Membership requirements

As piercing professionals we want to do the best we can to ensure the safety of our clients. We are of course obligated to take certain minimal precautions as dictated by our respective national health organisations but many piercers have chosen to not only meet those criteria, but to exceed them. This to further cut down risks and provide an added amount of safety. The APP Benelux created a list of these extra measures and turned these in our “membership  requirements”. As an organisation the APP Benelux is dedicated to promote safe piercing practices and by requiring additional measures in regards to safety and hygiene from our members we ensure safety beyond the legal minimum requirements. 

However, we know it takes time and effort for a studio to implement these measures and to make it easier for studio’s, we have spread them out over period of time. We realise that change takes time and this way we want to meet business owners and professionals halfway and give them time to adjust. Every year we will exceed our national health requirements more and more and of course members are encouraged to exceed even our final minimal requirements as piercers are always encouraged to do by their national health organisations. 

What are these extra measures

So what are these extra measures? Below you will find the current requirements and per subject is explained why this is such an important addition to the guidelines as set out by the different national health organisations.

Membership requirements

– Business License / registration + National Health registration:
* BE: KBO + Hygiene procedure course (Syntra West)
* NL: Registration Chamber of commerce and GGD License (renew every 3 years)
* Lux: Proof 3 year working in industry or EU diploma +21h hygiene and safety course

(these are the minimum requirements as set by the national health organisations that ALL studio’s/piercers need to live up too legally. It’s also required to be registered as a business by tax agencies )

– Meet or exceed all health, safety and legal standards as required by my country and local authorities

(Required by law)

– Must never use a piercing gun.

(Piercing guns can be dangerous and cause extra trauma. The gun itself isn’t sterile and in most cases impossible to clean properly which makes them unsafe. jewelry is usually low quality made with metals that contain nickel and have poor surface finish. The jewelry is “one size fits all” and different people need different sizes as anatomies differ. See our brochure on the topic)

– Will only pierce intimate piercings and nipple piercings from the age of 18.

(It’s a moral issue as these people are still minors)

– Be open to education and professional growth (speaks for itself as growing as a professional is what brought you here)

– Use a brand new, single use, sterile piercing needle, after every use you will immediately dispose of the needle in a medical sharps container, tools will be correctly reprocessed and sterilized or disposed of after every single use.

(you pass a needle through all the layers of the skin and by doing so you make an open wound. To avoid infection aseptic techniques should be used together with sterile instruments just like it’s done in surgery for example. Also, piercing needles become dull fast. If you use a piercing needle multiple times you are doing more damage to the tissue than necessary)

– Only use sterile jewelry.

(Again, because a piercing is essentially an open wound, nothing but sterile jewelry should be used in a piercing procedure or for piercings that are not fully healed)

– Wear new pair of medical gloves (sterile/non sterile) for every procedure / every client, and will be changed frequently during the procedure ( see gloves protocol on website )

(Gloves need to be changed regularly to avoid cross contamination. Between customers but also between different phases in a procedure. That way you make sure you don’t spread something from customer to customer and keep clean what needs to stay clean like the materials used in a procedure)

– Use single use marking implements 

(also to prevent cross contamination)

– Will use only appropriate jewelry for initial piercings as listed in the current document see “APP minimum standard”
*I recognize that this standard may change periodically, APP will inform or give notice when updates are made

(This standard type of jewelry has gone through a special process approved of by the ASTM, we therefore know this jewelry is safe and doesn’t contain materials that can cause harm)

-Will not use steel for any initial piercing.

