Ear piercings are some of the most common piercings that people get. Whether you are a piercing enthusiast or you are just simply interested in getting an ear piercing, you must know the risks that comes with it, as well as tips on how to properly clean your ear piercing and keep it healthy.
There are many different types of ear piercings: earlobe piercings (this is the most common among boys and girls), tragus piercings, daith piercings, industrial piercings, and helix piercings.
We are going to discuss how to care for these types of piercings and how to keep them infection-free.
Cleaning the Piercing
After getting your ears newly pierced, you should always remember to clean the front and back of your piercing at least three times a day.
To do this, mix three tablespoons of sea salt with warm water. Mix it thoroughly until the salt has fully dissolved in the water.
Grab a clean cotton ball and soak it in the mixture. Pat it on the pierced area and let it stay for at least a minute. Remember to just dab and never tug on the piercing, as tugging and rubbing on it can irritate it and further cause an infection.
Make sure that your hands are completely clean before doing the cleaning method, as the wounds are still open and can easily acquire an infection if touched by dirty hands.
Changing the Earring
Cartilage piercings such as helix, tragus, daith, and industrial have a longer healing period than your usual earlobe piercing.
For earlobe piercings, make sure not to replace or take the jewelry off for at least 6 weeks or more. For cartilage piercings, let the jewelry stay for at least 12 weeks or more. The healing period depends per person and how diligent you are with following the aftercare instructions.
Do not take your earrings off within this time frame, as it would be very difficult to put them back on once it is off. If you really want to replace your earring, make sure to pay your piercer a visit and let them do it for you instead.
Signs and Symptoms of an Infected Ear Piercing
There are certain signs and symptoms that you should watch out for after getting a new ear or tragus piercing.
If you experience some or all of these, make sure to see a doctor as soon as possible.
- Pus and Blood Discharge. It is normal for your ear to bleed for a couple of seconds after the piercing. However, if it lasts for a whole day or for a couple of days, then it might mean that you are suffering from an infection. Make sure to visit your doctor right away and let them know about it.
- Extreme Swelling and Redness. A little bit of swelling and redness is normal for a couple of days after the piercing. However, if you notice that it is not subsiding and in fact getting worse, then go ahead and let the doctor take a good look at it, as you might be suffering from an infection.
- Tenderness, Itching, and Burning. If the tenderness doesn’t go down and it starts to burn and itch massively, then tell your piercer about it. You might have contracted an infection during the piercing or while you are waiting for it to heal. They will advise you on what to do next, which you definitely should follow.
How to Avoid Getting an Infection
There are things that you can do to prevent getting an infection, so make sure to read on as we have listed them down below.
- Listen to your Piercer. Your piercer will most likely discuss the aftercare instructions with you after doing the piercing, so make sure to listen to them intently and follow every single step properly.
- Look for a Reputable Piercer and Shop. The first thing that you should do is to look for a reputable and trustworthy piercer and piercing shop. Give the shop a visit and see if they practice proper hygienic methods and if they adhere to the rules and regulations for doing piercings. Remember that when it comes to piercing ideas, quality comes first, the cost only comes in second. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
- Avoid Cheap Earrings. Just like what we have said earlier, quality comes first. Invest in a high-quality earring and avoid materials that can cause an allergic reaction such as earrings that contain nickel. Some people are allergic to nickel and you definitely do not want to risk it just for the sake of getting a cheap earring.
- Wash your hands. Your hands are home to hundreds and thousands of bacteria. Make sure to clean your hand’s fist by washing it with soap and water before touching your piercing to avoid transferring those bacteria to the open wound.
- Clean your Piercing. You should be patient enough to clean your piercing at least thrice a day to make sure that everything heals properly. Follow our cleaning instructions above to make sure that you properly clean your piercing.
- Gently Rotate the Earring. Discharge can build up on your earring and pierced area, so make sure to gently rotate the earring twice a day. Remember to always wash your hands before touching the piercing and be gentle enough not to tug or rub the earring too much.
- Avoid Swimming. You should avoid dipping your ear in any body of water at least 2 – 3 weeks after getting your ear pierced. The wound is still open during this time, which means that bacteria can easily infiltrate your wound if you dip in a pool, lake, river, or ocean.
Make sure to see a doctor the moment you see a sign of infection. Treating yourself at home with antibiotics is a bad idea, as you can easily misdiagnose yourself and take the wrong type of drugs. Always let your piercer and doctor know about the infection to make sure you are on the right track.