A body piercer says more needs to be done to improve the safety for customers accessing services.
Gemma Quinn has spoken out after launching her own piercing studio at the Ink Angel tattoo shop in Fowler Street, South Shields.
It’s so important people can go to places with confidence.Gemma Quinn
Ms Quinn, owner of Gemz Ltd Piercing, underwent a series of courses and earned qualifications to enable her to register as a body piercer. She is currently the only person to be licensed in the trade in South Tyneside.
However, she says more needs to be done to protect people and promote public safety over body piercing.
She is calling for a hygiene rating for those in the trade similar to those launched for tattooists.
A council spokesman says it has already introduced measures which address Ms Quinn’s fears.
The tattoo studio where she is currently based holds a five-star rating.
The voluntary hygiene rating scheme was brought in throughout the region after concerns were raised by tattooists about the growth of unregistered premises.
Ms Quinn now wants to see the same checks and processes carried out on businesses who carry out body piercing.
She said: “Since I came into the business, I wasn’t aware of the number of unlicensed premises carrying out body piercing.
“I have a learned a lot through the training courses I’ve been on and it astonishes me of the practices that have gone on in the past, that people assume are safe, are in fact quite dangerous.
“By carrying out poor hygiene practices you are risking people’s lives. This is why I am wanting to see a hygiene ratings system brought in for body piercing as it’s so important people can go to a licensed premises with confidence.”
South Tyneside Council says that, last year, it adopted new bylaws to improve the regulation of businesses providing skin piercing and body colouring, this included new activities such as semi-permanent tattoos, cosmetic tattoos such as eyebrows and lip lines, or body piercing
Existing tattooists, acupuncture, electrolysis, and those piercing of the lobe or nose were already regulated.