Patrick McCarthy of Stiletto Piercing Supply

Watch the Interview here


Would you rather be piercing than spending time cleaning and sterilizing your tools? On this episode our guest is Patrick McCarthy, 20+ year professional piercer and founder of Stiletto Piercing Supply who will be introducing his brand’s line of pre-sterilized, disposable tools. If you’re a professional piercer or a tattoo studio owner looking to add another service for your customers, this is a chat you don’t want to miss.

Stiletto Piercing Supply Promotes Disposables for Safety and Convenience


According to a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, about 20 percent of piercings result in complications caused by bacterial infection. Non-sterilized and improper cleaning techniques of piercing equipment are a noted attribute to increased risk for client health and safety issues. 

As a professional body piercer for more than three decades, Patrick McCarthy understands those concerns and has made it his mission to promote safe practices among his follow piercers and educate public health professionals to identify and address issues surrounding the piercing and modification community. Not only was McCarthy the first elected President of the Association of Professional Piercers (APP), he also helped write the body piercing laws for the state of Ohio where his studio, Piercology, has provided clients with a clean, safe and sterile environment since 1994.

 “All the health departments have my name on speed dial,” McCarthy says. 

“When you go into the smaller counties in any state, they might have one health inspector that inspects campgrounds, pools, fast food places, and tattoo and piercing studios at the same time. . .they don’t always understand all the different things that piercers have to deal with,” McCarthy adds. “Piercing and body modification has become huge, and it’s not without consequences for (health officials as well as piercers) that don’t know what they’re doing. It’s not in our nature to want to hurt people, but the health factors sometimes get caught in the middle.”

It’s for that reason that McCarthy launched Stiletto Piercing Supply to bring the piercing industry disposable products — something the tattoo industry has universally embraced.  

“It’s a lot harder for the piercing industry to go disposable because we use so many different types of tools,” McCarthy says. “Tattoo studios are missing out on income without piercers on staff, but most aren’t set up for offering the service, and often don’t have a sterilization room or autoclave which are requirements for piercing in most states.”

Armed with his extensive piercing experience and a degree in marketing and industrial design, McCarthy has designed clamps, tweezers, receiving tubes, and piercing sticks from high-grade plastic. Although intended for one-time use, the tools are of the highest quality and functional standards. The clamp, for example, has a self-closer feature that makes it easier to use without using rubber bands, and ergonomic grips provide slip-proof control for holding the skin.  As McCarthy notes, many of the existing disposable piercing clamps on the market were designed for other uses and industries — the Stiletto clamp was specifically for the created for the needs of piercers.

Stiletto Piercing Supply products, which also include disposable needles and taper pins, are individually packaged in easy access multi-count boxes. Each instrument is producing in Stiletto’s own FDA-approved facilities and sterilized using the vacuum-based Ethylene Oxide (EO) gas process under strictly controlled conditions. 

Because materials sterilized with EO are not exposed to excessive heat, moisture, or radiation, the process is widely used in the medical field for sterilizing complex instruments and devices such as catheters, stents, wound care dressings and even sensitive equipment with integrated electronics. Products are also sterilized in their final packaging, since EO penetrates sealed films and packaging.

According to McCarthy, EO gassing maintains sterilization for up to five years compared to only a year for devices steamed in an autoclave. Each box and individual pouch is printed with a batch number to ensure traceability and guarantee product safety.

With the advent of Stiletto disposable products, piercers can work without the need for in-house sterilization, increasing the ability to meet customer demand. 

“At Pierceology, we average 80 to 100 piercings a day, and servicing that amount of clientele usually means extra prep time for piercers to soak, package and sterilize the tools they’ll need for the day — with Stiletto products, you don’t have to do that,” McCarthy says. 

McCarthy notes that disposables are a perfect no-hassle solution for piercers traveling for guest spots and working at conventions. He adds that single-use products also put clients at ease in a time when there is much concern about the spread of germs and viruses. Stiletto will soon be adding “piercing packs,” which provides an aseptic surface, and EO sterilized body jewelry. 

“Each piercer has their own way of doing things. We don’t want the piercers to necessarily change how they do things, but we encourage them to go disposable,” McCarthy says. “There’s no need for autoclaves and spore testing, and when the client sees the piercer opening a new, sealed packet, they’re reassured that the focus is on sterility.”

Stiletto Piercing Supply

(614) 674-6652

Rapper Turns Himself Into a Vision with Diamond Forehead Implant


Rapper Lil Uzi Vert shocked his 13 million Instagram followers after posting a photo of himself with a new forehead piercing featuring what is supposedly a $24 million pink diamond.

