5 After-Care Tips for Ear Piercings

So, you decided to get a piercing.

You weighed the risks and finally got that cartilage hoop you’d been wanting. To keep that piercing looking and feeling good, it’s important to take proper after-care precautions.

One of the most painful healing barriers people encounter after a piercing is infection. If the steps below are followed, you can focus on having fun selecting adornments that convey your personal style, rather than dealing with an infected piercing.

  1. Wash Your Hands – It may seem like common sense but many forget that a piercing is like an open wound. Washing your hands before touching the piercing stops unnecessary bacteria and germs from entering the area.
  2. Clean the Piercing – The main after-care tip is to keep the pierced area clean. Keeping it clean can prevent infection, avoid keloids and create a smoother healing process. You can do this by performing a salt water soak on the piercing. This facilitates healing and can rid the piercing of any debris.
  3. Don’t Use Alcohol or Peroxide – While very good at killing bacteria, these two products can dry out the area and potentially kill new, healthy cells. This slows the healing process instead of helping your ear repair itself.
  4. Avoid Touching – With a new piece of bling in your ear, it can be tempting to want to move it around or play with it. Resist this as your fingers carry a lot of germs on them that could infect the piercing. The only time you should be touching it is if you are cleaning the area.
  5. No Ointments – If there are preliminary signs of a possible infection, reaching for an anti-bacterial cream may be your first instinct. Even though it is technically a wound, this could cause more harm than good. This can clog the area and prevent oxygen from reaching where it is needed. In addition, creams can trap dirt in and around the healing piercing, inviting infection.

It’s important to note that depending on where you get your piercing (lobe vs. cartilage), the healing timeline changes. Lobe piercings take around four to six weeks to heal, whereas cartilage piercings can take anywhere from three to 12 months. The reason it takes so long is because there is decreased blood flow in the cartilage area, which causes piercings there to heal from the outside in.

If you’re worried your new piercing is infected, schedule an appointment with your doctor right away to seek treatment.

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Photo Credit: Ari Bakker

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