Teens/Preteens & Piercing

Archived Responses: 

Piercing Ears Piercing Other Things

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

September 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.


[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 ethnical--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.

College aged daughter wants to pierce her nose

Jan 2007

My husband and I are divided about our college age daughter's intention to pierce her nose. She says she will wear nothing more than a tiny stud, but my husband is adamant about the fact that such a move will ruin her professional future/limit her marketability in the workplace because conventional companies will not consider hiring someone with a pierced nose for a career-oriented position. I am uncertain. I know when I entered the job market upon graduating from college, such a piercing would not have been accepted in the professional world. However, I am willing to concede that perhaps in this regard I am out of date. Therefore, I ask your advice and guidance. Appreciative Mom

Your daughter is college-aged; I can't believe this is even something you have a say in. I sure didn't ask my parents for approval, just showed up with a nosering... that was a fun Thanksgiving. However, since you asked, a nosering can be taken out at any time. The hole can be kept open with a clear bit of plastic (I used to snip off a bit of a clothes tag) if she just wants to take it out for an interview, or she can let it close up at any time with no noticeable scar. I wore my nosering through several job interviews and jobs in New York City; unless she's a banker, the nose ring is no big deal. nosey noserston

Well first of all, since your daughter is college aged, she can do whatever she wants - I assume that she's over 18 - and it's pretty great and a testament to your close relationship with her that she's asking your advice/permission about this. Personally I think your husband is overreacting, and I also really think it's her choice. I pierced my nose at age 22, just after college. After about 3 years I grew sick of it, took it out, and now I have a small scar that no one seems to notice. This piercing was done prior to the huge trend in piercing that has been around for about 10 years now, and I am a successful person in the health care professions... I think it could impact her career if she wants a really conservative career, like business, finance, elective government, but she can ALWAYS TAKE IT OUT for job interviews, or if she feels like it is having a negative impact. I guess it's a really personal decision, but to me it seems like it's HER choice. Plus she won't be young forever, and it is much harder to do these things when you're in your 30s, etc. I'd say let her experiment while it's developmentally appropriate. formerly pierced

It really depends what career field your daughter is interested in. I got my nose pierced in grad school, worked in journalism and publishing. Would it have affected my chance for a job at Time or Newsweek? Maybe, though a similarly pierced friend worked at the New York Times. I eventually took it out for a job interview, never got around to putting it back in. Now I'm a senior publishing executive, and have worked with many pierced and tattooed editors and designers. Banking or corporate law? I would imagine not so much. Still tattooed!

Hi, my children are stilll young, but I think as they get older I will only prohibit, or advise against, things that are permanent. ie, tattoos and some piercings that scar. A nose pierce is actually the one piercing that seems least likely to leave a noticable scar. I know because I did it when I went away to college! My parents dissaproved, but there was nothing they could do because I was 18 and it is my body. I only wore a small diamond on and off for a couple of years. My family teased me that it looked like a ''shiney booger.'' I really didn't care, in fact the more they expressed their dislike for it, the more I just wanted to keep it in. I was not the rebellious type at all, just a regular teenager trying to find my style.

I have never met a person with a significant scar on the nose. I still have the hole there--10 years later--and I can still push an earring through with a bit of pain. lol. However, it just looks like a larger pore. You would have to lean in very close to my face to even see anything. That being said, other piercing DO leave scars. I have had my ears pierced many times and you can see all of them. Other places where the skin is pinched to pierce it, for example eyebrow and belly button, can leave horrible scars. Have you ever seen someone with a red line across the eyebrow? One little infection can leave that scar on your face for life ...not pretty.

I say, support her and don't make a big deal out of it. She can take it out when she wants and it will not be noticable. She will probably get tired of it in the next year and take it out herself. Best to you!

I am a 34 year old mom who was a prior pierced crazed young adult. Please tell you daughter before she makes this decision that no matter how small the ring/stud is it will leave a scar that will never go away. I too had a TINY silver stud in my nose. It left a giant blue scar on my nose... even now 12 years later. I frequently have strangers come up to me telling me I have pen on my nose. It is horrible and after consulting a dermo I would have to have a form of plastic surgery to make it go away, which would also leave a small scar.

