Mall Piercings NNNOOOOO

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Monday August 10th, 2009 @ 6:54 PM

Filed under: Ear

Please talk my friend out of taking her 4 year old child to the mall to get her ears pierced. PLEASE!

Piercings guns are grossly outdated and inappropriate for body piercing of any sort. They cause a significant amount of trauma to the tissue as the “gun” just fires a blunt piece of jewelry through the tissue. The jewelry is rarely of implant grade materials (meant to be in the body for long periods of time) and don’t allow for inflammation of any sort on the majority of people. (think “One Size Fits All”)

Besides all that, most piercing guns cannot be sterilized at all. Though the jewelry is usually pre-sterilized, the staff handing the equipment are usually not trained at all in any cross contamination prevention and aseptic techniques. The risk of exposure to disease and infection is enormous.

Having a piercing done with a reuseable piercing gun is a great way to scar oneself pretty badly and put oneself at risk of contracting disease. Don’t to do it.

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23 Responses to “Mall Piercings NNNOOOOO”

  1. Mall personal aren’t propperly trained to do piercings (Esspecially if they work for Clair’s, etc). The gun is very outdated. Piercing 101 is just common sense, cross contamination is your greatest risk for contracting bloodborn disease.(Hep B, HIV, STD’s, etc) Just because your a girl who works in the mall doesn’t mean you’re qualified to pierce another being, propper training is 100% required.

    I have too many friends who’s ear piercings (Both cartilage and lobe) get infected right away/ develop cists after getting work done at a local mall/store.

    Bottom line is that propper procedure needs to be fallowed (i.e. propper gloves, sterilization techniques, etc). Any piercing (Big or Small) needs to be taken seriously and done by a professional or in a professional environment by someone who actually knws what their doing; prefibally using 1 time use only materials.

    Prosthetix on May 5th, 2010 at 12:56 pm
  2. My ears gets cysts chronically now, thanks to ear piercing guns… Definitely avoid them at all costs! My friend repierced my ears later on, and even though doing it at home isn’t really safe, they are healthier than the ones that I had to let close thanks to the piercing guns. I stretched them so the cysts don’t effect them anymore, but the second and third holes I had were effected by the cysts that still come and go all the time since I was 11!

    Emily on May 8th, 2010 at 3:25 pm
  3. My boyfriend’s sister in law has an almost 8 week old daughter and talk was brought up of getting her ears pierced. They insisted that some doctors have piercing guns and will do the piercings on babies.

    WTH is wrong with medical professionals? I wouldn’t trust anyone with a piercing gun, let alone let them use it on a newborn.

    Not to mention gunning an infants ears (Which are still growing) can result in the piercing later migrating out because its too low on the earlobe. I’m sure this could still be semi-true even if the child is just a few years old.

    christina on August 21st, 2010 at 11:58 am
  4. What about the argument of not mutilating your defenseless child in the first place?

    I have absolutely nothing against any modification per se, just against doing a permanent modification on a child for cosmetic reasons. Small kids have no sense of hygiene whatsoever, so most kids end up getting reoccurring infections because they keep touching them and/or get them filled with dirt when they play outside.

    My personal horror story about the subject:
    I had my earlobes shot in a mall jewellery shop when I was about 4. The piercings were done with a plastic gun with no hyciene precautions whatsoever. We also didn’t recieve any instructions on how the piercings should be taken care of. No one told me that I shouldn’t touch my ears… We were only advised not to take the ear studs out at least in a month so that “they could heal”. Well, the studs were so tight that you couldn’t clean them, combined with the fact that 4-year-olds aren’t the most hygienic and clean group of humans to start with, they ended up getting painfully infected again. And again. And again… The piercings also migrated quite a lot as I grew. All of this just because my mom thought that earrings on little girls look soooo adorable!

