Ear Piercing for Teens & Preteens

Archived Responses: 

Questions

Is there a place to get teen's ears pierced that isn't staffed by heavily pierced/tattooed people?

March 2016

I'm sure I'm going to get a lot of pushback for my query, but here it is:

We are rearing my husband's granddaughter (I'll call her Carole) who has just turned 16. Carole has lived with us (during the school year) for five years, and has only occasionally asked to have her ears pierced. My previous response had been, ''Shouldn't that be something you do with your mother?'' (Carole spends all her vacations with her mother, who lives 300 miles away.)

Well, Carole's mother has never gotten around to it, and so I feel it is really time for me to step in. (For example, Carole has received gifts of earrings from other family members who are surprised to learn that she can't wear them. (She has saved them in a jewelry box.)

Here's my problem: Carole's mother is HEAVILY pierced and tattooed, to the point where I can't bear to look at her body too closely. I am hip on some matters, but very old-school where permanent body inking is concerned. Moreover, Carole's mother's tattoos were done piecemeal, mostly by various friends, and the majority are pretty ugly from any point of view. I live in trepidation that Carole will, in solidarity with her mother, start inking up her own body when she turns eighteen.

And so, for that reason, I would rather not take Carole to get her ears pierced in a shop (Zebra on Telegraph) populated by staff with a lot of full-body tattoos and facial hardware, as nice as these people may be, and as expert as they apparently are with piercing. (See uniformly positive reviews for Zebra on this site.)

I've dug down into the reviews, and the only alternatives seem to be a jewelry store on Lakeshore that no longer exists, and another jewelry store on College that received more negative Yelp reviews than I've ever read for any business, anywhere. Another old review mentions a place in Lafayette... but really? We live in Berkeley, and I cannot believe that there is no place in El Cerrito/Albany/Berkeley/Emeryville/Oakland that could fill the bill.

(Some people referred to bad experiences at ''the mall,'' and so Hilltop is out of the question.)

Thanks for your feedback.


I just took my daughter to Claire's at Bay Street when she was younger, not realizing there were any other options. It was totally fine. BerkeleyMama


I recommend Industrial Tattoo 2434 Dwight Way at Telegraph Ave. This shop is very clean and peaceful, autoclaves piercing instruments, and has private rooms for procedures. You will need to accompany your husband's granddaughter because of her age and be sure to bring her birth certificate and id when you bring her in for the ear piercing. They will not do the piercing otherwise. Marie


Claire's at Bay Street used to pierce ears, not sure if they still do. Also a lot of beauty shops do but don't necessarily advertise so if you call around you might find one - I know the Beauty Center in Montclair Village did as well and they have a lot of branches around. Maggie H


My daughter had hers done years ago at Montclair Jewelers on Mountain Boulevard in that little Montclair business district. I would assume they still offer the service. They were very careful about sterilizing, etc. AboutTheSame


Sweet grandma, I get it, I really do. But if your granddaughter goes down that road, she's not going to do it because you took her to get her ears pierced at a particular place. There's so much more at play here. And, ''worst'' case scenario, if she DOES decide to get tattooed and pierced, you want her doing it somewhere clean and friendly and where people are in the habit of thinking things through. I know this isn't the answer you were looking for. I just don't have another one. If you want decent piercings, you go to the experts. tattooed mom (but mine are super nice)


My daughter and her best friend got their ears pierced for their 9th birthdays at Claire's at Hilltop Mall and it was fine. We have an adorable picture of the two of them showing off their new earrings right afterward. Recently my mother (at 74!) got second piercings at the same place with no problem. The biggest issue is making sure the instruments used are clean, and to make sure the piercings heal well and without infection. That's easy enough to manage! There's a Claire's at Bay Street -- maybe you can invite one of Carole's friends for support, Carole can get her ears pierced, and then they can go check out a movie afterward. It would be a nice treat. You wrote that because of Carole's mother's body art, you are afraid that Carole will do the same; it's possible that Carole doesn't have that inclination. There's not a lot you can do about it once Carole is of age, however. try not to make a big deal out of it


