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Ear Piercing For Children: Gun Versus Needle

Updated: Jun 28, 2022

When July comes around each year, many girls and boys ask their parents if they can have their ears pierced so that they are healed and ready for the start of term in September. I see a huge amount of social media posts from parents asking for recommendations for good, safe and hygienic places to go for ear piercing for children. I also see every year a number of flippant comments regarding the reliability and safety of gun piercing compared to a needle without any evidence or consideration of the facts. As an experienced ear piercing technician advocating guns I am here to say there is room for both methods. However I wanted to dispel the myths around gun piercings so here are my points on the matter, when considering ear piercing for children: gun versus needle.

Hygienic Set Up For Ear Piercing Procedure

How Hygienic is Ear Piercing For Children?

There are many systems that ear piercing manufacturers put in place to ensure that hygiene practices are upheld, however they are only effective if followed precisely by the ear piercing technician. So no matter which method of ear piercing for children is used, as a parent I would expect to witness the following:

  • The ear piercing technician washes their hands immediately before touching the skin or they wear gloves. The equipment area is clean and laid out with couch roll.

  • The equipment is shown to you to be clean and or sterilised before use.

  • The ear lobes are cleaned before piercing and the ear piercing technician should be giving precise instructions for aftercare to avoid infection.

A note on gun piercing: I sanitise the piercing gun with 70% Isopropyl Alcohol wipes before and after the piercing. Yet no actual parts of the gun touch the skin. Single use sterilised adaptors that come with the studs are fitted to the gun before the studs are placed in them so that only sterilised parts are actually in contact with the skin.

Ear Piercing Gun With Single Use Sterile Adaptors

What Studs Are Used For Ear Piercing For Children?

The studs used for ear piercing vary very slightly by manufacturers. Studs used during a needle piercing are placed in after the piercing has been made with the needle from the back manually by the ear piercing technician and secured with a screw front. The studs used during a gun piercing are very sharp and are delivered into the skin with the butterfly secured in place all at the same time as the piercing is made.

A note on gun piercing: The range of styles, shapes, colours and sizes for gun piercing is huge, any child would be happy with the choice. The individually packaged, sterilised studs come in White Stainless Steel or Titanium (both silver in colour) or 24K Gold Plate which is obviously gold in colour. All the studs are hypoallergenic, will never tarnish or fade and could be worn forever without fear of degrading. A final point with gun piercing studs is the posts are designed to be slightly wider allowing for shrinkage when the piercing heals. This means it should not be a tight fit when trying to get different earrings into the piercing after they have healed.

Sterile Ear Piercing Studs In Cartridge And Adaptors

How Long Does It Take To Pierce Children's Ears?

Piercing with a gun is the quickest method compared to a needle piercing. With a gun the piercing, insertion of the stud and back are all carried out in a split second whereas with a needle piercing all 3 stages are done separately and manually. The service is a short appointment (15 - 30 minutes taking into account the consultation, checking for contra-indications and filling out the customer declaration) Understandably some children get nervous and upset with the anticipation of ear piercing. In my experience in 99% of cases, the anticipation is far worse than their emotions after the piercing has been carried out. This is where I feel that gun piercing is particularly suited to children. If I can make the piercing procedure itself as quick and fuss free as possible, all the better for the child.

Ear Piercing Gun Loaded With Sterile Studs

Ear Piercing For Children Procedure

I have many years experience ear piercing children's earlobes. I have a good sense when recognising those kids that need to be dealt with carefully, those that I can joke with, those that need to be distracted, those that I take my time with and those that require me to be quick and efficient. Above all the key is reassurance. I've received so many reviews from parents who have said that their child felt at ease and reassured by me and therefore the procedure itself was as comfortable as possible. You can read some of the reviews here on my Facebook page. And this is where my safe and private beauty salon with its comfy sofa, velvet high chair and soothing colours may win out over a tattoo and piercing studio. As an adult I like the funky and bold unapologetic style of tattoo/ piercing places but I question how reassuring all the skull tattoo images on the walls can be for a nervous child. Judge for yourself, the image below is of my Edwardian styled salon. True it is very feminine but then as 99% of my ear piercing children are girls I know they feel very happy in that surrounding because they tell me.

What Aftercare is Needed After Ear Piercing?

Aftercare for ear piercing is extremely important. Not just in the proceeding 6 weeks heal time but for the following 6 months. I question any piercing establishment that does not provide a solution for cleansing the ears after piercing, in my opinion it is irresponsible to expect a parent to find their own antiseptic solution and use it at the correct dilution and in the correct quantity on their child's ears.

  • The aftercare solution should be used twice a day, straight from the dropper and extra after swimming, sport or after the beach.

  • The ears should then be dried to avoid chapping.

  • The studs then should be rotated back and forth to ensure that the piercing remains in a perfectly circular shape and that there is free movement of the stud in the hole. If your child has long hair refrain from rotating only in one direction in case a hair has ravelled itself around the back of the earring.

  • It is important that the hands are washed before and after touching the studs.

  • This care and attention should continue after the 6 week heal period. Infection can occur if hands and earrings are not cleaned before touching the piercings, certainly for at least the first 6 months. Children are not always the cleanest and excessive changing of the earrings can lead to damage if they are not careful and clean.

  • It is also important to note that whenever the earrings are replaced that a good quality metal is used that is hypoallergenic and not too heavy, as it can be easy to stretch a new piercing into a slit with heavy earrings.


I hope you have found this a useful piece of information. It encompasses many frequently asked questions I have read and am asked in social media posts. I believe that it is personal preference whether you choose needle or gun piercing. I am not here to say that needle piercing is bad. In fact needle piercing is the only method that should be used for body and nose piercing. I hope this also dispels some untruths about ear piercing as an unsafe and unhygienic method of ear piercing. Because I truly believe it is the best method for ear piercing for any age but especially children and I have hundreds of happy customers who agree.

My name is Ema, The Hair & Beauty Artist and I am fully qualified, insured and licensed to pierce ear lobes and cartilage at my home beauty salon in Aldershot, Hampshire.

I pierce anyone from the age of 6 upwards. The cost of ear piercing is £30 which includes the chosen pair of studs, aftercare solution plus my advice if you have any questions, any time (no matter how long) after the procedure. If you are reading this around July time I will most likely have an end of term promotion for children. Or to book ear piercing click on the link.

In the meantime thank you for reading, Ema x

External Link to my Ear Piercing Manufacturer, Caflon: Caflon Ear Piercing

1 Comment

Nov 15, 2022

So so much misinformation

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