In ancient history, ear piercing was associated with someone’s authority within certain tribes. Nowadays, many people have their earlobes pierced for mostly aesthetic reasons. Apart from reasons and debates of should or should not an ear get pierced, it is important to perform an ear piercing in a sterilized, clean environment to prevent infection, which may be caused by various risk factors. Although some people do not experience any complications with their pierced earlobes, some others keep getting troubles with it, especially recurring infection.
Causes of pierced ear infection
Some common causes of pierced ear infection include:
- Unsterile instruments used for getting ears pierced.
Since piercing ears is basically produce a purposely-made wound, it is very important to do this with cautions and thoroughly-cleaned instruments. Instruments meant to be used for piercing the ears should be soaked in anti-bacterial solution or boiled in order to kill all possible germs, which can be transmitted into the wound site.
- Frequent touching on newly-pierced ear which has not healed completely with dirty hands.
When done pierced, the piercing site is still a wound until it completely heals. Hence, it exposes all internal tissues and can be easily get infected by any harmful bacteria residing on your skin. It is highly advisable that someone should not touch a newly-pierced earlobe with unwashed hands and not to be tempted on scratching it if itching occurs.
- Ill-fitting earrings, which rub unhealed pierced earlobes.
Too tight earrings do not only give the earlobe unnecessary rubs, but also inhibit sufficient supply of blood passing through the site, so that the healing process is delayed and makes the newly-pierced ear prone to infection.
- Putting on and removing earrings too frequently, which scratch the surrounding tissues of the piercing site.
It is advisable not to remove earrings for the first 6 weeks after piercing, since it may irritate the unhealed wound and leads to infection. When you are allowed to remove the earring, clean the healed hole on the earlobe with either saline solution or peroxide to get rid of left dirt and debris.
- Wearing too dangling earrings, which give too much weight on the piercing, resulting in worse wounded site.
Soon after getting the ear pierced, you should not wear any earrings which are too heavy for the piercing. This will make the wound more severe and delay healing process. Instead, use small studs which are not too tight on your piercing.
- Dirty earrings, which promote transmitted bacteria.
Any earrings you wear should have been cleaned thoroughly. Do not put on dirty earrings or earrings which are not worn for a long time without cleaning it first.
Why do I get recurring pierced ear infections?
Some people with pierced ears, especially children and teenagers often experience a recurring pierced ear infection, although they have already performed proper procedures required for pierced ears. In this case, there are couple possible risk factors, such as:
- Clogged pore or follicle on the earlobes
Although can be barely seen, some people possess pores and follicles on their ear lobes which are prone to infection when wounded. Hence, when this kind of pores and follicles are present on your pierced ear lobes and you unintentionally touch it with dirty, unwashed hands, transmitted bacteria are going to reside and infest these sites. As the result, your pierced ear lobes will undergo infection, which can be repetitive, as these sensitive pores or follicle will respond to every bacteria infestation transmitted from unsterile hands and objects.
- Earlobe cyst
Ear lobe cyst occurs in a form of bump you can feel (or see) on or around the pierced site. This cyst is not harmful if it does not grow bigger and causes elevating pain overtime. Earlobe cyst happens to people which are prone to keloids and scars when they get their ear pierced.
There are many cases of on-again-off-again pierced infection caused by allergies to nickel alloy—the material earrings can be made of. To avoid this, people prone to this allergy should replace the nickel-based earrings with ones made from either pure gold or plastic. These two materials are proven to minimize infection caused by allergies in pierced ears.