(Low quality metal that contains nickel that can lead to irritations, slower healing and allergic reactions)

– Keep log of every sterilization cycle of the autoclave and/or statim (3 month proof on application)

*(autoclave indicator must be from class 5 and up)

(To check that your autoclave did what it needed to do every cycle, make your tools and jewelry sterile)

– Will provide a yearly proof of checkup of every autoclave and/or statim

(To your autoclave working in perfect condition. this is the most important machine in your studio and regular maintenance should be done you make sure it keep’s doing what it needs to do)

– Current CPR and First aid certificate
* Theory (can be online)
* requirements and Expire date depends on country
* Separate courses or a combined course are acceptable

(If anything should happen in or around your studio, you will know how to help your client, this is also required by law in some countries)

– Bloodborne pathogens (BBP) certificate (yearly renewed)

(Knowledge on the dangers you encounter when working with blood and blood contaminated materials. why cross contamination is so important)

– Completed questionnaire

(This gives us an insight of how you work, handle things)

– Provide photos of autoclave(s) sterilizers (model and serial numbers)

(Proof autoclave is a B-class, or the statim is EU approved/tested. Some other types of autoclaves are not suited for our work and should not be used)

– Provide copy/ photo business card
– Provide copy of your release form

(Checklist of the most important items before you pierce)

– Provide copy of your aftercare information

(Check if there is anything on the aftercare we as a safe piercing organisation consider unsafe)

– Provide copy invoice jewelry (from last 3 months)

(Proof of variety of jewelry styles and sizes and proof that you use jewelry made of materials that are safe)

– Provide every three months a copy or photo of your sterilization indicators and tests logbook

(Proof that you check every cycle if you autoclave/statim is working properly)

– Acknowledgement of the current APP member code of conduct and logo agreement
*you will sign the association code of conduct, member code and logo agreement when submitting your application

(We have strict guidelines on the use of our name and logo to prevent misuse. The app member code of conduct is to promote and ensure members behave professionally towards for example customers. We believe safe piercing goes beyond proper hygiene and safe materials. Safety is also dependent on behaviour)

Environmental Criteria
* Renewal/resubmission of the following information is required at least every two years if a member joins the staff or  if significant changes are made in the studio.

– A narrated unedited 360 degrees walk through video of applicants entire studio
* see description walk through video criteria

(To see if your studio is up to standard. As it’s impractical for us to go to every studio physically we ask you to send in a video walkthrough)

– Reception needs little cups to take jewelry from clients, gloves, disinfectant for hands and front desk

(cups are needed to receive used jewellery from customers so they don’t have to put that on your counter and to prevent you from taking that with your hands. Gloves should be available at the counter too as anything from touching jewelry to doing a check up on a customer should always be done with a clean pair of gloves. Disinfectants are needed to prevent cross contamination)

– No curtains that separate the piercing room

(Curtains made of cloth are porous and accumulate dirt and micro organisms and even plastic curtains are difficult to clean)

– Hands free waste bin

(cross contamination / no touch technique)

– Hands free liquid soap and towel dispenser

(cross contamination / no touch technique)

– Wall mounted sharps bin

(Needles and other sharp objects must always be disposed off in a specilized sharps container. This must be firmly attached to the wall so it can’t be knocked over, client can’t reach it)

– We advise that no other services will be provided in piercing room then only piercing, or consults.

– All counter surfaces in the piercing room must be non-porous and easily disinfected 

(To be able to disinfect this correctly)

– All walls and floors in the piercing room must be non-porous and easily disinfected 

(To be able to disinfect this correctly)

– Separate dirty / processing room, (1.20m between dirty and clean area or separated by non-porous wall)

(Re-processing tools that were used in a procedure is a task that involves a lot of risks. While cleaning tools, aerosols or splashes that are possibly contaminated are likely to occur so to prevent cross contamination this should be done in a separate room that is dedicated for just that singe purpose)

– All walls and floors in the dirty/processing room must be non-porous and easily disinfected

(To be able to disinfect this correctly)

– Separate designated sink for dirty/processing 

(This sink is used to drain contaminated fluids, using this sink for anything else is risking cross contamination)

-There must be at least one ultrasonic or instrument washer available for processing dirty tools or equipment

(Necessary for a correct reprocessing cycle)

– B-Class/ vacuum autoclave /statim 

(These types of autoclaves are best suited for piercer needs)

– Sterilized implements must be kept in enclosed and non-porous containers, drawers or cabinets and stored separately from non-sterile items

(Hygiene requirement to make sure those sterile packages don’t become damaged, wet or dirty)

– Correct signage and warnings like bio waste, employees only, non-washing hands dirty room, no jewelry change or touch piercing outside the piercing room, hand wash instructions etc.

