Author Archives: Courtney L Rodrigues

Trichotillomania

Every day I call my mom and we talk about how our lives are going. Today, I angered my mother when I told her I DESPERATELY needed her help with an idea to write about for my last and final science blog. “Courtney, I don’t know! I’m not good at science!” “But mom, you don’t understand, this is a different kind of science! Like, fun science! (@Andrew)” “Ugh! That doesn’t even make sense, honey! Really. You make me want to pull my hair out!” Ding ding. A light immediately went off my in my head. “Hair pulling,” I thought. “Is that really a thing?”

Yes. Hair pulling is actually a real issue. After research, I’ve found that there actually is a disease that is characterized by an individual pulling out their own hair follicles. Trichotillomania, as it is named, is related to OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and ” is a disorder that causes people to pull out the hair from their scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows, pubic area, underarms, beard, chest, legs or other parts of the body, resulting in noticeable bald patches,” states trich.org. Evolving mostly from stress, this disease seems like it is only detrimental to one’s physical appearance. However, I questioned, is it harmful to the body? The answer? 100%. “When hair is pulled from the same place, it not only damages the hair follicle (causing stunted or abnormal regrowth) but also the skin. Damage in the form of irritation, inflammation, and even infection to the skin are common symptoms of trichotillomania to watch out for,” according to TrichStop. Repeated and long term pulling can also lead to permanent hair loss in that certain area. The causes of hair pulling and hair pulling itself can often be interchangeable. As explained by TrichStop, individuals who pull their hair may do so because of anxiety or stress. However, some may develop anxiety after pulling their hair out because of the constant worry that someone may notice their re-occuring bald spot.  Trichotillomania has also been sited to cause depression.

Though only 1% of Americans will experience this illness, it is prominent in young adults who are about to face the many stresses of hormone increase and body changes. “A 2007 article in the American Journal of psychiatry reports that females tend to outnumber males by 3 to 1 among adults, with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) citing an overall female predominance of 10-1.” TrichStop again reports that 60% of people who suffer from trichotillomania also suffered from “another current psychiatric disorder.”

This disorder, sometimes, does not stop at pulling. Trichophagia occurs when patients pull their hair out and then eat it. This portion of the illness is said to stem from a chemical imbalance in the brain. With trichophagia, hairballs in the digestive tract often occur due to the human bodies’ inability to digest hair follicles. Trichobezoars, as they are referred to, can clog the intestines and become deadly if not removed. Healthyplace.com reported that 5-20% of trichotillomania patients suffer from trichophagia.

So, yes, to be so stressed to pull one’s hair out is a real thing and it has also proved to be VERY unsafe.

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sources: Livelinks

WebMD

TrichStop

Trich.org

Save the Soles

It is currently a beautiful Friday morning, but to some, this “Thursday night” is still young. As I wait for roomie’s return from her night out, I think about all of the questions she asked me before departing for Fratland. “Is it too hot out for pants?” “Should I curl or straighten my hair?” “OMG I completely forgot to paint my toes, booties it is!” Oh, the tradgedy. Of course those unpainted dead skin cells certainly cause for a shoe switch. She went from her flat, bejeweled sandals to 6 inch velvet heels. “My feet are going to hurt so bad in the morning,” stated roomie. Her comment made me ponder. Why exactly do heels hurt SO bad and are they really THAT dangerous to our feet?

According to the American Osteopathic Association, heels are detrimental to women’s health. Apparently, up to one third of women who wear heels an average of 3x a week have been recorded to have permanent foot issues.

According to Dr. Nevins, “When you wear high heels – shoes with a heel two inches or higher – your foot slides forward in your shoe, forcing the toes into the unnatural shape of the shoe and redistributing your weight incorrectly. The increased weight on your toes causes your body to tilt forward, and to compensate, you lean backwards and overarch your back, creating a posture that can strain your knees, hips, and lower back. “The change to the position of your spine puts pressure on nerves in the back and can cause sciatica, a condition where nerves become trapped, triggering pain and numbness as far down as the feet,” Dr. Nevins adds.