Merle Norman in downtown Alameda. For the price of earrings, you can get the piercing done. It's a clean bright store and they are very professional, as they do piercing all the time. Just make sure to go to the Park St. address (they were in the South Shore mall but moved - the old address is still out there on the internet). Alamedan


My son got his ears pierced at Mary's Salon 2222 MacArthur Blvd, Oakland Cross Street Fruitvale Ave. I was there to watch and they did a fine job. Diane J


I've heard you can get ears pierced by your pediatrician, but I've never looked into it and hence, don't know the pros/cons. I hope you find what you're looking for! Mom who took her kid to the place on Lakeshore


Hi, a late response...in response to last week's responses. The Claire's at Bay Street is closed, so no longer an option. I told my 16 year old about your post (she has a total of 7 ear piercings). She said you should just TALK to Carole. Before you take her to Zebra (yes, a very professional, clean place, and ''cool'' to boot), talk about the tattoo issue. Tell her you're taking her there because they do an excellent job and they're experts. At her age, living in the Bay Area, she's seen her share of alternative tattooing and piercing. Go, talk. Give her the benefit of the doubt. She may surprise you. Mom of an alternative kid


Many people recommended Claire's at the Emery Bay mall. I am pretty sure it's been closed for quite a while. Regarding tattoos, I don't want to add to your anxiety, but a lot of teens are tattooing each other or are getting theirs from non-licensed freelance tattoo people. My daughter did, long before she turned 18. There was nothing I could do about it when it was done, obviously. I think you should reconsider Zebra for the ear piercing. They know what they're doing. My daughter got a one navel and two ear piercings there and not a single one of her tattoos. I feel as you do about tattoos


My daughter and two of her friends got their ears pierced at Claire's at Hilltop Mall, and it was just fine. The process seemed sanitary to me, and none of them have had any trouble with their ears. An El Cerrito Mom


Place to get 10-year-old's ears pierced

Oct 2014

Hi our daughter is 10 years old next month and wants her ears pierced I have yelped a a number of places but not able to tell if they do ear peircing for young kids and prices, can we bring in purchased earrings etc. Anyone who has had the experience if a friendly, hygenic age appropriate and an idea of prices would be appreciated Looking between Oakland to El Cerrito Thanks for any help EP


I highly recommend Claire's. Unfortunately the one at Bay St. closed, so the closest ones are Hilltop Mall, Sun Valley Mall in Concord, or Westfield San Francisco Center on Market. You can't bring your own earrings, but they have a large selection for you to choose from. Piercing is free with the purchase of earrings. You get cleaning solution to take home too. I think the cheapest earrings are about $20. No appointment necessary. Ask for 2 people piercing simultaneously if your daughter is very nervous. (Call ahead if you're going on a week day to make sure there are 2 employees available.) They do all ages, from about 2 months & up (babies have to have some vaccinations first). Parents must sign an agreement if the kid is under 18. They are fast, sanitary, and very kid-friendly. sk8ma


Zebra tattoo and piercing. There is one in Berkeley. Some parents may be turned off by the multitude of piercing options, but really they know what they are doing! I took my daughter to the one in Walnut Creek when she was 9 years old. They can advise you on who is best with children.


I plan to take my girls to a piercing studio when they're ready. Industrial Tattoo in Berkeley (2434 Dwight Way, (510) 644-0968) is great. I had Lisa pierce me and she was great with my kids. 8^) Mailisha


My daughter was about the same age when she got her ears pierced. I definitely wanted someone who knew what they were doing so who better than a tattoo and piercing parlor in Berkeley -- Zebra's on Telegraph. We went on a Saturday morning when it was quiet. Tim Plows pierced my daughter's ears and he was really friendly and explained each step. My daughter was really surprise that it didn't hurt much. Everything was top notch -- the people, the service, very hygenic. They have a pricing on their web site. Linda


15-year-old wants double ear piercing

April 2010

My daughter is fifteen years old and she has been begging me for 2 years to have her ears double pierced. When her's were single pierced they became really infected and had to have them re-pierced. I don't want her to ever have double piercings and I feel she is too young to make this decision. I also don't want her to rebel and I do want her to be her own person. Any advise would be helpful. Lisa


We had the same issue, and the same concerns about not really wanting more piercings on their bodies but not wanting them to rebel in other [worse] ways.