I have scars on my lip and eyebrow where I also had piercing. They still get ''infected'' from time to time and it is VERY painful. The worst was my navel rings. After having my daughter the scar tissue ripped where my navel rings used to be (again... the rings were removed 12 years ago... so just a scar remained) and now I have a VERY deformed navel that will require plastic surgery to fix. I will never be able to wear a bikini again. These are the things that teens and young adults don't think about. I wish I knew now what I didn't know then. regretful

I don't have a nose peircing. But I've known people for more than twenty years now who have. It's still disgusting to me, and irreperable to them, the ever present hole in the middle of their faces. Milk cows have nose rings, OK, not people. To say it's fashionable is like saying smoking pot is fashionable. It's nothing new. You are not out of date. Why anyone would stick something in the middle of their faces to distract from the beauty and meaning conveyed from their eyes is beyond me. It's not that the nose ring itself would cause discrimination in an interview, it's the fact that the personal bond established by nondistracting eye contact is affected, something that is so important in professional work.

Your husband is right. Pierced anything other than a couple of holes in ears is gross, gross, gross for those who can see the piercings. This includes--gack--the tongue. Adults can do anything they want, however. That means your kid, once she has reached majority, is an adult. Just make sure she understands this ''adult'' business goes both ways, and she is really unlikely to do anything for her career or personal life if she mutilates herself in ways that are visible when wearing most clothes. That is, unless, she chooses the ''oldest'' profession! You might want to discuss what will happen to over-pierced skin (or better yet, tatooed skin) when all of these cool chicks age. Now, THAT gives me nightmares. Good luck, Mom! anon

Hi there, She's college age, right? Then there's nothing you can do, and IMHO you should both tell her how you feel and then back off. If she goes ahead then she can always take the stud out for interviews and work, or she can fail to get a few jobs with it in and then make a decision that feels right for her. If you want her to be a responsible adult you need to let her make stupid decisions, unfortunately. Pick your battles -- if she and your husband lose mutual respect over something as ultimately trivial as this, then will she be able to talk to him when something really serious happens? If he persists she's might start to feel like he has no faith in her ability to succeed in the future, especially as apparently getting her nose pierced will destroy everything. A nicer message might be 'We know you're smart and capable, we just worry that an interviewer might not be able to see past the face jewelery. However, we trust you to make your own decision about this, and we love you whatever.'' Not that I'm telling you what to say, I'm just telling you what I would have wanted to hear when I was making my own dumb-ass decisions when I was at college (tattoos, idiot boyfriends, shots of jagermeister, etc etc). Hey, at least she's asking you for input, rather than just turning up with fifty seven piercings and a boyfriend who roadies for the band. Abbi

The great thing about nose piercings is that they are removable. And while they can be a liability in some industries, they can be a positive asset in others. So before you worry, consider what your daughter wants to do as a career. The music business, advertising, radio/TV/film, and so many other bay area industries are filled with talented individuals sporting tattoos, piercings and even scarring. Consider: % The 25-year old high-tech PR account executive I know with a nose piercing. % The web designer I worked with who had 3 piercings in his penis (I took his word for it). % My cats' vet, with a tattoo up her neck. Really, unless your daughter wants to be a politician, a lawyer or a manager, she should be fine. anon

I am a 37 year old professional. I have had a nose ring for 20 years. In most situations it has never been an issue. When I thought it would stand out during an interview I removed it...simple as that. And I wasn't as considerate as your daughter about talking to my parents first, I just went out and did it... pierced and employed

If she is 18 or older, she gets to decide on her own (as you probably realize). Nice of you to give your loving opinions. Perhaps it's time to get used to having her make decisions contrary to those you would make (easy for me to say now...but not in 8 years!). It's good that you have an open mind about it. Good luck with your husband! Mom

