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Why piercing guns are bad?

Why are piercing guns bad? 


Picture this: You’re getting a piercing today. You turn a few corners and finally spot the piercing shop, half way down a dirty London alley in the middle of urban, buzzing Shoreditch. As you step in the medicinal scent of cleaning product hits you and reminds you of your days going to the dentist as a child.  


A moody goth behind the counter looks up as you saunter up to the counter, and pushes a form towards you. 

“Hi, please fill this out and take a seat…” 


You sign your life away and park yourself down on the tatty sofa. I wonder how many biker’s asses have been here.. Eugh 


The piercer calls you up as, fitting his gloves on as the sharp, latex snapping noise penetrates the room.  


You choose a cute looking pair of earrings and sit there sheepishly while he fusses over what looks to be a bunch of bizarre medieval operative instruments. 


Time seems to turn into a blur, and you’re lulled into a stupor, daydreaming as the dull buzzing of a tattoo machine gently picks your mind up and flies away with it, deep into the clouds.  


Then, suddenly, you spot something flying towards you from the corner of your eye. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a PIERCING GUN?! 


But it’s too late; as if somehow happening in slow motion meanwhile simultaneously happening too fast for you to stop it, you’re blinded by a flash of pain and a loud bang! 


There’s ringing in your ears for a few seconds and the background buzzing of the tattoo shop slowly fades back in as you come to your senses… 


Yay! New ear piercings! 




(picture: @itssissysheridan on TikTok gets mask pierced to her ear at Claire’s Accessories, yikes!) 

All jokes aside, piercing guns should pretty much be illegal. They’re that bad for you.

There are multiple reasons why piercing guns are fundamentally bad as a concept, so let me break these down for you:

  • They cannot be sterilised!
    Piercing guns cannot be sterilised in an autoclave- which is an absolute MUST for any piercing shop. All re-usable instruments must be sterilised professionally following health and safety guidelines, and autoclaving is the only way to completely rid the instruments of all bloodborne pathogens. Not sterilising your equipment properly can lead to infections, and serious diseases such as Hepatitis.
  • Piercing guns use BLUNT FORCE TRAUMA. Take a look at your earring. It’s blunt isn’t it? Now, would you let someone jam that earring through your flesh? That’s what the piercing gun blasts through your ear, just at a high enough speed that it will actually go through; rather than correctly penetrating the tissue with a specialised needle which enters the tissue with the bevel (the sharp end). Specifically designed for this purpose, having been developed for decades until we have the perfect product we have today, piercing needles actually have a long history of very intricate development! You can read about the history of piercing needles here: The History Of  The Piercing Needle
  • It’s hard to get a non-crooked piercement in the perfect placement. With a needle, you can check your angle to make sure you’re entering with the needle perpendicular to the flesh, creating a straight piercing that will heal properly. You would also create a marking beforehand so you know exactly which spot you’re going to go in; meaning you can align it perfectly with other piercings, etc.
    With a piercing gun it is very difficult to exactly judge where the hole will be made, or at what angle, so a lot of piercings done with guns are uneven, crooked, and just downright awful. Bear in mind that a crooked piercing likely will never heal properly and will have to be taken out at some point anyway!
  • Piercing guns SHATTER CARTILAGE! I’m pretty sure my helixes actually shrivel up in fear when someone tells me they got their helix pierced with a gun. Because of the blunt force trauma that the gun uses, a lot of the time the gun will actually completely shatter a person’s cartilage. Not only will this have to be taken out, but it can possibly damage your cartilage long term, and can take a year or more to heal. Picture it like this: a piercing gun is the equivalent to punching through dry wall, cracking everything around it. A piercing needle is the equivalent to drilling a clean hole in it with a specialised instrument.
  • If they’re using a piercing gun, they’re likely not a professional.
    Any reputable piercer who knows their stuff will know why piercing guns are so bad. If you walk into a piercing shop and you see they use piercing guns, it probably means they don’t care about general hygiene, as they’re already not following the health and safety guidelines by having a piece of equipment that’s used on hundreds of people but never sterilised. I would really wonder what else they don’t care about sterilising too! They likely don’t know anything about bloodborne pathogens and how diseases are spread, which would lead me to question what other fundamental information they do not know about piercing.

All in all, stay away from piercing guns, and do your research before finding a reputable piercer so you can avoid long term damage, diseases, and a big fat old headache after the fight you’ve had with your piercer trying to get your money back.