Followers — some of whom compared Uzi to Vision, the Marvel superhero who gets his powers from the infinity stone attached to his head, questioned why the rapper would embed the jewel directly into his noggin, rather than add it to a piece of jewelry.

“Why didn’t you just get it placed in a ring?” a Twitter user asked, to which the Philadelphia native responded, “If I lose the ring, yeah, [you] will make fun of me more than putting it in my forehead.”

Uzi bragged that his gem costs more than all of his cars and houses combined.

“Y’all talk about my net worth — my net worth is bigger than yours. But, it’s neither here or there. It’s only a piercing, guys. I done had 10,000 piercings in my face,” Uzi said. “B*tch, relax.”

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Eliot Eliantte, the owner of New York-based jewelers Eliantte & Co, said they never thought Uzi would really go through with the implant, but debunked theories that it is unsafe. In fact, it’s apparently as safe as any other piercing out there.

“Yeah, it’s as safe as any other piercing,” Elinatte said. “As long as you maintain it well and have good upkeep, it’s perfectly fine. We made sure that prior to getting anything done that Uzi brought someone in to consult on everything. We didn’t just do this randomly.”

To make sure the diamond doesn’t fall out, some logistics and engineering were involved.

“In the body modification world, they usually do everything in stainless steel or surgical-grade steel. But in our case, we did everything with precious metals. We engineered a specific mounting that clips and locks in place. There’s a whole mechanism involved, it’s not a standard piercing. A specific piece and part were both engineered with millimeter precision to get this put on him.”

Vice President of the Association of Professional Piercers Luis Garcia shed light on the bold piece of body art, saying it was simply a vertical bridge piercing, as in the bridge of the nose. 

“That would be an actual piercing with a staple shape barbell that enters at one point, exits at another, and then the big diamond attaches to that bar on the front,” Garcia explained to Yahoo Life.

“Overall, not super risky,” Garcia said, adding that that the only worry for such a piercing is a skin infection – especially if the skin starts rejecting it and pushes it out of place.

While rare, the placement on Uzi’s forehead is not unknown. It is sometimes referred to as a “Third-Eye piercing” and is worn as a cultural statement  in South Asian countries.

Unlike the nose, the lower forehead contains some blood vessels that cannot be touched while piercing. Uzi acknowledged the risk and remarked in a Tweet (showing off a photo of the diamond with blood dripping from the bottom) that the dermal piercing has the potential to kill him — just as with the comic book superhero, if not removed correctly. 

Four Reasons Why I am Loyal to the Coil 

I love the coil. I love the feel of it in my hands. I love the familiar buzz it makesthat grating hum that has more or less served as the soundtrack to my career. Hell, I even love the tingling it leaves behind in my fingers after a long day’s work. You may call it nerve damage, but I call it the money buzz. The more it tingles, the more cheddar you’re going home with.  


I do, however, recognize the subjectivity of the preference. In the words of Monty Python’s Anne Elk, this opinion, “which is mine, belongs to me.” I won’t, for a minute, pretend the coil is objectively a better machine than the rotary. Nor will I pretend that I don’t get the draw of a rotary. There’s definitely a reason that so many of my colleagues have made the switch, and even I can be caught using one for a specific application from time to time. Most importantly, I won’t judge you if you choose to use a rotary, even if I secretly laugh at the fact that you look like you’re holding a dildo. You do you; I’ll do me.  


What I will do – and this is for those in the new generation who didn’t experience the traditional apprenticeship and thus, didn’t get that history lesson on why the coil is so precious to so many of us – is explain why I still choose the doorbell over the dildo.  


It’s Infinitely Adjustable. 


This is really the meat of the argument for me. The easiest, most efficient way to explain it is to parallel this with the Mac/PC debate. A rotary, like a Mac, needs little adjustment. Pull it out of the box, turn it, on and you’re ready to go. It’s already been set up and dialed in to be as efficient as possible for as many applications as possible. It’s user friendly, it’s intuitive, it’s ergonomic, and it practically never malfunctions. Wonderful. You really can’t go wrong with it. But like a Mac, the rotary’s strengths can also be its weaknesses.  


The coil, of course, is the PC in this analogy. It might be a bit more cumbersome to the uninitiated, but if you know what you’re doing, it’s totally serviceable in house and has infinite possibilities for customization. That goes for both the individual and the job at hand.  


For example, I have an old friend who runs his machine crazy fast – like, somewhere around 180hz. For any normal artist, that would be batshit crazy. But he works, and really, exists, at a freakish pace, so it works for him. He couldn’t do that with a rotary.  


