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There are two main factors that piercers consider when selecting needles. The first is functionality and second is price. Mostly there are three different kinds of piercing needles, Hollow Needle or Piercing Blade, Cannula needle and a curved needle. The fourth type that is listed here is a Dermal Punch but that is more a piercing tool than a needle. Each needle has different functionality and can be used for several different piercing types.
These are the most common type of piercing needle, also known as piercing blades, their hollow structure makes them perfect for piercing. They have a longer sharper cutting edge, that is laser cut to ensure the procedure is slightly less painfuland quicker. When using a hollow needle, piercing jewelleryof the same size of the needle will follow the needle into the piercing hole for insertion. “Piercing blades are most painless for the client but definitely need an operator that is comfortable with the follow through technique” says expert piercer Jac Wyld, “if the jewellery and or piercing blade slips during the jewellery insertion the piercer will have no option other than to repeat the procedure.”
Cannula or catheter needles are basically hollow needles that are incased in a removable plastic tube. You use them like any other piercing needles but the plastic tubing remains in the piercing hole once the needle has punctured the skin. This makes it much easier to insert the piercing jewellery. After removing the needle from the tubing, the piercer uses sterile scissors to cut away the hub section of the tubing. The piercer then inserts jewellery into the plastic tubing and pulls it through the piercing. According to Master Piercer Conrad Francis Feldman “some needles cutting edges are beveled differently, which is what gives the cutting edge strength as well as sharpness. For instanceif the length of the cutting edge is really long it takes away strength from the point of the needle. So if the incorrect directional force is applied the needle tip could bend mid procedure.” Cannula needles are Conrad’s preferred needles as they have an even balance between cutting edge and stability.
Curved needles are the less common and rarely used. As the name suggests the needle is curved in a U shape, this makes it perfect for tragus and other ear piercings as the curve prevents the needles from accidentally puncturing the other side of the ear during the procedure. Newly graduated piercers or apprentices often use curved needles while learning and adjusting to the pressure, depth and speed necessary for intricate ear piercings.
Dermal punches are tools used by Dermatologists when performing biopsies. Large guage piercings, such as zero gauge or two gauge, are performed with a dermal punch. Excessive bleeding is normal during these procedures and only experienced piercers with an educational background in anatomy should perform a dermal punch procedure.
The dreaded piercing Gun
Jac tells us “it is essentially a cattletagging gun that some clever arsethought to make slightly smaller and use for piercing humans.” The principle is using blunt force to force a piece of metal through your skin. The jewellery inside a piercing gun is blunt in comparison to a piercing needle. Therefore, a blunt object rips a hole in your skin as opposed to puncturing it. People who get pierced with a piercing gun are also more likely to suffer from infections as it is not sterilized in between procedures.
Jac adds “America, where the piercing gun was first implemented, have outlawed the use of piercing guns. That should say all you need to know about piercing guns.”
The bottom line is…
The choice of needle to use is up to personal preference, technique and comfortability. We hope this article has been educational and has helped you to decide which option is best for you.
If you are not a professional piercer, please do not attempt any piercings at home or anywhere on anyone!