In an optimal procedure, a highly-trained professional gently creates a piercing with sterile equipment and inserts quality body jewellery. The guns used to pierce earlobes and other body parts, do not meet these sterile standards.
The piercing procedure with a gun, seems cheap and quick and an easy option. There are a number of factors, to consider which make ear-piercing guns un safe.
The guns were originally invented for tagging livestock, then was adapted to human use.
The gun which pierces the skin, causes blunt force trauma to the ear with a pointy ear stud. This can be very violent for the skin, where as a sterile needle is very sharp. This causes a lot less trauma, and is very gentle for the skin.
The studs used with ear-piercing guns, only come in one length which does not help with swelling. The butterfly clip on the back, which is the most common type for these studs does not help. This can cause unnecessary pressure on the skin and can slow down the healing and increase the risk of infection.
The metals used with ear-piercing gun studs are normally inferior, these will contain nickel and will not be quality body jewellery. This will lead to a nickel reaction and longer healing time.
Another thing to consider is sterilisation! The ear-piercing guns cannot be sterilised in an autoclave due to plastics on the gun. They would simply melt under the high tempertures, so instead they are wiped over with disinfectant. This will not kill all surface microbes, which increases the risk of cross contamination. This then leads to blood contamination between clients, as micro spores of blood are still present from the previous client to be transferred to the new client.
Training for ear piercing guns, is very basic and is normally a few hours and costs very little. Some beauticians age 16 can get a qualification on this, with no experience, or knowledge of cross contamination.
When using ear-piercing guns in cartilage areas this can shatter them, (which will require A&E treatment) there is a 50% risk of this happening, the piercing will take a very long time to heal and could be painful for a long time. The guns are also prone to jamming half way through, which can result in an unpleasant experience.
Always go to a Professional body piercer, who has had training and overall. They use a needle!