Piercing Mistakes

Ouch and ouch…

Mistake number one (care of Edmonton, Alberta): getting your nostril pierced with an ear piercing gun.


Mistake number two (care of Plainfield, New Jersey): choosing a piercer with extremely bad aim to do your industrial piercing.


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About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by BMEzine.com LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by BMEzine.com LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

70 thoughts on “Piercing Mistakes

  1. Haha. I had a similar experience with another piercer in NJ: he went too shallow on the bottom and completely missed the cartilage. It was held in by the bit of skin on the edge. It looked a lot less painful than this one though!

  2. It makes me wonder if that hack showed the person the markings first…You’d think you’d double check location before you let someone shove a needle through you. And those acrylic balls on that barbell make me twitch. I can’t even imagine how much a gunned nostril would hurt, or how anyone could ever heal something like that. My own needled nostril was pissy enough during healing.

  3. A nostril piercing with an ear piercing gun? Your not even supposed to get your ear pierced with that, let alone your nose. And that industrial? Eek. Those piercers really don’t deserve to be near anyone with a needle.

  4. Woooow, these are gross and redick! I’m so thankful for well done piercings.
    Sidenote: When I first saw this, I thought that the glasses were like part of the piercing. Haha, whoops!
    (And I’m also digging the ‘stache)

  5. I remember when I was in Grade 8 (I’ll be 20 in March) that a girl got her nostril pierced for $10 at a barbershop and it was done with a gun. She ended up with a horrible keloid growing around the stud and eventually she took it out but it looked like a wart you would see on a witches nose by that point.

  6. I think it your go to a Claire’s store you’ll find that they not only pierce noses, but belly buttons too:)…I know even after I had realised the ehh-factor of piercing guns, I went because I liked the pain.

    Now,the industrial,wow. That’s why I’ve never gotten anything like that done to my ear because even though I know my piercer is good, I’m always afraid he isn’t that good.

  7. In response to number 11′s comments, a lot of crappy shops wont even go far enough to show you the marks for your piercings, to give you a chance to critique. They generally have you sit down, and do the piercing.

    From experience most of my clientel can care less were I place the mark. They just assume I know how to do my job. Which goes back to the motto “you get what you pay for”.

    As for the industrial, I have seen alot of helix industrials come in looking like that, not due to piercing through that area of the ear, but due to piercing an unsuited ear or piercing an ear which has cartilage folding outwards.. After the barbell continuesly places pressure on the cartilage it can wear down the cartilage and swell over the shaft of the barbell, then begin to heal over it.

    People need to do research before choosing an artist, even if its something as temporary as a piercing. The negative effects of an unqualified piercer can scar you for life. (Look at portfolio’s! Ask around!, If something is sketchy.. Run!)

  8. i wonder where in alberta the nostril was done. especially sad if it was done in edmonton-we’re spoiled for good shops there.

  9. I wonder why the piercee in the second set of pictures kept the industrial as it was, instead of getting it corrected elsewhere..

  10. Cosette (#19) – There’s not really much to correct with that, besides removing it and letting it heal, then repiercing it afterward.

    On top of what everyone else is saying, does nobody else notice that the barbell is real tight to the ear? That could help support Skank (#17)’s theory about the swelling.

  11. Sadly I had my nostril pierced with a gun years ago (give me a break I didn’t know better and though I thought it seemed like a bad idea I trusted the “professional”) but luckily had pretty much no problems with healing…thank you body.

  12. everyone will probably be eww
    but i got my lobes done with a
    gun done for like $15 Australian
    almost exactly a year ago, and
    now they’re fully healed and stretched
    to a lovely 11mm
    i’ve never had a problem with them
    but maybe that’s because i know how to
    treat piercings well….

  13. I am in the same boat as #21 and #22. My nose and lobes where done with guns (I now know better.)
    Bopth healed fine but I would never consider doing anything with a gun now I’ve seen these results (not that I was considering it anyways)
    And yes, gunning your nostril hurts like crazy!

    (Holy Shit Batman! That Stach!)

  14. the thing is, even though i know the risks of having piercings done with guns, many people i know have had theirs done with guns and they turned out fine. all my ear piercings were done cheap and easy at Claire’s and Ardene’s with guns and they healed easily and effortlessly. my friend had her nostril pierced by an indian woman that literally leaned over the counter with a gun, and her piercing is healthy and happy. i guess that makes us all good luck, as well as the above three commenters.

  15. I’d definitely attribute it to luck, 5am. I had, at one point, 14 gun-pierced holes in both ears, and when two went wrong, they went *badly* wrong – the infection went up the sides and back of my ears, down my neck, and into my eardrums, leaving a spider-like pattern that then pushed out the skin, turned nearly black, and became a very elaborate scab. I was on hardcore antibiotics for weeks. I’m left with some scarring and slight balance problems that I attribute to that mistake. Now I’m one of those really annoying zealots for proper piercing procedure. :-)

    As for those pics… ugh. The industrial, especially, freaks me out. Did the piercer do it with one eye closed?!

