Like a lot of people I know when it came time for us to get our ear pierced, our parents took us to the mall where a young employee came at your lobes with a piercing gun and sent you one your way.

My parents took me to Spencer's in the Machesney Park Mall right before I started kindergarten to get mine done.

But like most things, piercings have evolved and we've learned that these piercing guns aren't all they're cracked up to be. In fact, they're not all that safe.

A growing number of parents are now taking their kids to the professionals at tattoo and piercing parlors.

I recently made the same decision.

After seeing a couple of articles online from other parents who took their kids to a shop instead of the mall, I started looking further into it.

I found out that those piercing guns aren't as clean as we're made to believe.

They are puncturing the skin by using blunt force, which in some cases can cause excess scar tissue along with leading to infection.

One article I read quoted Association of Professional Piercers (APP) as saying the effects of using a piercing gun are "more like a crush injury than a piercing".

Not to mention they're not sterile and the people who are operating them lack the proper training and certification to be using them.

I knew that I wanted my girls to have their ears pierced by a professional in a shop as opposed to a kiosk. But I also wanted them to make the decision for themselves when it came to piercing their ears and the day finally came for my oldest when she said she wanted to start wearing earrings.

Having tattoos and piercings myself I wanted to make sure I found the right person and shop to take my daughter. Because let's face it, sometimes from the outside, these places aren't exactly "kid-friendly".

But that's not entirely true either anymore, as there are a growing number of professionals urging parents to take their kids to get pierced from them instead of the mall.

That's because of the certification process that piercers and tattoo artists have to go through before they can become licensed to pierce.

Also, in the states of Illinois and Wisconsin, there are no laws against a minor getting their ears pierced, as long as a parent is present and signs a waiver.

You need to be 18-years-old to walk into a shop and get something pierced without parental consent, but a baby could also get their ears pierced if a parent were to bring them in.

I was told all of this by the professional that I chose to pierce my eight-year-olds ears. Her name is Julianna and she is a tattoo artist and body piercer at House of Lexx Tattoo in Beloit.

I chose her for multiple reasons. I went to school and was friends with both her parents. Yes, I realize that makes me sound "old" but whatever, but because of that and Facebook I was able to see her work progress as she worked through her apprenticeship.

She's an incredible artist and she has tattooed some really cool pieces. I really like how she does her flowers and as soon as I save that extra scratch I'm heading your way, Julianna.

One day I happened to see she was also a body piercer, so I messaged her and made an appointment.

The shop was clean and not at all "scary looking" for a kid walking in a little nervous about what was about to happen. Julianna was really cool with my kid!

Julianna totally made her feel right at ease, showed her everything she was going to use for her piercing and answered any question she had.

Steph Rockford TSM

If you're thinking about getting your kid's ears pierced I highly recommend going to see Julianna at House of Lexx. Or maybe if you're looking to get new ink too.

Steph TSM Rockford

We experienced no issues with the healing process either. She had maybe a little discomfort sleeping that first night with them and that was really about it.

About 4 weeks after having them done she was able to switch out with other earrings of mine she'd been dying to borrow because they are her favorite color.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out and ask me or Julianna. She was very helpful and gave me a lot of useful information about the difference between coming to see a professional like herself versus going to the kiosk.


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