Since ear lobe piercings are so common, there is a misconception that these piercings are easy to heal and require little care. Actually, ear lobe piercings require very diligent cleaning and care in order to prevent infection. The ear lobe is a great environment for bacterial growth. Therefore, proper cleaning is absolutely essential. Our recommendation for cleaning consists of two parts:
1. Antibacterial Soap ~ You need to clean the piercing twice daily with a mild antibacterial soap such as Dial liquid soap. Avoid soaps with fragrances or moisturizers. This is easiest to perform in the shower where it is simple to rinse effectively. It is recommended that you clean the piercing after washing your hair and the rest of your body.
Make sure to ALWAYS wash your hands thoroughly with the antibacterial soap before touching the piercing or jewelry. Now, put an ample amount of the soap on your fingertips to cover the piercing area and jewelry. Remove any crusty material, which is a normal part of the healing process, from the jewelry. Try using a Q-TIP. Once the "crusties" have been removed and the jewelry is soapy, you need to move the jewelry to work the soap through the piercing. If you were pierced with a hoop you can rotate the ball from the top hole to the bottom hole several times. If you have a curved barbell, move the barbell up and down as much as possible to work the soap in. Now thoroughly rinse all the soap from the area. Make sure to continue to move the jewelry while rinsing to ensure that all the soap is removed. Remember to perform this cleaning process TWICE a day (morning and night). THIS IS THE ONLY TIME YOU WANT TO TOUCH YOUR JEWELRY DURING THE HEALING PROCESS!! The leading cause of infection is handling jewelry with unclean hands!
2. Sea Salt Soaks ~ It has recently been discovered that a piercing will heal faster and with less pain if you soak it with a warm sea salt water solution. Dissolve 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt in one cup (8 oz.) of warm water. It is important that you do not use too much salt because that could cause stinging and irritation. Pour some of the warm salt water into a shot glass or other small container (paper cups do not work). submerge the ear lobe in the shot glass so that the piercing is covered in salt water. Allow the piercing to soak for 5 to 10 minutes. Repeat this procedure AT LEAST twice daily.
Body piercing presents potential risks. Watch out for the following:
Even with regular and proper care it is normal for a piercing to have some itching, be red and have a clear, white or yellow discharge at times.
However, consult your physician if you have:
If infection does occur, do not immediately remove the jewelry. When the jewelry is removed the piercing will close very quickly trapping the infection in the body. Leaving the jewelry in until you can see a physician allows for drainage and reduces complications such as an abscess.
6 months - 1 year.
However, if the piercing is healing well you can usually change the jewelry in 6 to 8 weeks as long as you replace the jewelry immediately after removing the original piece. Remember to lubricate any screw as not to scratch the walls of your new piercing.
Remember that your piercing is an open wound and as such requires special care. The following suggestions will help your piercing to heal properly.
DO NOT touch your piercing unless your hands have just been washed thoroughly with antibacterial soap.
DO NOT dry your piercing with cloth towels which harbor bacteria. Either allow it to air dry or use disposable paper towels.
DO NOT use petroleum based cleaning products such as alcohol, peroxide, or Neosporin. Alcohol and peroxide are too harsh, and Neosporin does not allow air to the piercing.
Change your clothing and sheets regularly.
Get enough sleep, eat a nutritious diet, avoid undue stress, recreational drugs, and alcohol consumption. The healthier your lifestyle, the easier it will be for your piercing to heal.
Drink plenty of fluids. Try to consume 8 cups of water per day.