Proper ear piercing aftercare is imperative to prevent scarring and infection. Piercings should be cleaned a couple times a day, and a person should also use clean fingers to turn the new earrings several times a day. New piercings should not be removed for several weeks, since the holes will heal and the ears will usually need to be repierced. The ears should also not come in contact with any harsh chemicals or snug ear accessories.
New piercings are susceptible to infection, particularly if bacteria enters the holes. An infection in this area is painful and can lead to scarring. To minimize the possibility of bacteria entering the holes, good ear piercing aftercare is very important.
Cleaning the new piercings is one of the most important parts of proper ear piercing aftercare. To do this, the holes in the ears should be washed with a saline solution. Cotton swabs can also be dipped into saline solution and gently rubbed on the ears, if necessary. Alcohol or hydrogen peroxide should not be used to clean new piercings, since these can cause irritation and prolong healing time.
If a new earring is not spun around, the ear may heal around the earring post. Spinning the earring is often recommended as part of ear piercing aftercare. Before doing this, the hands should be washed well with soap and hot water. The front of the earring can then be twirled around a few times.
It is also very important that the earring stay in the ear until the piercing is completely healed, which will usually take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Removing an earring before the piercing hole heals completely can make it very hard for a person to insert the earring back in the hole. If the earring is removed and the piercing heals, the ear will usually need to be repierced, either in a different part of the ear or through scar tissue, which can be very difficult.
New piercings should also not be exposed to harsh chemicals, since these can cause irritation. Shampoo and hair spray should be kept away from the ears. A person should also not use hair color or other chemical treatments on the hair until the ears have healed completely. Anything that puts pressure on the ears, such as ear muffs or headphones, should be avoided as well.
Watching for signs of infection is another important part of ear piercing aftercare. An infected piercing will usually be red and warm. It will also usually leak white, gray, yellow, or green foul-smelling discharge, known as pus. An earring in an infected pierced ear should not be removed until it is examined by a doctor. If the earring is removed before it is treated, the surface of the hole may heal before the inside does, which can cause an abscess.