Yes. I took my 5 year old Sophia to Krazy Kat’s Tattoos here in Charlotte to get her ears pierced. I know, I know, I always said we would wait so much longer. If I had a conversation with you about this, forgive me. I just totally changed my mind. I started reading all of her Kindergarten information after hearing her beg for 2 years to get those babies pierced. What do the two have in common? Well, the school uniform policy is extremely strict and the only places I could find where a child could wear any color other than blue and white anywhere (barring underpants) was their ears and their wrists. I am all about loving the ease of uniforms, but for some reason this just hit me as too little individuality for my very individual little girl.
So, of course we are going to find her some totally creative bedazzled undies but that just isn’t enough. Because of course, girls just don’t show those. So, I started wavering and then I asked twitter and then I thought we were all going to head to some mall and then…I Googled for some good ol’ research and started looking for good tattoo parlors within moments. I read about some first world problems like uneven piercings and then I got to the real problems.
Issues with Piercing Guns
Sterilization & Experience
Because piercing guns like they use at malls are plastic, they cannot be sterilized in an autoclave. Since mall ear piercing gals or guys usually only have to go through a few weeks of training, they are not well versed in blood borne pathogens (yes, ears can bleed when they are pierced). While it may be true that the gun never comes in contact with your child’s ears, the hands do, and any blood that gets on them and then on the gun contaminates the gun. Once the skin is broken and blood is present, contaminants in the air are a danger. Those dangerous particles can get into places in that gun that can never be cleaned. Also, this is a gun and they can malfunction! Yes, girls have had to sit there while pliers were used to get the earrings already in their ears out of the adapter used in the gun! OH MY AWFUL.
In comparison, a reputable tattoo and body piercing parlor uses an autoclave to fully sterilize all instruments and in the case of piercing uses a one time needle. Tee (our piercer) opened the sterile package with latex gloves on in front of us. It held the piercing needle. A separate package held the titanium pink opal studs Sophia chose. Guess what? professional piercing people go through a year or more of training and where we went, are certified in Blood Borne Pathogen Standards. There is no piercing of body parts without experience, and I for one was totally on board with that.
Ear piercing guns use a blunt earring that is forced through the child’s ear. So many people told me that it would be less painful to go to the mall and have 2 people, each with a gun, pierce at the same time. I just didn’t believe it. Maybe it is because I pierced my own belly button and nose in high school with a very sharp needle and it was WAY less painful than getting my ears pierced in junior high. And that was me doing it! Okay, so the earring goes into the child’s ear and has to push it’s way through. The skin tissue can get damaged in a way that does not happen with the extremely sharp and hollow piercing needle. The gun can make the pieces too tight and can literally cause tissue trauma and infection because the wound does not have room to heal around the piercing.
At a tattoo or piercing parlor, the ears are marked and then pierced one at a time with a hollow piercing needle. It It was extremely fast! My 5 year old shut her eyes tightly and I saw a brief moment of surprise and then another when Tee put the earring in her ear. Of course, she was slightly more aware of what was coming with the second ear but it was even faster than the first and then she had her precious ears pierced! The earrings are a titanium post that inserts into a hollow post and allows room around the ear lobe. When we are ready to take the earring out to change it, we simply pull apart the two pieces. These materials are much safer than those you will find in malls. If you are curious, these are the posts we have from NeoMetal.
I always thought you were supposed to turn earrings and put your hands all over your ears every day to clean the wound. Turns out this is is exactly the opposite of what we were told. I spoke to numerous piercing studious (some who would not pierce children’s ears) and all said that the safest way to care for a piercing is to use a titanium or high grade surgical steel earring in the first place and then not to touch it. The earring with enough space around the ear can heal without being turned and be treated with a non iodized sea salt and warm water solution to clean off any crusties or bring a little relief. Of course, you should do this with clean hands. We have not had any crusties yet but Sophia’s ears were a little sore for a day so we used this on a cotton ball. Easy peasy. She has been great about not touching them! Basically, constantly rotating the earring can slow the healing process as it can re-introduce bacteria to the still open wound.
Here she is right after Tee pierced her ears!
To Each Her Own
I know most people have no problems going to the mall and come out with perfectly fine piercings. I am in no way judging anyone’s choices on this. I just wanted to share what I learned and let you know that I felt 100% safe in my choice and that it was fun! Sophia loved going to the tattoo parlor and everyone was so nice. We did look at some pictures of heavily pierced people before we went just in case. I didn’t want her to be nervous if there were any more dramatic piercings there. We actually had a ton of fun looking at all the stuff they had and asking Tee questions about things. Sophia really wanted to know how people get jewels in their cheeks! It’s called a dermal piercing, I believe, and Tee nicely explained how it worked to us.
If you are thinking of getting your child’s ears pierced, go ahead and google your local tattoo parlor. Read their ratings and reviews. Call them. Talk to them. Ask them if a young child will be comfortable there. I am so happy we chose to go this route and hey, if I ever pierce my nose or belly button again, I will so go back!
Also, Sophia wants to do a little video explaining exactly what happened and how she felt in case you or your little girls want to see it. Would you be interested?
So here she is, my beautiful girl, about to start Kindergarten, with her tiny pink opals that can be any color she wants when they are done healing…as long as they don’t light up.
Go ahead, ask me your questions! Tell me how gorgeous she is! Let me know your experiences!