  16. imogene, that sounds like the greatest case against using piercing guns anyone could ever put down.

    as for the piercings in the pictures, definitely ask to see a portfolio, talk to some people who’ve been pierced at the specific shop and “interview” the piercer, if anything seems sketchy run away.

    also, this may be down to my sub-standard computer screen but has the jewelry in the second picture of the nose piercing been engulfed by skin or is that just the scar left after removing the jewelry?

  17. I had my nostril done with a gun too, unfortunately, but luckily, I have never had a single day’s bother with it, which I put down to being luck alone.

    The industrial makes me cringe, I couldn’t imagine how awful and bothering that must be to walk around with..

  18. I have a friend with an identical thing to the nostril one. It looks even worse as she is a relatively pale person.

    Does anyone know what would be the best thing to do to try and rectify such a disfiguration?

  19. meh. I had my nostril pierced by gun three times and nothing happenned. fourth time I had it pierced with a needle.. bled like a pig, but it is better located.

  20. Yuli(#31)…if you had your nose pierced with a gun and nothing happened…why did you have to have it done three times? Or am I misunderstanding and you actually have four nostril piercings?

  21. #23 – plenty of people that had gunned lobes that worked out fine, but it’s still leaves myuch more room for error and complications. Appreciate that it worked for you, but using this as an argument FOR getting gunned piercings, is using anmecdotal evidence along the lines of defending smoking by saying “Well, I smoked for 50 years and never got emphysema or cancer”. I don’t know if you were intending on defending gunned piercings, but that’s how I feel about it anyway. :)

  22. i had my ears pierced with a gun when i was little because my mother just didn’t know better – thought that was the only option. while i’ve never had any major, definite problems with the first piercing, i’ve already been telling my sisters that my nieces and nephews will be pierced with needles and only needles. they all think i’m nuts. why are guns still used at all? clearly, professional piercers know they are dangerous, but why are places like claire’s still allowed to use them? i just don’t get it.

  23. snailuv (#32)-
    I had it first pierced when I was in school and we wern’t allowed any piercings, the first two I lost to the school system over a few years, the third one I thought was pierced too low and so i took it out and had a new one done higher with a needle. but I didn’t have any health issues with any of them.
    I also had my ears pierced between 6-8 times with a gun and they turned out fine. I also went on to stretch my ears with no unusual complications so far. Not to say that people should do it, but it’s really not the end of the world if they do.

  24. I had my nostril done with a gun once – sheer ignorance on my part, I didn’t know there was another way to do piercings (growing up in a small town that’s too puritanical for mod mags, but with hairdressers who like to make a quick couple of quid with a gun, pre-internet – fun). Never really healed right, and I still have a small lump, thankfully on the inside of the nostril.

    Second time I got it done, I’d educated myself and had it done properly, with a needle – and have to say, that hurt a helluva lot more, but was a far better piercing.

  25. #15 where are you from? I had my left nostril done 3 diffent times with a gun from a guy at a barber shop. (I lost the piercings to various trama related injuries not related to the actual piercing being done oh and one to my mom making me remove it when I moved back in with her)

    BUT this same shop also did my eyebrow (which actually healed fine till some chick ripped it out because she decided she didnt like it very much) and one of my good frineds had him do her nipples and belly button with the gun too. (I know I know)

    Her belly button was fine but the nipples had to be switched to rings after the first day. We were young and this was 10 years ago so yah dont do what we did just spend the extra money and go somewhere good.

    please !!

  26. I also had my nose peirced with a gun because I didn’t know any better at the time. Obviously this happens quite often, since there are so many people here who had the same issue. It got infected and for about a month I would drain it and clean it every day. Amazingly enough it ended up healing ok (no lumps or anything), but the peircing had closed up so much that there was only one tiny gauge ring that would fit it. Then when I couldn’t find rings in that size I stopped wearing it. I could’ve gotten it corrected, but I think because there was such a huge amount of pain with the gun I just gave up percings all together. I still enjoy the look of them though, but I’d rather just get tattoos.

  27. my nose was done when i was 14 with an ear gun (I didnt know any better back then) and i can honestly say u havent had ANY problems with it.

    and how can ANY piercer get a scaffold / industrial wrong?



  28. Ugh. Piercing guns are bad news. I bought one and pierced my second and third holes with it, for experiments sake, and had nothing but trouble with them, even after switching for labret studs. I eventually took them out and repierced with needles and had no problems.
    That industrial just looks like the piercing closed their eyes and stabbed. Pathetic.

