Ear piercing is one of the most popular types of body piercings. Piercing in the upper portion of external ear is known as cartilage piercing. Besides the earlobe, other sites for ear piercing include tragus, rook, and across the helix. During the piercing procedure, an opening is created in the earlobe with a sharp object. Some commonly used methods are standard needle method, indwelling cannula method, dermal punching, and the use of an encapsulated piercing gun.
If the instrument used for piercing the ear is not sterilized, and the piercer has not followed the precautionary measures, there's a risk of infection. Thus, you should look for a piercing studio where all the precautionary measures are followed. Get your ears pierced by a certified piercer. Inform the piercer, if you are allergic to any metal. Since nickel has been known to cause an allergic reaction, titanium and surgical stainless steel are considered as ideal materials for initial jewelry.
Care for Ear Piercing
The piercing usually heals completely within 8-10 weeks in most people, if instructions on aftercare are followed properly. It has been observed that infections are more common when the piercing is done on the upper ear cartilage rather than the earlobe. However, there's less likelihood of one developing an infection, if aftercare instructions are followed. Following is a list of instructions that need to be followed after getting an ear piercing:
✔ Clean the piercing twice a day, preferably in the shower. It's advisable to use an antiseptic soap, working it around the piercing and the jewelry. Use warm water to rinse off the soap thoroughly. Thereafter, dry the piercing and the jewelry with a clean cloth.
✔ Rinse the piercing with saline in order to remove the crust, which might develop from the accumulated lymph.
✔ Take care that your hair don't get entangled in the jewelry. Also, ensure that oil, dirt, hair gel, etc., don't come in contact with the piercing.
✔ Be careful while using shampoos and hair care products. Protect your piercing from these products, as they can cause irritation or inflammation. You should also use perfume-free or dye-free products when your piercing is still healing.
✔ Keep the pillowcase clean, so that bacteria don't breed and infect the wound.
✔ Follow a healthy, balanced diet.
✔ Taking supplements that contain vitamin B along with zinc would speed up the healing process. You can also take a multivitamin.
Things to Avoid
✘ Don't touch the piercing frequently. Touch it only when you are cleaning it. A gentle rotating of jewelry is necessary in order to avoid crusting. Wash your hands properly before and after touching it.
✘ Don't remove the piercing jewelry at least for the first three months. This is to provide optimum time for healing.
✘ Avoid the use of witch hazel, alcohol, or hydrogen peroxide on healing piercing, as these can cause scarring in the tender flesh of ear.
✘ Don't apply any ointment on the wound. It should be kept dry.
✘ Avoid wearing headphones or any accessory that comes in contact with the upper ear cartilage or the earlobe until the piercing heals completely.
✘ Avoid using public telephones, as that could cause the transmission of bacteria.
If the aforementioned instructions are followed, the piercing would heal quickly. However, if you experience pain, redness, swelling, or accumulation of pus around the pierced area, consult a doctor.