Cleaning An Ear Piercing: Simply & Effectively
- Written By Dan Hunter on October 15, 2018Last Updated: November 28, 2020
- Medically reviewed by Dr. Jennifer T. Haley, M.D., FAAD
Ear piercings are an awesome way to express your personality and sense of style. With the wide variety of piercing types that are available, you have seemingly limitless choices when it comes to what piercings you should get. However, no matter what type of piercing you get, cleaning your ear piercing will be a vital part of the overall healing process.
Avoiding Injury And Infection
How To Clean A Tongue Piercing
Tongue piercings are not for the faint of heart, and honestly, kudos to anyone who gets them. The first concern, of course, is how you eat after you get the piercing. But dont worry, you dont have to get on any special soup diet while your piercing heals. You should, however, opt for colder foods and beverages, since they can help keep the swelling down and refrain from eating spicy food. Infinite Body Piercing also urges you to keep the alcoholic beverages at bay while your tongue heals.
To keep your tongue piercing clean, Infinite Body recommends you make a saltwater rinse by mixing ¼ teaspoon of sea salt with one cup of bottled or distilled water. Swish the solution in your mouth for 30 to 60 seconds after every meal. You can also use an alcohol-free mouth rinse such as Colgate Peroxyl Antiseptic Mouth Sore Rinse. You should also consider using a new, soft-bristled toothbrush when you first get the piercing, so you dont introduce new bacteria into the fresh wound.
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If Your Piercing Is Bothering You Don’t Panic
“If you notice excessive swelling, redness, or radiating heat, or if the piercing is secreting fluid, don’t stressnine out of 10 times, your piercing is only irritated and not infected,” Smith assures. “Any reputable piercer will take a look at your piercing and set your mind at ease. Never panicworst case we just remove the jewelry. Don’t ask your friends, search online, or go to the doctor. Your piercer should be your first stop if you are the slightest bit worried, no one else.”
Tips For Overall Care
Before we get into cleaning specific sites, we need to address protocol for overall care. While each location dictates healing time and types of products to use, there are some general rules you should follow no matter the type of piercing you have:
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Never Touch Pierced Ears Without Washing Your Hands
Should you decide to touch your pierced ears, ensure that both of your hands are clean. Wash them first with gentle soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before touching your ears. Doing this avoids bacteria getting into the area.
If possible, touch your ear piercing only when youre cleaning them to minimize or eliminate bacterial infection.
Caring For Pierced Ears
How to care for pierced ears
Although ear piercings are more common and can be less risky than other body piercings, they can still cause complications if not handled safely. For anyone thinking about getting their ears pierced, dermatologists urge people to follow these steps to avoid infection.
Although ear piercings are more common and can be less risky than other body piercings, they can still cause complications if not handled safely. For anyone thinking about getting their ears pierced, dermatologists urge people to follow these steps to avoid infection:
Always wash your hands before touching newly pierced ears.
Leave the earrings in your ears for six weeks or more, even at night. Removing the starter earrings too early may cause the piercings to close.
Regularly wash your ears with soap and water. Carefully do this at least once a day to avoid infection.
Twist the earrings a few times daily. This will help keep the pierced holes open.
Put rubbing alcohol on your ears. Using a cotton ball or pad dipped in rubbing alcohol, gently clean the skin around the piercings twice a day to keep away germs and prevent scabbing. You may also apply a thin coat of petroleum jelly around the opening.
After piercing your ears, keep an eye on them to make sure they dont get sore, red or puffy and that the holes dont ooze yellowish liquid. If any of this occurs and doesnt go away quickly, see a board-certified dermatologist, as you may have an infection.
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Cheek And Lip Piercings
- The outer opening of the piercing is best treated using liquid antibacterial soap or Bactine. If the liquid soap is too harsh it may be diluted 50/50 with water . Apply liberally with a cotton swab or Q-tip. Rotate the jewelry only after the area is moist and dry material has been loosened or removed.
