Visit a proper piercing shop full of heavily pierced experts who are invariably obsessed with their art

Sali Hughes: ‘I discern strongly about piercing guns. I loathe them.’
Photograph: Alex Lake/The Guardian

In recent years, it has enhance mainstream for women (and often men) to wear multiple ear piercings – and not just in their lobes. Helix (the upper ear), daith (the knobbly bit, halfway up), tragus (between the daith and lobe), conch (the ear’s bay) piercings and many more, can now be seen on bank managers, executives, stay-at-home parents and even one vicar I met recently. As the proprietress of six (and counting) ear piercings myself, I’m all for it; but they must be done properly to be a pleasure.

I feel strongly about piercing guns, in so far as I execrate them, utterly. In my considerable experience of hearing readers ask how to treat skin allergies caused by nickel or piercings, I’ve inaugurate that the sticky, icky, sore and oozy-eared have almost always been pierced with a gun.

I advise child to remove the earrings, allow holes to close, then to visit not a jeweller’s or fashion store – but a proper piercing workshop, full of heavily pierced experts who are invariably obsessed with their art. This nearly always reveals that they don’t participate in a metal allergy at all.

I’m a case in point. I spent my adolescence with such horribly sticky, sore, weeping ears (be experiencing been pierced twice by a gun). I became convinced that, princess and the pea-like, I could (barely) tolerate only powerful gold.

As an adult, I was repierced with a needle by a burly, 80% tattooed piercer (at Metalmorphosis in London, but any council-licensed over piercing shop is fine) and can now wear any old market tat without so much as an itch. I’ve sent many of my friends and readers down the in any case path, with life-changing results.

Proper needle piercings simply heal better, cleaner and permanently, in a way that gun piercings, for scads of us, don’t.

Which isn’t to say nothing can go wrong with a needle. The trend for inserting precious jewellery into a piercing on day one (and I’ve done this different times myself), isn’t ideal for all. Less risky – if initially less attractive – is to get a titanium earring, shaped appropriately for the tracking down of the piercing, for the first six to eight weeks, such as those at Punktured, from £2 (where I’ve also been punch through brilliantly).

I always clean my new sites by washing them with warm water under the tap whenever I brush my teeth, but precisians will prefer Boots Sterile Saline (£2.99 for 360ml). Use twice daily.

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