Before you get your tragus pierced or any piercing for that matter, it is important to educate yourself about the difference between getting pierced with a needle and getting pierced with a piercing gun. Whatever decision you make, be sure you know the facts. This article outlines the risks associated with getting pierced with a piercing gun and why getting pierced with a needle is the far superior choice.
In general there are two ways in which piercings are carried out. One is with a piercing gun and the other is with a piercing needle. Piercing guns are used most commonly in establishments which provide an ear lobe piercing service such as a jewellery shop or a beauty salon. The gun is loaded with a sharp starter piercing stud which is then forced through the skin at speed with pressure applied by a spring inside the gun or by the strength of the piercer. There is more than one model of piercing gun available and the method in which they work varies from model to model. Piercing guns cause a lot of controversy in the piercing world as they raise concerns about tissue and cartilage damage as well as a number of health and hygiene issues. The view of most piercing professionals is that piercing guns should be banned outright and never be used for any piercing, especially not for the piercing of cartilage such as that found in the tragus.
Using a piercing gun to pierce any cartilage is seen as a dangerous practice. The stud that piercing guns use to pierce the body are quite blunt in comparison to a piercing needle, so they require a greater amount of force and pressure to pierce the skin and cartilage. This causes blunt force trauma to the area being pierced and can permanently damage the cartilage. Also, to pierce the skin, a piercing gun pushes the skin and cartilage out of the way of the piercing stud. This is not a safe and correct way to pierce cartilage and can cause problems such as infection, scarring, imbedding and rejection of the piercing. Piercing guns have been known to cause such extensive damage to cartilage that it requires reconstructive surgery to correct
Another concern regarding piercing guns is that they do not allow for the adherence to correct hygiene standards and procedures. While some piercing guns are designed to be used only once, most are reusable instruments. These reusable piercing guns cannot be completely sterilized like a needle so they can easily be contaminated with blood borne pathogens. These diseases, viruses and bacteria can then come in contact with another user of the piercing gun through their fresh piercing causing infection. It is for these reasons that using a piercing gun to pierce cartilage is illegal in some countries and states.
Many piercing professionals believe that the only correct way to pierce cartilage is to use a sterile surgical grade piercing needle. Piercing needles are hollow and made of stainless steel. They come in many sizes, are bevel tipped and are extremely sharp.
Hollow piercing needles are ideal for cartilage piercings as they create a slit in the cartilage in which to place the jewellery of the same size, unlike the piercing gun which forces the skin and cartilage to break and tear to make room for the piercing stud. Piercing needles can also be completely sterilized in an autoclave. An autoclave is a high pressure sterilizing instrument which heats needles, jewellery and other piercing equipment at a high temperature to kill any bacteria or pathogens on the objects.
It is true that many people are pierced with a piercing gun and do not experience any problems with the resulting piercing. However, why put yourself at risk when there is a safer, cleaner method available to you?