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Why you should take your kid to a professional piercer for their first piercings.

There I was, at the tender age of 9 in a store that looked like a bizarro world cross between a mall ninja’s wet dream and a low-rent Spencer’s gifts. My honorary older brother, who was 12 then, had convinced Mom to take him to get his first ear piercing, and today was the day. Lucky for me, there were 2 studs in the starter pack, and somehow, I too had convinced Mom it’d be a great idea to get my ear pierced too, because of you know, “reasons.” In hindsight, I’m pretty sure she was just trying to piss off my conservative father. Bro bravely sat on the stool behind the cash register, which was held together mostly by duct tape, pointed to his left lobe, and let the balding Vince Neil look-alike hit him with a plastic contraption that looked like it belonged in a barn and nowhere near a human ear lobe. With a click and a crimp, it was over, and before I knew it “Vince” was wiping down his gun with rubbing alcohol and loading the other stud into it. Palms sweating, I sat down. Even at 9 something seemed off about all of this, but I was too far in to back out. I knew I’d never live it down if I chickened out. Without so much as a countdown, suddenly I felt like I’d been punched in the side of the head. I was pierced!

Sadly, shortly after this ordeal my dad lovingly removed my new stud with a pair of pliers and a side of way too much enthusiasm. Recently divorced Dads don’t deal with changes like this one particularly well. Well, at least mine didn’t at the time.

So, this story took place in the early ‘90s. Yeah, I’m almost dead, kids. Back then tattooing and piercing, while present in the mainstream, weren’t as common as it is now. There were shops around, but not exactly the kind of places you would want to take an impressionable 12 and 9-year-old. So, the only other choice was the mall or somebody’s auntie or ma with a potato, needle, and ice cube.

“What’s wrong with a piercing gun?” you may be asking yourself. “That’s how I had my ear lobes pierced.” Sure, we also used to get around by riding a horse instead of driving a car.

When you look at the end of a starter stud like the one that was used on me, they usually have a flat stem; when someone is pierced with it using a gun, it’s more or less forced through the skin. The skin tears and gets pushed aside. This leads to more trauma to the lobe and slower healing with more potential for keloid formation (a keloid is an area of irregular fibrous tissue formed at the site of a scar or injury. Often it presents as a small bump or ridge around the piercing site). The piercing gun itself can’t be sterilized between procedures without an expensive sterilizer; it's made of plastic. Sure, there are single-use guns, but those aren’t typically used. The starter jewelry used in these guns is generally very low quality and causes irritation further slowing the healing process. Usually, there are few aftercare instructions and no aftercare products available. The area where the procedure is performed in these retail settings isn’t “doctor’s office” level clean, and the people performing the piercing usually don’t have access to a spot to wash their hands. Grim enough for you yet?

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Professional piercers use a very sharp needle and forceps to gently hold the skin in place while the piercing is done. The needles we use are hollow, not solid, and very very sharp. When they pass through the skin a small slit is created in the tissue where the jewelry will sit. Everything used is sterilized including the tools, greatly reducing the chances of cross-contamination. Sometimes there will even be someone to assist at a studio, enabling both lobes to be pierced simultaneously - preventing the dreaded creation of more “pirate children.” (This is what our resident piercing expert Molly Moon calls kid clients who only make it through 1 lobe piercing and quit). Our staff won’t pierce unless the kids know what’s going on and consent; nobody is being held down and forced to do anything at our studio! We have a wider range of options for starter jewelry than the piercing pagoda and only carry implant-grade titanium pieces, as well as 18k gold. Yes, the cost may be a little bit higher upfront compared to the Walmart DIY piercing gun (horrified? You should be. These exist.) but you get what you pay for! Skills are not included with a piercing gun. Perfect placement, jewelry size, color, and all the other details that go into making a piercing mod aesthetically appealing take a lot of skill and know-how to pull off. Being provided with comprehensive aftercare instructions and supplies with support post-piercing is another added benefit of working with professionals.

When you come to a professional piercer, you are paying for the peace of mind that comes with knowing you are working with someone who really knows what they are doing. Isn’t your kid worth it? There are a lot of ways to save cash that don’t involve exposing your loved ones to unnecessary risks to their health. As funny as my personal anecdote about being pierced by a low-rent Vince Neil cosplayer as a child may have been, I can confidently say I would have had a better experience going to a pro.

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Molly Moon's final thoughts on why you should come to a professional to have your kid's ears pierced:

Most parents nowadays understand that piercing guns are not great, and Molly has seen an influx of kids in the studio since they first began piercing. Like all piercings done here, children's lobe piercings require appointments. If your kiddo is over the age of 5 and with proper documentation, we can pierce them. Making an appointment is easy and takes less than a minute to do. We highly suggest setting the appointment for Saturday when Molly’s apprentice Alex is in the studio with them. Having two piercers means we can pierce each lobe at the same time, which not only saves time and is less scary, but it guarantees that your child will walk out with both lobes pierced, and not as an aforementioned “Pirate Child”. This is also easier for most parents because you are setting up only one appointment instead of two or more. Having lobes pierced at the same time is a lot less intimidating for kids, who, while they are in our piercing chair, are in control of what happens next. We respect consent 100% here and will always listen to what the child wants. This can mean extra breaks, some needed pep talks, breathing exercises, and a quick walk around the studio. Most kids' appointments take about a half hour, give or take. If for any reason your kiddo decides to back out of the piercing, we will never be upset!! Getting pierced is a huge act of bravery and a really big step for kids. We’re here to make it as safe and easy as possible.

More questions about kid's ear piercings? Reach out to Molly @

Until next time,


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