- Clean 2-3 times daily.
- Continue the above care regimen for 6-8 weeks.
Is It Safe To Pierce My Earlobe With A Sewing Needle
Yes, Is it safe to pierce my earlobe with a sewing needle. We need to heat the ear needle to a high temperature so that whatever bacteria or germs present on the needle will die and the chances of infection will be very low. Then slowly push the needle in the earlobe. It only takes you a few seconds and you easily pierce your ears without it hurting. Simply, anyone can do it at home too. Just clean that place with an alcohol-based solution every day so that the chances of spreading infection in earlobe will be minimized.
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Maintaining Healthy Ear Piercings
What Is Ear Piercing Aftercare When Does It Start
Because ears will be swollen and tender immediately after piercing, it is best to wait 24 hours before touching them. Piercing aftercare begins 24 hours after you have gotten your ears pierced, and will occur 2-3 times per day and continue for a full 6 weeks. It is a good idea to get into an aftercare routine early on, so caring for your ear piercing is incorporated into your everyday routine. For example, clean your ear piercings when you brush your teeth in the morning and in the evening. This is one way to remember to do it!
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Introduction: How To Properly Pierce The Ear
As a former ear piercing professional, I have constructed a set of directions on how to correctly pierce ears for anyone who desires to pierce, or have their ears pierced. The purpose is to educate the proper way to pierce the earlobe and cartilage artistically, along with instructions for the appropriate after care. The process should take about 5 minutes.
Always Clean Your Hands
Clean ears start with clean hands. When you’re constantly taking your earrings on and off, it’s easy to brush off the importance of washing your hands. Don’t do it. When you touch your ears with dirty hands, you can easily spread dirt and germs to the sensitive hole in your ear, especially when your piercings are new. Take an extra second to clean your hands before you mess with your earringyour ears will thank you.
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Common Ear Piercing Care Mistakes
Avoid the tragedy of ear piercing horror stories by steering clear of these 6 ear piercing care mistakes:
1. Dirty Hands
If you touch your new piercing with hands that haven’t recently been washed, germs will transfer and could lead to an infection. This may sound obvious, but it happens enough that its worth noting.
Always, always, always wash your hands before touching your newly pierced ears.
2. Hair Products
Your hair holds onto anything and everything it encounters throughout the day. It contains the shampoo, conditioner and product from this morning, plus all the bacteria and dirt that happened to be floating around in the air you walked through today.
To prevent bacteria from transferring from your hair to your new piercings, try throwing your hair up at night – at least for the first month. Keeping it pulled back and away from your ears will not only reduce the risk of infection, but will also keep it from getting caught on your earrings while you sleep.
3. Wrong Cleaning Solution
Everyone suggests different solutions to use, so its hard to know which is the right choice.
First, use the saline solution your piercer gave you, every day, twice a day. Apply it to the front and back of the piercing with a clean cotton ball, and then twist the earring a couple times while it is wet.
If that doesnt seem to do the trick, jewelers suggest trying bactine or rubbing alcohol.
4. Premature Earring Removal
Touch The Backs As Little As Possible
Whenever possible, avoid touching the backs of your earrings. This may be difficult, especially if you are not used to the feeling of pierced ears at all. However, touching the backs of earrings with hands that have not been washed immediately before greatly increases the risk of infection. Furthermore, altering the distance between ears and earring backs can alter the amount of oxygen that is able to reach your healing piercing. This area needs oxygen in order to regenerate skin cells and close.
How To Take Care Of Your Ears Post
Youve made the decision to get your ears pierced in one way or another. Maybe youre headed out to decorate your cartilage, lobes, tragus, or another spot. Regardless of where youre piercing, there are several things to keep in mind during your ear piercing and healing process. These important tips will help to minimize the probability of any infections and to help you heal as efficiently as possible.