There’s a Romance to it. 


It’s difficult to put this into words. In one way, it’s a non-argument, because it’s ultimately about feelings – and fuck your feelings, AMIRIGHT? In another way, it’s really the most universal reason that so many of us have remained loyal to the coil.   


For those of us who cut our teeth, so to speak, in the ebbing years of the previous millennium, the building and fine-tuning of the coil is part of the ritual, as essential to the creative process as the artwork itself. They have a swagger and style to them that an out-of-the-box rotary machine just can’t achieve for us. It’s ultimately an intangible thing. It’s the same reason an audiophile will swear by vinyl when there’s no legitimate scientific basis for the preference. It’s why guitarists will more often than not choose a tube amp when there are perfectly good digital models on the market. It’s a feeling that’s rooted in tradition, nostalgia, and the punk rock, DIY ethos at the core of the trade. If you don’t get it, that’s OK. It just means that I’m probably cooler than you.  


It’s a Vessel of Pride and Tradition. 


We touched on this in the last point, but it deserves a subheading of its own. For the artist who was trained on the coil, it represents far more than a gadget that injects the ink into the flesh. It’s an instrument. The fine-tuning and maintenance of the coil is just as much part of the art as the actual artwork. The gauge of the spring, the voltage, the length, the gap – they all play a crucial role in the perfection of the final output.  


The fabled titans of this industry developed their own unique specs for their coils and then guarded them more closely than KFC recipe. Legend has it that Jerry Collins was so protective of his secrets that he would often set up extra machines in disastrous configurations and leave them out just to sabotage his nosy competitors.  


A finely tuned and configured coil is a point of pride. This is mine, my secret recipe, the accumulation of my validation in a world of protected secrets. Some of my most treasured moments have been when an artist I looked up to quietly gave me a pointer on how to better configure my machine. In many ways, those moments (and there were several) served more as a personal validation than any tattoo I’ve ever completed. Once again, you just don’t have that with a rotary.  


Because Fuck You, That’s Why! 


In the end, this is a trade based on rebellion, irreverence and individuality. Prior to this new era of catering to soccer moms and annoyingly hip youth pastors, merely picking up the machine was an act of defiance. Therefore, at the end of the day, those of us who love our coils, love them because we do and you can fuck right off if you take issue with that. Of course, I say this all in love and mutual respect.  



With the help again of Monty Python’s Anne Elk, I want to reiterate that this opinion, “which is mine, belongs to me.” This isn’t science, nor is it gospel. It’s a conveyance of my thoughts, based on my own experiences. Likely, there are many from my generation of artists who can relate, but I can only speak for myself. The rotary machines are now evolving at a near-exponential pace and will likely soon render my thoughts here obsolete. But until that happens, dear younger generation, you should know that our incessant loyalty is more than blind stubbornness. It’s a mixture of familiarity, mechanics, history and tradition. That is why we are loyal to the coil.  



Thoughts articulated by Jeff White 

Cowritten by David Pogge 



Jeff White is a 25-year veteran tattoo artist and the owner of Urge 3 Tattoos in Penticton, British Columbia. He is incredibly generous with coffee and looks great in hats.  


You can follow him on Instagram @amcbutcher. 

You can follow his studio @urge3tattoos.   

Mask Up for the Protection of Your Clients and Staff

It’s official — wearing a mask not only protects others from your expelled respiratory droplets, it protects you as well, according to new guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But what type of mask will offer you and others the best protection from any novel coronavirus circulating in the air?

Medical experts advise using a minimum two-ply mask — a three-ply mask is even better.

Stay away from bandanas and gaiter masks unless that’s all that’s available. A recent study found both types to be the least effective in terms of protection. 

In addition to level of filtration, pay attention to fit. You want the mask to go over the bridge of the nose, below the chin and be flush on the face, resting along the skin. You want your breath going through the filter media and not escaping out the sides.

Cloth masks with high thread counts are an excellent choice, according to the new guidance from the CDC.

Look for a tight weave of 100% cotton, according to studies. Use the light test to check the weave: If you can easily see the outline of the individual fibers when you hold up the mask to the light, it’s not likely to be effective.

You want as many layers as possible without sacrificing breathability — if you can’t breathe though it, you won’t keep the mask on your face. Two- and three-layer masks appear to do the trick for most people.

According to the CDC, “multiple layers of cloth with higher thread counts have demonstrated superior performance compared to single layers of cloth with lower thread counts, in some cases filtering nearly 50% of fine particles less than 1 micron.”

That’s good news — studies have detected SARS‐CoV‐2 in aerosols between 1 and 4 microns.

