Ear Piercing Techniques That You Should Know About: Needle vs Gun

Ear piercing is an increasingly popular cosmetic treatment, but it’s not something you should take lightly. Pierced ears are formed by making a hole in the lobe or cartilage and wearing earrings through the hole. Before getting pierced, always make sure the recommended techniques are followed. A piercing infection is a potentially painful complication of this procedure, even though it is a relatively common one.

To that end, it is important to have information about the best places for piercings and how to make sure they are safe and clean. Ear piercings are available in many places, including jewelry stores, mall kiosks, ear-piercing studios, pediatricians, and tattoo parlors. It is important, however, that certain locations ensure the safety and sterility of their employees, products, and equipment. Hence, it is a good idea to take a look around a shop before making a decision about whether or not it is the right place to go. Stop by and observe another individual getting their ears pierced to accomplish this.

In this article, we would talk about some ear-piercing methods that you must know of before you decide to get them punched. So stay tuned and read the whole article with full concentration to know what suits you the best.

Ear Piercing Methods

Gun piercings and needle piercings are the two most popular ear piercing methods in jewelry stores and salons. In contrast to the typical gun, which comes with a traditional puncture and clap stud, the needle does not come with its own set. Taking these points into consideration will help you to identify the best method:

Gun Piercing:

Hand clasp model gun piericng

Piercing your ear lobe with a gun has been a traditional method of ear lobe piercing since the early 1960s. A stud is inserted into an ear lobe through this method.

The exclusive Contactless Sterilear System by Essential Beauty utilizes pre-sterilized, single-use disposable cartridges with studs with pointed ends that are pre-sterilized and pre-packaged. In order to avoid contamination, the earrings are pre-sterilized before they are used to pierce the ear lobe. It is important to note that the earrings do not come into contact with you or your child’s ears at any point.

As the earlobe is a fleshy, soft part of the body without any cartilage, the Sterilear System will only be suitable for ear lobe piercings. Unless otherwise noted, all other body and ear piercings must be performed with a single-use piercing needle. If you prefer this method of body piercing, you can also pierce your earlobe with a needle.

As this method of ear piercing is quick, effective, and can be done with double operators, the Sterilear System constitutes the best option for piercing earlobes in children and babies.

Body piercers are highly criticized for using guns as piercing tools because they are dangerous. Comparatively to techniques used by professional piercers, using older designs of piercing guns may carry a greater risk of disease transmission. With the advent of more modern designs, self-contained disposable cartridges have addressed this problem in reusable piercing guns. Using these new designs, every part of the gun that would come in contact with the customer’s body is made from medical-grade plastic, which is sterilized at the time of manufacture and stored in sealed packaging that is only opened just before use in a manner similar to how needles used in body piercing establishments are handled. Unlike earlier models of the same type of device, this type doesn’t create a risk of disease transmission. It is still important to address the issue of blunt force trauma to the skin and underlying tissue. Some earlobes and most cartilages are too small for studs that fit standard ear piercings. Some earlobes and most cartilages are too small for studs that fit standard ear piercings. When tissues are compressed by a piercing gun, there is reduced air and blood flow, which can cause prolonged healing, minor complications, and scarring. The problem, however, has also been addressed as part of more recent gun-based systems, which utilize earrings with longer, thinner posts and sharper tips. Though these newer designs are designed to reduce the trauma to the skin and tissues, they cannot compare to hollow needles used by professionals. While older ear piercing studs were often made from materials that weren’t FDA, ISO, or ASTM-certified safe for long-term placement in the human body, causing materials such as underlying alloys to leach into the skin through corrosion, scratches, and surface defects, causing cytotoxicity and allergic reaction, more recent designs are made from titanium, which has much better corrosion-proof properties.

Traditional model

traditional model gun piercing

The most common design incorporates a spring that holds potential energy when it is pulled back as part of the ear-piercing instrument. Coated friction backs and pre-sterilized starter studs are typically supplied in pairs by the piercing gun manufacturer in sealed containers. The point of a starter stud is designed to penetrate the earlobe when its mechanism is released. These instruments are primarily designed for piercing ears using surgical steel earrings of 20 gauge or 18 gauge, usually 24 karat gold, steel with 14 kt gold plating, gold, or titanium.

