Main office located at:
7219 W. Greenfield Ave.
West Allis, WI 53214
Fax: (414) 607-0600
Avant-Garde gets so many questions that we have complied a list of the most frequently asked questions that we get. If you can't find the answer you are looking for just click the contact us link in the column on the right hand side of your screen.
These questions relate to Avant-Garde as a business, primarily in regards to licensing, cleaning, and experience. If your question has to do with piercings specifically, please scroll down to the next heading entitled," Questions about Piercings."
How long has Avant-Garde been in business?
Avant-Garde has been in business since January of 1999, meaning that to the date of this publication, Avant-Garde has been in business for 8 straight years.
How many times can a needle used?
A needle can be used many times. The real questions is should it be used many times, and the answer is NO! Some shops will use the same needle on the same client however, a needle is only sharp for one piercing after that the needle begins to dull. When someone is pierced with a dull needle, the piercing hurts about 5 times more than it really has to. This is why Avant-Garde only uses needles that have protected points during shipping and never uses a needle twice.
Is Avant-Garde regulated by the State of Wisconsin?
Yes and no. Personal body piercing licenses are regulated by the Dept. of Health and Family Services(HFS), but in some areas the local municipality will regulate the personal licenses. Studio, or shop, licenses are the same way in some areas the Dept. of Health and Family Services takes care of the regulation and in other areas the local municipalities take care of it. Our West Allis store's studio license is regulated by the City of West Allis Health Department. Our Waukesha store's studio license, as well as our personal licenses, are regulated by the Dept of Health and Family Services.
I have heard people called a "Master Piercer" what does this mean?
A master piercer is someone who has mastered the field and the art of body piercing. This term is not given from some big organization as there is none in the piercing industry. This title is earned through hard work and dedication and is given to a piercer by his/her peers, no person can just call themselves a master piercer. This has become a problem, over the past few years as many people have claimed to be a master piercer and then it turned out that they only began piercing a year ago. The moral of this is don't be fooled by titles, talk to your piercer and get to know them and make up your own mind. Obviously Avant-Garde never misrepresents themselves, so feel safe to trust in our knowledge and experience to help you get through and piercing question or session.
Don't forget if you don't find the answer to your question here go contact us.
How do I get ready for a piercing?
While we always welcome "walk-ins," appointments are advised so you will not have to wait. If you have any health issues which might affect your ability to heal a piercing, make sure to consult us or your doctor before obtaining a piercing. Eat about an hour before your appointment and have NO alcohol or mind-altering drugs in your system. Some people make an occasion of getting pierced so feel free to bring a friend along to witness the event, takes pictures of your piercing, or even wear something special. We also encourage and will assist in special meditation to help you achieve a relaxing and semi-ritualistic piercing experience. If interested in this, please call ahead and plan on at least an hour for your appointment.
Does it hurt?
Yes, but for less than a second and quite a bit less than one would expect. We are often told," That didn't hurt as much as I thought it would!" We try to make your piercing experience as easy as possible with the best techniques used in the industry.
Can you numb the area to be pierced?
For a number of reasons the answer is no. For one, only licensed medical professionals can legally administer injectable anesthetics. For another reason, when a skilled piercer performs the piercing, the actual piercing is less painful than the injection would be. The injection may also distort the area to be pierced, which may result in a crooked or misshapen piercing. Topical anesthetics cannot be used as they cannot penetrate deep enough into the skin to be effective.
Will it hurt after it is healed?
The tenderness that comes with a new piercing will usually decrease rapidly during the healing period. Certain healed piercings will generally give people a great deal of physical pleasure in addition to its good looks.
How long will my piercing take to heal?
The time it takes to heal a piercing not only varies with the type of piercing, but also from person to person and the type of care it is given. Touching a piercing with dirty hands, rough treatment, the use of cleaning agents that are not recommended or your body is sensitive to, including your own body fluids, can lengthen the healing time required. By following Avant-Garde's aftercare, you will shorten your healing time and minimize the risk of problems.
Will I get an infection?
If you have been pierced at Avant-Garde, and follow our aftercare instructions, your likelihood of getting an infection is virtually nonexistent. We take great care to provide the cleanest environment, using the newest sterilizing equipment available. After you leave our store it is up to you. While we never discourage you from seeing a physician if you believe you have an infection, many times conditions that appear to be infections are not actually so. They include reactions to metals in the jewelry, or more frequently, a reaction to cleaning agents. If you have a problem we will more than happy to help you resolve the problem based on the experience we have had over the past 35 years of piercing. The percentage of infections is very small, most are the result of improper care of the piercing.
When can I take the jewelry out?
