how to clean ear piercings

With fashion calling for lobe to helix (ear rim), and everything in between to be pierced nowadays, it is important to look after yours to ensure they stay in great condition and don’t become infected.

Preventing piercings from going wrong

Make sure you get your piecing done at a licensed practitioner to ensure they have met the council’s safety and hygiene standards. Licences should be prominently displayed, and clearly recognisable. In extreme circumstances, unhygienic premises could expose you to the risk of toxic shock syndrome, hepatitis or HIV. Thankfully licensed premises use sterile disposable needles and equipment, almost entirely removing any risk.

Don’t be tempted to do your own piercing. It can be dangerous and there’s a high chance of infection that could result in bleeding, swelling or scarring.

Using a gun is also a no, no. Not only are they more unhygienic, but they also hurt more than a needle because the piercing is done with a blunt earring object rather than a sharp needle.

Piercings can take up to three months to heal properly. So, it’s important to give them the time to do so and not fiddle with them. If you are tempted to play with them it is likely going to irritate them and expose them to germs from your fingers.

Regular cleaning

To ensure your new piercings continue to look awesome, it’s important to regularly clean them to help the healing process.

Twice daily, after you shower, gently clean the area around the piercing with a warm saline solution (salt water). The NHS recommends that you mix a ¼ of a teaspoon of sea salt per egg cup of warm water. Apply the solution with kitchen roll. Never be tempted by cotton wipes, which often leave residue behind that cause irritation.

The solution will soften any discharge build-up. Once you’ve removed it, you can gently move the jewellery in your ear to allow the solution to work through the piercing. Then pat dry with fresh kitchen towel.

Once 6-8 weeks have passed and you are all clear to change your piercing, it is also advised that you clean the jewellery that you are putting into the piercing regularly. You can read more about cleaning jewellery here.

How to spot infections

Don’t panic if you do happen to get an irritation or infection. Here’s what you should keep an eye out for:

  • any discharge that may come from the piercing. It’s likely to be yellow or green.
  • The area may become sore to touch.
  • It may become red an inflamed around the piercing.
  • You might even get a high temperature.

If you spot any of these signs, leave your jewellery in and seek medical advice. Infections are usually mild and easily treated with antibiotics.

Infections don’t necessarily mean that there is something wrong with your piercing, it could be a reaction to the metal type of the earring that you are wearing.

Metal types for new piercings

Not all metals will agree with the body’s healing process which may lead to unwanted infections. Choose metals that are not made from materials that absorb body fluids and react with body tissue. Look out for: Surgical Stainless Steel, Gold, Niobium and Tygon. By all means, after the piercing is fully healed, mix up your earring collection with sterling silver, costume jewellery and plated gold.

We hope these tips help you to care for your new piercing.

Jas

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