So, we start what would be the older generation’s most controversial conversations, and one of the most important ones when it comes to education about how to get your ears (and other body parts) pierced safely.
We have all heard of the “get them shot in” or “get them pierced with a gun” suggestions, however, take this advice from somebody that has been doing body piercings for just over a decade and did use all the makes and shapes of guns (or push together machines whatever you want to justifiably call them) – they are NOT to be used and should be banned completely.
One of the many reasons for this would be hygiene. A piercing gun cannot be autoclaved, and yet they still use the same gun on every person that they pierce! This is a crisis in terms of airborne pathogens. At best, I’ve seen them wipe the part that touches your ear with an alcohol swab (and this is rare), but this is not nearly as effective as it should be to eliminate bacteria. Yes, alcohol rapidly denatures proteins and kills some bacteria rapidly, but it is no replacement for a registered sterilizing agent or, as all us professionals use – an autoclave. This is a machine that uses heat and pressure to ensure all your equipment is completely sterile, it’s the safest and most full proof way. Cold sterilants do have their place, but that wouldn’t work with the way the gun is made anyway, so why would we even bother. I’ve also seen people who use guns only clean the ear once and then continue to use a koki that gets used on everyone and does not have antiseptic ink. Firstly, there was a study done that said that Sharpie pens could be reused, but this was not measured to the type of skin prep that involves simply wiping something down with alcohol. That useless pen thats used at the gun store spreads bacteria from one client to another, and even if they did change to Sharpie, the study done had used all of the body piercers surgical prep methods that don’t involve alcohol but rather Povidone-Iodine, CHG2%,ALC70%, QAC’s etc. In a nutshell, the gun is horrendous for those who keep their hygiene standards out of the gutters.
Having your body punctured to wear a piece of jewelry in there is sacred, and there are many aspects to this procedure that make this process important. One of them includes copious amounts of training and skill – not a pharmacist can perform it, not a jeweler, but a professional body piercer that specializes in their trade. There is a difference between somebody hired to do a job involving many things (eg. working at a mall store for example) and someone that puts their life and dedication into keeping piercing up to the highest standard possible. Most of these people use teddy bear ears to train on… 1,2,3 – SHOOT! No training in anatomy, no training in terms of symmetry. These people that are piercing your ears are not piercers at all, they are merely shop workers that do what they have to do with the job they have. As kind and sweet as the person may be, it’s not like when signing up for that job piercing was really the thing they wanted, if it was, they would have gone to get an apprenticeship at a professional studio! People who work at these chains are not passionate, and just do it because they have to.
The image of the needle gliding through the skin like butter and the blunt force of shooting a blunt earstud through the ear should give you a good idea of the trauma that the gun really puts on the tissue. It’s no different to putting a sterile piece of wood at the back of your ear, and hammering a sterile nail straight through. The gun causes an eruption of the tissue as there has been no appropriate place for the studs that are put in to be sitting. The needle gently (like butter), as quickly as a gun slides through creating a neat little crease in your skin where your implant grade jewelry can sit nicely. Ears pierced with a gun leave bigger scars and create bigger fistulas (pips) due to the shock that surrounds the stud as the jewelry is forced through. The tissue is in trauma. With the needle, the piece of jewelry rests nicely in the little crease that is made for the jewelry and there is no trauma, no pain, and no need to worry. The worst is when it comes to cartilage, this is a hazardous place to be pierced with anything besides a hollow, high quality piercing needle. The gun will cause a shatter of the cartilage and most definitely lead to a blow up because of the blunt force going through the hard tissue. I cannot stress enough how important it is to find a piercing studio such as Cape Town Body Piercing. The gun is way more painful and people barely notice the needle!