Gun versus needle ear piercing experience - everything you need to know! | Naomi D'Souza (2024)

I have 8 piercings – 3 on one ear, and 5 on the other. Off late I’ve been receiving questions about piercings, and as usual, I’m creating an article about it haha 🠤-

Just so we’re all on the same page, below are the types of ear piercings (since body piercings are quite self-explanatory, from eyebrows, dermal, nipple, belly button, etc. Genitalia piercings are a whole other subject, that won’t be covered here, but the concept is kinda the same). Check some unique jewelry pieces on Moon Magic site.

Gun versus needle ear piercing experience - everything you need to know! | Naomi D'Souza (1)

My Story

I got 6 of my piercings with a gun in a random small corner shop, in India (I don’t know what I was thinking…) and the other 2 were from Maria Tash, with a needle. On each ear, I have a lobe, upper lobe, and cartilage piercing (the one at the top), all done via a gun 😠¶ The 2 additional piercings on my right ear are double helix’s which I got done by a needle. Now because I’ve had experiences at a random stall and a luxury one, plus, have been through the trauma of a gun and needle piercing, I feel I have enough to share 😜

Healing time: Cartilage 10 months, lobes 2-3 weeks, helix’s 7 months. What I want next? Maybe a tragus!

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Your Pain Guide

You first need to know how much each area would hurt. The more it hurts, the slower the healing, the lesser it hurts, the faster it will heal (i.e. the boney areas always hurt the most thus it takes more time to heal, if it’s just skin, it’s just like an ordinary wound that heals effortlessly) 👂

This intensity of hurt can also depend on the type of procedure you choose as well as on the person carrying out this task. When considering the options for getting piercing done, a mall ear piercing might seem to be lucrative and easily available option, but it tends to have higher risk of infection. To be safe and remain infection free, it is always better to reach out to a trained and experienced professional in this field.

Gun versus needle ear piercing experience - everything you need to know! | Naomi D'Souza (2)

Gun versus needle ear piercing experience - everything you need to know! | Naomi D'Souza (3)

The Difference between a Gun and a Needle piercing

“While earrings are technically tapered and sharp in appearance, they are not as sharp as the needles used by a professional piercer,” says Dr. Tzu. “The difference is that a gun forcefully rams the earring posts through the earlobe, while a professional piercer may be more deliberate in creating the puncture, so there’s a difference in the degree of trauma sustained by the surrounding tissue.”

Piercing GunPiercing Needle
PriceGuns are far cheaper since the tools are far more convenient to attain. Which leads to them being available at most stores. In terms of training, the staff are mostly just trained for 2 hours or so and are ready to goNeedle piercers are far more experienced, thus, you will find very few places that actually use needles to pierce. That being said they’re more than double the price of gun piercings.
SoundGuns are LOUD. Post the shot, you actually feel the vibration on your ear and takes some time to subside (depending on the area). They can also disturb your eardrum and cause headaches post piercingNo sound. Just the needle being pierced through your skin by an experienced specialist
Procedure TimeA few secondsAt least 4 minutes depending on the area
AccuracyDue to guns being quick, the accuracy can be poor. The angle at which the earring goes can also not really be determined. After you know where you want the piercing, the guy puts a dot, and then bam. Nothing else. You will only know in a few years how important angles are, especially on the cartilage ear, you may want it straight, but it’s slanted.It cannot be more accurate. You not only choose the spot of the earring, the practitioner can also put the earring at that exact spot and the angle you require. The ear is thick, so the angle has to be STRAIGHT, if it isn’t, whenever you sleep or tie your hair, you will feel it (speaking from experience)
HygienePiercing guns can not be sterilized because they are made of plastic. The plastic would melt in an autoclave, which is what we used to sterilize instruments like needles, jewelry, and any tools we might use during the piercing. Even if a piercing gun is wiped off with an antiseptic wipe, there’s still a risk of spreading diseases (think hepatitis and staph infections) after multiple uses.The needles are one-use-only, so you don’t have a risk of someone else’s bodily fluids on your needle. Piercing instruments can be easily and properly cleaned in an autoclave that uses high pressured steam to thoroughly sterilize the entire instrument.
During Procedure PainDuring the procedure, I felt no pain with a gun because the deed was barely a few seconds. They didn’t even have to insert the earring separately as the gunshot is with the earrings. I did not bleed.Pain was excruciating as my cartilage (where I got my helix) was super hard. Many people’s cartilages are skin-like, or thin, but mine’s thick af! The needle going through my skin, being pulled out, then the insertion of the earring was dreadful, and I bled a lot.
Post Procedure PainThe pain post piercing was a lot but I personally felt the pain after the gun was more as there was a lot of trauma in my tissues due to the speed of the shot, and blood clot. The pain remained consistently after the piercing.The pain post piercing was a lot and it kept coming at intervals. I was numb in the first hour, the second hour I felt it more, around the fourth hour I started getting headaches. But the pain subsided significantly in comparison to a gun, it would only hurt a lot if your hair or anything else gets stuck on it
HealingI never got 1 area pierced twice with a gun and needle, so I can’t tell what heels faster, but from research, it’s definitely needle. Additionally, if you have long hair, try tying your hair often. In general, keep the area dry and clean (more on this in the aftercare section).
Body PiercingIf you’re comfortable with a gun piercing you could do it, but it’s most suited for ears only.If you want to get a piercing on any part of the body, it needs precision, so stick to needle!