    Rrrotta on September 23rd, 2010 at 5:54 pm
  5. It seems I am the only person who had luck with getting their ears gunned, second holes as well. I had mine done when I was about 3 and they were gunned by a family friend who had been doing it for years. The piercings haven’t migrated even with my stretching and ridiculously heavy earring phase. The only problem I really have is with the position of the second hole, but that was done at claires and was not done in a good position for stretching. That is my only real complaint about it.

    cori on October 18th, 2010 at 7:26 pm
  6. My mum got my ears gunned when I was a little girl and I’ve had absolutely no problems.
    That being said, I would never do that to my own kids. I have this friend who has 5 piewrcings in each ear, up to the cartiledge, and each one was done at Claires. I don’t think she knows how bad shes probably fucked up her ears, or anything about piercings…

    Sarah on October 18th, 2010 at 7:51 pm
  7. I am so glad that this topic is being discussed and I hope that with more and more discussions, the fact that piercing guns are dangerous will become mainstream knowledge. What bothers me the most is that guns are being used to pierce ear cartilage. I have even met people who have had their noses pierced with a gun. I have had countless people come into my shop with swollen, ugly, poorly placed, weepy ear cartilage piercings that have been done with a gun in places like Claires. I feel for them because they simply didn’t know any better. I spent a good 20 min with a client a few months ago, digging embedded jewelry AND HAIR out of a cartilage piercing she got at Claires. The reason for the hair in the piercing was because they tell you to twist the jewelry in the hole for some reason, and she pulled a bunch of hair into it. It was nauseating and smelled terrible. I told her to see a doctor right away because it was infected pretty bad.
    I wish there was a way to make the dangers of guns more mainstream and not just common knowledge in the piercing industry. Hhhmmmmmm….

    Birdie79 on October 27th, 2010 at 1:20 am
  8. When I wanted my cartilage pierced I went to my local tattoo studio expecting it to be done no problem with proper piercing equipment, but I was told the local council had cracked down on artists piercing cartilage. The reason? Some retard had pierced a teenage girl through her cartilage with a gun, leading to infection and ear collapse. I phoned around pretty much every piercer in the area and got the same response, so I had to travel into the city to get my piercings. Ironically, guns themselves haven’t been banned locally, just the piercing of ear cartilage. As for piercing kids, I’m against it when they’re so young, unable to make up their own minds (at that age they haven’t even decided what vegetables to hate!) and not responsible enough to look after it. I’m no expert but I’d think a good time to consider piercing if she’s interested to have it done when she’s older, is when she’s suffered a cut (inevitably) and looked after it, and has some understanding of the healing process. But then I’ve no idea if a reputable piercing studio will even pierce it with a needle. IMHO it would be better than letting the poor kid get dragged to Claire’s to be butchered by some 15 year old on her Saturday job.

    DanseMacabre on December 16th, 2010 at 7:21 pm
  9. I’ve always been bewildered by people who pierce the ears of their babies. I can add little to what has already been said, except I have had my ears pierced by guns and with needles and the difference was night and day. I scarcely felt the needle.

    Jennifer on February 19th, 2011 at 12:24 pm
  10. I completely agree with Jennifer, I remember when I was 9 and I was getting my ears pierced for the first time (my own choice) I saw a little girl, no older than 2, screaming and crying because she didn’t want her ears pierced.
    But her mother was telling the ‘piercer’ to go ahead; “You’re having them done!” < I was just like ‘who on earth forces their child to have holes punched into their ears?
    All 3 of my ear piercings were done at Claires, all 3 were done before I’d had any experience with other piercings and I’d never have them done with a gun ever again.
    Although I didn’t really have any major trouble, I do now know how bad guns are; one of my ear piercings took forever to heal though and I’m convinced it was due to the method of piercing.

    Phoebe on February 22nd, 2011 at 10:24 am
  11. I got my ears pierced when I was 7, because I wanted to. My grandmother took me to the local beauty shop, and they pulled out the gun. The first shot was fine, but on the second, the gun stuck. She had to take the gun apart while I sat there crying as she pushed and pulled on my fresh puncture would. I got my second holes done when I was 12, also with a gun. It took her 3 tries to get the second hole even with the first, because she was shaking too much. I was even told when my holes got infected that it was normal! These people are not professional piercers!! When I was 16 I got my cartilage pierced at a tattoo shop, and had such a wonderful experience I vowed to never again step foot in a place like Claire’s or some random beauty shop, and I do my damndest to keep everyone I knew out of them as well. Not to mention that getting a child pierced just because the mother thinks it’s “pretty” is ridiculous, and, in my eyes, mutilation.

    Haley on May 8th, 2011 at 1:58 pm
  12. I was 4, when my parents got my ears done at a mall. I have no problems with them right now, almost 12 years later. I know it’s more traumatic but what does it actually affect?

    Michael on May 18th, 2011 at 10:56 pm
  13. I had my ears gunned when I was about 18 months old by my parents, so did my sisters. I’ve never had any problems with my first holes as long as I can remember, but what I do remember was hating my earrings, and telling my mom I wanted to take them out, and re-pierce them when I was older. So if I have a daughter, I’ll let her pierce her ears whenever she wants, but only if she wants to.

