My first non-ear piercing was in my left nostril. Apprehensive of actual piercing parlors, I got it done with a gun at an Indian beauty parlor where the aftercare instructions mimicked the sort doled out by most mall employees post ear-piercing. What a mistake that was. My piercing got infected several times, took forever to heal, and discolored the skin around my nose stud. Thankfully, I knew better by the time I got my next piercings. Thanks to my go-to spot, Barbella Studios, I’ve had nine gun- and infection-free piercings and learned exactly what had gone wrong before.
Guns are the safest and cleanest way by which to get pierced.
Guns are actually the worst: they hurt more than needles because they use pressure and force rather than sharpness to make their way through the skin and flesh, they can cause weird staining and damage to body tissues, the jewelry used with them is subpar in several ways, and as the entire gun cannot be properly sterilized, gun piercings are more prone to infection.
Standard first-aid practices like cleaning with rubbing alcohol, applying anti-bacterial ointment, and covering up the area with a bandage are good for piercings.
When my gun-made nose piercing got infected, a school nurse gravely informed me that if I didn’t use Neosporin on it, the infection would go up straight into my brain and I’d have to go to the hospital. I followed her advice — and dealt with infections on and off for about a year following my piercing. I later was to find that most of the standard aftercare advice given by mall kiosks and beauty parlors is wrong. Professional piercers’ advice is more along the lines of “let it heal.”
Spacing out your piercings is the best choice.
This really depends on what piercings you’re getting and how sure you are about your future piercing plans. If you’re going to get multiple piercings in one ear, for example, getting them all done at once means a shorter period of time in which you’re limited to sleeping on one side of your body. Similarly, nipple piercings often make wearing a bra painfully difficult or even impossible; getting one before the other just means having to go without a bra for two separate spans of time instead of one.
With most piercings, however, spacing them out is a good idea financially as well as psychologically. After my first piercings, all I wanted was more. Not getting them all at once meant that I could get pierced every once in a while over the course of years without ending up looking completely unemployable in most industries.