Ok. So, there is SOME evidence to prove that heels to cause pain, but is it enough to convince Penn State girls to not wear them every night from Thursday-Saturday? Negative, but, maybe more facts will.

TIME Magazine has taken action in this very, important issue, stating that a 2014 survey done by the American Podiatric Medical Association-aka very smart/awesome/talented foot/leg experts-revealed that heels are indeed the instigators of most foot pain experience by females. The main reasoning is the over-stretching of the feet’s (?) plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is the tissue that composes the bottom of our feet. It connects to our toes and achilles tendon, which connects to our calf muscle. Because heels force our feet into a diagonal platform, the plantar fascia is stretched into a motion that is unlike the flat surface it is used to. This constant strain that is experience by many college girls 3x a week for 3 hours while frolicking College Ave. is seriously TERRIBLE for the tootsies (yes, tootsies. Grandma’s vocab has successfully made it onto my science blog). This position of the foot then leads to calf issues because of the strain on the achilles tendon. When we struggle to walk in heels, our bodies become off balance. We place most of the pressure on the front of our feet, thus causing extra pressure on our toes. We also stretch our bodies forward in order to maintain balance, thus straining the entire back of our legs.

Thanks to Women’sHealth, I’ve now got more info to save our soles (It’s late, I’m tired, tacky, I know, just go with it). ” To keep from keeling over in stacked shoes, you have to thrust your hips forward, arch your back, and push out your chest. That familiar sexy stance works the outer hip muscles and tendons hard (and not in a good way),” states their article.

So, roomie, if you’re out there, I’ll have a bucket of ice and some flats waiting for you when you get home!

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sources: Livelinks

Women’sHealth

WebMD

Tanning to cure depression: Is it really worth it?

Ah, October. What a beautiful month to enjoy the changing of the leaves and your own pigmentation! Pigmentation? Yes, pigmentation! As you all know, as August comes to a close, so do our days at the beach basking in the sun. As autumn rolls around, our crisp, bronze outer layer converts to a ghostly white.

Depression runs rampid during the winter months. According to CNN, about 15% of the U.S. population experiences Seasonal Affective Disorder during the winter months. This disease can be caused by a lack of natural sunlight, which is said to increase Vitamin D which promotes serotonin levels. What is serotonin, you ask? As defined by Medical News Today, serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is “responsible for maintaining mood balance.” It is known to calm anxieties and increase happiness within the human mind.

HealthGuidance released information regarding individuals who used tanning beds and also suffered from SAD. This prescription is known as light therapy. “UV rays exposure favors vitamin D synthesis in the skin. That is why persons who go to tanning salons have noticed mood improvement and keep the habit in order to maintain the state of well-being,” stated the article.

It was no surprise, however, that HG was not able to supply statistical evidence. The main reasoning behind this is because people believe the “bad” parts of UV ray exposure outweigh the “good” benefits.

The National Skin Care Foundation provided a wealth of information and clarified why UV exposure is definitely not the answer to curing SAD. “Using indoor UV tanning beds to alleviate SAD has been linked with tanning addiction and seriously increases skin cancer risk,” said Perry Robins, MD, President of The Skin Cancer Foundation. “There are ways to ward off symptoms of SAD without compromising your health, such as receiving light therapy from a visible light box and adjusting aspects of your lifestyle, including your sleeping pattern, diet and physical activity,” (skincancer.org). This article also explained that tanning can become highly addictive and just one trip to the salon can increase skin cancer probability to 20%.

After much research, I discovered that tanning beds are often misconceived as a legitimate cure for low serotonin levels. In reality, most doctors recommend a form of visible light, as previously stated because the risk of UV ray exposure is just too dangerous. Light therapy, as described by Andrew Weil M.D.,  works in 80% of patients. The light enters through the eyes, which UV rays cannot do, unless you are willing to put your eyesight at GREAT risk.