As an example, the oldest types of piercing guns had one starter stud manually inserted into a receiving tube, while an identical friction back was loaded into another holder closer to where the instrument’s main parts were. These two parts of the instrument are inserted between the earlobe and the pipe. Upon pressuring the trigger, the spring releases, closing the instrument with considerable force. The stud is pushed through the earlobe and engaged with the friction backing. There are no sterilization options for this model.

Disposable cartridge model

Disposable cartridge model gun piercing

Piercing guns with newer models sometimes use disposable cartridges, sometimes called cassettes. These models are entirely disposable, and they include both the stud holder and clasp holder. Several countries worldwide, e.g. most of Europe and Australia, have laws requiring this modification (e.g. Scotland) or implying that it is required. White Disposable Cartridge System loaded with a gold stud and a blue cartridge is displayed in the image.

Handclasp model

Hand clasp model gun piericng

Unlike previous designs, the newer ones do not use a spring to force the starter earring through the earlobe; instead, the operator is required to manually squeeze a handgrip to force the stud through the earlobe. Among these models are those that use capsules that are loaded into the instruments without the operator touching anything. For newer piercing instruments, there is a wider range of jewelry shapes and designs available.

The Pros and Cons of Piercing Guns


  • Accessibility: Guns are the most common weapons because they are easier for people to learn how to use than needles, so if you’re looking for a place that uses guns, you’ll probably find it easier than if you need a place that uses needles.
  • Convenience: When visiting the mall for shopping, getting your ears pierced is convenient.
  • Affordability: Piercings at a mall or at a booth are often more affordable than those performed by trained professionals. Because they have less training and skill, they can charge a lower price.
  • Speed: Everything is done with a single pull of the trigger.


  • Tissue Risk: When a piercing is performed with a gun, it can cause significant tissue trauma. The piercing guns contain blunt studs, and when they force these through the tissues, the tissue is literally torn apart, which allows the jewelry to be inserted. In cases where a piercing goes through cartilage, it can break if a blunt force is applied.
  • Messiness: The blunt stud can leave you with a mess after it goes through your skin. While alcohol or antiseptic pad does not remove all those blood particles, and piercing guns cannot be adequately sterilized, it might help to wipe them with that substance. In addition to getting a lot of use, they often come in contact with bodily fluid, which means that a simple swab of alcohol between uses does not suffice to sterilize them. Some claim that this instrument never touches the skin, but it is the piercer’s hands that touch the potentially contaminated gun, further contaminating the weapon with your blood.
  • Training: Mall workers and its representatives are required to take a two-week course on how to use piercing guns. Teaching proper techniques for infection control or healing in such a short period of time is not worth it.
  • Infection Risk: Piercing guns use blunt studs with butterfly backs, which can be infected. These are easily contaminated with bacteria and gunk, so a newly-pierced body part can become infected. The studs are sometimes made of low-quality materials, which cause allergic reactions, scarring, and infection.
  • Swelling Risk: The gun squeezes the back of the jewelry into position, locking out air and preventing the piercing from healing properly. If the butterfly backing is placed over your open wound too tightly, you will experience excessive swelling as part of the healing process (it will swell naturally as part of the process, but it will swell worse if there isn’t room to swell).
  • Designed Just for Earlobes: Mall employees often use the same instrument for cartilage piercings and nose piercings as well, despite their guns being designed specifically for piercing earlobes. A piercing gun can easily shatter cartilage if it is forced and applied with enough force.
  • Loud: Piercing guns are loud, and that is what is most likely to scare younger children. As the child jumps, the stud can easily become stuck halfway through, so it must be removed. In this case, the gun will have to be recocked and the stud will have to be shot back through the tissue, which causes more tenderness, bleeding, and the possibility of complications.
  • Aiming and Angles: Piercing guns are difficult to aim properly, which in turn makes the piercing more likely to be pitched or incorrect. The employee may not have it just right, and the stud may enter at an awkward angle or a bad spot, which may induce your body to reject the jewelry.
  • Irritation: At most malls and piercing booths that are certified to perform piercings, they will tell you that you need to turn your piercing several times a day. The idea sounds rational, but in reality, it irritates the new piercing and introduces bacteria, which will lead to an infection.