(Safety for client & staff)

– Keep records of weekly helix test for autoclave / daily helix test for statim 

(To make sure the steam penetrates thoroughly in hollow objects )

– Sink in piercing room or close to without touching doors or obstacles for handwashing

(To prevent cross contamination, no need to touch anything on the way)
– Have a basic set of verified internal or threadless jewelry to offer piercings with this jewelry.

(Even if you chose not to use this yourself for initial jewelry when piercing we require you to have a basic stock so you can perform jewelry changes and downsizes when customers are referred to you by other members )

– Needle stick / sharps incident protocol 

(For the safety staff it’s important to have a written protocol on how to react if a sharps accident occurs)

– Desk/ front lobby / counter / display must be glass, metal, or other non-porous surface that can be disinfected several times a day

(Hygiene, easy disinfection)

– Extra ultrasonic, steamer or anodizer for cleaning only new jewelry

(To prevent cross contamination a seperate machine that will only be used for clean jewelry is needed. This way, new jewelry is not cleaned with a possibly contaminated machine)

– Insurance as professional /liability insurance (if applicable in your country)

– When buying new stock of jewelry, buy only verified internally threaded or threadless jewelry.

(To get ready for when these types of jewelry with proper mill specs are a requirement)

– We advise Hepa filter or other air purification system should be located in sterilization room

(To clean the air in the processing room. Aerosols are formed during re-processing and the air can become contaminated)

– No piercing related items/ storage in bathroom/restroom

(Everyone can touch it, safety & hygiene)

– No propeller aircon / ventilator in piercing room

(Moves possibly contaminated air and fumes around in the room, cross contaminating everything)

Membership requirements from 2024 ( including the previously stated requirements):

– Use of sterile gloves in piercing procedures

(All your tools and materials used during a procedure are sterile, using sterile gloves helps maintain a sterile field. Sterile gloves are made under cleanroom conditions, examination gloves are touched by bare hands during manufacturing and handled under dirtier circumstances. Sterile gloves are therefore a safer choice)

– Only internally threaded and threadless jewelry for initial piercings with proper mill specs

(The safest choice in jewelry for when it matters most, when the piercing is fresh. A list of brands that are proven to use proper materials will be available on request. You can still sell your unverified stock to your customers but they cannot be used as initial jewelry when piercing)

Membership requirements from 2025 ( including the previously stated requirements):

– All jewelry should be made of verified implant grade titanium with the correct Mill Certificates, only internally threaded or threadless jewelry for all piercings (initial and sales)

(The safest choice in jewelry. A list of brands that are proven to use proper materials will be available on request. No unverified jewelry is to be used or sold anymore)

– The piercing room must be a completely enclosed, separate room with walls, ceilings and door(s)

(to provide privacy for your customers and in a closed room it’s easier to ensure hygiene)

– Walls do not have to be floor to ceiling but should be a minimum of 2.40m.The height may vary due  to local ordinances etc.

(Walls should be 2,4 meter high, if the ceiling in your studio is lower the wall should be up until the ceiling)

-Sink in piercing room for hand washing only

(No need to leave the client alone, hygiene and cross contamination prevention)

– We advise Hepa filter or other air purification system should be located in piercing room *

(To clean the air in the piercing room. Aerosols that are in the air and can contaminate surfaces are cleaned from the air preventing cross contamination)

– All floors in the studio must be non-porous and easily disinfected.

(Hygiene, easy to clean/disinfect)