You Pierced What?

Getting a new ear piercing can be exciting. Whether it’s your firsts, seconds, or your cartilage, it’s fun to show off your new bling. However, getting them done at mall piercing kiosks or places like Claire's can go from exciting new bling to gross infections in the blink of an eye.

First of all, these places have a higher risk for infection. These places are fast and cheap. When have you ever had anything that’s fast and cheap (other than Taco Bell) that was good? A needle is going through your skin so taking a little more time and costing just a little more is worth it. I promise. Additionally, a needle is going through your skin so that needle needs to be clean. The whole place needs to be clean. These places disinfect their tools, but that’s not good enough. Disinfection reduces the number of microorganisms on the surface while sterilization kills all viable microorganisms. With that being said, sterilization is what you would want for something that’s going into your skin.

"Piercing guns can not be sterilized because they are made of plastic. The plastic would melt in an autoclave, which is what we used to sterilize instruments like needles, jewelry, and any tools we might use during the piercing," says John Joyce, a professional piercer with 18 years of experience and the owner of Scarab Body Arts in Syracuse, New York.

Second off, guns shouldn’t be used when piercing ears. A piercing gun forcefully rams the earring through the earlobe, while a sharp needle goes in the skin easier and cleaner. A needle reduces the trauma that your skin would endure after the piercing, and doesn't tear through the skin so the skin can heal easier.

A gun punctures, not pierces.

Employees in these places are employed to sell, stock, and serve. For some people, these are generally their first job. This being said, they are not usually given the training required for a proper, clean piercing. For some places their practice is to punch holes in cardboard. Are ears and cardboard even close to the same? Professional piercers, on the other hand, work from apprentice to master. They have countless hours of training and certifications. There are associations, such as the Association of Professional Piercers (APP), who pride themselves in their high quality piercings.

What to look for when looking for a piercer:

  1. How much training and/or experience does the piercer have?
  2. How clean is the studio?
  3. Does the piercer use disposable gloves and sterile needles every time?
  4. Does the piercer use needles or guns?

Still not convinced? Brian Keith Thompson, owner of Body Electric Tattoo in Los Angeles, regularly posts pictures of his young clients!! If this isn’t proof of how great studios are to get your piercings, I don’t know what is!