What The Parent Trap Got Wrong About Piercing Your Own Ears

Lindsay Lohan's iconic scream during the ear-piercing scene in "The Parent Trap" is a sound that many millennials vividly recall. Between the ice cube, the twins sterilizing their needle with a flame and the subsequent piercing into an apple, the movie showed a clear depiction of what two 11-year-olds would do when left to their own devices. Unfortunately, people have mimicked this technique over the years — and made some serious mistakes in the process.

Refinery29 covers the scene, deeming it an unsafe way to do a DIY ear piercing. Speaking with a professional piercer, Brian Keith Thompson, the outlet chronicles the less-than-sanitary methods Hallie and Annie used. Instead of using a flame, he opts for alcohol or steam to properly sanitize his utensils. When asked if the process they used is sterile, he replied, "No, it is not. She is, in a way, sanitizing the needle by heating it, but she's only using a match — it's not sterile."

Furthermore, it's best to avoid reaching for an ice cube before drilling your lobe with a needle, as this won't actually do much to numb the pain. "They're using the ice to avoid, or deaden, the pain. All ice will do is reduce swelling, inflammation, or bruising, but it won't make it pain-free," he explains. As for why Hallie and Annie opted to use an apple as a landing pad for the needle, there actually may be some evidence behind this. "The ear is spongey and moves around a lot. Putting something behind it, on the back, makes it a little easier," he explains.

Use a clamp to hold your skin in place rather than an apple

Between the ice cube and the apple, the twins' props have remained in many people's minds when it comes to piercing their own ears. However, using an apple is certainly not the recommended way to go about keeping your ear lobe in place. Instead, use a clamp or forceps to hold the spot still. Thompson tells Refinery29, "Clients always come in and bring up this scene with the fruit. I always joke that no fruit will be harmed in this piercing."

If you want to use ice to reduce the swelling, that may be the one thing you can take from the scene. Just make sure to have the ice covered so it's not directly touching your newly-pierced skin. With so many mistakes, it's no wonder why the U.K. actually cut the scene out from the film before it aired in the country. E! News reports that the government wanted to ensure that children didn't try to pierce their own ears in an unsafe manner. Perhaps to rectify its depiction of ear piercing, the outlet notes that Disney+ may recreate the famous film yet again for its streaming service.

"The Parent Trap" has so many recognizable and iconic moments. If you're looking to recreate a few of them, it may be best to remake Hallie and Annie's favorite Oreos with peanut butter or try the handshake routine instead.