Do's and Don'ts about Ear Piercing

Ear piercing is more common now than ever, with fashion-conscious women (and men) wanting the options offered by the millions of earrings designed for pierced ears. However, there are some risks involved. Anyone with new piercings needs to be vigilant about infection and try to avoid swelling and possible scarring.

Follow these do's and don'ts to ensure that your ears are protected when you are getting them pierced. 


DO Go to a Reputable Place

Look at overall cleanliness of the place before getting your ears pierced.

DON'T Do It on a Whim

Be prepared with all of the things you will need in order to take care of your piercings properly, such as antibacterial soap, sea salt and sterile gauze.

DO Check the Material Your First Pair of Earrings Are Made Of

Many people have allergies to certain metals, so be sure that the posts you choose as your starter earrings for your piercings are surgical stainless steel, titanium, nickel-free 14kt gold, or platinum. Avoid metal with traces of lead, such as sterling silver. Allergies will cause the lobe to swell painfully and could leave scarring.

DON'T Get Your Ear Pierced with a Gun

These are more likely to cause scarring. Your ear piercer should use a very sharp, hollow needle they throw away after one use.

DO Use Liquid Antibacterial Soap

Wash your ears with this before going to get your piercings, and after you have them done and are following up, to make sure nothing gets infected.

DON’T Forget to Wash Your Hands Before Handling Your Newly-Pierced Ears

The last thing you want to do is transfer dirt and germs to what is essentially an open wound for the first few weeks.

DO Use Distilled Water and Salt

We’ve all heard the phrase "rubbing salt in the wound." This is painful, true, but salt also aids in healing. Get a clean spray bottle or some sterile gauze. In the bottle, or a clean bowl, mix 1/4 teaspoon of non-iodized sea salt with 8 ounces of warm distilled water and shake or stir to dissolve. Then spray on your piercings, or dip the sterile gauze in the solution and squeeze it out over your earlobes.

DON'T Over-Clean Your Piercings

Again, this will irritate them. Too much of a good thing is never good.

DON'T Clasp Your Earrings Too Tightly

The butterfly backing of the posts can collect hair, dirt, pus, and dried blood and become a breeding ground for bacteria. Make sure you leave room for your piercings to breathe.

DON’T Forget to Rotate Your Earrings a Couple of Times a Day

This will stop any tissue or blood/scabs from sticking to them.

DON’T Change Your Posts

It can be really tempting to wear more fashionable earrings, but you need to be patient and let your piercings heal. The last thing you want is to go poking around in your new holes.

DON’T Swap to Dangling Earrings

The dangling kind puts weight on your piercing and you can end up with (bloody) slits instead of holes. Again, you need to be patient throughout the healing process of several weeks. There will be plenty of time to be stylish after you’re infection-free and completely healed.

DON’T Use Irritants

These include hairspray, styling products, and perfume. Don’t use over-the-ear headphones either. All of these can irritate, and also be possible sources of bacteria that you don’t want anywhere near your new piercings. Also be careful with your cellphone. Keep it really clean, and any earbuds or other items you use to talk on the phone.

DO Clean Your Piercings after Working Out or Swimming

This will help fight bacteria from sweat or the pool.

DO See a Doctor If You Think You Have an Infection

Discharge from the ear, redness, swelling and/or pain can all be a sign of infection.

DON'T Take the Piercing Out If Infected

Yes, it will be painful, but you might do more harm by removing it.