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The Gun vs. The Needle - Your Guide to Piercings
by Mel March 10th 2009, 05:47 AM

The Gun vs. The Needle
Your Guide to Piercings
By Marionette.

** Please go to a professional when getting any part of your body pierced, lobes or otherwise. **

All piercings, besides the lobes, should be done with a needle and NOT a gun. Guns are typically cheaper, but there are so many more risks involved. Piercing guns have been used for years for piercing people of all ages. Today, though, professional body piercers want to see the gun banned. Why?

The first concern when it comes to piercing is sterilization. Any kind of procedure involving contact with blood or bodily fluids requires strict adherence to cross-contamination prevention. Piercing guns are usually made with plastic and cannot be sterilized in an autoclave. Sure, they wipe the gun with alcohol or antiseptic in between uses, but how sterile is that? It is not unreasonable to guess that in a 2-week training course, these mall piercists are not being taught about infection control and blood-borne pathogens. A quick wipe with a sterile pad is not effective in removing disease-carrying blood.

Some will argue that the piercing gun never comes in contact directly with the customer's skin. This might be true, but the piercers hands do - if they touch the customers skin and then touch the gun, the gun is now contaminated. Period. And when the gun drives the stud through the flesh and the skin starts to bleed, there is no way of knowing whether or not tiny particles of blood could have been dispersed into the air contaminating everything around it.

But Doesn't The Gun Hurt Less?

In short - no. Sterility is just one of the possible problems with gun piercing. Tissue trauma is another. The gun forces a blunt stud through the skin, causing it to literally rip in order to make room for the jewelry. It then pinches the back of the jewelry in place snugly against the skin, allowing no way for the new wound to breathe and heal properly. The customer is told to turn the jewelry a couple times a day, which only further pushes growing bacteria into the wound, causing infection.

True, many customers get pierced with guns and never have any problems with it. However, why put yourself at risk when there is a safer, less painful way to go about it?

Why the Needle is So Much Better

In comparison to the two-week training of the amateur piercer, a professional body piercer goes through extensive training that can last as long as two or three years. They learn about the human body and how piercings affect the circulatory system. They learn how to avoid hitting nerves that can cause severe pain to the customer. Most importantly, they learn about cross-contamination prevention and how to properly sterilize their instruments. Anything that touches the customer that cannot be autoclaved is thrown away immediately. Work stations are fully disinfected before and after every piercing procedure.

The piercing process itself is also much safer and less painful than having a blunt stud forced through your skin. A piercing needle is actually hollow and extremely sharp. It slices through the skin, safely pushing the tissue aside to make room for the jewelry to be inserted. This may not sound too appealing, but actually happens very quickly and is virtually painless for most body parts.

The jewelry used in professional piercing shops is also much better for you. Barbells and Captive Beads Rings are specially designed to allow removal of dirt and bacteria effectively during the healing process. Allowing for full movement of the jewelry makes it much easier for you to clean it without counter-productively pushing more bacteria into the pierce. The metals that are used in this jewelry are also better for your skin and less likely to cause a reaction. High-grade Surgical Stainless Steel and even Titanium (which is virtually nickel-free) give you the best chances of an infection and reaction-free piercing.

Although it is true that professional piercing prices run higher than those performed in mall stores, why put a price on your safety and well-being? The quality and personalized service you receive by going to a professional are certainly worth that little extra money. These trained professionals are also happy to follow up with you should you have any questions or complications. Your mall piercer might offer their opinion on how to treat an infection, but who do you think will be more qualified to help you? The answer is obvious.

Last edited by Mel; May 10th 2009 at 06:02 PM.
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guide, gun, needle, piercings

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