I think perhaps you and your husband are over-reacting. Times are different now and this is California. I think your daughter will find her way into whatever career she wants with a nosering. Maybe the strict, conservative career world is not for her anyway. Also, when I went off to college, I remember my parents telling me that I was an adult now and able to make my own decisions. I have always remembered this and appreciated their trust in me. I did get a nosering in my twenties. They weren't happy about it. They had similar concerns to yours. (this was in Louisiana!) But, it was my decision. It has had no negative effects on my life. I am now married, 36-years-old, with a daughter & still have my nosering. I also am beginning a career this year as a doctor. All the best to you & your daughter. anon

Of course it will limit her. Sure, she might not choose to work for conservative companies anyway, but you never know with an up and down job market, how your future will go. Why do anything that would make you a less desirable candidate? There are many, many companies who would find a nose piercing unacceptable, even these days. All that said, she is an adult now. You should prep her with the appropriate information, and let her know she could be shooting herself in the foot, and that is her choice. BTW, when employers don't hire her, they won't tell her it's because of her nose piercing. anon

Your daughter is over 18. You may not like it, it may hinder her job search, but whatever the case, she's old enough to make her own decisions and learn from them. For what it's worth, I'm friendly with a woman in her 50s who has a small stud in her nose; she's a social worker, a home owner, and it doesn't seem to have hindered her life in any way. You're overthinking this. ---Not *that* Berkeley

IF your daughter is college age, then she is old enough to make decisions that effect her life on her own. YOu've done your job raising her, now you need to let go. Besides, nose rings are pretty main stream now and she can always take the stud out for interviews or jobs. namastesf

Hi - I just had to respond. I've actually had my nose pierced going on 20 years now, and didn't care a bit about appearances when I first did it since at the time it was quite counter- cultural. Now, though, I think it's pretty tame. I see bank tellers with pierced eyebrows, etc. More importantly, I myself am now an attorney and worked at one extremely large international law firm for years and later a mid-size SF firm and had no problem whatsoever with my nose stud, either from colleagues, opposing counsel, or clients. I really wouldn't worry about it. At least it's not her tongue! pierced and professional

Your post made me angry at your husband -- irrationally so. Then I realized it was because it reminded me of MY parents' reactions when, as a Cal undergrad and grad student, I got into body piercing. (That was way back in the early '90s, when it was a lot more uncommon.) I didn't stop to ask first, and neither should your daughter! Poor woman -- I want her to stand up for herself.

Anyway, back to your question. First of all, she's certainly not ''ruining her future,'' as piercings are easily removed and are practically invisible when no jewelry is being worn, so if she still wants to keep her piercing several years from now when she goes to work at an uptight investment bank, she can have it both ways and no one will know. Secondly, I'm not at all sure that most ''conventional companies'' care any more about discreet body art. I know many professionals (medical doctors, librarians, and scientists) who have piercings and/or tattoos. I guess maybe some types of business are more conservative, but times really have changed. Finally, if she changes her mind she can simply remove the jewelry and the piercing will grow over.

By the time I was through I had a double-pierced nostril, a lip stud, a tongue piercing, a navel ring, and various earrings. I took out the visible facial piercings for job interviews as a public librarian and never had any trouble; after I'd been at a job for a while and could assess my employers I added some of them back. Then over the years I simply got tired of having so many piercings and one by one let them grow over. I finally took out my tongue piercing last year, at the age of 36. Really, with piercings you can have your cake and eat it too -- unlike tattoos, which are so much more permanent. Nicole R.

Nose piercing! Yuck! That being said, if your daughter is over 18, it's out of your hands and quite frankly none of your business except to express your opinion with the probability of being ignored. But to your question: Will a pierced nose impede your daughter's chance of getting a job? That depends on what kind of job she wants (Accountant, Investment Banker, Artistic Coordinator) and where she wants to do the job (San Francisco vs New York). Geography matters in terms of the regional acceptance of ''non-mainstream'' embelishments. You will find S.F. Investment specialist and accountants with many piercings, however in Chicago and New York the piercing may create difficulty. If she is going for a more artistic job or work for a non-profit, it may help her land the job. So, Sorry I can't give you the blanket answer you want, but it all depends. And in any case, the hole will grow back when/if she doesn't want it any more. Hope you can find acceptance of your daughter's adventure in figuring out who she is seperate from her parents (that is her job right now after all). I also suspect if you and your husband offer no opinion, the whole issue will quickly become a non-issue. Harvard MBA w/multiple ear piercings in the finance indusrty.

