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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Bodies » pierced with a gun (Page 1)

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Author Topic: pierced with a gun
lilnerd
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I got my cartilage pierced yesterday. I got it done with a gun after contemplating needles vs. gun for about a month. The reason I chose a gun was because most of my friends who have it got it done that way and they didn't really have any problems, and they said that it hurts less than a needle. But (of course) after I got it done everyone chooses to come out and tell me all the horror stories. I was about to have a panic attack when this kid told me a (nasssty) story. Anyone else get pierced with a gun?

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"I suggest we learn to love ourselves before it's made illegal"
~Incubus


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Kasper
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I have about 11 peircings total in my ears. All of them were done by guns. Ive only had a prob with one of them, so I took it out and the problem was solved. Make sure to clean your ear with the ear care solution ever day, and avoid using like hairspray and gel. If you do cover your ear, and wash it with the ear care after. Enjoy your new peircing!
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lemming
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Well, I had my cartilage piercings done with a needle, so no comparison on that front, but...

I had both my lobes pierced with a gun (the "traditional" piercings) and those took me 3 months to heal out completely (that is, stop being tender, stop leaking lymph, be healed).

Later, I had one lobe done with a needle. And that one healed up *completely* in three weeks. Less trauma to the ear, better jewelry (those little butterfly backs are notorious for being too tight and having all sorts of crevices to breed germs in), and altogether better in my opinion.

Big problems with piercing guns:

1) They cannot be adequately sterilized. They can't. Alcohol does not render an object sterile. Piercing guns have many small cracks which can hold blood from other piercees, tissue, germs, and all kinds of dirt. They often have plastic parts, and cannot be autoclaved. Blood-borne pathogens like Hepatitis C can be spread by piercing guns.

2) Trauma to the ear. In a piercing gun, the jewelry is used to "make the hole" in your ear. The jewelry used is in no way sharp enough to cut cleanly through your ear, *especially* in cartilage. With a needle (a hollow, very sharp, piercing needle, that is), a crescent shaped slit is cut in the tissue and jewelry inserted afterwards - much less traumatizing. Needles are one-use items, as well, not like the guns, as described above.

3) Operators of the guns. People who pierce with guns are likely doing so as part of their other, unrelated jobs (like the people in Claire's selling hair doodads). They are often given no more specialized training than practicing on customers' or their own ears. They often have no medical training whatsoever, and do not operate in a clean environment. (Come on, you've seen those babies getting their ears pierced right inside the store.) If the people even wear gloves, they'll often touch everything in sight and not change them. In contrast, most legitimate piercing studios hire artists who have received not only training from other artists during apprenticeships, but who at least have basic rudimentary first aid/CPR training. Rooms are kept clean, gloves changed many times, and all equipment used is rendered sterile by autoclaving, including jewelry, needles, forceps, and other tools.

Bottom line: Not a fantastic idea. But a zillion other people have lived through it, and you will, too. Next time, go for the needle.

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~lemming, Scarleteen Advocate

want to know the inner lemming? read her diary at http://innerlemming.diaryland.com.
"How can I look in your eyes when I feel like to die I have to run away?" --Joga, "Dam Dariram"


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emsily0
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i had the cartilage of both my ears pierced with a gun last winter, and i left them in for 2 weeks. after 2 weeks, they were still so unbearably painful that i took them out. i just couldn't stand the jolt of pain every time anyone got anywhere near my ears. plus i'm a side sleeper, and i just couldn't get comfortable. they weren't infected, they just hurt like a mofo all the time.

i am sure that this was caused by the bruising and tissue damage done by a gun.

on the other hand, i have my lobes pierced, and they were done with a gun, and they healed quick and never caused me any problems.

still, if i ever decide to try my cartilege again, i am definitely going for the needle.

em

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Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together; sophistication demands that they submit to sex immediately without proper preliminary talk. Not courting talk - real straight talk about souls - for life is holy and every moment is precious. I heard the Denver and Rio Grande locamotive howling off in the mountains. I wanted to pursue my star further. -Kerouac


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Sallynha
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I only have a piercing on each ear (the common ones) and I got them done with a gun. I think everyone here has them done with a gun, at least these ones. I'd say it doesn't hurt almost at all, as it's so fast you don't even get to feel pain hehe

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~Sallynha
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Celtic Daisy
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I've had my ears pierced with a gun 3 times.
The first time was at a professional piercing place, but they got very badly infected and had to come out. I let them fill in.

The second time, was a few years later at clairs. Within a month, they got very badly infected and had to come out. I let them fill in.

