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How is piercing performed?

Piercing involves using a sharp object to make a hole in the skin. A piece of jewelry is then inserted into the hole. Piercing is most commonly done on the ears, but it can also be done on the tongue, lip, and other body parts. Piercing can be done for artistic expression, beauty, or spiritual reasons. Piercings that are on body parts other than the ears are called body piercing.

For baby ear piercing, it’s best to wait until after 4 months of age to make sure your baby’s ear lobes are developed and she has received her first two tetanus vaccines. Although I do pierce many baby ears, I personally prefer to wait until a girl is old enough to want her ears pierced and to care for her ear lobes and earrings on her own. Toddlers or preschoolers can be tricky, because they often won’t sit still. I prefer not to hold down a child for a solely cosmetic procedure. I’ve also had a few kindergartners who, after one side, refuse to get the other side pierced.

Nobody has perfectly symmetrical earlobes, so when placing dots, I take accurate measurements, but also look to make sure the holes are visually symmetric or look good. I tell parents that I can hit the dot exactly, so I want them to make sure they like the position of the dots before we go ahead and pierce.

Look for piercing studs without nickel; in fact, without any metal may be preferred, especially if there is a history of irritation or infection with piercings or previous piercings in same spot. I prefer to use medical grade plastic -- yep, plastic and no metal at all in earrings. This decreases the risk of irritation and infection later on in life. Titanium or nickel free stainless steel is also fine. All equipment should be sterile and everything that touches a patient is disposable. I use a piercing gun preloaded with a piercing stud cartridge and pierce one side at a time.

Continue Learning about Body Piercing

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.