The CDC offers alternative and easy habit changes to deal with Seasonal Affective Disorder. Getting up earlier in the morning and taking a simple stroll outside will allow your body to be exposed to natural light. Relaxation and enough sleep are also key factors.

Overall, SAD can be cured without the risk of tanning beds. So next time you reach for your tanning lotion to fix your health, remember its not all “sunshine” and rainbows.

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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24224577

livelinks

 

 

Pneumonia

Having fallen victim to pneumonia just last week, I decided to take a more in depth look into the illness. After just a couple minutes of research, I was surprised to find that there is a vaccine to help prevent the sickness. I immediately called my mom and asked why I had not received the pneumonia shot, especially when I receive a flu shot every year. To my surprise, she explained that I had gotten the pneumonia vaccine when I was four. Of course, now I am inspired, as a  well informed SC200 student, to look into whether the pneumonia vaccine is legitimate, and why it may not have prevented me from acquiring the infection.

For those of you who are not familiar with the illness, pneumonia is basically a respiratory infection that “that inflames air sacs in one or both lungs, which may fill with fluid,” according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. The NHLBI explains that signals of pneumonia include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath and chest pains. Pneumonia is often treated with antibiotics and steroids. The “out of breath” feeling caused by this illness can last for weeks, and even months.

The CDC, or the Center for Disease Control explains that there are two types of pneumococcal vaccines. “PCV13 or Prevnar 13 is recommended for all children younger than 5 years old, all adults 65 years or older, and people 6 years or older with certain risk factors. PPSV23 or Pneumovax is recommended for all adults who are 65 years or older and for people 2 through 64 years old who are at high risk for pneumococcal disease,” states the immunization report. The CDC claims that the immunization is effective, however, a study done by Genocea Biosciences has found an alternative hypothesis.

According to Reuters.com and Yahoo News, “Drug developer Genocea Biosciences Inc said it was suspending the development of a vaccine for pneumonia-causing bacteria after it failed to significantly reduce infection in a mid-stage study.”

The vaccine, known as GEN-004 was used in a “randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study that involved 98 healthy adults, all of whom received three doses of GEN-004 or placebo at four-week intervals. They were then inoculated intranasally” (in simpler terms injected through the nose) “with pneumococcus serotype 6B bacteria. Although the vaccine outperformed placebo in reducing the colonization rate of the bacteria, it failed to do so in a statistically significant way,” stated FierceVaccines. The company is looking in the future to change dosage amount and the amount of people involved in the trial to hopefully come across better results.

From here, I decided to look at some statistics based on individuals who received a pneumococcal vaccination and whether or not they had ever contracted the illness. Through the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, I discovered that the immunization only protects against 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria.

Though people have found success with the vaccine, especially in their older age, there is still an obvious glitch. The vaccine is clearly not 100% effective and is still being tested. Overall, I am now more informed of the sickness and will follow more results as they become available.

 

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Sources: Liveliness within article

http://www.adultvaccination.org/vpd/pneumococcal/expert-qa

WHO – World Health Organization

National Foundation for Infectious Diseases

 

 

Left vs Right

After watching my beloved Mets completely destroy the Cubs, I began to think. Does whether a player is left handed or right handed affect how successful they are?

According to Newsweek, this debate has brought up great controversy, and after spending seven weeks in SC200, I have learned that nothing sparks science quite like controversy does. Of course, this question contains much bias, with right handed players believing they have the upper hand (no pun intended) versus left handers. “Although only one in 10 civilians are left-handed, one quarter of Major League Baseball players are southpaws,” stated Newsweek. Simple math allowed me to figure out that 75% of MLB stars are right handed, granting them the vast majority. So, why, does this 2008 Newsweek study conclude that the underdogs, or those who play baseball with their left hand (dominant), are often more successful during the game?

