I, like many of you, began my piercing journey on the wrong foot. I got my ears pierced at the age of 12 and as a bratty sixth grader, I couldn't believe my mother had the audacity to make me wait that long. Many of my friends had gotten their ears pierced in elementary school and some even had their second or third holes done at this point. So, when my birthday rolled around, I went to the mall with all my snotty friends and where did I get my piercings done? Yep, it was a Claire's. At the time, neither I nor my mother knew any better and for whatever reason, getting pierced with a gun seemed less scary. In hindsight, I'm glad that nothing terrible happened and once I learned a bit more about piercings, you wouldn't catch me getting them done in a mall.
Like your tattoo artist, you want your piercer to be qualified and equipped with the proper tools. The employees at Claire's aren't trained piercers and there are countless stories of things going awry when a piercing gun is involved. No matter your piercing, you always want to get pierced with a fresh needle and other tools involved need to be properly sterilized. The piercer should take the time to make sure your earrings are aligned properly and gently guide the needle through to prevent tissue trauma.
Despite my wishes, people still continue to visit places like Claire's, Icing and Piercing Pagoda. But, perhaps I'm not the best one to make the change—after all, no one listens to me. We need a real influencer, someone with millions of followers to show people why getting a piercing at a mall can end in disaster. And luckily, 16-year-old TikToker Sissy Sheridan has shown her massive following what can happen when things take a turn for the worst.
Sheridan is a TikTok influencer who's accumulated 2.9 million followers on TikTok and nearly half a million on Instagram. She also hosts a web show on Nickelodeon called "DIY with Me." Two days ago, she took to TikTok, in tears, to show her fans what happened after getting a piercing at an Icing (which is owned by Claire's). In the video Sheridan shows her followers her new piercing, however, her mask is attached to her ear as well.
According to an interview she gave to Buzzfeed News, Sheridan had threads from the mask lodged inside her ear even after the attached piece was cut off. Sheridan believes this is because the piercing gun attaches the earring to ear very tightly, making it unable to be removed. She's currently waiting a few more days for the swelling to subside, then will have the earring taken out to remove the remaining mask fabric. She's also requested the store give her a refund for the piercing, which cost $73, however Icing won't issue it until the earring is returned to the store.
"It’s difficult to speak poorly on a company whose service most of us have used at some point in life, but then again... maybe it’s not that difficult," shares Johnny Pearce of Nine Moons Piercing. "Everyone has a Claire's story, not all of them having happy endings, some even downright horrific. Like the case of the young lady whose mask loop was pierced to her ear this month. It’s a major oversight and a scenario that speaks volumes, as it would’ve been completely avoided should the young lady had been at a real professional piercing establishment."
"Since we perform vigorous amounts of skin prep prior to piercing, and maintain a sterile field post-prep, the mask loop would by default not been touching the area that was receiving the piercing."
"Now this is all truth, but I also don’t want to be too hard on the kid working at Claire’s, this person is not to shoulder all the blame. After all, they are literally just that: an untrained, under educated kid. One who’s job requires them to watch a brief training video and witness just one done in person before setting them free to unknowingly inflict harm on small children and teens alike. The companies like these who offer ‘piercing gun piercings’ to the public can be downright dangerous for more reasons than just piercing a mask to your ear"
"The reason professional piercers have extensive training, (often exceeding one or two years before even being allowed to handle a piercing needle) is because there is a vast amount of knowledge and understanding that’s required to perform the job safely for both themselves and their client. And the learning doesn’t stop there. We attend the Association of Professional Piercers educational conference and other professional meet-ups each year to continue to be up to date on the best techniques and safety protocols."
"The real truth about piercing guns is that they can’t be sterilized in a steam autoclave, which means it’s never going to be safe for use after it’s been used once. Therefore, each piercing gun would have to be brand new for each client. I can’t speak for their store policy, but I know on more than one occasion I’ve witnessed a mall Claire’s use the same gun on multiple people. This employee also didn’t bother to change their gloves at any point during or between both peoples piercings. They did somehow, think it appropriate to use hand sanitizer on the gloves that they didn’t bother to change."
While Sheridan faults the mask for the mishap, we can't help but think that these kind of shenanigans wouldn't occur at a proper piercing parlor. What do you think should be done? Do you have a piercing horror story of your own? Let us know your story in the comments section on social media.