In addition, studies have found that multilayer cloth masks can block between 50% and 80% of fine droplets and particles, and “limit the forward spread of those that are not captured,” the CDC said, “with cloth masks in some studies performing on par with surgical masks as barriers for source control.”


The CDC says that polypropylene, one of the most commonly produced plastics in the world, may “enhance filtering effectiveness” because it creates a triboelectric charge — or in simple terms, static cling.

That electrical static traps both your outgoing respiration and any droplets headed your way from others. Because cotton is a more comfortable fabric on the skin, polypropylene is often used as filters that can be placed inside of a two- or three-ply mask.

Washing kills the electrical charge, but don’t worry. A brisk rub between your fingers should bring back that “clingy” charge.

A very breathable option, according to the CDC, is silk, which “may help repel moist droplets, and reduce fabric wetting and thus maintain breathability and comfort.”

A study published in September examined the ability of cotton, polyester and silk to repeal moisture when used in masks or as mask inserts.

“We found that silk face coverings repelled droplets in spray tests as well as disposable single-use surgical masks,” the authors wrote, adding that silk masks “can be more breathable than other fabrics that trap humidity, and are re-useable via cleaning.”

That brings up an important point: To avoid trapping germs that might irritate your face or reduce the mask’s effectiveness, reusable masks should be washed daily with soap and hot water. Don’t wear the mask again until it’s completely dry — it’s harder to breathe though wet fabric.

“If you use a filter in your mask, be sure to change it regularly because it can clog. You can tell if it gives you a sensation that’s a little harder to breathe,” said Emory’s Sexton.



Colombian reggaeton singer has not only delivered for McDonald’s, but will keep doing so now thanks to the QSR’s launch of its J Balvin Drop Limited-Edition Merch Collection, inspired by the music star’s favored McDonald’s menu choices.

McDonald’s launched its “J Balvin Meal” promotion last week nationally to great response. The meal is a reiteration of what the singer most often orders when he takes a run-thru the Golden Arches, including a pickle-free Big Mac sandwich, medium fries and Oreo McFlurry, which the brand is making available as a special order through Nov. 1.

In fact, the current piggyback promotional line includes an actual tattoo that customers can purchase with that check-out receipt, listing the elements of Balvin’s favorite meal. That offering is augmented by a line of apparel including a reggae-fied bucket hat, Big Mac slippers and the aforementioned body art, all available while supplies last.

“It’s been incredible to see all the excitement from fans over the past week,” Balvin said in the release. “Not only did I want to bring my personality to the McDonald’s menu, I also wanted to share my energy and creativity in a way that elevates our partnership through an exclusive merch collection that we created with my team. Now people can collect a piece of this collaboration and have it forever … lego!”

Those ordering that J Balvin Meal between now and Nov. 1 on the McDonald’s App will also receive the requisite McFlurry at no cost.


Tattooing WITHOUT Needles?

It might sound crazy — even blasphemous — but Dutch researchers have developed a micro-injection tattoo machine that doesn’t require any needles at all.

Instead of a traditional needle, an ultrafast liquid jet the thickness of a human hair is used to penetrate the skin. In a new paper, David Fernández Rivas and his colleagues compare this new approach with classic needle technology, using high-speed imagery.

The technique starts with a laser that rapidly heats a fluid inside a microchannel on a glass chip. This fluid is heated above its boiling point, causing a vapor bubble to forms and grows, pushing the liquid out at speeds of up to 100 meters per second. The jet is capable of going through the human skin, and yet it produces almost no pain.

The researchers worked with a number of commercially available inks, finding that their method minimizes skin damage. The device also uses less energy than conventional needles, and produced less waste, as there is no loss of fluids. The risk of contaminated needles is also eliminated.

If you were getting a car tattoo, which ride would it be? 

A recent study conducted by the research experts over at found that the Chevrolet Impala was the most common car tattoo, ahead of the DMC DeLorean in second place and the Chevrolet Corvette in third. 


The study analyzed the number of Instagram posts that were tagged with a specific car model followed by the word tattoo to determine the most popular car tattoos. Researchers found 823 separate posts showing tattoos of various different Chevrolet Impala models on users’ bodies, making it the most popular vehicle to get inked. The DMC DeLorean, made famous by its starring role in the 1980s film Back to the Future, was second at 800 Instagram posts. The Corvette was far behind first and second with only 180 Instagram posts. 


The same study also analyzed the most popular car brand tattoos. Volkswagen was by far the most common car brand tattoo at 5,507 Instagram posts, followed by Jeep in second with 2,139 posts and Cadillac in third with 1,775 posts.