Natural science has already determined in this experiment that the right hand is the more preferred hand of MLB players (repetitive, I know, but there’s a point.) This fact applies to both pitching and catching, thus, when most players are at bat, it is a 75% chance that they receive a pitch from a right handed player. Thus, lefty batters become accustomed to the diagonal movement of the ball when it is released from the right side of the pitcher to the dominant left side of the batter himself. Right handed players, however, must become comfortable with the ball coming to the plate from the same side that it began at when facing a right handed pitcher. A right handed batter will again face issues when against a left handed pitcher because the ball presents an illusion that it is coming right towards him. It is documented, however, that left handed batters face great difficulty when competing against left handed pitchers, because they, again, are not used to the ball coming from behind their shoulders instead of towards them. Newsweek also mentions that angle of which the ball approaches a right handed player puts them lower on the totem pole. “A right-handed batter has to look over his left shoulder and the ball is coming at quite an angle. The offset of your eyes gives you depth perception. So when you’re looking over your shoulder, you have lost the distance between your two eyes quite a bit, so you have lost that 10th of a second to see the ball,” explains the article. Overall, it is likely that a left handed batter will have a 3:4 ratio of battling against a right handed pitcher. Thus, their rare dominant hand choice and their experience prove to be a great teachers, and gives them an advantage.

The dynamics of baseball have proved to supply some evidence towards why a left handed player overpowers a right handed player. I believe this issue is still able to be experimented on, but the percentage of left handed baseball players is something that should be taken into great consideration.

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Sources: Newsweek

http://www.insidepitching.com/?p=1996

BooTea

Diets are nothing new to society. In fact, they’ve been a craze for a while. They come in many forms. Starvation, cleanse, paleo (“caveman”), vegetarian and MANY many more. After having tried a couple myself and seeing various results, I have decided to look into the new fad to see if it would be worth it. “Bootea Teatox” as it is referred to, is a detox of the body, and is accomplished by only drinking “Bootea,” which can be ordered online for $30 for a 14-day period or $54 for a 28 day detox. My friends who have used this program have seen results, so I decided to take a look at what exactly makes it work.
According to bootea.com, their system works by consuming their “daytime tea,” consisting of “Chinese oolong tea, maté leaves, ginger root, fennel seeds, lemongrass, dandelion leaf, ginseng root, gotu kola leaves and nettle leaves,” during the day and the “bedtime cleanse,” which after research, I’ve discovered to be a laxative. This tea consists of “senna leaves, peppermint leaves, fenugreek seeds, liquorice root, burdock root, hawthorn leaves, valerian root and psyllium seeds”. After visiting several review sites, I found that the nighttime tea created a lot of discomfort for users. When I asked my friends who used the product, they agreed that making it through a night without using the bathroom was very rare for the 14 days.
So after reading through all of the crazy-named ingredients, I still pondered about what they all really meant and how the system worked as a whole. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a “science-based” website that explained the process in depth, so I chose to trust the Bootea website for most of my information. I’m really interested in this diet, so I chose to pursue the topic, just like Andrew inspires us to. I plan on completing the diet myself and hopefully using the information and results I gain for the next blog period.
The website contains many pictures which shows amazing results. I question if they were edited, but for now, I’ll give the product the benefit of the doubt. This dramatic weight loss stems from completely natural ingredients. “The aim of Bootea is to give you the boost you need to get back on track with your healthy eating and active lifestyle. The ingredients used in our teas have been used for centuries for health and wellbeing purposes but it is only now we have finally brought all these unique ingredients into one perfect, rounded product. Teatox is a fancy word we use to describe the way the body goes through a natural process of elimination, by removing unwanted ‘toxins’ & built up waste matter, from your body via the lungs, kidneys, bowels and skin,” explains bootea.com.
From the website, I gathered the gist of the process. Basically, these ingredients provoke the exiting of toxins from the body, and ultimately look to get rid of any extra feces that may be lurking in your abdomen. The main ingredient in the daytime tea, ginger root, derived from India and is used to settle stomach problems. According to the Isha Foundation, ginger can “increase saliva flow to aid digestion,” which explains why it helps in the excretion of waste, thus showing results. After more investigating, I’ve found that peppermint is indeed used to relieve constipation. Livestrong breaks down how peppermint is “anti-spasmatic” meaning it calms the muscle lining in your stomach, which allows waste to pass through more easily. Overall, users of Bootea, (according to the website) have found great success. The all natural product seems to stimulate waste movement really well and interacts appropriately with the other ingredients. Users explained on various Bootea blogs that they lost between 5-7 pounds after the 14 day treatment. Of course, we must take into consideration the bias of the website, and the fact that correlation (tea and weight loss) may not equal causation (the amount of weight loss), because other “Z” factors such as the food plan and additional exercise can possibly take the credit. However, I am excited to hopefully try this myself and see what results I find, but overall, I can deduce that the natural/earth made ingredient composition of Bootea is the reason for it’s success. No preservatives, no chemicals: back to natural science. “Give the body good, the body gives good back.”