    In November I got my second holes done at Trade Secrets, (my oldest sister had her 3rd’s and one 4th done there, my second had her 2nd’s) and that was where I ran into problems. The hole on my left ear isn’t pierced cleanly, there is a flap of skin inside the hole that lies flush with my ear when I have earrings in. This freaks me out because that hole has been infected twice already, and I’m pretty sure that is why.

    I want my third’s done soon, but my mom is very convinced that guns are the most sterile, hygienic, healthy and safe way to pierce your ears, and refuses to allow me to go to an actual piercer to get them done with a needle.

    Alexis on June 19th, 2011 at 4:31 am
  14. While I agree that mall piercings are often a bad idea, I don’t necessarily think that piercing guns are 100% evil. I had a crappy job working at Claire’s once and yes, the training is subpar and some of the girls I worked with were terrible. I think the person you choose is just as important as the method of piercing you choose. Yes, I did piercings with a gun. However, I AM actually educated about cross-contamination. The earrings we pierced with were longer than standard posts and had sharpened ends. When people came in looking for a cartilage piercing, I honestly told them that they needed to go to the piercing and tattoo shop across the way to get it done with a needle. Sure, even for a basic earlobe piercinga needle piercing is preferable but I’m perfectly comfortable with using a gun. That being said, I’d avoid the mall. Just because I knew what I was doing, doesn’t mean my coworkers did. Go somewhere where the piercer is really passionate about their job, not where some high school girl is getting paid minimum wage to sell lipgloss and cheap jewelry.

    Jenn on July 28th, 2011 at 5:54 pm
  15. My mum took me to her salon (she was a hairdresser) to get my ears pierced when I was 6. Then she freaked out at the idea of hurting me and got one of the people she worked with to do it. I can’t remember if I had asked for them to be done or if she offered but I do remember being keen once the idea was in my head. I barely felt the piercings at all and had no troubles with infection or migration as they healed and as I grew older. When I started getting into body mods at around 12ish I then found out that the guns are a terrible way to pierce, and it made perfect sense. I’m glad that I was lucky to not have any complications, but the majority of people I know had the same experience… So I guess that’s why when you try to tell people to go to a pro-piercer and do it with needles they don’t take it seriously. They think ‘Well I and everyone I know got them done with a gun when WE were kids, and they’re fine. Plus it’s less than half the price…’. They think they’re taking a calculated risk. I’m not upset at my mum for getting me the piercings, she honestly would not have known otherwise. Especially back then. And she was giving me something I wanted, so I’d feel strangely guilty to berate her about it all these years later… But people who pierce their babies and toddlers make me uncomfortable. At least wait until the kid can express for themselves that they want the piercings. Then you’re the ‘cool parent’ who let them get their ears pierced, even if you wanted them to have them done in the first place, haha. Also, is you take you child to a proper studio with all the heavily modded people and the generally alternative + sterile environment, the gloves and the needles, etc, they may just think twice about begging you for future piercings in their early teens if it freaks them out as children, hahaha. Or if they love it then at least when they start begging you for piercings as teens you know they’ll go back to a proper studio and not a Hairhouse Warehouse or Cosmetics Plus. Or worse, the backyard-safety-pin special.

    Ticket on August 18th, 2011 at 3:58 pm
  16. You wouldn’t go to a doctor knowing they used dull, unsanitary scalpels to cut you open, would you?

    Speaking from personal experience, I had my ears gunned twice as a child. The first time was in the mall, and it was a HUGE mistake. They were immediately unbearably painful, and we soon learned why: they were deeply infected from day one. After managing to heal the infection and all of the pustules that had developed WITHIN my ear lobe, we allowed the holes to close up because (o hai, surprise!) they were CROOKED, and noticeably so. After they were gone, and the infection had healed, we let them close up and I went in four years later (different store) and had my ears gunned again. I got very, very lucky this time- they healed up with minimal scar tissue. I can still, twelve years after the fact, feel the lumps of scar tissue within my ears from that first infection. As for cartilage, I would never DREAM of it after all of that.

    Moral of the story? Don’t do it. Don’t let anyone do it to YOU, don’t do it to YOUR KID, and don’t let your FRIENDS do it either.

