I know this is a touchy topic and there are even cultural ties for some people (“It’s just done in my family.”) but there is so much people don’t understand, and it’s something that’s always bothered me.
The problems with the gun itself:
* It is generally flimsy plastic which has a tendency to function improperly and often can misaim/misfire.
* If it is not plastic and one-time use, it has plastic parts which are not autoclavable and can actually transfer blood-born diseases.
* It is inaccurate.
* Though not the gun, these huts don’t follow even 10% of the health code protocol required for actual piercing studios, and the girls generally have less than 5 hours training… for something that is permanent.
The problems with the earrings:
* They are not sharp enough to be a piercing implement and literally tear a jagged hole which prolongs swelling and encourages scarring and infection.
* The butterfly backs commonly used are the perfect shape to hold lymph fluid “crusties” against the back of the ear, along with oils and products from hair and the environment, again encouraging infection and irritation.
* Unless you spend $20+ per pair of earrings, even the “sterling silver” or “surgical steel” or “nickel-free” earrings usually have nickel to some extent. Over 75% of people are nickel-sensitive and this can increase nickel-allergies and cause infection.
* The posts are not long enough to allow for normal and healthy swelling. The reason people tell you to “twist” an earring is because the posts are too short with a funky shaped back and they get swallowed up with natural swelling and it can overgrow the back. That’s NOT healthy to twist because you tear the skin trying to heal inside and can turn bacteria into the healing-skin, promoting scarring and infection. This can also lead to the serous fluid being unable to escape, leading to bad infections and swelling due to fluid retention.
* Their healing care regimes are seriously a joke. The Claires.com video on how to care for a new ear piercing is so bad that it’s almost a guide for what NOT to do.
The reasons that a piercing parlor is superior:
* You wouldn’t let a girl at the mall lance your boil or give you stitches. They also have no right doing what SHOULD be a sterile puncture wound.
* Piercing studios follow very strict health precautions akin to a hospital’s.
* Piercing needles cut an accurate hole every time, in a neat crescent shape that is gently pushed down and out. It hurts LESS, scars less, heals faster.
* Proper jewelry is used that allows for natural swelling and ACTUALLY contains no nickel.
* Piercers are actually professionals that need to do a good job as the majority of advertising is word-of-mouth. Their customers are often much more picky about the results, and as such, they “guarantee” their work and do much better in the first place.
* Piercers actually have basic medical knowledge and understanding and can help you deal with any problems should they arise, and even encourage customers to come in for help with changing jewelry or whatnot.
* Piercers actually provide you with accurate healing instructions.
When it comes to babies, their ears are so small that improper placement is not only possible, but likely. People like to have guns done “because it’s quick” but for something that will last their entire life (don’t fool yourself – there is ALWAYS a scar), it’s worth your time to have it done right, not quick. They don’t understand why their ears hurt – remember teething? You’re inflicting THAT kind of pain on your baby for appearances. They also are choking hazards – that you’re sticking on your child’s head. Babies spend a lot of time lying down, which means that much more time the healing piercings hurt, and that much more dirt, dust, sweat and fibers being rubbed into the new piercings as well. People also like to claim that they do it “before the baby can mess with it.” What’s stopping them from messing with it in a few months when they FIND their ears? They can pull on them and CAUSE an infection, just so you know. Better to wait until they’re OLD enough NOT to.
So, what SHOULD you do?
Find a real, professional piercer (just like you’d find a real doctor or dentist – not a girl working at Wal-Mart) to do the job. If you can’t, that’s because most people won’t pierce small children. If your child can’t voice that they want it done, most places just won’t do it… with good reason. The child needs to be old enough to want it done, understand why their ears hurt, and take (supervised) care of their new piercings. If you can’t find anyone to do it, wait until your child is a little older. I’ve heard that some doctors will do it, but this would be like asking them to do a tattoo… it’s not their business and there’s no guarantee they understand even the most minor thing about the procedure.
Also, do not trust anyone’s healing advice except for a professional. Claire’s Ear Care solution can actually harbor bacteria, and as I’ve already said, their instructions are so bad they’re almost a “What NOT to Do” manual.
And by the way… if your baby in their pink dress, with a pink bow on their head, in a pink carseat and pink shoes doesn’t stop people from saying your baby is a boy, they won’t even NOTICE itty bitty pieces of metal jammed in the baby’s ears. Just sayin’.