We decided to let both of our daughters get more piercings. We took them to a safe place (Claire's for one daughter who wanted a second regular piercing, Zebra on telegraph for upper ear/cartilage piercing). They used their allowance to pay for the piercing, we paid for the first set of earrings.

We figure earrings holes close up, leaving only a small mark, and they are much easier to deal with than tattoos!

So pick your battles. Allowing teens to exert control in a subtle way like this is a fairly easy way to give them the sense of independence that they need. C.


Experience with industrial bar ear cartilage piercing?

Feb 2010

My 16 y/o daughter wants an industrial bar ear cartilage piercing. She has a nickel allergy and must be careful with earrings for her earlobes. I have heard that this type of piercing can take months to a year to heal, and be very sore for that time, interfering with sleep, limiting activities like swimming. Also have heard this piercing is prone to infection, may result in deformity. But many others appear to have had these with no problems. Any personal experience? Also, any recommendations for places to get a piercing in East Bay ? We are in Berkeley but would travel for a good place. Berkeley Mom


Hello, when my daughter was born, I had always expected that she would want her ears pierced just as I had wanted mine pierced, at the age of 8. So, I waited, I offered, and was even a little dissapointed when her answers were no, no and no. Finally, at around age 11, she was interested and we went to a jeweler to have it done. One ear became very infected but the other one was fine. She decided after painful and frustrating infections going on for several weekes or so to abandon the ear piercing and let them close up. At age 14, she began asking for nose, tongue, belly button, cartilage, septum, all of which grossed me out!!!(except for the nose which I used to want when I was younger...). I kept stalling and I would use the: ''What about infection like your ear lobes?'' scare.

At age 15 she asked for an ear cartilage piercing again. I started to give in finally, I said okay. She was just a bit older, and I had become more used to seeing it around perhaps. Besides, it was still the ear...

One year later, and two ear cartilage piercing down the road, not one infection! She doesn't have a ''bar'' but she wears posts and little hoops (which I have fun buying as gifts).

She still wants a tatoo, a lip piercing and so forth but to tell you the truth, she has taken such good care I am not too worried about infection anymore. I went to the archives on this parent network about lip piercing and found tons of really helpful discussions on the topic which I highly recommend you do. (It is under the teen section I believe)

I gave my now 16 year old permission to pierce her lip after researching it but my car broke down and we missed going as planned. She hasn't mentioned it since! Go figure!

Ps Zebra in Berkeley seems to be a perfectly fine place. HR


My daughter had an industrial bar piercing last fall at Zebra on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley. They were great. I later found out that my daughter's dermatologist took his young daughters to Zebra for their ear piercings when they were little -- obviously a good sign.

My daugher, who was 14 at the time, said the actual piercing was painful, but bearable (I was with her, and she didn't cry); she didn't report much after-piercing pain. She cleaned the piercings per the after-care instructions, using the Zebra disinfectant product (for which you pay extra). She was told not to remove them for at least three months (not a year) or else the holes would close.