I have worked for book publishers, universities, nonprofit organizations, and state government, and in every place I have worked, I have had coworkers with nose studs. True, they were not CEOs, but neither were they at the bottom of the hierarchy. In some more conservative industries, a nose stud might be a liability, in others it might be the norm. She should think of this before deciding. anon

How sensitive you are to think there might be more than one right answer re: your daughter's nose piercing. I think companies now (esp in the bay area and typically in less conservative depts such as marketing, advertising, web development, IT) are more open-minded about things like that. If your daughter is the best candidate they'll likely not decide against her based on her piercing. As someone who's been on the interviewer's side many times, what stands out to me is seeing someone come in with confidence, competency, and self- assuredness-- so your supporting her ability to make her own decisions is probably more of a help than restricting her piercing. That said, the great thing about piercings is she can always take it out before an interview and once she's hired and gets a feel for the culture (and dazzles everyone), she can decide whether it's appropriate to wear it to work. Eyebrow, nose, & ear pierced career woman w/ office ;-)

I think the effects of a pierced nose on your daughter's career prospects is dependent on the industry she's going to be entering and the kind of company she'd like to work for. A lot (not all, by any means, but a lot) of creative jobs don't have a problem with piercings. I work at an arts organization, and one of our senior-level people has her nose pierced, and has had it the whole 5 years she's been here. I do quite a bit of hiring myself and wouldn't be bothered by a potential employee having a pierced nose, as long as it wasn't flashy. In a more corporate setting, I can imagine it might be a problem. But perhaps your daughter is aware of the work environments she'll be in, and knows it won't hurt her chances of employment. Also, it's not permanent. If she needs to, she can remove the stud later on or get a clear stud. The piercing doesn't become invisible, but it does get pretty close. --hardly notices them anymore

As the proud bearer of a nose ring for nearly 30 years now, I can tell you that it's perfectly easy, after a time, to take the ring out for work purposes and still be able to put jewelry in it after work. I worked as a corporate executive for a major corporation for many, many years with my nose pierced, and I don't think anyone even knew it! The hole is nearly imperceptible unless someone is really scrutinizing your pores, which I doubt any employer would do. I'd say relax and let your almost grown up daughter do what she wants, a piercing isn't for forever unless one wants it to be. -- pierced/tattooed and still employable

i have to respond after that ''oldest profession'' statement. i am a 40 year old professional woman who has full arm ''sleeve'' tattoos, although they do get brought up, it is more curiosity (i work in an office of a corp that teaches children) than disgust. that is about the most gross over exageration i have ever heard. what are you? in the 1950's? if you don't like it, don't do it, but who are you to judge others? that aside. you (as parents) have no say over what an eighteen year old does. believe me, i know. don't sweat the small stuff, she will either remove it later or not, it will not lower her IQ or determine her future. if this is as ''rebellious'' as she gets, count yourselves lucky. juliet

I did not see the original post, so apologies in advance if my point is non-issue, (not sure if nose ring seeking daughter is financially dependent on her folks).

When I was 18, I recognized that I was an adult and could ''legally'' make decisions on my own. However, my parents raised both my sister and I to understand that while under their financial care (they were putting us through college) it was clear that we could not do certain things against their wishes. Examples: get tattoos, body piercings, live with boyfriends, etc. It's not like we went over a list of do's and don'ts on our 18th birthdays..... It was simply knowing my folks and their values regarding certain issues and if you knew Mom and Dad wouldn't approve, you wouldn't do it.

