The Pros (and Cons) of Piercings

Getting their ears pierced has become a rite of passage for young girls today.

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Earrings do have risk, but they add so much to the uniform of everyday. Photo By: Maggie Lindstrom

When I was younger, my mom said I had to wait until my twelfth birthday to get my ears pierced, which seemed like an eternity as a ten-year-old. My sister got her ears pierced when I was four and she was twelve and then she got her doubles when I was ten. My sister has always been someone I looked up to, so I really wanted to be like her. Even when I got my ears pierced, I wanted more because I really love jewelry, and earrings are an easy way for me to express myself and my personality. I currently have my doubles piercing and a bottom of the helix piercing. And I am excited to get more.

Ear piercings are most popular on the earlobe, which is where most girls first get their ears pierced, and the upper helix (more commonly called the cartilage) has also become a popular place for piercings.

Generally, earlobes are pierced by ear piercing guns, which tend to hurt less than needle piercings. However, there are several dangers associated with these piercing guns. Sam Escobar, a journalist for Good Housekeeping, explores these dangers.

“Even if a piercing gun is wiped off with an antiseptic wipe, there’s still a risk of spreading diseases (think hepatitis and staph infections) after multiple uses, according to the Association of Professional Piercers (APP),” said Escobar.

Needles tend to be much safer, not just when piercing the earlobe, but also when piercing other parts of the ear. Roxanne Adamiyatt, a writer for InStyle, explains the benefits of using a needle over a piercing gun.

“By [using a needle], sensitivity to nickel allergy and allergic reaction are decreased, as is the risk of a bacterial infection,” said Adamiyatt.

In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a statement that 10 to 20 percent of the world population is allergic to nickel.

For some context, nickel is one of the most used metals in earrings. When one gets a piercing done with a needle, it will typically be a at a tattoo parlor. Unfortunately, many of these places require certification to pierce any clients’ ears. Some pediatricians will pierce ears with a needle, but you’ll have to call and check in advance as well as bring your own jewelry. This can reduce the cost and keep you out of risk of any kind of infections.

Earrings today come in every shape and size and can be pierced anywhere in the ear. The most painful type of piercing is the industrial ear piercing or the bar. This piercing comes from the head of the ear to the base of the helix. An earring that is the shape of a bar is run through both holes. Because of the complexity of the earring, people normally experience tremendous amounts of pain upon penetration, and thus, this piercing is only performed by professionals since it has a much higher risk of infection.

Personally, I have not had problems with my ear piercings. Even though there are pros and cons of getting ear piercings, they really are worth it if they are done safely. Overall, although it can be painful and even risky in the beginning, I recommend getting their ears pierced to anyone for a fun experience in the long-term.