That said, my daughter has a tendency to form keloid scars, and developed two of them at the entrance and exit sites of the piercings. They were painful to the touch, and that's what sent us to the dermatologist. He said this happens to some people, darker skinned people tend to be more prone to them, but there's no way to know in advance. He injected the keloids with something and both of them shrank within days. He advised against ever re-piercing the site, which was a great disappointment to my daughter (but not to me!). Lorraine


Painless, professional ear piercing for 15-y-o

Jan 2009

Our fifteen-year-old daughter has recently begun to express interest in having her ears repierced. She had her ears pierced in first grade and recalls it as the most painful experience of her life. She had to take her training posts out for soccer that year, and the holes closed, and she hasn't looked back. But now she thinks she might be willing to try again. I'd appreciate a recommendation for a very professional, very top flight place to take her where - short of general anaesthesia - they can repierce her ears with minimal discomfort. thanks


I would ask your doctor if they do it b/c I believe they could numb the skin area and use a hollow needle. The hollow needles used for professional piercings don't damage the skin as much (and go through more smoothly), and heal better than the gun-type piercings. Also, investigate Industrial Tattoo and Piercing in Berkeley http://www.industrialtattoo.net/Piercers.aspx. Don't be put off by the tattooing part, they've been recommended as hospital sterile and experienced with piercing even if it's just ear lobes. *Anon.*


Both my kids had theirs done at Itsy Bitsy jewelry store on College Ave in Rockridge. Very nice staff, inexpensive, hygenic, no problems afterward. Very low key atmosphere helps with possible anxiety. heidi


My daughter got her ears pierced this summer at Itsy Bitsy on College Avenue in Oakland (Rockridge neighborhood near Pegasus Books). The owner is great and gentle and kind. She usually prefers to pierce towards the end of the day at closing time. Call ahead for an appointment. She'll get back to you within a doay or so. Just put a dot on your daughter's ear lobes where she'll want the holes to be (or the owner can do taht when you get there. It is a great local store that is very worth supporting. Mom


16 Y.O. Boy insisting on piercing his ears

Dec 2008

Hello, I am the father of three boys, ages 20, 16 and 2 \xbd\x85. The oldest is struggling with addictions and self inflicted drama. He dropped out of school, has had great job opportunities but as much as it hurts to say it but turned out to be a total flake. He is disrespectful to everyone in the family, except me, but he drinks, and refuses to get any help. The middle is the total opposite, he works, gets straight A\x92s, is a good kid and at the age of 16 he is a senior in H.S. Recently he has been asking me if it\x92s ok to get an ear ring. He knows my stand on it, but he uses every little opportunity to bring up the issue. Yes, he\x92s a good kid, and gets good grades, and according to him he \x93wants it so bad\x94. My side of the family is somewhat conservative, on the side of his mother anything goes\x85He said he promises me a 4.0 and continue school if I say yes, and as a good chess player that he is, he keeps consistent and presses the issue. I need YOUR opinion. R


When I saw the title of your post, I thought you were going to talk about some type of really off the wall piercing, or stretching. But just an earring? My boys have had them since they were 11, but I have very loose views on such things. They are allowed to dye their hair too. I have told them no facial piercings, only ears, and no stretching. One thing to consider - just a regular ear hole will close up and be not-noticeable later on, if your son is applying for jobs, etc. But that is why no stretching or other facial piercings in our house. I have two tatoos that I got at age 22, and I am very happy that the artist encouraged me to place them in areas they are covered up by business attire.

Your son sounds like such a great kid - he sounds like he sets boundaries for himself already, and probably doesn't need as much guidance as a wilder one? classic Berkeley mom


In my opinion, you should let him get his ear pierced. It is no big thing. My sons both got their ears pierced when they were 11, and by the time they were 15 they were no longer interested in wearing an earring, so the piercings just closed up after a while. They are in their 20s now. It's a way for your son to express himself without causing any lasting damage, and I don't think it is even considered all that daring anymore, at least not in Berkeley. Be happy that he isn't pressuring you for a tattoo! G.


Ear piercing is such a norm with teenage boys and girls. Why is it even an issue to you with a kid who works hard in school and is good at home? I say let him do it, as he has earned the priviledge. Mom who wishes she had a kid like yours


Let him!! He is old enough to deal with judgements from family members. And after a couple months he will be able to take it out when he wants. Pick your battles!