BooTea Cleansing Detox Teas Are They Really Worth The Hype 1

Sources: www.bootea.com

www.livestrong.com

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since when is green a bad thing

The color green is all around us in the world. It’s the color of grass, eyes, salad and most importantly…money. It is known to be the color of jealously, but it also takes form in earth tones as well as neon colors. It’s a great color to see around, that is, everywhere but your finger.

  As a jewelry fanatic, I’ve got bangles, bracelets, earrings and necklaces galore. But, my favorite accessory in the world? You guessed it: rings. I find them anywhere and everywhere, often buying them in packs of three for between $5-$10 (college kid probz). They make every outfit better no matter they occasion, and you can often find at least three sprawled across my fingers when I’m just hanging out at home. They are all literally my babies. But the worst part about them is when they leave that awful green mark on my fingers. After seeing this gross patch of color on my fingers daily, I decided to find out what exactly causes this discoloration.

    According to chemistry.com, “When a ring turns your finger green it’s either because of a chemical reaction between acids in your skin and the metal of the ring or a reaction between another substance on your hand, such as a lotion, and the metal of the ring. A common culprit is silver, which is found in sterling silver jewelry, plating for inexpensive jewelry, and as an alloying metal in most gold jewelry. Acids cause the silver to oxidize, which produces tarnish. The tarnish can leave a dark ring on your finger.”

    After reading this, I THOUGHT I’d found that the moral of the story is to spend the extra mula to avoid the mark. However, I decided to pursue the myth that clear nail polish can indeed prevent the chemical reaction. I found that this is indeed true! The top coat nail polish events the metal of the ring interacting with the acids of your skin. It basically survey as a simple barrier, one that ends up saving you a lot of money!

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its a long (distance relationship) story

Yes, you saw the title and yes there is such a thing as relationship science.

  As college students, it isn’t uncommon for us to hear the term “long distance relationship.” As widely defined, a long distance relationship consists of two significant others maintaining their current love, trust, and appreciation for one another even when they are far apart. So what exactly allows two love birds to keep everything together? According to BusinessInsider, “Emma Dargie, a PhD student in clinical psychology at Queen’s University who has studied hundreds of long-distance daters, says that the single best advice for maintaining a healthy, long-distance relationship is communication.”

    After finding an unexpected large amount of information on this type of science online, Emma Dargie seems to be right. I have found that figuring out what one another expects out of the relationship itself is crucial to whether or not the partnership will survive. I also found that keeping fighting to a minimal is an obvious, but very important identity in successful long distance relationships. It is important to avoid disagreeing because that initiates anger, which causes separation.

    Technological science comes into play as phones/laptops today are what help keep significant others connected. Social media, though it can be positive and negative, creates a large window for communication. FaceTime allows people to see one another, along with hearing each other’s voice. This can very comforting to those who have been separated, and it is a nice reminder that they are still there, even though it is not physically.

