Will You Pierce Me With A Gun?
I will NEVER use a "piercing gun" to pierce ANYONE!
Each and every piercing is performed using sterile, single use professional piercing blade or cannula needles, which are safely disposed of after each procedure. Piercing gun services have never and will never be offered an an alternative to needle piercings, for a multitude of reasons - if you or someone you know is considering getting pierced with one of these systems, please read over the information below first!
While a handful of retail establishments/salons still readily offer this outdated and unsafe method of piercing, it is advisable that you avoid these establishments for your next piercing experience.
It is completely understandable that a piecing can be a daunting experience and a piercing gun offers what may seem like the quickest, simplest option.
In reality being pierced with a gun can result in complications/damage that in some cases can be permanent and which can be avoided by visiting a professional body piercer.
Body piercers will train for a minimum of three years before being considered “qualified” to safely carry out piercing procedures safely, though it is important to note that there aren’t actually any officially recognised piercing qualifications.
Most establishments that offer gun piercings usually offer staff minimal training, usually a few days or even hours, meaning there will be limited knowledge of blood-borne pathogens/contamination/sterilisation procedures and it is widely believed that piercing guns are not accepted equipment of reputable piercing professionals.
Do not let someone inexperienced carry out your piercing! Not only can it lead to uneven piercings, excess swelling or scarring – lack of understanding of cross contamination could put your health or even your life at risk.
Blood-borne Disease Transmission:
Piercing guns generally made from sliding plastic compartments, meaning they are unable autoclaved/sterilised appropriately. Aside from day-to-day infection risk there is a high chance of contracting a blood-borne disease.
- A piercing gun was used on a client with Hepatitis B.
- When the piercing gun ‘fires’ it aerosolises the blood.
- This blood lands on the gun.
- The gun is insufficiently cleaned, then used on the next client.
It has been proven that Hepatitis B can survive for up to a week in dry blood outside the host. While the equipment is able to be wiped down/soaked between uses, this only disinfects and removes visible debris. The only way to appropriately sterilise equipment is with the use of a professional autoclave, after the item has been appropriately cleaned.
Blunt Force Trauma:
A piercing gun forces a blunt stud through the tissue like a bullet wound, meaning that scarring and swelling can be excessive. This can be detrimental enough to an earlobe or nostril, but in upper ear (cartilage) piercings they can separate the skin cartilage and perichondrium (layers in the upper ear) causing fluid to fill the tissue. This can cause cartilage collapse (cauliflower ear) which is permanent and irreversible.
A blunt stud forcing it’s way through tissue is excruciatingly painful in comparison to a swift, sharp piercing from a professional piercing needle which causes minimal trauma in comparison.
Most gun piercing studs only cost a few pence to buy at wholesale. This is only made possible by sourcing substandard materials, composed of cheap metal alloys.
As mentioned further down in the metal types section, the majority of these studs will be plated and are not safe for human implant.
While implant grade titanium/niobium and solid gold jewellery is more expensive when compared to surgical steel, it is worth investing in items you know that won’t be harmful to your body, are designed to be worn every day and won’t fall apart or cause an allergic reaction.
Jewellery that is not certified implant grade, or made from safe materials such as solid 14/18k gold will begin to break down as soon as it comes into contact with your body.
This process could take anywhere from a few days to a few years, but eventually more often than not the jewellery will cause the piercing to flare up, migrate/reject or allergic reactions usually linked to the nickel in the compound.
Post Piercing Infection Risk:
Butterfly backed studs or cone shaped nose studs collect lymph, blood and other natural body fluids that would normally secrete from a fresh piercing.
The shape of these backs make it difficult to clean them appropriately and this build up of body fluid becomes a breeding ground for bacteria which presents a huge infection risk.
The design of these studs means that the jewellery have to be spun/twisted regularly to prevent the skin from growing over the back of the stud.
The act of spinning or twisting a stud in a fresh piercing can tear the fistula which can delay healing, also leading to excess swelling and scarring.
Dangerous Aftercare Advice:
Re seal-able aftercare lotions/solutions like those provided by Studex or Claire’s Accessories present a huge infection risk. Once these solutions are opened, they are exposed to bacteria in the air and are then kept for weeks on end. This means this bacteria is left to breed, which you then apply to your new piercing.
You should only ever use 0.9% sterile saline solution such as Neilmed and sterile gauze swabs to clean your piercing to avoid the risk of infection!
Piercing gun studs usually come in a universal standard size and most people’s earlobes/nostrils are too thick to support these for a fresh piercing. While these size are suitable for wear in healed piercings, there is no space left on these studs to allow for natural swelling, which generally tends to be worse when compared to that from needle piercings, due to the blunt force trauma from their execution. As these studs don’t allow for swelling room, they can cause the skin to rupture resulting in a host of problems such as delayed healing & increased infection risk as it is impossible to clean around the piercing effectively.
It is difficult to aim a piercing gun – it has been proven that the inaccuracy can be anywhere up to 6mm depending on the gun design. Also because most gun piercings are performed on clients of a younger age, these piercings can migrate as they grow and they are much more susceptible to healing problems, especially infection. The problems associated with being pierced with a gun can be a lot more detrimental on children as they have less understanding of the procedure and it’s after effects.