  29. piercing guns should be banned in my opinion…they just aren’t safe or clean. i actually hand out fliers sometimes at a local mall i go to in front of claires…hehe…fun. as soon as people read the pamphlet, most people, usually the parents just leave and say they are going to a piercer…they had no idea about the risks of piercing guns and the lack of experience of the people doing the piercings. sadly, the older “pre-teen, teen” crowd could give two shits. they just want a hole and they want it right then and there.

    eh….people will be people. its all about the money not the quality…the cheaper the piercing the more people will flock to that person to get it done…even if the piercer/ store person is a complete d0ink.

  30. the part that weirds me out is that the person with the industrial obviously switched the barbell to something fancier, believing that all was well with the piercing…ick!!

  31. Doubtful that they switched the barbell to something fancier – more likely, they gave the girl the option to have “wild” beads on the barbell from the get-go. If they are going to do piercings that whack, they are probably going to be alright with putting shite in an initial piercing.

    I’m with #17 on most everything they said. I literally BEG my clients to tell me if they want me to move the mark – because I don’t have to wear it, and it’s a lot harder to move when the jewelry is already in!

  32. maybe this person had a regular ol’ cartilage piercing and put the barbell in there after the fact then took the picture? regardless, it mustve been in there awhile though, because you can see the scarring from the stress of it

    oh, and just to add to the piercing gun stories, my brother had his tragus pierced with a gun. horrible:( he removed it after a couple of weeks because it started rejecting.

  33. people who use piercing guns should be skinned alive with a potatoe pealer and rolled in salt…or at the very least smacked around a bit…all it does is shove a dull piece of inferior jewelry into your body at a fast speed…it not a piercing-ITS A TEAR…

  34. would some sort of rejection or trama to the ear cause the barbell to move into the ear more? That barbell looks short so maybe it was pierced in the right spot but with horrible jewelery and migrated to where it would sit better with less tension on the bar???? Would that even happen in cartilage?

  35. Had the same problem with the Nostril piercing, why I had the gun who knows. Young, foolish and broke I presume. Butterfly clip was on far to tight and the ball went into the nostril, this was made worse by the swelling. Started oozing green shit too. Hardest part was taking the piercing out had to use 2 clamps…it literally took hours. It was just a relief to get the thing out…no one should ever use the gun for a piercing it should be outlawed

  36. my best friend got her nose done oversees with a gun. i nearly killed her when i found out.

  37. There is a piercing studio I started hearing about in Sandusky, OH who do EVERYTHING with guns; nostril, navel, nipple, lip. You name it. I started hearing about the place through clients and didn’t really believe what I heard at first but I keep hearing about it more and more.

    On top of doing everything with guns they also tell their clients to clean the piercing with Listerine– and not the oral piercings. I had a girl come in with a severely infected nostril who said she got it from the studio and when I asked her what the heck she was using to clean it she said they told her to use Listerine and hydrogen peroxide!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Even when I try to dumb down the knowledge I’ve obtained through the years I still can’t see how someone could hear “Use Listerine mouthwash to clean your nostril piercing,” and not immediately think that sounds wrong. But I guess I am wrong in having even a little faith in some individual’s reasoning skills.

  38. ah, i have one better than listerine – a girl at my school got her nose pierced god-knows-where and asked my roommate (who has her septum pierced) if she cleaned hers with nasal spray or vicks!!! my roommate, for the joy of conversation, asked what sort of nasal spay… to which she responded that she’s been using a DECONGESTANT. what on earth is that supposed to do – make sure the piercing can breath? she promptly sent her to the piercer we both use :)

  39. #53 maybe she misunderstood what kind of nasal spray and the piercer wasn’t specific enough. I used nasal spray to clean my septum, but it was just a salt water spray and it was a bag in can sterile type of spray. But otherwise, why the hell would you use vicks or a decongestant O_o.

    I can’t even fathom getting your nipples pierced with a gun let alone having it heal! Or your belly button! How the hell do you get the right angle?

  40. Guns do need to be banned. I did a speech about how awful they are for my English class. The horrified looks I got were more than enough to let me know I did a good job. The difference between a hole from a gun and a hole from a needle are like using a hole puncher on a piece of paper or just stabbing a pencil through to poke the hole. Hopefully we all know which one the gun can be compared to…

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  42. I used to work at a Piercing Pagoda (mall kiosk where you can get your lobes and cartilage pierced with guns). I knew better, but I needed the money. I didn’t get commission, so after awhile I just started trying to convince people that a proper needle piercing is better. Unfortunately, very few of the people I talked to were convinced: “I don’t want needles near me!” and “My ears healed up just fine” were the most common responses. There was a fantastic piercing place literally across the road from the mall, and people would refuse to go there because “I don’t want to leave the mall” and “tattoo parlors are dirty.” Working at Pagoda was awful; you could get your cartilage pierced for as little as 7$ from someone who had about an hour’s training practicing on foam ears. And part of the employee handbook consisted of (inaccurate) responses to any real piercers who might challenge us. None ever did, not that I’d have argued with them.

