Growing up I had the cutest pair of gold earrings. They were lovely and had a small bright red ruby drop. I genuinely loved them and I didn’t know a life without earrings. In fact, for a long time, I believed all girls are born with their ears pierced. I realize now how silly that sounds but hey! Don’t judge me, I was tiny and clueless.
My mother made the decision to pierce my ears when I was only three months old! Yes, my ears were pierced at 3 months, the great thing about it? There was no anxiety or pressure. It was a 2 minute procedure and I didn't even understand what happened. That's the nice part about it, no pain and beautiful results. Now if only the same can be said for exercise, no pain and beautiful results, sigh no such luck!
Anyways, when I jokingly accused my mom, saying: “How could you have put me through so much pain at such a young age?” My mom rolled her eyes and said “What pain? You didn’t even squint.” This I had no reply to, with a sly grin on my face I took a cookie from her plate and walked away.
Today theres a lot of controversy on when and if to pierce your child's ears. To some parents its a passage to adulthood and earring come later on in life, others want to give their child a choice. To me it was non of these but at the end of the day I loved my earrings and I rocked them everywhere I went, still do! Whether your a parent who decides to pierce your little girls ears at 3 months or 13 years, one thing is for sure doing it in the right place is a must. I see a lot of debate on whether or not to pierce ears at your pediatricians office. Well here’s the bottom line there are 3 possible places to pierce ears (at any age) the mall, doctors office, or a tattoo and piercing parlor.
Finding a Kiosk at the Mall
I gotta be honest here, I am so so so against this. I know, it seems innocent and even fun. You go to the mall, do some shopping, find something to eat and set out to get ears pierced. Well let me tell you something, its not all sunshine and roses.
The mall kiosks use a piercing gun, well guess what you can't actually sterilize a piercing gun. Why is this important? Because sterilization kills all viable micro organisms. From a medical standpoint, “any object that is purposefully introduced through the skin should be sterile to decrease the probability of infection," says Dr. Julia Tzu, dermatologist in NYC. Since piercing guns are made of plastic they cannot be sterilized. The plastic would melt in the process of sterilization.
Let me explain, in the medical industry, in order to sterilize something an autoclave is used. Imagine a pressure cooker: needles, jewelry, and any other tools needed for piercing is placed and locked inside. The autoclave (pressure cooker) will sterilize these items by applying high heat and pressure to kill all microorganisms, germs, and spores.
On the other hand, when a piercing gun is wiped off with an antiseptic wipe it only reduces the chance of infection, it does not eliminate it. According to the AAP (Association of Professional Piercers) there’s a possibility of spreading diseases like hepatitis and staph infections when using piercing guns. This is a big concern and especially dangerous to young children and babies. Since their immune system is much weaker then that of an adults, they are much more prone to catch an infection.
Going to the Doctors Office
Theres not much to say on this one. Doctors are great when it comes to child care. Most often, they do an amazing job keeping everything clean and sterile. However, they are not trained in the art of piercing. It’s just not something they do. The biggest problem with piercing at your pediatricians office is bad placement. If you're piercing a child's ears you must take into consideration the formation of the ears and how they will grow/change. The goal for an ear piercing, is to be symmetrical on both sides. Since doctors don't practice this, often times it becomes an issue. One piercing may be higher than the other or slightly off to the side versus being straight in the center of the earlobe.
Taking a Trip to the Tattoo & Piercing Parlor
Here’s the deal, these people may look intimidating but they are professionals. They do this day and night. While you walk through the door with your little girl they’re already calculating exactly where to make the mark so the piercings will be symmetrical from both sides even as your child develops. Yes, they actually calculate this without you even knowing it.
Since tattoo and piercing parlors deal with many people and blood is involved, they are kept exceptionally clean and everything is sterilized in autoclaves. Another important tid-bit of information, the needle used for the piercing is completely fresh and sterile. A new needle is used for every client, once opened from its sterile packet and used it is thrown away. Bottom line, every client is pierced with a fresh new needle.
The piercing artists themselves undergo a full year (in some cases more) of internship, and training before they start doing piercings themselves. They even undergo blood-born pathogen courses, study potential medical problems, and learn about aftercare.
With that being said there are many tattoo and piercing parlors out there, you must always do your research on the specific place you want to visit, get reviews, and check for cleanliness and proper use of equipment.
A little advice from the man pictured above, Brian Keith Thompson. Also known as a proprietor and Chief Piercing Officer of The World Famous Body Electric Tattoo, a Hollywood landmark situated on Melrose avenue.
"If I were looking for a piercer, I would probably start on Yelp or Google, I would find a studio and see which ones are rated well, see if they have a website. If they don’t have a website, move on. If they don’t have a portfolio, that is a red flag." Once you’ve found a place you may be considering, Brian recommends looking at the floor. "I look at the floor first thing when I walk in, if the floor is clean, you can assume just about everything in there is clean. If the floor is dirty, everything is dirty. Go with your gut instincts.”