The third time was 7 months ago, and believe it or not, they have been infectd, not as seriously, 3 times already, and still aren't healed. I considered taking them out, but ended up leaving. In the left one, when i take out the studs, there's still bleeding quite often, but the right one is almost healed i think.

I didn't know that a gun wasn't safe until a month after i got them pierced and i really wish i had gone somewhere professional and gotten them done with a needle.

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"where'ths my mommy?"
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LilBlueSmurf
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First of all i have to say that my ears don't like me, therefore i don't wear earings at all. Altho, i do have 4 piercings all together ... So i do have a little experience.

I also can't compare b/w needle and gun. I had two holes put in my ears when i was about 2. They got infected and mom let them close over. I don't remember it at all. I got them redone, 2 in each ear and i still have the holes, altho they've been nothing but trouble since then. They're constantly infected and even now when i can't really wear earings, there's still icky bumpy things from where the holes *were*. No more piercings for me, thx.


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Grizabella
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quote:
Originally posted by lemming:
2) Trauma to the ear. In a piercing gun, the jewelry is used to "make the hole" in your ear. The jewelry used is in no way sharp enough to cut cleanly through your ear, *especially* in cartilage.

I got my ears pierced with a gun eight years ago, and the studs they used had sharp ends... is this unusual?

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"Sometimes people care too much. I think it's called Love."
---Pooh Bear


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kythryne
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While a lot of people have their ears done with a gun, it really isn't a good idea. As lemming already pointed out, for one thing, the guns can *not* be sanitized properly, and for another, the studs are too dull to make a clean puncture through the tissue. Even if they feel sharp, trust me, they're nowhere near as sharp as a piercing needle. Also, most piercing studs are made out of cheap alloy metals, which frequently cause irritation, allergic reactions, and/or infections.


However, since you've already had your cartiledge pierced with the dreaded gun, here are a few tips that may make healing easier for you. First of all, you might want to consider going to a reputable body piercing shop and asking them to put in a captive bead ring or barbell. In addition to allowing much more room for swelling to occure without putting pressure on your ear, a good piece of piercing jewelry will make the whole healing process much easier.

Also, most piercers suggest using a mild antibiotic soap to clean fresh piercings. You may have been told to use either alcohol or hydrogen peroxide (or a cleaning solution containing either of those substances) but both are skin irritants and can in fact make the healing process take much longer.

If you start having problems, your best bet is to head for a body piercing shop and ask one of the piercers for help. You may get scolded a bit for having used a gun, but a good piercer should be able to help you keep the piercing and get it healed.

Just for the record, too -- I have six holes in my ears, all done years ago with a gun, and two elsewhere, both done in the past year with a needle. Four of the gunned piercings got infected constantly and never healed at all, and right now I'm waiting for them to close up so I can have them re-done with a needle. Two healed after a few years, but still give me problems. The two that were done with a needle both healed within a month, with no infections and virtually no pain.

For more information on piercings and such, I can't say enough good things about BMEzine. It's a website devoted to all sorts of body modification. There's some strange stuff on there, but also a lot of really good information. http://bmezine.com

Kythryne

FYI, BMEZINE has since become a lot more graphic, and contains content that might offend or upset some. There's still a lot of good info there, but enter at your own risk.

[This message has been edited by Milke (edited 07-17-2003).]


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Kasper
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The earrings they use to pierce your ears with a gun are sharp enough to go thru clean cut. I have pierced my ears myself before with the earrings they used, and it went thru perfect.

Honestly I think if there were risks along with using the guns to pierce ears, they would not be aloud to use them. Either the CDC or some other health organization would stop the use of guns.


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xJudy
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As a twelve times pierced person (four in each ear, also) I want to throw in my voice against piercing guns as well. For the same reasons that people have already said.

There is no way to adequately sterilize piercing guns, so they put you at a heightened risk for infections and hepatitus. The combination of brute force that it requires to punch a stud through with the piercing gun (yes, the earing LOOKS sharp, but is nowhere near as sharp and accurate as a professional piercing NEEDLE) and unclean gun makes it even more likely that you will get infected.

Make sure to sterilize your ears now that you've already done it, a salt water rinse in addition to what you're normally using is probably a good idea.

Here is an interesting (and kind of scary, as are the risks of getting pierced with a gun... your cartilage could be shattered, and the piercing could migrate - causing your ear to be deformed) story about cartilage piercing done with a gun - http://www.bme.freeq.com/pierce/01-ear/A10904/earlittl.html SafePiercing (http://safepiercing) has a lot of information about piercing care and why the Assosiation of Professional Piercers condemns the usage of guns for piercing.