There are two steps in the healing process. The first step seals the piercing and stops the risk of the piercing becoming infected. The second step takes considerably longer for the piercing to fully heal. During this second step, the jewelry can be removed for short periods of time, but the hole will shrink down as soon as the jewelry is removed. The time it takes to shrink down to the point you cannot reinsert the jewelry will vary upon gauge and how old the piercing is. If you cannot get it back in, stop in as soon as you can, most likely we can get it back in for you.
Does Avant-Garde use piercing guns?
At Avant-Garde we will not use ear-piercing guns, even on an earlobe. There are many reasons for this, with the main one being that it is impossible to sterilize these piercing guns between uses. Also the design of the jewelry is not appropriate, even for the earlobes, the post of the earring is too short to allow for swelling and cleaning. The backing clips block the hole allowing for a build-up of fluids that should ordinarily be drained and cleaned away resulting in a much higher risk of infection. Also the pain is actually greater with a piercing gun than with a needle because the point on an earring stud is blunt, whereas a needle point is much sharper.
Can I set off metal detectors?
Most likely not. Unless you have an extremely large concentration of piercings in one area, the jewelry is of poor quality, or very thick gauge.
Will exercise and sweat have an effect on my piercing?
For the great majority of people this will not be a problem. Wearing clean clothing with a minimum amount of color dyes will be of great help. If you have a guiche or fourchette piercing, ridding a bicycle should be avoided until the piercing is healed, as the constant rubbing will irritate the piercing. Sweat or urine are sterile to your own body, but still keep the piercing free of these fluids as much as possible.
Can I go swimming?
Swimming pools, hot tubs, and natural bodies of water should be avoided for at least 2-3 weeks to allow the piercing to heal. They contain an abundant amount of organisms that can be potentially harmful to the piercing, and the piercing is usually not strong enough to defend against an invader. If you must go swimming use a waterproof bandage over the piercing and clean it as soon as you get out of the water to prevent an infection from developing. Avoid chlorinated water permanently if you have gold jewelry as it will discolor, shatter, or break. If the piercing is healed enough the gold ring could be taken out for a short swim.
Do piercings grow out?
Of all the piercings, navels tend to grow out the most. Placement has a lot to do with the success of any piercing, so you can increase your success by being pierced by an experienced piercer and following the aftercare instructions. Wearing tight or restrictive clothing can cause a piercing to move or grow out.
What about unusual piercings and techniques?
As piercing becomes more common, some piercers become more willing to perform riskier piercings due to the increasing demand for them. While some piercers may succeed in a few and still others may offer legitimate advances in techniques, the vast majority of those offering such things are usually inappropriate, unsuccessful, dangerous, or even possibly fatal. If you are considering an unusual piercing or your piercer is offering a new technique, both you and your piercer should research the consequences that may occur. Of course, when in doubt, leaning towards conservative answers and decisions is always the safest way.
How many piercings can I get at a time?
Depending on the intensity of the piercings and the experience level of the piercee the absolute maximum number is four although we recommend no more than two. The piercee should allow at least two weeks between piercing sessions so that his/her body can have a chance to heal.
Can I lose sensation in the pierced area?
This also varies person to person. Most people will report a dramatic increase in sensation at the site of the piercing. Some experience no change while a few, also depending somewhat on the experience of the piercer, experience a decrease in sensitivity.
Is there anything special i need to know about sex and genital piercings?
Obviously very rough sexual activity should be avoided until and genital piercing is fully healed. Gentle or normal sexual activity should be avoided for at least 3-4 days even when condoms and dental dams are used. If you opt not to use such protection, sex should be avoided completely for 3-4 weeks.
Will nipple piercings affect breast feeding?
The nipple secretes milk through a system of hundreds of milk ducts, so the process of breast feeding will not be affected. However, if the piercing were infected, the milk would become contaminated and therefore harmful to the baby. It is strongly recommended that the mother remove her jewelry or replace the jewelry with barbells until breast feeding is no longer necessary. Also, at Avant-Garde we will not pierce a pregnant woman's nipples
What metals are safe for the body?
The safest and most common metals for jewelry are: 316L or higher surgical implant grade stainless steel, solid or dipped 14kt or 18kt gold, niobium, titanium. Metals to avoid are silver, plated or filled gold of any karat, brass, bronze, copper, and sterling silver. The financial savings will cost you more in the long run if you (and most people do) have a reaction or infection due to a poorly made piece of jewelry.
What size of jewelry is standard?
It depends on the piercing, for most people the way the jewelry looks is key. After all, you don't want it to be too big or too small, but it must also work with the piercing and not prohibit the healing process. This is especially important for genital piercings as the wrong size jewelry may result in a totally useless piercing.
Please don't forget that if you didn't find the answer to your question here please let us know by going to our contact page and e-mailing us.