    People always wanted whatever was quickest and cheapest, and would often try to get me to do a nostril or a navel with the gun. I know that one girl in another branch near me did; she even attempted an industrial with a gun.

    Incidentally, there’s another mall near me that has an actual tattoo/piercing shop in it. I don’t know about any of you, but I wouldn’t let someone who can’t even get the lettering on their sign spaced evenly get near me with a needle. I call it Pagoda Plus.

  43. I got three different cartilage piercings with guns when I was in my teens. They never really healed correctly, and one of them got infected pretty badly several years down the line. I don’t know if it was because of the gun, or just my body, but they still aren’t right.

    I’m going to try an industrial soon, and I was reassured by the puercer’s response when I called to see if the shop did them.
    “We’ll see if you’re set up for it, and if your ear looks good then we’ll go ahead.” I’m glad it’s going to be done by someone who knows what they’re doing, and will be honest about whether or not the piercing will work well in my ear.

  44. …how…in the WORLD…do you miss with an industrial THAT bad? Did the “piercer” have a seizure while putting the needle through?? Why would the piercer look at what they had just done and decided “Oh that looks great.” ?! At least if you fuck up that bad don’t just put the jewelry thru and call it a day…

    I continue to be shocked by the pure stupidity of some humans… that poor girl >> I would have demanded my money back.

  45. Ew when I was younger I had gunned earlobe piercings and I STILL (after many many many years) to this day have problems with them, just yesterday I was driving in the car and my earlobe itched, so I scratched it and a black hard chunk popped out the hole accompanied by some green pus that smelled like rotten cauliflower. I didn’t even know it was in there, it didn’t even hurt.. Strangely enough though, none of my many needle piercings, some of them smaller gauge, some of them larger gauge, I never have a problem with. Coincidence? I think not.

  46. I’ve only had one piercing done by a gun, my cartilage. It got really infected and I had to take it out. When healed, there was a purple dot in its place. Even after being unsuccessfully being re-pierced (cartilage rejected it T.T) there is STILL a purple dot. Recently I got my eyebrow done with a needle (care of Fat Kats Artistry in Ocala, FL) and it didn’t even swell. I haven’t had any problems with. I would definitely suggest never getting anything done with a gun. It just sounds brutal. Its like: Here, let me shove with earing through your ear with a piece of plastic…They’re not even sanitary, not matter how much they wipe them done…Sorry…ranting…Lmao…But here is a perfect example of bad piercing placement…

  47. HEY…
    Thats me…
    hahahaha.. yeah it’s a bad job, my friend did the industrial in my kitchen after smoking a bowl and drinking a bottle of sake
    I’m thinking of taking it out

  48. I was thirteen on the brink of fourteen when I had my nostril pierced. In my defense, I DID go to a parlor.
    However, my piercer was either unexperienced, or simply ignorant of proper piercing knowledge and technique. I shall assume the latter since several friends of mine have visited her and gotten wonky vertical labrets or nipple piercings.
    She placed my piercing a little far back on my nose, and a little low… I’ve come to live with it, though, and determined that it’s actually decent placement for my face and structure. This goof turned out to be livable; what still angers me to this day is that she didn’t know what size needle she was working with!
    I know there’s no huge difference between a twenty gauge needle and an eighteen. Still yet, a piercer should know the equipment she’s using. She pierced me with a twenty gauge needle and told me it was an eighteen. I ended up visiting another shop in another state and they gave me a free courtesy stretch to the ‘standard size’ with my jewelry purchase.
    It’s just a pity that there are very few, if any, competent piercers in my area.:(

  49. I got my tragus pierced with a gun today on a whim, my friend put down a deposit for a tatoo, then decided against it. The man wouldn’t give him the money back, but he said someone could get a piercing done to the same value…
    And so I said, hey I’ll get this done. But now, realising you should never get this done with a gun, what should I do?!
    Should I take it out straight away, its one of those ones with a butterfly back?
    Or should I wait until it’s healed to remove it..? HELP

  50. It looks like maybe the eyeglass frame put pressure on the barbell, forcing it outward?

  51. Dude, her ear has pretty much perfect anatomy for an industrial piercing. How did the piercer miss? A stoned monkey could do better.

  52. I got my nose peirce by a gun, and it was perfectly fine and perfectly sanitized. You need to watch where you go and such and make sure to watch your piercer. mine was very clean and he was completely professional, got the hole in the right spot and all that. I haven’t had not one infection and my hole is beautiful. Then again, my body heals very quickly naturally and although it’s only been 3 weeks, i feel no pain and there is no ugly signs.

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