The practice of ear piercing dates back to thousands of years ago. From jungle tribes to desert nomads to royalty, pierced ears were indicators of both beauty and social standing. Ear piercing is just as popular today, with both men and women having one or both earlobes pierced. Certain preventive and maintenance procedures need to be observed in order to avoid and treat pierced ear problems either on the lobe or on the cartilage.
A sizable percentage of individuals experience minor problems in the period following piercing. You’ve heard the saying ‘cleanliness is next to godliness.’ Here, it is suitable to say ‘cleanliness is key to avoiding pierced ear problems.’ It’s important for the person performing the piercing to operate in clean surroundings, use sterile equipment and employ a sanitary piercing technique. Ideally, piercing should be done in a clinical setting, but many jewelry stores in malls offer the service and this is acceptable only if the conditions are sanitary and the staff knowledgeable so that the risk of pierced ear problems is minimized.
Another problem arising from ear piercing is an allergic reaction to the metal from which the earring is made, especially nickel. The studs to be used should be hypoallergenic and totally nickel-free; ideally, stainless, surgical steel or 14-karat gold should be used for first piercings. However, remember that even 14-karat gold can contain nickel and may cause irritation in some people. Using surgical steel is still the safest bet to avoid pierced ear problems of this type.
Redness and inflammation, two other common pierced ear problems, can be prevented or treated if proper hygiene is practiced. After the prescribed healing time, the earrings should be removed and the holes washed with soap and water daily. Additionally, the holes should be cleaned with rubbing alcohol, and an antibacterial ointment may also be applied to the holes before the earrings are reinserted in order to prevent infection. If infection does occur, a physician may prescribe antibiotics to treat the problem.
Pierced ears are always fashionable, and the process is almost always safe, quick and convenient. It isn’t at all difficult to care for newly pierced ears. However, it never hurts to be extra cautious and err on the side of caution rather than experience painful and inconvenient pierced ear problems.