Summary: It is far more difficult to overcome the cons than to overcome the pros. There are thousands of people who have never experienced any problems when getting piercings with piercing guns at the mall, but would you want to take that risk?

Needle Piercing:

Needle Piercing

We pierce all other parts of the body and ear with sterile cannula needles that are prescribed for medical professionals, also known as catheter needles. By piercing with a catheter needle, the needle creates a hole under the skin for the jewelry to sit in, rather than removing tissue.

After the pre-sterilized jewelry is fitted into the catheter (which maintains the opening of the piercing), it is fed through the needle hole to the site where it will be worn.

In general, push-through piercing systems are only used on the earlobes, not the helix, the nose, or other parts of the body. It’s best to always puncture cartilage with a needle as it promotes better healing, needles are the most effective due to their precise and scalpel-like nature.

These two systems can, however, coexist peacefully. It is completely fine for you to choose the needle method instead of the clip method if you are getting your lobes pierced.

Needle Piercing1

The Pros and Cons of Piercing Needles


  • One-Use: Every needle is designed for one-time use, so you do not have to worry about contaminating someone else’s fluids.
  • Cleanliness: Pierced instruments can be easily and effectively cleaned in an autoclave using steam that is steamed at high pressure to thoroughly sterilize the entire instrument. The needles used in the procedure are disposed of properly, but jewelry and hemostats are kept in the autoclave until they are sterilized thoroughly.
  • Training: Most professional body piercers complete extensive training that covers proper piercing techniques, infection control techniques, and healing techniques. As well as understanding how the body responds to new piercings, customers will learn to avoid hitting nerves (which will lessen the discomfort they feel when getting a new piercing). Furthermore, they will learn the proper way to sterilize the equipment.
  • Less Pain: Piercing needles are less painful than other forms of injury. A hollow needle with an extremely sharp tip slices through the skin, causing the tissues to push aside to let the jewelry through. While it sounds difficult, the process lasts for only a few seconds.
  • Fewer Bacteria: The jewelry used to pierce needles is specially designed to allow dirt and bacteria to be easily removed. The jewelry for new piercings is typically captive bead rings (CBRs) or barbells; these devices allow the jewelry to move so that bacteria won’t either sit on the piercing or accumulate. Furthermore, they’re made of metals that are known to help reduce the reaction.
  • Material: Piercing jewelry is generally made with high-quality stainless steel or titanium, which reduces the possibility of an infection developing during healing.
  • Versatility: When you use a needle, you can pierce almost anything, no matter whether there is cartilage present.


  • Inconvenient: Traveling a long distance to find a tattoo shop that pierces users with needles can be frustrating.
  • Expensive: It is generally more expensive than shopping at the mall. Adding a tip to the total charge makes the piercer’s service more expensive.

Which Is Better for Piercing: A Gun or a Needle?

As a matter of fact: For many reasons, a piercing needle is significantly better than a piercing gun. It is cleaner, more precise, and less painful than a gun, which can cause bleeding and infection.

Both piercing needles and piercing guns have their pros and cons listed below. Make sure you read them. Know what they are about. Take the decision that is right for you. Especially when it comes to your body (or your child’s!) you don’t want to make the wrong decision.

In light of the fact that piercing is becoming increasingly popular among people of all ages-parents are getting their babies’ ears pierced, and adults are getting additional piercings as they age-many people wonder which piercing method is right for them. If you want the most swift, cleanest, safest, and painless piercing method, you’ll need to consider speed, safety, and cleanliness.

It is equally important to use the right technique for the piercing, whether it is done using needles or a piercing gun, as it is for the aftercare procedures. There are risks associated with any piercing, but with the right technique and aftercare, most people can heal a new piercing quickly and without complications. Regardless of whether the techniques are perfect or the aftercare methods are perfect, not everyone can heal a piercing.

