Great Britain

Schoolgirls as young as 14 risk sepsis and HIV after buying £1 ear piercing device online to copy TikTok trend

SCHOOLGIRLS are risking nerve damage, sepsis and HIV after piercing their own noses with a £1 device in a dangerous new TikTok trend.

Teens as young as 14 are using the plastic piercers from Chinese website SHEIN to pierce their noses - before hiding the accessory in class with their face masks.

Dozens of TikTok clips show British schoolgirls hopping on the trend which originated in the US.

The girls are purchasing the One Time Use Disposable Ear Piercing Tool from the popular clothing website - and are able to order the contraptions without ID or their parents knowing.

They then film themselves using the plastic gun to pierce their noses, before uploading the clips to TikTok.

Hundreds of videos of young girls hopping on the trend can be seen on the app using the device before, and even during, school.

Now piercing experts are warning the trend could leave young girls living with nerve damage, permanent scarring, infections - and even HIV.

One mother from Norfolk was “shocked” to discover her 14-year-old daughter let her friend pierce her nose in her school’s bathrooms last month.

The 41-year-old told The Sun: “My oldest, she’s 14, just came home from school two weeks ago and went straight up to her bedroom.

“I didn’t think anything of it until she came downstairs for dinner and I saw she had a piercing in her nose.

“I was so cross, fuming, as you can imagine.

“I thought she had somehow convinced a piercing shop that she was older and that she was old enough to get it done.

SUN INVESTIGATION

Young girls can buy flimsy ear piercing tools for just 99p without needing any ID, The Sun Online can reveal.

Our reporter bought the cheap machine - having it delivered in just two weeks without any checks.

Shipping and “shipping insurance” meant the grand total came to £4.98 - but if bought with more items shipping is free.

The device came in a package smaller than an envelope - and no safety warnings were inside.

The contents were one single alcohol pad and the piercing gun in a small plastic packaging.

The Sun contacted the company but they declined to comment.

“I was shouting at her asking where she got it done because I was going to go straight there or try to report them because she is only 14.

“Then she eventually told me that one of her friends had done it at school with a needle thing that they had bought online.

“I was just shocked. I think of her as a responsible girl and I just don't know how she could have let someone near her face like that.

“It could have gone so wrong and I'm just so disappointed .

“We’ve made her take it out now. We called the school and told them what happened but I know it's her own fault and there's not much they can do about it.

“She had been asking about getting it pierced before and we told her that we would bring her to get it done professionally when she was 16, which I thought was very fair.”

President of United Kingdom Association of Professional Piercers, Lola Slider, believes companies like SHEIN should not be allowed to sell piercing products.

WHAT IS SHEIN?

Shein is “fast fashion” at its peak, with new designs often ready for shipping within a few days, Reuters reports.

Selling up to 30,000 items a DAY here, and with global sales estimated at £11billion, it is fast becoming a true retail giant.

But that growth has come with controversy too, amid accusations of poor quality and stolen designs.

While shoppers love the huge range and rock-bottom rates, product reviews are mixed.

On top of this, many claim to have struggled to get their money back.

Customers were appalled when the site stocked a swastika necklace, for which it later apologised. 

Launched in 2008 by Chris Xu, the Chinese company ships to 220 countries, adding 1,000-plus new products a day with astonishing speed.

She said: “Companies supplying these products should really bare the brunt of the responsibility for the harm they cause and for their use and misuse. 

“In this case, this company requires no age verification and has no information about the potential risks associated with piercing such as infection and permanent scarring.

“The complete lack of this support system by this online retailer will no doubt lead to scenarios were people have to go to A&E to be treated, in the midst of a pandemic, putting additional stress on the NHS, for a product they sell for £1 with no associated risk or responsibility.

“Having looked at the product listing, it's clear that the comments/reviews are not being moderated in anyway as many purchasers are actually advocating for the products re-use which is a serious cross contamination risk that may lead to staphylococcus infection or in the instance of friends sharing the device, the spread of bloodborne pathogens such as Hepatitis B, C and HIV.”

“I am shocked that the sale and purchase of these items are permitted to continue unregulated, but the United Kingdom Association of Professional Piercers requires all members of our organisation do not use or endorse the use of these products to help enable safe piercing options in the UK.”

Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP and Clinical Director of Patientaccess.com told the Sun that there was a very small risk of contracting sepsis with the devices. 

She added: “You're being pierced by a piece of jewellery and that means that skin cells can be dragged through, and you are more likely to get inflammation there. 

“If you share it with friends, then there's a risk of passing on blood borne diseases like hepatitis. You're more likely to get infected because you may well not have sterilized your ear in exactly the same way. 

“You don't know what the precautions are. You obviously aren't given the same guidance for people who've had professional piercings. 

“The risk of sepsis is small, it is a theoretical risk. It is a theoretical risk but the risk of local infection is much worse. 

“If they are sharing with other people I would certainly say that the biggest risk is, you know, HIV or hepatitis. 

“If you’re doing it yourself then local infection with scarring, with a very small risk of sepsis. Hepatitis C is curable but hepatitis B is not. 

“Hep B is incurable, and can lead to cirrhosis and liver failure a long way down the road. Hep C can cause the same things but is curable.”

Both Tiktok and SHEIN declined to comment.

Mum’s fury as daughter, Lily Nesbit, 7, is hospitalised after getting ears pierced at Claire’s Accessories – and her earring had to be dug out with a scalpel

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