Caring for pierced ears

Although ear piercings are more common and can be less risky than other body piercings, they can still cause complications if not handled safely. For anyone thinking about getting their ears pierced, dermatologists urge people to follow these steps to avoid infection:

  1. Always wash your hands before touching newly pierced ears.

  2. Leave the earrings in your ears for six weeks or more – even at night. Removing the starter earrings too early may cause the piercings to close.

  3. Regularly wash your ears with soap and water. Carefully do this at least once a day to avoid infection.

  4. Twist the earrings a few times daily. This will help keep the pierced holes open.

  5. Put rubbing alcohol on your ears. Using a cotton ball or pad dipped in rubbing alcohol, gently clean the skin around the piercings twice a day to keep away germs and prevent scabbing. You may also apply a thin coat of petroleum jelly around the opening.

After piercing your ears, keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t get sore, red or puffy and that the holes don’t ooze yellowish liquid. If any of this occurs and doesn’t go away quickly, see a board-certified dermatologist, as you may have an infection.