Avoid Getting Hair Products In Your Piercing
Products like shampoo, conditioner, and hairspray can be irritating to a healing piercing. In order to be sure it stays clean, you might consider cleaning it immediately after you shower. This will remove any stray products from the area. Using a cotton swab dipped in your cleaning solution is typically an effective tool.
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Tips For Prepping For An Ear Piercing
It is natural to get nervous before getting your ears pierced. But a little bit of prep can make you feel far more confident about your appointment and avoid any fainting spells in the chair!
Pick the right place: Half the battle is won when you trust the studio and the technician youve picked. Do your research, read up on reviews, ask your friends and walk in with the confidence that you are in good hands!
Eat and hydrate: Beat your nerves and keep hunger away by eating at least four hours prior to your appointment. Staying hydrated also helps calm your nerves.
Arrive a few minutes early: Piercing studios can look daunting, especially if it is your first time in there. Arrive a few minutes early and make yourself comfortable around all the equipment.
Pick out the right studs: Since you are going to be wearing your starter stud for at least six weeks, make sure to pick out a versatile one that is easy to pair with all outfits. Also, stick to hypoallergenic metals, especially if its your first piercing.
Tips For Cleaning Ear Piercings
Your ear piercings need proper cleaning and care in order to be safe from getting infected during the healing period. Here are some tips to clean the piercing site properly:
Disinfect your hands: Before doing anything around the open wound, wash your hands and disinfect them in order to avoid any contamination.
Use a cotton pad or swab: Use a cotton pad or swab, dip it in rubbing alcohol and use it to clean around the piercing site at least thrice a day. Dont use anything from your bathroom vanity to wash your pricing. Some piercing studios might recommend a good cleansing gel if you ask them!
Dab, dont wipe: Avoid rubbing the open wound as much as possible. Dab, dont wipe, with a tissue or clean cloth in order to get rid of any pus that might have congealed in there.
Petroleum jelly: A thin layer of Vaseline Aloe Soothe Skin Protecting Jelly can protect the piercing site from getting infected by external aggressors. Apply it at all times till the wound heals.
Keep the area away from products: Make sure you are not getting any skin or hair care products on the piercing site. Products like shampoos, soaps or hairsprays can irritate the tissue.
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How Can I Prevent A Pierced Ear Infection
Taking good care of your piercings is key to preventing infection. You should:
- Leave your earrings in day and night until the piercings fully heal.
- Wash your hands before touching your earlobes or cartilage.
- Wash the piercing twice daily with a mild soap or cleanser.
- Apply rubbing alcohol and/or antibiotic ointment to the area twice daily.
- Gently rotate the earrings daily after applying antibiotic ointment or petroleum jelly to lubricate the piercing.
How To Tell If Your Piercing Is Infected
As we mentioned before, when you get a piercing, youre naturally supposed to experience some type of mild swelling, redness or itching. Think of your piercing as a scuffed knee, its going to cause some discomfort as it heals. However, if you dont see the area getting any better after several weeks, be sure to go back to your piercer and have them check it out. If youre no longer comfortable with the person who pierced you, the American Association of Piercers has a running list of trusted piercers you can always turn to.
Signs and symptoms of infected piercings include:
- aching or throbbing pain
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Clean Your Piercing 12 To 24 Hours After You Get Pierced
The first time you clean your piercing, it will be about twelve to twenty four hours after you are pierced. Making sure to be deliberate about this first cleaning will set the tone for the cleaning routine that follows. Follow the instructions from your piercer very carefully. Cleaning will become quicker as you familiarize yourself with the particular steps involved.
If You’ve Stretched Your Ears Properly
- If you’ve stretched your ears properly, there will be no blood and no pain.
- Leave your ears alone for a couple of days until the larger jewelry feels comfortable or doesn’t feel tight. After that, clean your piercing and the jewelry daily with antibacterial soap. If you don’t, sebum and dead skin cells will build up and may cause infection.
- You can also massage stretched piercings with jojoba or wheat germ oil to stimulate circulation and speed up the healing process, but wait until the new jewelry feels comfortable.
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