As a young adult, I hated it of course. But as a parent, I completely get it. I believe it fostered a respect for my Mom and Dad that so many young adults and teens lack these days. It also gave me the drive to be a grown up and make my own way so I could make the decisions in life that I wanted, and not have to ''consult'' someone for their approval. Furthermore (and the best part) I would have only ''me'' to answser to and the pride of knowing I made the decision on my own. nose ring fan

16-year-old wants to get her belly button pierced

I could use some advice. My soon to be 16 year old wants her belly button pierced for 16th birthday. I am opposed to body piercing (and have said that if I had it to do over I wouldn't have pierced my ears or hers). When the question of piercing arose over a year ago, I suggested she speak with her pediatrican during her check-up visit. (I thought that if the doctor didn't advise against piercing (this time it was her nose)then I would step back and reconsider -- no promises) As it turns out her physician (Dr. Landman) was against the idea of piercing. The matter died down for quite a while, but now I'm being lobbied heavily for the piercing.

Has anyone dealth with this issue? What decision did you make and why? I don't want her to just go off and do this anyway, but I really don't feel comfortable with approving it. Usually this discomfort is enough, but I'd like to hear other opinions and check out whether I'm just stuck in the stone age.

I've been in this exact situation with my daughter but I consented. Since I would never consent to nose piercing or tongue or lip piercings and she already had her ears pierced in a several places, I said yes to what I perceived to be the lesser of the evils--and told her as long as she could keep the area sterile it would be fine. And it has been. My daughter's now in college and her belly button ring came out in soccer practice; she had it replaced for $25 by the end of the day and she told me the hole had almost closed and it had to be re-pierced. She's using her own money now, and you can see where her priorities are: she chose the belly button replacement for $25 over a reading lamp for her room (she must be reading by flashlight or something). Anyway, my point is it could be much worse, choose your battles carefully, and from 16 year old girls, there are way too many sometimes to choose from. --anon (been there, done that)

My daughter pleaded to 'pierce' for about a year. We all finally agreed that there is a certain amount of 'fashion' pressure which in turn is directly related to 'Peer-pressure'. This still didn't deter her as she was enormously attracted to the whole idea. Finally (after much battling of wills) we agreed to piercing any part of her body that was 'private'. We felt strongly that her choice was personal and should have no obvious ramifications to those observing her. In other words we did not want her to be judged, either now or later (eg at a job interview). We also didn't want to have to be forced to see it every day from now on!! Anybody considering being pierced has to realize that others may have extremely strong negative reactions to a piercing which affect how they are perceived in general. We felt it was self limiting, taking on the trappings of an identity group, etc. etc. ( we discussed how it would feel to HAVE to be pierced or tattoed against your will). She had her navel pierced just after turning 13 and it looks adorable on her flat tummy. It healed beautifully and we all learned alot about compromise and sensible decision making. We felt that if it were so important to be pierced it was worth waiting for, just like so many other important things. Who knows how she will feel at 18 Years old? Good Luck with your situation. Deb

I'm a freshmen at BHS and i had my bellybutton pierced in 7th grade. i have had no problems with it and my parents didn't mind it even though they usually object to body mutilaton because they can't see it at all. if your daughter does decide to get it done i recomend you go to Zebra on telegraph. it costs about 60 dollars for the jewelry and the actually piercing and the cleaning solutions which are really important. it heals pretty easily as long as you take care of it and it doesn't hurt too much either.

This is in response to a recent post about a soon to be 16 year old wanting to get her belly-button pierced. I guess my question to the parent would be, what specifically are your objections? Do you not like the look, does it mean something morally, ethically or ? to you? My daughter had her belly-button pierced for her 16th birthday. My son got a tattoo on his arm for his 18th. I myself have my nose pierced, so perhaps my view might be considered less conservative. The underlying reasoning, though, is after several discussions with both of my children about their desires for tattoos and piercing is: For them it seems to be a statement about individuality and I think, independence. While I was really skeptical at first, I let them both make the choice, pointing out the downsides when they're adults. Will they regret their choice? I think a tattoo is a more obvious regret because unlike a piercing, it won't go away. Both of my kids are levelheaded and smart and I felt it was better to let them experiment. I know it might be hard to understand their desire, but it's a statement of their youth culture. Do you remember yours? How did your parents feel about it? I think it's difficult as a parent to remember what it was like to be their age. Whether it's due to my attitude about it (the piercings, tattoos), I have a really good relationship with my kids and they seem to be less rebellious than I was at their age (I was brought up in a really strict Catholic environment). Taking care of the piercing is really not that difficult. She'll need to be vigilant about cleaning it, etc. I also recommend a reputable place, like Zebra in Berkeley where both my daughter and I had our piercings. They're safe, clean and gentle. Karen

