Children pierced with guns instead of needles at high risk of infection

So it’s your daughter’s 13th birthday and all she’s been asking for is to get her ears pierced. As a parent, you knew this day was coming and now you’re faced with a decision.

Parents might find it easier to take their children to Claire’s where their child can hold a teddy bear during the piercing instead of going to a tattoo parlor.  While a gun may look a lot less scary to a 13-year-old, the needle will save you from many chances of infection and is actually a lot less painful. 

Understandably, the atmosphere of Claire’s makes the ear piercing experience more adequate and is a bit more age appropriate, but the use of piercing guns a lot less safe than many people may think.

In a blog post from the Almost Famous Body Piercing shop, they claim that many people have had piercings done with a gun instead of a needle and encountered no serious health issues. Yet when the two methods are compared, needles are far safer and less painful for piercings. 

Going to a tattoo and piercing shop can be a bit overwhelming for a young teen, and due to societal norms, it’s less likely for a parent to take their kid to get a piercing in that environment. However, in terms of how their child is getting pierced, the pros definitely outweigh the cons when it comes to getting pierced with needles.

When using a needle, the piercing process is much safer and less painful than having a blunt stud forced through your skin using a gun, according to an article from It additionally states that the jewelry used in professional piercing shops is also much better for you.

 Many shops will clean their guns or use disposable ones, but since they are plastic and can’t be cleaned using heat, there’s no way to fully disinfect them.

Another issue is the blunt force trauma that the gun can cause on the ear. Claire’s only offers ear piercings, as they only use piercing guns and you cannot use a gun to pierce any other part of the body.  However, this can be problematic the further up the ear you want to pierce.

In a post from autor Margaret Harvey, she states that according to the Association of Professional Piercers, a piercing gun can crack or shatter the cartilage in the ear completely. Although the damaged cartilage can be pierced again, it will take much longer to heal, be more painful, and there is a risk your body will the reject the piercing. 

With that being said, there are people who get piercings at Claire’s that do not experience any issues.  The piercers do a great job at making sure customers know how to clean their piercings thoroughly so no serious infections occur, but for some people, there’s no way to stop it.

It’s important to normalize the idea of going to a tattoo and piercing parlor in order to get pierced with a needle, instead of taking a trip to Claire’s because it is seen as the easy option.  Piercers at piercing shops are trained, and will use a needle which will be less painful and will not cause infection.