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This may seem like a small issue, but I'm very passionately against "mall piercings," especially in light of COVID-19.

The first and most important reason is that mall stores are not exactly the most sterile place and a piercing gun cannot be autoclaved. Therefore, they can carry dangerous pathogens from person to person. Additionally, the earring rips through your ear instead of cutting through like a needle would, causing lots of microscopic tears for bacteria and viruses to establish nice little neighborhoods for themselves.

However, there's another danger even I would have never thought of: getting your mask pierced into your ear. I am astounded.

Popular TikTok influencer and actress Sissy Sheridan had this exact thing happen to her. Not only did it cause her undue pain, but she's also going through a headache to get a refund for the botched piercing. It cost her $76.

You can get your ear lobes pierced at a professional piercing shop for much less, with more suitable jewelry for healing. And you won't need to have a million TikTok followers to get your damn money back when you have a mask elastic pierced on to you, complete with disgruntled mall employee attitude:

"She needs to bring the earring back and come into the store. I’ll replace it for her [with] a full earring, but she didn’t want to hear it...If she’s unhappy, she needs to call corporate."

My mind is seriously boggled at this lack of customer service. But then again, if I was making $8 an hour to manage a store at a mall, I'd be pretty short with people, too.

Last year, I did an entire interview with a local piercer on this very issue, before COVID-19 was even a concern. It's still very good, professional information. The only changes I've included are in relation to her new location here in Lubbock.

Here's the text of that article:

At age 5, I was pierced with a piercing gun, and chances are pretty good that you or someone you know was as well- its just how things were done back then- better than a sewing needle and ice I suppose. We lived, right?

But when you know better, you do better. Parents, if your kids want piercings, please say NO to piercing guns. There's so many reasons why, but I'm going to let an expert explain it to you.
From Vanessa Bathory of [Seven Venoms Tattoo] in Lubbock:

Although it seems easier to go to [malls stores] for ear piercings, they do not get regulated by the health department, which means they are not held to the same aseptic techniques that we as piercers are. They also don’t take into consideration that people may have sensitivities to certain metals. For example most of the jewelry sold at [mall stores] are made of low quality steel, that contains nickel alloys that a lot of people can have allergic reactions to, not to mention they use and sell externally threaded jewelry, that can cause a lot of damage when being inserted into a fresh piercing. Same goes for materials used to prep the skin before piercing. We always use a fresh pair of gloves for each client, often changing our gloves 3-4 times per procedure. Most people at [mall stores] aren’t trained as professional piercers are, and they are not required to get a BBP ( Blood Borne Pathogen certification) that proves you have learned about cross contamination, sterilization, and the dangers of blood borne pathogens if they are not disposed of properly.

You may be thinking- but can I take my child to a professional piercing shop? Yes, you can! Many piercers allow children so long as you meet certain basic criteria, which is a little different from shop to shop. If you'd like to utilize Vanessa or one of her talented and compassionate staff members, these are their criteria:

We usually start earlobe piercings at 4+, at that age the child’s anatomy is better suited and their immunities will be a lot stronger as well, this will help their healing process. What we require is the parent to be present, they need to provide a valid Id for themselves and a birth certificate (or other types of IDs: passport or State ID) for the child; I personally also ask the child themselves if they consent to getting their ears pierced and go over aftercare before we even start, just to make sure the child is receptive enough and responsible enough to be able to help care for their new piercing. When it comes to other ear piercings, facial piercings we do 13+ basically starting high school age, as school can also have certain regulations against visible piercings. Oral piercings and navel we try to advise 15+. Any other modifications like microdermals, nipple and genital areas we refuse to do on minors, even with parental consent.

Pretty reasonable standards for a much healthier piercing for your child- or even you. Say no to guns! Piercing guns, that is.

Special thanks to Vanessa Bathory of Seven Venoms Tattoos, located at 12111 Frankford Ave.