I think you should allow it. For a sixteen-year-old boy, especially one who is trying to follow ''the straight and narrow path'', having a small rebellious mark, like an earring, can be a helpful tool to preserve some much-needed autonomy harmlessly. An agreement should be made--what kind of earring he can wear, perhaps that at all family events he will remove it, or any other times you deem it inappropriate. An earring isn't like a tattoo, or something unremovable--it's merely a small, personal mark that some people prefer. If your son grows out of it, or doesn't want it anymore, he can simply (after four to six weeks) take it out. Rebellious


I have always said that my kids can't get piercings beyond one hole in the earlobes or tatoos until they have their own health insurance to pay for antibiotics if they get an infection. But now I understand that as they get closer to 18, I have to let them start to make their own decisions. I have made it a policy that my daughters have to wait until they are 12 before they get their ears pierced. Then my oldest turned 12 and decided not to do it. She considers it barbaric, so she is developing her own sense of what she wants for herself. We will see what the youngest wants to do. She is so active that she might not want to bother with earrings.

I think one hole in the ear of a responsible 16 year old would be fine. He wants it, he seems to know himself well enought to want it, and he has assured you it won't turn him into something else. Since you listed all the things going on with your oldest, it sounds like something else is going on. Definitely share your fears and thoughts with your 16 old. Good luck. Jeanne


Well, you don't say WHY you don't want him to get a pierced ear, just because of the family??? These days ears seem like a mild thing to pierce!! So many guys/men have pierced ears these days, it's like nothing. I would agree to it and just thank your lucky stars he's getting straight As! anon


Let him have the earring. Remember how much long hair bugged OUR parents when we were in high school? This is comparable. He's a good kid, sounds like he's not asking for much. He can always take out the earring and it will grow back -- not be permanent or leave much of a scar like a tattoo. I'm impressed that he's asking you instead of just going and having it pierced. Ann


Ricky, of course you and your wife get to decide this one, but since you're asking for others' opinions: your 16 y.o. sounds like a great kid! I think an earring is a pretty harmless mode of self-expression. And he sounds like he has earned your trust and respect, so I think you would be demonstrating that by letting him get his ear pierced. You can always ask him to leave the earring out for special occasions with your side of the family. But I would say don't deprive him of the chance to have a little fun with his appearance. Don't sweat the small stuff


Can you find a compromise?: some suggestions

size and look of the earring, where he gets it done so it doesn't get infected when he wears it, can he respect leaving it out on family occasions like the holidays? timing to get it done, maybe after the holidays when you are not expecting full family g occasions so it has time to heal he pays for the piercing and the earring he makes a full commitment to care for it, so there are no medical complications

an understanding that your views have not changed but you are making this compromise out of respect for what he wants and the responsibility he has shown in his life, and your understanding that he will continue in his positive endeavors.

I have done this with my child, and so far it has worked. No face piercing yet,,,But with this generation it is hard to ignore how a part of style it is.

For your eldest - sending our best wishes, and strength not to give up. Please consider full family counseling, and if he is living under your roof, and eating at your table thus part of the family, he will accept counseling or find somewhere else to live. At some point it is important for the whole family to mobilize, since all cannot thrive if one member is not. If you have insurance that covers counseling, you can get family counseling. Family counseling can be very helpful. I would also recommend family counseling even if your eldest leaves the house. Bay Area parent


My son, now 18, had both ears pierced at age 16 when I was out of town. He now wears diamond studs. He did it for style and not to make a political statement or as the first step on a downward spiral to lawlessness. My reaction: Disappointment that he had been sneaky; mild annoyance at the store that broke the law by piercing a 16-year-old (he looked older and they didn't check); and moderately firm belief that he would regret it later. Nothing bad followed the piercing except raised eyebrows from conservative parents of some of his friends and temporary infections that resulted when he didn't keep cleaning the areas with alcohol. He's still doing sports, doing moderately well in school, being a decent kid. I guess my message is that my son's ear piercing turned out to be a major non-problem. Valley Mom


Where to get 10 year old's ears pierced

Sept 2006

Our nearly 10 year old daughter wants to get her ears pierced. We're ok with that. WHERE does one go for this? We want an experienced person with sterilized equipment. We are very leary about the ''mall'' experience and would prefer another setting. Any good suggestions? dori