    Jeanne on October 11th, 2011 at 3:58 am
  17. I had my ears pierced when I was about five years old, in a mall by a maniac with a gun.
    My parents cleaned my ears diligently (My grandmother had actually taken me for the piercing without their permission.) and ensured I only wore the best quality of jewellery, but my ears still got infected. We cleaned them and cleaned them, but it was awful.
    Now, thirteen years later, one of my ears won’t take a piercing. I can’t put the piercing in. They’ve not closed up as far as I know, as the other ear is fine and I’ve never had the jewellery out long enough to allow them to heal, so I have no idea what it is, but I’m in near constant pain whenever I wear earrings. I just want them to heal up so I can have them re-pierced by somebody who actually knows what they’re doing.

    Amaterasu on October 31st, 2011 at 1:08 pm
  18. You guys should read this. This is a very well-written article about the danger of piercing guns.

    JessicaD on November 27th, 2011 at 1:02 am
  19. To add my story, I had my ears pierced at the mall when I was six along with my sister’s having hers done. Mine got infected and were badly placed, so my mom removed the piercings. I had them done when I was ten at Claire’s and had my second done a few years later there with no problem. I’m getting my cartilge done for my 17th and I want to convience my mom to take me to a studio and glad I came across this. :)

    Lila on February 12th, 2012 at 2:25 am
  20. I had my ears pierced by a gun when I was 13 at some local hair salon,My father REFUSED to allow my mom get them done when I was a baby/small child, thank god. The posts were not long enough and ended up swelling causing the “gem” part of the earring to go INSIDE my ear lob. Obviously that hurt so I took them both out and they healed without getting infected (thankfully). Later I got them re-pierced, by a gun again (stupid) and they have forever (I’m now 21) been giving me problems. Apparently I didn’t learn from that I got my 2nd holes done by gun as well, 1 at Clairs and 1 at Peoples. Both have bad scar tissue/get infected regularly.
    Surprisingly, and I would never recommend this, one drunk night I let my friend pierce my 3rd hole with a piercing needle in her living room, while holding a lit cigarette, without cleaning anything let alone wearing gloves. Had never given me a problem.

    Alandra on February 26th, 2012 at 11:39 pm
  21. I have 6 piercings in each earlobe and all of them were done with a gun, which I wouldn’t recommend to anyone now that I know better, but they were done when I was younger and more ignorant. I haven’t had any real problems with any of them (except for the first ones, which were done when I was about 5 and ended up having my dad removing the backs with pliers because there was so much hair caught around them because of being told to turn them all the time) but I think this is mostly because after about the second pair I got into the practice of changing them after about a week over from the studs used to pierce them to hoops, which gave them more room to swell and to leak fluids. However, I also had a cartilage piercing done with a gun, and it resulted in a decent sized blowout, which I lived with for years until I started reading BME and realised what it was and how I could get rid of it. It’s gone now, but I would never do that to myself or my ears again.

    Also, a girl I knew as a teenager worked in a chemist and was taught to pierce ears with a gun, and they basically gave her one to practice with on an orange as her “training”.

    Cait on May 17th, 2012 at 9:07 am
  22. I have two holes in each ear lobe and one in my left upper cartilage. The two holes in my lobes were both done by guns at a claire’s esque place when I was relatively young (7 and 12). I have had no problems at all with either of these as far as healing, migration, or infection go. However, I have sensitive ears and a lot of the really cheap earrings (as in not made of gold, silver, or surgical steel) make my ears really irritated and itchy. The other problem I have is that the two second holes are not completely even. It’s not noticeable to anyone but myself, but it still bugs me. I got my cartilage done at a very reputable place in Charlotte, NC and I absolutely love it. It was done with a hollow needle the way it should be. The place was very clean and the girl who did the piercing even helped calm my nerves before doing it. I have never had a single problem with infection, although I did experience quite a bit of soreness while it was healing.

    In conclusion, it is absolutely stupid to get any cartilage piercing done with a gun. However, I know that if my mom had taken me to a tattoo/piercing parlor to get my lobes done as a young kid, I would have been scared shitless. I guess the only other option for young kids is to have it done by a relative or perhaps ask a professional piercer to come do it somewhere less scary for the kid.

    Amanda G on May 31st, 2012 at 5:52 pm
  23. Amanda: Piercing cartilage with virtually all guns is illegal now. They’ve made some bullshit ‘legal’ gun called Inverness, but it’s still a gun.
    If you know of any place using run-of-the-mill guns to pierce cartilage, report them. ;)

    Jon R. on August 3rd, 2012 at 8:36 pm

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