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Judy & baby Eska


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Only In Dreams
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I have only one (or two, depending how you look at it) piercing(s): my ears, and I got them done in a tattoo parlor with needles when I turned 13. (And let me tell you, it was kind of a conversation starter in my naive Middle School! ) However, almost everyone I know has had them pierced with a gun and has had, for the most part, a good experience. When I got my piercings, it was very hygienic: they used brand-new needles, put alcohol on the needles and my ears, changed their gloves often, etc. I'm not sure what the hygiene standards are for places that use guns; all I can tell you is that a lot of people have done well with guns, but I would personally recommend needles.

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"I talked for hours to your wallet photograph
And you just listened.
You laughed, enchanted by my intellect...
Or maybe, you didn't."

The All-New Only In Dreams Blog!


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lemming
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quote:
Originally posted by Kasper:
The earrings they use to pierce your ears with a gun are sharp enough to go thru clean cut. I have pierced my ears myself before with the earrings they used, and it went thru perfect.

The earrings in piercing guns are designed for earlobes, and should only be used on earlobes. Anatomy is one reason: there is the least amount of resistance by the body to a piercing which is perpendicular to the body surface. And, as kythryne pointed out, they do look sharp and feel pointy, but they are not anywhere near as sharp as a needle. They're also cheaply made, not large enough to accommodate swelling, and often include high nickel content (which many people are allergic to).

quote:
Honestly I think if there were risks along with using the guns to pierce ears, they would not be aloud to use them. Either the CDC or some other health organization would stop the use of guns.

In a perfect world. However, there are too few health inspectors for this to happen, and these businesses (like Claire's) make too much money. Many are also not aware of the problem, or they don't care.

If it were up to me, they would be outlawed. They are simply unsafe.

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~lemming, Scarleteen Advocate

want to know the inner lemming? read her diary at http://innerlemming.diaryland.com.
"How can I look in your eyes when I feel like to die I have to run away?" --Joga, "Dam Dariram"


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Nocturnal Kitten
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Both sets of holes I have in my ears have been done by a gun and I have had nothing but trouble with them. The bottom holes are older than the second set by about six years and they constantly get infected. It took them about four months to completely heal so I could wear different earrings. The second set healed faster, but are just as troublesome. Occationally blood blisters will develope around them and I have to take my earrings out to clean the holes and get the liquid out. All four earrings have to be kept very loose due to them not being big enough for my ears.

I agree with whomever it was that said to get a barbell from a professional. That's what I am going to have to do with mine.

Good luck.

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It took so long to remember just what happened.
I was so young and vestal then.


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MeggishKitten
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Eef... I've only had my earlobes pierced, and that was done with a gun. While the procedure itself was nearly painless, my ears have given me nothing but trouble since, and I've forgone wearing earrings. Turns out I'm allergic to everything but plastic or gold when it comes to my ears, and the holes are too small and bled a lot. Now the holes are old, unused, and -still- occationally get infected. Ugh, I vote needle.

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"Red-a world about to dawn! Black-the night that ends at last!" ~Les Miserables


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Rose_y
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Personally, I have found needles to be amazing compared to a gun, so much better. I had five cart. piercings with a gun before I went with the needle (after a lady got the gun STUCK in my ear-yes this is one of those horror stories) and I wanted to have a more complex piercing.

Generally, I thought guns were fine until that one time. I thought it was normal that it was painful to sleep on for ALONG time and took forever to heal. But my needled piercings stop hurting alot sooner and heal complete much quicker. Also, you have more choice:
-Choice of the size of the hole
-More choice in initial jewellry.
So, really, even if you have had any major problems with the gun, I promise that the needle will be a much more pleasant experience.


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Rose_y
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Oh, one more thing which I don't think anyone has mentioned:-
When it comes time to take out your piercing (I never thought it would happen to me, but it does), in my experience, those done with a needle heal much neater.

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FlutterBy01
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I have the two tradtional piercings, and I got them done with a gun. It was a few years ago, and I've never had any problems with them, except for my left one getting a little infected a while ago... but I'm pretty much positive that was caused by my habit of rubbing my left earlobe combined with my habit of picking at any little bump I feel on my body... so I can't really say I had a bad experience with the gun. Pinch, it's over. But, I wanted to know, if I were to get piercings higher in my earlobe, like near the top, would you still reccomend a needle? Thanks.

