How to Heal Pierced Ears

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A fashion statement dating back to ancient Egypt, pierced ears are popular among modern-day women and men alike. It is important to get pierced in a clean environment with sterilized tools by a trained, knowledgeable professional. To promote healing and stave off bacterial infection, follow a daily cleaning and care regimen. Keep in mind that earlobe piercings can take six to eight weeks and ear cartilage piercings can take four months to a year to heal.

Things You'll Need

  • Cotton gauze or disposal paper towels
  • Sterile saline solution
  • Mild, fragrance-free liquid soap (preferably antimicrobial)

Wash your hands with soap and water and dry thoroughly before handling the piercings.

Apply a sterile saline solution to the piercings with cotton gauze or a paper towel. Create your own saline solution by dissolving 1/4 tsp. non-ionized sea salt into 1 cup warm distilled water. Leave the solution on for five to 10 minutes, and then rinse the area with water.

Wash the area with a small amount of mild, fragrance-free and preferably antimicrobial liquid soap. Lather the area gently for 30 seconds, giving special attention to any crusty areas on the ear or earring. Then rinse the area with water to remove soap and crusty areas.

Dry piercings with disposable paper towels. Cloth towels can hold bacteria and snag on piercings.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wash and change bedding regularly to discourage infection.
  • Keep cell phones, hats, headphones and any other objects that come in contact with the pierced areas clean to avoid infection.
  • Eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly. Following a healthy routine promotes healing.
  • When swimming, protect your piercings with a waterproof water-sealant bandage.
  • Leave earrings in place during the healing process. Piercings can shrink in minutes.
  • Do not clean your piercings more than twice per day. Over-cleaning can irritate the area.
  • Avoid cleaning piercings with alcohol, peroxide and harsh soaps to prevent cell damage.
  • Do not apply ointments to piercings because they trap bacteria and block air circulation, which your piercings need to heal.
  • Avoid using Bactine, pierced ear solutions and other solutions containing benzalkonium chloride and benzethonium chloride, which can aggravate piercings.
  • Prevent infection by not letting bodily fluids such as sweat or saliva get near your piercings.
  • Apply makeup, hair products and perfume or cologne with care. These substances can irritate piercings.

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