13-year-old wants to get her nose pierced

My daughter is 13 and wants to get her nose pierced. I'd be curious as to other parents' take on piercing in general. As parents, we have asked that she wait until she is a little older to make this decision. She has not liked this response and keeps bringing up the issue. Yes, this isn't piercing of genitals or piercing of nipples or belly button. Yet, I think 13 is a little early to make this decision. I'd like other parents' opinions.

When my daughter was 12, I let her pierce the top of her ear, which hurt quite a bit according to her. As middle school progressed she wanted more piercings. Her friends have gotten eyebrows, nose and and navel piercings. I decide I wanted her to wait until she was older to do any more piercing, 18 to be exact. She bugged me about this every so often thru middle school and I calmly stuck to my guns even though I was feeling a little prudish. Anyway my point is she is now in high school, knows my rule and hasn't brought it up in a long while. In other words they get past it and it wasn't ever a big fight. That's my opinion. -Lynn

Regarding the piercing dilemma.... earlobe and belly button and genital and many other kinds of piercing are traumatic for parents, but they are all for the most part temporary if the ring, etc. is taken out and care is taken to heal the wound. Nose piercing (and upper/top of the ear piercing) is something different: it's PERMANENT absent reconstructive surgery. You are well within your rights to prevent this at the age of 13, although there are different approaches. When our twelve year old announced that she wanted her nose pierced, we got in touch with her dance teacher who had been nose pierced. She emphasized to our daughter that nose piercings are forever, and how she now regretted it. This was far more powerful than anything we could do or say. We then left it up to our daughter..... she decided against it. K.

To the parent of 13 year old wanting to get a nose-piercing: I have no opinion about piercings in general but wanted to share an amusing (to me) story about my son who asked to pierce his ear back when that first came into fashion among boys (he was about 12 or 13 then). I told him that when he was 18 he could do anything he wanted with his body but until then I was pulling rank and protecting him from any decisions he might regret. This was actually not typical of how I usually handle things with my kids and I forgot all about this talk until the summer after his freshman year in college. He and his girlfriend were talking about someone's piercings and I asked my son why he had never pierced anything. He said, Because you wouldn't let me. I just about fell over because we had so long ago passed the point where he asks my permission or even advice on anything to do with his appearance. He also said that he is glad he never did it because he doesn't like them now. Again, I don't have a clue whether your daughter would be grateful in the long run if you disallowed her nose piercing but it continues to amaze me that my kids actually listen to me occasionally and that wisdom can be imparted. G.

Thank you, Digest and parents for the input about piercing. Just after I recieved it my 13 year old daughter surprised me with an earlobe piercing request. Thanks to all of you I din't have to do independent research, just printed all your responses and left them on her desk. Thank you all and best wishes for the future parenting dilemas. K

This is concerning the nose piercing situation. My daughter was talking about piercing and tattooing for the longest time. She finally went out and got her nose pierced. I was bothered by it, but it was certainly the lesser of evils. It seemed to satisfy her urge to be groovy. Anyway, she had it for a couple of years, it wasn't very noticeable and it finally fell out and she just let it grow back. It has left no scars. It was enough of a hassle that I think she learned quickly that she didn't want to go further down that road.

13-year-old wants to get her tongue pierced

My 13 yo daughter wants to get her tongue pierced. Any advice (for me or her!) (The idea grosses me out.) Thank you, it's lovely having this group available to ask these questions of.

