The Dos and Don'ts of Taking Care of New Ear Piercings
Minimize the Risk of Infection and Scarring with These Tips
Disclaimer: I am not a professional, but I have learned and tested these tips through experience. These methods have worked well for me, and to this day, every one of my lobe and cartilage piercings has healed quite nicely. Below are the dos and don'ts for minimizing the risk of swelling, infection, and scarring when you get a new piercing.
Clean Your Ears with Antibacterial Soap
Clean your ears with an antibacterial soap. I recommend Provon Medicated Lotion Soap with chloroxylenol. Make sure you wash your hands before applying the soap, and pre-rinse your ears so it's easier for the soap to lather. Do this twice a day.
Spray Your Piercings with a Sea Salt Solution
Use a sea salt solution. Mix 1/4 teaspoon of non-iodized sea salt with 8 oz warm distilled water. Soak your piercings in the solution, or pour into a clean spray bottle and spray directly onto your piercings for speedy healing.
Keep hair, hairspray, and other irritants away from your piercing. Be careful when talking on the phone or wearing headphones, since you want to keep your piercing as bacteria-free as possible.
Make Sure Your Earrings Are the Right Material
Make sure jewelry is made with the right material. Surgical stainless steel, titanium, and nickel-free 14kt gold and platinum are typically good. Avoid metal with traces of lead, such as sterling silver.
Clean Your Piercings After Workouts and Time in Pools
Clean your ears after exercise and after getting into any type of pool.
Call Doctor if Infection Occurs
See your doctor immediately if your cartilage piercing becomes infected, as cartilage infections are more dangerous than earlobe infections.
Don't Use a Piercing Gun
Don't get your ear pierced with a gun. By doing so, you are quickly forcing a blunt post through your flesh, and this could result in scarring. Make sure your piercer uses a very sharp, hollow needle that is discarded after use. Cartilage piercings should NEVER be pierced with a gun.
Don't Over-Clean your Piercing
Don't over-clean your piercing. Again, this will irritate it. Too much of a good thing is never good.
Don't Clasp Your Earrings Too Tightly
Don't clasp your earrings too tightly if you are using a standard post earring. The butterfly backing can catch hair, dirt, pus, and dried blood and serve as a breeding site for bacteria. Make sure you leave room for your piercing to breathe.
Don't Take Out Your Earlobe Piercing if Infected
Don't take out your earlobe piercing if an infection happens. Continue cleaning your ear two to three times a day with antibacterial soap, and if the painful swelling lasts for more than 24 hours after your piercing, see a doctor.
- Rotating your piercing - There has been debate over whether or not people should rotate their piercings during the healing process. Rotating it can push debris into the hole, but failing to do so will result in your piercing getting "stuck." My piercer told me to do so while cleaning, but to be safe, I gave my piercing two weeks to heal before rotating it while cleaning.
- Types of jewelry - What I like to do is start off with a high-quality post earring, then switch to a curved barbell or a bioplast labret stud after the piercing has healed. Most piercing studios in the US use captive bead rings as the initial jewelry, which I both liked and disliked. The shape of the hoop prevented debris from getting snagged in the back, but, at least for me, it also resulted in a slower healing process.
These are my personal tips, and I hope they work well for you too!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.