Here’s a crude yet informative visual demonstration of the difference between piercing with jewelry versus a needle (start from 2:40)

Piercing guns use blunt studs that have butterfly backs. These can easily harbor bacteria and gunk, which can infect a new piercing. The studs are sometimes made of a low-grade material which causes an allergic reaction, scarring, and infection 😠° The gun pinches the back of the jewelry snugly into place, which doesn’t allow any room for the piercing to breathe and heal properly. Because the butterfly backing is going to be put on way too tight, you will experience increased swelling (it will swell naturally as part of the healing process, but it will swell worse if it doesn’t have room to swell) 😠³

However, with a needle, there is less pain when piercing needles are used. The needle is hollow and extremely sharp so that it slices through the skin, which pushes the tissues aside to make room for the jewelry. Even though it sounds rough, it’s a really quick process ðŸ‘

The Healing & Aftercare

The aftercare is same, if you had your piercing via a gun or a needle! If this step is not done well, you will defo get infected and the healing time may exceed a year 😠£

Gun versus needle ear piercing experience - everything you need to know! | Naomi D'Souza (4)

  • Don’t play with the piercing, especially when your hands are dirty. Ensure your phone is clean too 🔠±
  • Use a saline solution to clean the piercing (DIY: 1 teaspoon sea salt per 6 ounces of water). I bought a huge bottle from Life Pharmacy for less than AED10!
  • Clean the piercing twice a day for the first few weeks, and then once a day until fully healed with a soaked cotton swab and use a Q-tip dipped in either solution to wipe away any lymph.
  • When you have an infected piercing, your first thought might be to take your jewelry out. While that might seem like the best thing to do, it’s actually the worst. If your piercing is actually infected, and you remove the jewelry, the bacteria and pus can get locked inside if the hole closes up. DO NOT USE Hydrogen Peroxide, ointments, and rubbing alcohol.
  • If you prematurely take your earrings out for whatever reason, you may damage the hole more by trying to insert it after when it’s about to close because it’s not healed yet. Leave your earrings in as often as you can for roughly a year before going extended periods without them 👌
  • Do not pick off any lymph or crusties; they will come off during cleaning.
  • Beware of keloid (if you don’t know what it is, please Google ear keloid). You may not have gotten it on your lobe, but it is possible to get it on other areas of your ear, I’ve had friends who are suffering. If you have it, you can get it removed by laser. It goes right after for most, but for the minority, it could grow back. Keloids often run in families and are more common in people of African, Asian or Hispanic descent. Keloids are also more common in people between the ages of 10 and 20, according to the National Institutes of Health 😠® While these particular skin growths may become itchy and are sometimes painful and tender, they are generally not a risk to your health.
  • If you’re a hijabi, the healing may be slower as you’re compressing your ear the whole time and not letting it heal naturally via air or enabling it to be ‘dry’ (cuz of the moisture). Just be cautious!


  • DONT WEAR a higher grade of GOLD. Although 24k pure gold is often praised because it is the highest grade of gold, it should be avoided for piercings because it is very soft, making germ-trapping nicks more likely. As a result, it will be easily damaged, not lasting in the long run. Jewelers suggest wearing 14K yellow gold earrings consistently throughout the first year because yellow gold is purer than most metals. An added benefit of preferring pure gold jewelry is that it is also an investment whose price would eventually increase. As you can easily swap your silver & gold coins for cash, so can you these pieces of jewelry, provided they are as pure. The jewelers recommend not using white gold because it may be mixed with nickel as well, which could possibly lead to infection depending on your skin sensitivity. All other solid gold incorporates other metals in the form of alloys to make gold more durable and affordable. Ten karat gold is less pure and contains more alloys. The lower the karat designation, the more “other” metals are in the mix, often nickel, palladium, or copper – which can cause a reaction in an unhealed piercing 😠°

So when someone tries selling you a 24k gold earrings right after your piercing, you know that person doesn’t know SH#!