Dear Parent of Wannabepierced 13 year old: Our daughter wanted to have her tongue piereced recently. We did not say no. We made a contract wherein she would do research on the subject of tongue piercing. This research had to include information obtained from conversations with her pediatrician and her dentist. Our contract also stated that my husband and I would each do our own research on the topic, including conversations with our personal physicians and dentists. We agreed to meet when we had all our information together, make reports on what we found and make a decision. This was a fabulous process. My husband and I were predisposed to be against it just because both of us felt it was totally repulsive. It was a good experience to avoid acting out of a gut feeling (believe me, many times that's all we have to go on and we do - we thought we could do this one a different way and thank goodness it worked). My husband and I even had to stop ourselves from discussing it between ourselves in order to be in compliance with our contract with our daughter. The upshot of all this is that we all found out a great deal - a great deal of negative information about tongue piercing. Because of the time involved in doing the research and the nature of the contract our daughter had a lot of time to feel that she could have her tongue pierced, there being no definite NO. We got an opportunity to develop our argument against it - or not! Our daughter decided against doing this on her own. Try it! The risk you are taking is that you'll end up deciding to let her have her nose pierced. Edith

I would strongly advise against letting your daughter get her tongue pierced. Most dentists will tell you that in addition to trauma to the tongue, that metal implements in the mouth cause cracks in the back of the teeth that can lead to teeth and bone infections, some severe enough to require that sections of the jaw need replacing (which is painful and costly surgery). My father was a physician in SF and had several patients with tongue piercings who experienced this very problem. Replacing the jaw is about $15,000+ worth of surgery along, not to mention recovery time and medications. Both Dear Abby and Ann Landers columns report similar problem incidents with tongue piercings every couple of months. I'm sure you can get a lot of material from the American Dental Association on the problems associated with tongue piercing. Tell your daughter no.

Re: tongue piercing: the American Dental Association has come out strongly against tongue piercing and indeed oral piercing of all kinds. Dentists are seeing an epidemic of injuries, including cracked teeth, from tongue studs. Your thirteen-year old's teeth are permanent and the only ones she will ever have. A cracked tooth is a serious injury - it might well have to be crowned (with porcelain if in front, which is likely) and not just once - probably the crown will have to be replaced a few times in the course of her life. In effect the person will have a prosthetic tooth (or teeth) for the rest of his or her life. I won't even go into the dangers of infection from the piercing or acquiring an allergy to metal through this insult to tissue.

Here's a statement from the ADA on oral piercing: http://www.ada.org/prac/position/piercing.html

My children have not indicated an interest in piercing, but if my minor child did, I would tell him or her that the piercing and some of its possible consequences are permanent, and people under the age of 18 are too young to take this irrevocable step - if she still wants to do it when she is an adult, she can do it with her own money and pay for any correction of injuries with her own money also.

If your child is such a one that letting her do it is the lesser of two evils (and I know it can be like that) then at least I would have her pay for everything with her own money - including treatment for injuries or infection. (Have you priced a porcelain dental crown recently?)


My wife works at the UOP School of Dentistry in S.F. and when are neighbor asked about tongue piercing my wife told her that the problem that had come up was chipped teeth! Teeth chipped by inadvertent biting on the stud. I don't remember any comments on infections - although the mouth is rife with bacteria. Also tongue pierces close extremely fast so its not a sometime thing. Pierce it and leave it in ---

To the parent who asked about tongue piercing: I am not an expert on piercing, but as a nurse practitioner in a teen clinic, I see lots of pierced body parts, including tongues, and rarely have to care for complications. Ears and navels are sometimes prone to infection. But the tongue has the best circulation of any of the usually-pierced body parts, so infections are extremely rare, and I've never seen one. People tend to ooze a little blood for the first two weeks or so, and I have heard of (but not seen) people who had to get the piercing removed because the bleeding would not stop (my sense is that this is pretty rare). I have seen pierced tongues in every gender, ethnic group, and type of student, and teens rarely complain of any problems.

What might be more of a problem is that people tend to play a lot with their piercing at first, which might cause dental problems (there are now plastic balls available, instead of just metal, which might irritate teeth less). If you are going to consult any health care practitioner before deciding whether to give your approval to this venture, I would recommend your child's dentist.

It goes without saying that your child should go to a reputable piercing shop, not only because they use new equipment with each customer, but also because they give good self-care advice and are used to dealing with minor piercing complications.

Good luck on this decision-making process. (I have an 11-year-old who is already counting the days until she can get her nose or navel pierced, and there are a lot of days left to count!)