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"He who has a thousand friends
Has not a friend to spare,
While he who has one enemy
Shall meet him everywhere." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

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eazily_amuzed
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Well, I have seven holes in my ears, all done with guns. The only one that hasn't given me any trouble is the one in the cartilage. In my lobes, they are always getting infected. As long as I leave the earings in and don't change them that often they seem to be alright though. I recently got a 3rd hole in each lobe done at Claires..(before realizing how unsafe it is)..And well, the lady who did it got them very crooked. She even commented on how they weren't at all even. *Sighs*...After reading all of this..If I do get anymore piercings...I'm thinkin I'll have them done with a needle! But good luck with your piercing...And keep it clean!
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Olive
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I have a set of piercings on my lobes, done by a gun when I was about 4(maybe younger). I dont recall having any problems with those. Then about 3 1/2 years ago I got my cartiledge done with a gun. It didn't hurt then, but it hurt to sleep on and it developed a lump on the back on my ear that went away about a year ago. When I first cleaned my cartiledge blood and puss would come out and when I tried to put my earring back in, it would be difficult and couldnt find the hole so even more blood would come out. My ears are completely fine now tho. I wanted to get my other cartiledge pierced and after reading this, Im going for a needle.

Also, I had my belly button pierced with a needle. It hurt pretty badly but not bad enough to scream and right away blood filled my belly button. I think it may have got infected but not that bad, I just had to make sure I cleaned it about 3 times a day. Now it's fine.


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tonkatruck
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Just before Christmas break i got an industrial in my right ear (an industrial is 2 holes and a barbell connecting them...most often through cartalege (sp.) ) i got that done with needles and honesly i found that i liked it better than the gun piercings that i have in my lobes..its almost healed now (which is considerably good because the barblell was a 14 ga. compared to the standard piercing stud (i think its like 18-16 ga.?) either way i picked up some piercing spray to help it heal..if u run into problems that might be a good idea to use...however i dont think that it cures infection..i think it just helps it heal and hurt less....hope that helps!

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"Whats it going to be then eh?" (a Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess)


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The Shy One
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*Shudders* Piercing guns and cartilage don't go well together.

I got my cartilage pierced with a gun a couple years back. At the time I wasn't properly educated on piercings, like I am now.

My cartilage piercing was a horrible experience. To sum things up I got a really bad infection, despite cleaning it properly. I ended up having to go to the ER because the infection was so bad. The doctor took one look at it, and said "That is really infected, you have to take it out". He also wrote me a prescription for oral antibiotics, which I was on for 3 weeks, 4 times a day. I also got a cream antibiotic which had to be applied to my ear every couple hours. I am very lucky that it healed well.

Not too long after that incident I was watching a TV show called 'Life's Little Miracles', maybe some of you have seen it. Well, the one day the story was on a girl, with the same name as me, and who was my age. She was having reconstructive surgery on her ear, because her cartilage became so infected she had to have all the cartilage removed. Seeing that was enough to scare the hell out of me, and promise myself that I would never let a piercing gun near my cartilage.

I have to admit, that since then I have gotten my ear lobes pierced with a gun. I was the first person who had been pierced with the gun, it was brand new. I got it done at the parlor that I got my navel pierced, and haven't had any problems.

Stud guns still aren't the best thing because it 'shoots' the earring through your ear. If I get any more ear piercings, they will all be done with a needle. It may cost a little more, but it's worth it.

That's my 2 cents.


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Baby_Girl330
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We'll I have 2 sets of holes in my lobes and both sets were done by a gun. But it was a different kind of gun, where all it does is push the earring thru you ears. The earrings are sharp enough to go through and they are packaged so they will be sterile, I watched them open the packs right infront of me. I've had no problems with either of my holes.

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[*Baby Girl*]


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Ashy
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The kind of piercing guns that this thread talks about are like the one that you described. So, if you re-read the posts above, you'll find that no, piercing guns are not sterile. I, too, had my ears pierced with a gun and they're just fine, but I'll go to a professional piercer with a needle if I want to get something pierced again.
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lemming
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Hey, Baby_Girl330, if you read the rest of the thread, you'd notice that that is *exactly* the type of gun we're talking about, and the reasons why gun piercing isn't a good idea.

A piercing stud is not anywhere near as sharp as a hypodermic needle.

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Laurel Lemming
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"Maypole/The ties that bind you will unwind/To free me one day/And everything decays..." - XTC, "The Wheel and the Maypole"


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The Shy One
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I have actually seen 2 types of piercing guns.

There's the one that looks like a gun and you just pull the trigger and it's spring loaded and shoots the stud through your ear.