The mall is no big deal. My daughter had her ears pierced at Beadazzled at Hilltop last year when she was 5. I had my ears pierced at Beadazzled when it was at El Cerrito Plaza in 1973. And, gasp, who would have thought -- we survived the leary ''mall experience.'' -- just do it


Silver Lining on Lakeshore Avenue in Oakland is great. They have a wide variety of earings and are concerned about ear health. The staff is well trained and can pierce both ears at the same time. They are ADULTS performing the piercings, which was important to me when I took my 12 year old this summer. Clean and gentile. You will not be disappointed! lisa


January 2003

My 10 year old wants to get her ears pierced. The postings in the archives are more than several years old. Would like feedback on recent experiences, tips, etc. Thanks! Rebecca


My 7 yr. old daughter just got her ears pierced. Is it my imagination, or have the piercing guns improved since I was young? We went to Montclair jewelers and David was wonderful. They use surgical steel posts with 24k (?) gold plating, and do one ear at a time, taking time to mark a good position for the hole (he actually looked at each ear's lobe shape since they are slightly different). It was only $15 including the earrings and some cleansing fluid! I found a place that does both ears at the same time but it was a lot more expensive and my daughter ended up being fine knowing a 2nd ear had to be done right after the first. Good luck! Tracy


My 6-year-old daughter just had her ears pierced a few weeks ago at Given Gold on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland. The man who did it was very friendly and took his time to be slow and explain to my daughter what he was doing. There is a selection of ''training posts'' to choose from (different colors and I think hearts or stars). The training posts are $15 and the piercing is free. All in all, a great experience! Sharon


Our 8 year old daughter had her ears pierced about two months ago at GIVEN GOLD - 4156 Piedmont Ave. (652-4186). The owner did it himself, was very gentle and the process was generally painless. Cost was $15 and included the starter earrings. Seth


after mos. of procrastination, my 7.5 yr old daughter recently decided she was ready to get her ears pierced. i took her to Zebra on telegraph ave (on campus). it seemed to me that a professional piercing studio where they do piercing continually was more appealing than a jewelry shop that might do a few per week. i also wanted a good selection of surgical steel jewelry rather than gold. for anyone who might be intimidated by a piercing shop with heavily pierced and tattooed staff/clientelle, i suggest you look beyond it. the mgr @zebra immediately sensed my daughter's nervousness and she responded respectfully and sensitively. she spoke directly to my daughter, she explained why they use needles vs. a gun (gun is SO startling and harder to get even- and cant be fully sterilized; needles are single-use). she also suggested that, since they had two piercers working that day that she could have both ears done at once. she even had the two guys come out and introduce themselves to my daughter! she waived the 'pay before piercing' policy so that my daughter could change her mind at any time. the piercing guys synchronized their work perfectly and my daughter's first words were 'you already did it? that wasnt bad at all!' six weeks later she has had no infection and she LOVES her pierced ears. i cant recommend Zebra highly enough! gemma


A better place than last time for 13 year old

December 2002

My 13 year old daughter has had an unsuccessful experience with ear piercing in the past, despite very careful disinfection. 1-2 years ago, we used a place found in the current archives. When one ear became infected after several weeks, the technician stated that my daughter had ''thick earlobes'' and would probably always have trouble. We've recently checked with her doctor, who said she saw absolutely nothing about her ear lobes that was different from average ear lobes. So now she wants to try again, and would like a current recommendation of an excellent ear piercing place, preferably with a name of a particular technician we can ask for. Thanks. Joan


My daughter had her ears pierced (both times) at Silver Lining in Oakland (Lakeshore). They are professional and will pierce both ears at the same time having a person on each side simultaneously piercing. This helps when a small child is having it done so they don't get scared with each piercing.


