Get prepared to hear me get on my soap box!
When I was little, my mom took me to Claire’s and let me get my ears pierced. I've always loved earrings and have thought of myself as an earring enthusiast. You will never see me without a pair of earrings on.
When I was in middle school, I wanted to get my second ear lobe piercings. My mom again took me to Claire’s. This time, I was old enough to remember everything. I remember the piercer putting purple dots on my lobes marking the spot to pierce, I remember the sound of the gun piercing me, and I remember that the girl who pierced me wasn't wearing gloves, and I don't even remember their sanitation process. For starters, the gun they use is unsafe and, not to mention, terrifying for a child. There is no way to completely clean or sanitize the gun, and gun piercings cause excess scar tissue due to the use of blunt force versus just using a needle. My piercings are uneven as a result of my experience (so are my first lobe piercings I got as a younger child that were done at Claire's). Some US states and parts of Europe have even banned the piercing gun for the cartilage portion of the ear. If it's too dangerous for some parts of your body - why use it at all? I would rather pay the same amount, or even way more, for my body to be pierced safely in a more regulated environment by someone who knows a lot more about the subject than a mall employee. In my opinion, the piercing gun is a very flawed and dangerous instrument.
"Reusable ear piercing guns can put clients in direct contact with the blood and body fluids of previous clients. Although they can become contaminated with bloodborne pathogens dozens of times in one day, ear piercing guns are often not sanitized in a medically recognized way. Plastic ear piercing guns cannot be autoclave sterilized and may not be sufficiently cleaned between use on multiple clients. Even if the antiseptic wipes used were able to kill all pathogens on contact, simply wiping the external surfaces of the gun with isopropyl alcohol or other antiseptics does not kill pathogens within the working parts of the gun. Blood from one client can aerosolize, becoming airborne in microscopic particles, and contaminate the inside of the gun. The next client's tissue and jewelry may come into contact with these contaminated surfaces. There is thus a possibility of transmitting bloodborne disease-causing microorganisms through such ear piercing, as many medical studies report."(via https://www.safepiercing.org/safe_piercing.php)
Fast forward to summer 2017, when I’m 21. My friends and I are out eating ice cream at Connie’s Custard right next to Texas Body Art, which has their own piercing studio, Biolab Piercing Studio. One of my friends and I had been talking about getting a couple piercings for weeks. We then started talking about how funny of a story it would be if we had gone out for ice cream and came back home with piercings. So naturally, we went and got piercings! 'Calculated spontaneity' as she likes to say.
Bethany and I signing the waiver/release form.
The first thing you notice when you walk in is the environment. The staff are all super friendly and reassuring. It’s calm, and there’s music playing. They make you fill out a waiver and take a copy of your driver’s license. After all the paperwork is sorted out and they explain the piercing process in-depth, they take you back to the room where all the magic happens.
Bethany mentally preparing to get pierced! (She was much more brave than I was.)
The room where they do the piercings is super clean, well lit, and stocked with jewelry and aftercare products. You sit, or lay down depending on the type of piercing, and they again explain the piercing process to you. The staff does an excellent job of making sure you’re comfortable and know what’s going on. They sanitize the area you’re getting pierced, and mark the spot. They let you look in the mirror and make any adjustments to the placing, and then sanitize the area again for good measure.
Once you’re seated again, they take the needle and slowly pierce your skin. Based on my experiences, it’s quick but also precise. It’s all over in a matter of seconds.
Bethany's final product - a cartilage piercing!
My final product - a nose stud!
After you’ve been pierced, they thoroughly go over the cleaning process, what to do if the jewelry comes out, and what to do if you suspect there’s an infection. They give you soap and a goodie bag. You're then taken back out to the counter where you pay and part ways!
So far, I’ve gotten 6 piercings at Biolab and will never go anywhere else in the future. I highly recommend this place if you are local and looking for a new piercing studio. They don't pierce anyone under 13, and minors need to bring their guardian with them along with a valid ID and birth certificate.
I promise you, real piercing studios are well worth it!
You can visit the piercing studio's website here.
My lobe (done at Claire's) and snug piercings.
My nose, lobe (done at Claire's), rook and cartilage piercings.