Then there is also one that looks like a 'T' and the stud gets put in the bottom of the 'T' and the earring is pushed through the ear by the "piercer" putting pressure on the top. Sorry if you don't understand, it's kinda hard to explain. I haven't seen this 'gun' many times...


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Celtic Daisy
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Essentially, they're relatively the same thing. Neither use hypodermic needles, they both just push the stud through. The only difference is that they're designed a little different.

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'You've got the eyes of ten women. Not in a jar! I wasn't accusing you. I just mean your eyes are really nice'-coupling

Erin Jane
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The Shy One
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Yes, I agree. I forgot to mention that in my last post, but like I said in my other post, stud guns aren't good, period. Pay the extra money to get it done with a needle, there are less risks.
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miss_strawberries
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quote:
Originally posted by The Shy One:
Yes, I agree. I forgot to mention that in my last post, but like I said in my other post, stud guns aren't good, period. Pay the extra money to get it done with a needle, there are less risks.


does it cost alot more for piercings done with needles instead of guns? cause ive never even heard of anyone getting a piercing by needle before! ...i had my upper ear done abt a year ago, it got infected and so i let it close up - i wana get it done again but im thinking maybe i should get it done with a needle instead.


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Milke
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I paid $35 Canadian, if I recall correctly, for a single cartilage piercing and surgical stainless steel ring (expect to pay maybe half of that for the jewelry). I talked to the piercer first, made sure I was comfortable with her and her studio, and decided that way. It is cheaper to get it done with a stud gun in a hair salon, but you've a lot less chance of ending up with a piercing you can comfortably use afterwards.

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The Shy One
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Miss_strawberries: Ultimately how much more getting pierced with a needle would cost, as opposed to a stud gun, would depend on the studio.

I have been considering getting my cartilage re-pierced (with a needle of course) even after my horrible experience, but I haven't checked out prices yet.

Not too long after I got my bellybutton pierced I got a second set of holes in my ear lobes. Where I went it would have been approximately $50 (Cdn.) to get it done with a needle, but that's because they would have put rings in the piercings, not studs. The rings alone were like $20 a piece. Instead I opted to go with the gun (and the risks it carried) and paid $23, including cleaning soloution.

So really you are paying more for the jewelry than you are for someone to pierce you with a needle.

Even though I haven't developed any problems with my lobe piercings, I could have. I'm very lucky I didn't. If I get something else pierced, it'll be with a needle. The extra costs don't matter when it comes down to safety.


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smily1
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i got my ear lobes peirced abt 6 mo. ago w/ a gun and they r all healed and i have had no prob. ....i guess i was lucky. i have heard of getting them done at the doctors office. i asked my doc.abt it last time i went(this was b4 i got them peirced...i decided i wasn't ready to get them yet)any way the point is that she said that they use guns but that the entire gun is disposable. so there is no spread of germs. i ended up getting them peirced at clairs but if i ever want a/t else i'm either going to my doc or getting it done w/ a needle

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The Shy One
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The guns the doctors use may be sterile, but they still ram the stud through your ear. Also, a lot of doctors don't know much about piercings and may give you conflicting information to that of what is given by a professional piercer. For example: many piercers tell you to leave jewelry in if you have a bad infection and let it clear up before you remove it, because if you take it out the infection will get closed up inside when you heal. Most doctors will tell you to get the jewelry out asap. That's from my experience anyways...
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littleone
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Milke, maybe you can help.
I live in Toronto and I want to get a second set of holes in my ear lobes. (the first set was done with a gun) Also, my aunt wants to get my baby cousins ears pierced. (shes about a year old). Now, having been alerted to the dangers of gun piercings by scarleteen, and being rather newbie to the bodymod scene, I was wondering if anyone knows of a normal-priced piercing place in toronto or in the outskirts that is good, sterile, friendly etc. Also, would they pierce small children? (assuming mommy brings them in)

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Milke
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I know several good places in Toronto (by reputation, and piercings I've seen done on friends. My own piercing was done at Chrysalids, in London), and around it, but none would pierce anyone under eighteen. That's a big problem here; most reputable piercers won't touch minors, especially for certain types of piercings, because they don't want to pierce anyone they don't think is old enough to *know* they want a piercing, and because cetain piercings can migrate with age. There are certain ethical concerns to getting a young child's ears pierced, and for those reasons, and those of safety and comfort (little kids are capable of tearing out a piercing, or getting it caught on something and hurting it that way), I personally really wouldn't suggest anyone under twelve or so be pierced.

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But now is a chance to shine
And have the pleasure of saying what you mean
Have the pleasure of meaning what you sing


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