I highly recommend Beadazzled on Mt. Diablo Blvd. in Lafayette. The owner (I'm sorry I don't remember her name) pierced my daughter's ears and those of several of her friends, all with good results. She is friendly, patient and conscientious. She was also very nice about taking follow up phone calls when we had questions. You can contact her at (925) 283-1998. Good luck! Carla


To the parent whose daughter gets infections from ear piercing: I have found that gold wires are the best for a new person, also 2 or 3 times daily dosing of the ears and wires with alcohol, and turning the wires so the alcohol gets into the inner tissue where the wire goes through the ear. Often if you go to a regular office, they want to use posts, as they can shoot them into your ear. If you try to change them with wires, because the procedure is so new, you can't find the holes in the back of the ear. Posts lead to infection, as the old skin and scab from the cut collect on the posts and cause infection. If you have to use posts, use gold to reduce chance of infection (some people have allergies to other metals, which can be misread as/or cause an infection). Also, again, make sure that your daughter washes with alcohol 2or 3 times a day to clean off the excess stuff that collects with a new procedure such as this.

When I was in my 20's a girlfriend pierced my ears with a needle with strong string, a cork and an ice cube to dull the pain. She tied off the string and I had the string loop in my ear for a month until my ears were tough enough to accept a regular earring. This worked very well for me at the time. Since then, I have gone both ways with my daughters. I have had them pierced and done the piercing. Each has worked, but the washing is the key to the whole process. ~Anon


Without meaning to offend those who gave advice on ear piercing, I'm afraid I have to disagree with some. I have had many piercings and tattoos over the past 25 years, as have several of my friends, and feel that some of the advice was not very good. Although the advisors experiences worked for them, the child in question is clearly very sensitive and has some allergic problems. Since many other people have the same problems, I would hate for them to take some of the advice given.

1. Gold is not really the best metal to use, as many people have reactions to it. Stainless steel is best for piercings, as it is hypoallergenic. It is also non-porous and smooth, unlike gold, so detritus doesn't stick as vigorously and it is easier to keep clean. I do agree that hoops are the best shape, as they do slide easier, and you can move them around.

2. As for cleaning the piercing, alcohol is far, far too harsh for new piercings. Obviously, many people do fine with it, but for those with tender, sensitive skin (particularly with a fresh wound) alcohol is too caustic and drying and can hinder the healing process, as well as cause additional irritation problems. There are specific products piercers recommend, but I've never been recommended alcohol since my first piercing at age 15 (that was 25 years ago).

3. The use of piercing guns, such as is usually used at Beadazzled is entirely antiquated, and in the piercing community, is condemned. The gun causes a different type of wound than do piercing needles, and the piercing can take much longer to heal. The stud used in the gun is bad, too, since it is very tight against the swollen earlobe, and the shaft is ridged creating a great place for pus and scabs to accumulate. they are hard to turn, and when turned often pull away the healing scabs, leaving newly exposed raw areas. Thus, the healing takes longer.

4. The last thing I'd protest is the idea that piercing at home is a good idea. It's not. There is no way for the needle (or the novice piercer) to get the equipment as sterile as it must be for optimum healing. Given the child's sensitivity, this would be disasterous. Clearly, her mother wouldn't do that, as she is concerned with the possibility of infection, but for those out there who have thought about, take my advice and don't. I have had to close several piercings, done at home in my youth, because of nasty infections.

Lastly, reputable piercing parlors are all over the place and they generally don't cost too much, making alternatives obsolete and dangerous. So, I recommend having all piercings done by a professional, who has the sterile equipment and years of experience.

Heather

[Editor note: I asked Heather if she can recommend any piercing places and she said: I asked around, and found that many, many people have had piercings at Zebra and have had no problems there at all. My son reminded me that he had his ear pierced there, too. At the very least, they use sterilized equipment, and their piercers do have a LOT of experience.... my only reservation about them is ethical--I'd be upset if I had a 12 year old getting her nose pierced without my consent, and Zebra has done just that... other reputable places (such as Industrial) refuse to pierce anyone under the age of 18 for reasons of liability.