    Emotional sciences come into play as something like a long distance relationship can have a huge effect on someones stability. Couples are instructed that these types of partnerships are not easy.

     Social science is also a huge factor. Temptations are rabid at college. Two partners must ensure that their feelings for one another are indeed strong enough to dismiss any situation that may involve cheating.

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eyebrow threading

As an 18 year old female, I am surrounded by many trends and fads. Some are completely overwhelming and utterly awful, but one has actually turned my life around for the better. And, what exactly could this be you ask? Well of course it is the one thing that can either boost a girls confidence or, if gone wrong, can ruin her life for 3-6 weeks: eyebrows.

   When I was a 13 year old middle schooler, I began to wax my eyebrows. But, before I get further into that, here is some background info. I am 50% Italian and 50% Portuguese. You’re probably wondering why this has absolutely anything to do with my blog but I promise you, there is a point. Because of my combination of nationalities, I am very tan, always. So, when I went to get my eyebrows done, the wax literally ripped the tan off of my face. I kid you not, there were white outlines around  and in between my brows where the wax had been placed. It was THE most embarrassing thing ever. Thankfully, it was summer, so I was still able to catch some rays and fix the mess.

    To my saving grace, threading came along about three years ago. You may be asking, what even is threading? Well, as defined by ibrowboutique.com, “A threading expert takes a thin cotton thread and twists it into a double strand, which then is swept along the skin. With rhythmic – almost hypnotic – movement, the unwanted hairs are secured in the thread and lifted from the follicle with precision and finesse.” You can learn more about the history of eyebrows themselves here. For me, threading is painless. At first, it was irritating and because the thread is reaching way down into your follicle, your nerves are often rattled. This causes a slight tearing in the eyes, not due to pain, but just out of the bodies natural reaction to the motion. Threading is truly quick and easy, a process that rarely exceeds ten minutes. Because the esthetician pulls the hair from the root, hair takes longer to grow back, which is beneficial for the client financially and time wise. Threading has become a great health option for those who have sensitive skin or suffer from acne, because it does not cause any type of reaction to wax. It is all natural and does not burn or itch the skin.

    Threading has become a beneficial and positive addition to health as well as the environment. Professionals usually take a month to work through one spool of thread, while waxing requires electricity, tongue depressants and an immense amount of linen strips.

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cracking your knuckles: the truth

Snap! Crackle! Pop!

No, this is not referring to your favorite cereal, it is instead a popular tagline used to refer to the cracking of ones knuckles. There has been a lot of discussion over this topic. What exactly is that popping sound? Is it harmful? Why are people addicted to this motion?

   

  To start, the sound that occurs when you press strongly against your fingers is not exactly a pop, but a releasing of synovial fluid from a pocket between the two joints in the finger. “When you pull, twist or otherwise “crack” a joint, you’re expanding the volume of space between your bones. That volume expansion creates negative pressure, which sucks the synovial fluid into the newly created space. This sudden inflow of fluid is the popping you feel and hear when you crack a knuckle,” stated Dr. Pedro Beredjiklian, chief of hand and wrist surgery at Philadelphia’s Rothman Institute. You can read more about his explanation here.

    If I were to count how many times a day I cracked my knuckles, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was well around 20. It has become a subconscious motion & nevertheless, quite addictive. As I sat here wondering what to write for my blog and pressed my phalanges against one another, I wondered, is this bad? After further research, it turns out that knuckle-cracking can be linked to arthritis, but it doesn’t necessarily cause it. The popping of the synovial fluid bubbles really don’t harm the bones, but can lead to a loss in one’s ability to grip. It has also been studied that those with a knuckle-cracking issue have more swollen hands, though this has proven to be just above a hypothesis.So, realistically, you are at no harm when you pop your joint bubbles, but you may want to back off a little, you know, just in case.

