How To Keep Pierced Ears From Getting Infected

 Did you know that people have been their ears pierced for thousands of years? The only issue was they weren't exactly sure of how to properly look after their ears after they were pierced. While an ear piercing is a great cosmetic addition, it's definitely not worth getting a nasty infection due to carelessness with the whole procedure.

Here are tips on how to keep your ears from getting infected from the earrings you wear.  

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Choose a Reputable Piercing Shop

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Photo: Getty Images.

A good, reputable piercing shop will have ensured that all of their equipment is sterile, and that the environment where the piercing will be done is clean. When you're getting your ear pierced, check that the person doing it has properly washed their hands or that they're wearing gloves prior to them beginning the process. Also, they should apply a special bacteria-killing soap to your ear(s) before they carry out the piercing. Never allow your ears to be pierced in someone's home (even if they claim to do pierce professionally). 

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Wear High Quality Metals

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The first earrings you ever have should have gold posts, which are the part that slides through the hole in your ear. Gold is significantly less likely to result in swelling and/or an infection. If you replace the earring soon after your piercing with a non-gold post, you could find yourself having an allergic reaction to that metal, especially if the earrings are cheaply made..

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Follow Aftercare Instructions

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Photo: Getty Images.

After you've had your ears pierced for the first time, it's good practice to leave the earrings in place up until the ears are fully healed. This will typically take around four to six weeks. If you choose not to leave them in place, it's possible that your holes will close and you'll have to go through the entire piercing process all over again.


It's essential that you keep germs out of your pierced ears, so ensure that you're always keeping your ears clean. For a few days following the piercing, you'll need to wash your ears with ear cleaning solution, antibiotic ointment or rubbing alcohol. This helps significantly in reducing the chances of you getting an ear infection.

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Keep Pierced Ears Clean

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Photo: Getty Images.

Whether it's you, a friend or family member doing the cleaning, it's important to follow these steps two times per day:

  1. Thoroughly clean your hands to prevent the spread of germs from your fingers. 
  2. Using a swab or cotton ball, apply antibiotic ointment or rubbing alcohol to the lobes or earlobe.
  3. Carefully and gently spin the earring whilst it's in place in your ear.

Once your ear has healed entirely, take out your earrings every night prior to sleeping. For the first time that you remove them, wash them carefully with rubbing alcohol. The same applies for any other earrings that you'll be wearing. 

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Know the Signs of an Infected Piercing

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If you're concerned that you could have an infected piercing, check if the earlobe area is red, swollen, painful and warm. It's also possible that it could be oozing out pus. Learn the right way to care for an infected piercing. 

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Learn How to Safely Wear Cheap Earrings

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Photo: Getty Images.

Love a pair of really cheap earrings but notice that every time you wear them you get an infection?  Some people have a sensitivity to earrings made from cheap metals or materials that aren't nickel free.  Instead of ditching the earrings, or thinking you have to a commit to a life of pricey baubles for your ears, try painting some clear nail polish over the posts in order to avoid direct contact with your ears and the metal of the earrings.  

Take immediate action

It's not that uncommon for a pierced ear to become infected, but it's not worth waiting for it to fix itself, the infection could make you sick and spread further. Pay special attention to the problem if you've got a fever, redness/swelling spreading further than the hole or if the earring gets stuck in the ear. The best idea in this scenario is to call a doctor for advice on how to treat the infection effectively. They'll most likely recommend an ear cleaning routine, including the application of antibacterial ointment. When an ear infection is properly looked after, it's likely that it'll be gone entirely within one or two weeks. Once that's over, your ears will be back to normal.