Why should you choose a piercer that uses a needle over a gun?
We get asked this question a lot here at FreshTrends; “Why is getting pierced with a gun bad?” The question is fairly hard to answer but if you want a short answer; cleanliness and trauma.
Thanks for reading, have a great day.
Seriously though, If you want a little more in-depth answer; there are several issues with getting pierced with a gun that you should know before committing to anything. The first and most major issue I have heard from piercers is the cleanliness of piercing guns.
Guns are normally made from plastic and cannot be autoclaved. Autoclaving is an industry standard for sterilization when anything comes in contact with a piercing or dirty items will be disposed of immediately. Most places will wipe a gun down with an alcohol swab, the issue with that is that it kills most of the bacteria, yes, but not necessarily everything. Also if the piercer touches the piercing and then the gun it has just been contaminated with whatever bacteria the piercer has on their fingers. This will linger on the gun until you are ready to get your piercing and raises the chances of infection! It is also not uncommon for there to be a little bleeding with the initial piercing, normally a few drops, if that. If the blood comes into contact with the gun, it has just been contaminated. There are blood-borne pathogens and viruses that can survive even after being rubbed down with alcohol, most notably Hepatitis.
The next issue my piercer friends talk about is the blunt force trauma of the gun. Most places will use a stud to do the piercing, studs are normally flat backed and externally threaded. That means the gun is using pressure to force the flat object through the tissue of your ear with the threading rubbing the brand new piercing. This can increase the risk of infection drastically. Because the tissue is being forced out of the back this can lead to scars developing on the ridge on the top of the piercing.
The last issue I hear about from professional piercers is the person using the gun. Most places will give a two week course on how to use the gun. In two weeks it is hard to learn about cross-contamination, what style jewelry works best in what piercings, or even how-to really take care of a new piercing. Let’s say there is a problem with your new piercing and you have to go back. Most places will not have enough experience to really know what the problem is, let alone the solution.
When I got my cartilage pierced at the mall the instructions were basically don’t touch it and spin it a few times a day. I got pierced with a 5/16″ barbell, not nearly long enough to account for the swelling. The swelling was so painful for the first few days I couldn’t even spin the barbell. The first night I couldn’t even sleep it had swollen-up and hurt so badly. For the next week i couldn’t even touch my left ear, let alone sleep on it. It was easily the most painful piercing I had ever gotten.
I told my piercer this story and he started laughing. He told me cold compacts and aspirin would have helped the swelling go down. But more importantly, the piercer should have pierced me with a longer shaft to make sure
I had room for the swelling, or a captive bead ring which would have allowed for more movement to clean the new piercing better. My current piercer would have explained to me why a hoop would be better and would have walked me through why.
A piercer at a studio is going to charge a higher price tag, but the service you will be receiving is normally of a much higher quality. Most professional piercers go through an extensive apprenticeship. Piercing apprenticeships can last a few years and many say it is a life-long learning process. During a piercing apprenticeship the piercer will learn about cross-contamination and blood borne pathogens. They are taught the standards on how to prevent cross-contamination. They also learn about nerve endings and how to avoid seriously hurting their customers, among many other things.
Also, professional piercing studios in most areas will have regular visits from a medical doctor to talk about the latest procedures in sterilization as well as new diseases and ways to prevent contamination. They are also tested on this information as well as all of the machinery they may use to make sure it is up to the current standards. A piercer should be able to present this documentation to a customer that wants to see it.
A piercer will also be able to help you select jewelry for the piercing that is going to help it heal faster. They will listen to you about your lifestyle and select the jewelry that is going to be the safest and best for your piercing. Piercers will also use a standard size gauge for piercing which they feel is the safest, normally 18g or 16g. Most people pierced with guns are pierced at an earring’s gauge 22g. This can make finding new cartilage jewelry nearly impossible as the two gauges are so different from each other.
The needles a piercer use are razor sharp,they pierce quicker and are less painful than a gun, which is forcing itself through the skin, not cutting it and moving it away. The pain associated with a piercing needle is going to be drastically less. A professional piercing needle is going to be nearly painless compared to a gun. I know it does sound a bit intimidating but a good piercer will not only make you feel comfortable about the process, but will move quick enough that it will be over before you know it.
Over the weekend I was hanging out at my tattoo shop, waiting to get tattooed, and someone came into get an industrial piercing. The piercer let me sit in and watch, when they were all finished up I asked why he used two needles to do the piercing and not just re-use the first one. “These things are razor sharp, as soon as you use them they start to dull. If I wanted to put the kid through more pain, yea, I coulda used the same needle, but why do that to him?”
We all know people that have gotten pierced with a gun that have had no problems. All 10 of my initial lobe piercings were done with guns as well as my three cartilage piercings. Two of the cartilage piercings caused a raised scar on the back of my ear that I still have. If I had known the risk when I was getting them done I would have went to a piercing studio to avoid any unnecessary risk.
It’s your body, why run the chance of catching something or getting a bad piercing to save a few dollars?