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 Coven Body Modification 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 ID’s: 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. Coven Body Modifications is located inside Sunken City Ink (4033 34th St).

More From Talk 103.9 & 1340