Tips for Prepping for an Ear Piercing

Being nervous before getting your ears pierced is completely normal. But preparing a little beforehand can give you confidence and prevent any fainting spells during your appointment.

Pick the right place: You can win half the battle by choosing a studio and technician you can trust. Be sure to read up on reviews, ask your friends for recommendations, and walk in confidently knowing that you’re in good hands.

Eat and hydrate: Eat at least four hours before an appointment to alleviate nerves and keep hunger away. Maintaining proper hydration is also important to keep your nerves at bay.

Arrive a few minutes early: Piercing studios can seem intimidating at first, especially if you have never been in one. Take your time to familiarize yourself with all the equipment when you arrive a few minutes early.

Pick out the right studs: Because you’ll be wearing your starter stud for at least six weeks, make sure you pick one that is easy to wear with a variety of outfits. Moreover, if it is your first piercing, make sure you choose hypoallergenic metals.

Quick Aftercare Tips

It is extremely important to take good care of yourself after being pierced, whether it is by needle or gun. There are simple steps you can take to take good care of yourself.

  • Playing with the piercing can result in infection.
  • Make sure you don’t damage the jewelry.
  • If your piercing is infected, use saline solution (1 teaspoon sea salt per 6 ounces of water) or a diluted sea salt solution to clean it.
  • It is best not to pick off crusts or lymph because they will come off when cleaning.
  • For the first few weeks, clean the piercing twice a day with a cotton swab and a Q-tip dipped in either solution to clean away any excess lymph. After the first few months, you need to clean the piercing once a day until the piercing is completely healed.


What are the advantages of using a piercing gun for piercing your nose?

Guns designed to pierce noses are not designed to pierce noses. The new needles are also cleaner, more accurate, and less painful, all of which make them much safer.

Can soft parts of the body, such as the navel, septum, lips, tongue, nipple, genitals, facial, and other dermal piercings be pierced with a piercing gun?

The following reasons justify not using a gun to pierce anything other than a lobe (and there are many reasons why you shouldn’t use one on a lobe as well): safety, cleanliness, accuracy, pain, infection, complications… I could go on and on, and I’d include size, too. When using piercing guns, wire is almost always 20 to 18 gauge, since most standard studs and French hook earrings are 20 gauge, but there are other sites that need different sizes. For lips and navel piercings, 14 gauge jewelry with lengths that are significantly longer than normal studs is required. However, if a gun did manage to pierce the lip or navel, you would have to pull it out as soon as possible and replace it with longer, thicker jewelry. To put it another way, you’d have to stuff a too-large post into a too-small hole right away. That would hurt. Really, do you want to make it worse at that point? Using the right-sized needle greatly simplifies the process (makes sewing safer, faster, and cleaner).

What about cartilage piercings (rook, helix, tragus, conch, industrial, etc.) with a piercing gun?

That’s not true. Absolutely not. Piercing guns can cause your cartilage to rip or shatter due to their blunt force. Several places have enacted laws banning the use of piercing guns on cartilage. You can learn more about ear and nose cartilage piercings by reading Ear and Nose Cartilage Piercings: Pain and Care.

How does healing time differ depending on the method used (gun vs. needle)?

Studies verifying anecdotal evidence on this subject have not been funded by reputable organizations. According to most experts, however, thanks to better needles and more accurate positioning, these piercings are likely to heal faster, without infection or complications. You can find more information on how long it will take a piercing to heal by reading How Long Will My Piercing Take to Heal?

Is it possible to use a sewing needle in place of a piercing needle?

There is no reason to do something simply because it is possible. Consider these reasons:

  • Hollow piercing needles are always used by professionals since this allows room for the jewelry to be inserted. Rather than just cutting into the skin and pushing it aside, they remove a small plug of skin.
  • A variety of piercing needles are available, customized to fit specific piercings, and are pre-packaged and highly sterilized.
  • The needle in your old sewing machine may be made of what you don’t know, but a professional piercing needle is usually made of high-quality, surgical stainless steel.

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