  • Avoid sterling silver, costume jewelry, gold plated, alloys that contain nickel, wood, or other absorbent jewelry. The SAFE metals are Surgical Stainless Steel (SSS), titanium, tygon, 14k gold, niobium
  • Most of you even asked me why have I worn studs on my double helix when I could’ve worn hoops, reason being, the studs stick are thick, so while the hole is healing, I want to heal it ‘big’ vs small. So in the future, if I want to wear a thin hoop or a thick stud, I can wear both ðŸ˜
  • If you’re buying your earrings from online, get the right mm, you’ll be surprised how tiny your helix is! Mine is like 4-5mm!

Gun versus needle ear piercing experience - everything you need to know! | Naomi D'Souza (5)

Places in Dubai and Cost

There are several places in Bur Dubai that do gun piercings but I don’t really trust them. The 2 I do trust are below,

1. Maria Tash at The Dubai Mall (Needle Piercing)

Needless to say, this was going to be on the list. They have been in the industry for YEARS now and have even pierced celebrities’ ears like Miley Cyrus, Gwyneth Paltrow, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, and so many more. The downside, they’re SUPER expensive!! 😟 If you need to get a piercing from them, you need to buy a piece of jewelry from their store. Just a simple tiny dome-shaped earring cost me AED450+ PER PIECE and the piercing alone was AED140 each, that’s hella expensive. Do you see the tiny dots on my ear below? Those were the 14k gold earrings.

My sister, Jade, and I did double helix’s together – Our bill was over AED2500+ just for 4 piercings… yes 💠¸ðŸ˜ ¨

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2. Kyra at Gold & Diamond Park (Needle and Gun Piercing)

For a cheaper alternative people go to Kyra (in hindsight I should have, too 😟). They have a decent selection of earrings and are experienced as well. Fashion and lifestyle blogger, Sadaf Khan got her tragus piercing done from here via gunshot. “They numbed it with some wipes and in a jiffy, it was over. I didn’t even feel anything and there was no pain after the numbness was gone either. Sleeping also wasn’t a problem. I was worried it would be painful, but no pain at all!”. It only cost her the price of the earring (AED350), so technically the piercing was free.

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Fashion blogger, Niggi Phulwani, also got her tragus piercing from Kyra, but she opted for the needle instead. They put some numbing cream, but she did experience a bit of pain. However, it was all gone in 2 days. Her piercing cost her AED180 + the cost of the earring 😠®

Do you have any more advice or clarity? Let me know below.

Gun versus needle ear piercing experience - everything you need to know! | Naomi D'Souza (6)

Greetings, piercing enthusiasts! I'm an avid piercing enthusiast with a wealth of firsthand experience and in-depth knowledge on the subject. I've undergone the process of getting eight piercings, three on one ear and five on the other. My piercings range from lobes and upper lobes to cartilage and double helixes. The intriguing part of my journey is that I've had piercings done in both a random small corner shop in India using a piercing gun and at the renowned Maria Tash studio with a needle.

Let's delve into the key concepts mentioned in the article to provide a comprehensive understanding of ear piercings:

Types of Ear Piercings

  • Lobe Piercing
  • Upper Lobe Piercing
  • Cartilage Piercing
  • Double Helix Piercing

Healing Time

  • Cartilage: 10 months
  • Lobes: 2-3 weeks
  • Helix's: 7 months

Pain Guide

  • The intensity of pain affects healing time.
  • Boney areas hurt more and take longer to heal.

Piercing Methods

Piercing Gun

  • Quick but can be inaccurate.
  • Loud and can cause vibration and headaches.
  • Hygiene concerns as guns can't be sterilized.

Piercing Needle

  • More accurate and less painful.
  • Sterilizable and hygienic.
  • Longer procedure time but less post-procedure pain.


  • Cleaning is crucial for avoiding infection.
  • Use a saline solution for cleaning.
  • Do not play with the piercing.
  • Avoid hydrogen peroxide, ointments, and rubbing alcohol.

Types of Earrings

  • Avoid higher-grade gold (24k) for piercings.
  • Safe metals include Surgical Stainless Steel, titanium, tygon, 14k gold, and niobium.

Places in Dubai and Cost

Maria Tash at The Dubai Mall

  • Needle piercing.
  • Expensive, but reputable with celebrity clients.

Kyra at Gold & Diamond Park

  • Offers both needle and gun piercing.
  • More affordable alternative with experienced staff.

This comprehensive overview should equip you with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions about ear piercings, from the type of piercing to the method used and aftercare practices. Remember, informed choices lead to a safer and more enjoyable piercing experience! If you have any more questions or need further clarity, feel free to ask below.

Gun versus needle ear piercing experience - everything you need to know! | Naomi D'Souza (2024)


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