    Besides cracking one’s knuckles being a “health” issue, it also seems to have become a social issue as well. If you’ve ever crunches your joints in front of others, or in a public setting, you’ve likely gotten a few looks. “You shouldn’t do that, you’re going to get arthritis.” Well, now you can inform society that that is a false statement and continue crack-a-lackin’.

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needles vs piercing guns: what’s the point?

   It seems to be a new trend now-a-days to bedazzle every part of ones body. From ears to eyebrows, and everything in between, piercings have become a large part of modern day culture. But, what exactly happens when that 16-gauge needle punctures your skin? Well, surprisingly, not much. The real trouble with this new fad, however, is the use of piercing guns. This method is often used to subsidize the nerves of the piercee by seemingly making it more quick and less painful. Though convenient, the choice to use a piercing gun often causes more harm than good. Here’s why. 

     Having thirteen of them myself, I am quite used to the discomfort experienced when receiving a piercing. The anticipation kills, and the penetrating of the needle through your skin is even worse. Key word: needle. With every trip to the tattoo parlor or piercing specialist, I (and every other person who has participated in this fad), is confronted with the decision to have a gauged, or hollowed out, needle versus a piercing gun. No, this is not a weapon, but with the damage it leaves behind, it might as well be.

     With blood borne illnesses and awareness of them spiking all over the country, it is important to address how piercing guns add to this peak. The main issue with these mechanisms is their transmission of pathogens due to lack of correct sanitization. In order to rid of all germs and prevent infection, all instruments the penetrate or even touch skin, such as many used in nail salons, must be put into an autoclave. An autoclave, as defined by wikipedia.com, is a pressure chamber used to sterilize equipment and supplies by subjecting them to high pressure saturated steam at 121 °C (249°F) for around 15–20 minutes depending on the size of the load and the contents. Due to their plastic make, piercing guns cannot sustain the heat within an autoclave, thus they are not thoroughly cleaned. “Even if the antiseptic wipes used were able to kill all pathogens on contact, simply wiping the external surfaces of the gun with isopropyl alcohol or other antiseptics does not kill pathogens within the working parts of the gun. Blood from one client can aerosolize, becoming airborne in microscopic particles, and contaminate the inside of the gun. The next client’s tissue and jewelry may come into contact with these contaminated surfaces,” explains the Association of Professional Piercers.

       Along with increasing ones exposure to blood infection, piercing guns also can cause a large amount of damage to your skins tissue. The basic steps of a piercing gun include the loading of an earring stud to the front of the gun. This stud usually has a pointed tip, but according to research, it is not sharp enough to actually successfully go through ones skin. The piercer then pulls back the lever of the gun, to create momentum and tension. A button on the gun is then pressed to force the stud back towards the front of the gun which is pressed against the ear. This action protrudes the earring through the lobe and vuala; you’re decorated and done, at least you thought. According to safepiercing.org, “The effect on the body is more like a crush injury than a piercing and causes similar tissue damage. Medically, this is referred to as “blunt force trauma.” At the least, it can result in significant pain and swelling for the client, at the most in scarring and potentially increased incidence of auricular chondritis, a severe tissue disfigurement.” From personal experience, bumps around the origin of my piercings have formed before. They are uncomfortable and irritating and take FOREVER to go away. After pursuing more research, I found that this bump actually comes from a lack of blood flow to the wound, which prolongs the healing process.

       Though it seems more painful and takes a longer time to get through the skin, the health benefits of using a needle overwhelmingly outweigh the swiftness of a piercing gun. The needle is gauged, as previously stated, so the earring will not need to be pushed through; it is simply placed within the hollowed out portion of the needle. Needles can be properly sterilized, and are accustomed and respond well to the heat of an autoclave. They are more precise, seeing as the piercers hand physically places the needle through your lobe. With a gun, backlash and partial penetration are an issue.

      So, next time you look to join the new wave, make sure you choose the needle, it proves to be a great “point.”

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http://www.safepiercing.org/piercing/faq/

www.flickr.com