worryingly low. Piercing associations offer membership which shows that the piercer or studio meets minimum standards that are much higher than local legislation requires. To be a member of a piercing association means that your piercer or studio agrees to:

First Aid and CPR training are requirements for association membership
First Aid and CPR training are requirements for association membership

  • Use sterile equipment
  • Use implant grade or historically safe jewellery materials
  • Use safe designs of body jewellery
  • Test their sterilisation equipment
  • Have a studio design based around safety
  • Have First Aid and CPR certification
  • Carry our Blood Borne Pathogen training

It might seem like a lot of the membership requirements should be obvious but the vast majority of piercing studios do not meet these requirements. By choosing a piercer that is a member of piercing organisation you are choosing someone who has pledged to carry out piercings in the safest manner possible as well as someone who wants to progress the piercing industry for the good of the general public and piercers alike.

Aiden was a UKAPP member before travelling the globe to expand his piercing knowledge and now that he has settled back in the UK will be joining again once Rogue has collected all of the required paperwork. We are excited to be members again!

Conclusion

So hopefully now you have an understanding of why piercing associations are required for high quality piercing. If you are looking for a new piercer then we recommend heading the your local piercing association website and looking for a member as you will be supporting piercers who want the best for you and who support the piercing industry as a whole.

That’s it for this week! We will be back next week to discuss custom ordering jewellery. Have a good week everyone!