Not Martha

seeking advice from the frequently pierced

I’m trying to get my ears to get used to earrings again after ten years of not wearing them. I bought some studs the other weekend and managed to get them through the holes in my earlobes which, shockingly, hadn’t closed up in all that time. There wasn’t even any blood. But now it’s getting more and more painful to put in earrings after about two earring-less days have gone by, I suspect my earlobes are conspiring against me and trying to heal over. So, I think I need to retrain. When I got pierced, back in middle school, I was given a solution to soak around the earrings and then I had to turn them once or twice a day. What should I use for that, rubbing alcohol? peroxide? (Turns out both of those are to be avoided.) Anybody have any tips on encouraging my newly reused holes to stay open?

update: Thank you so much to everybody who left advice. It seems the consensus is that I need to buy nickel-less hoops (more comfortable to sleep in) from a piercing place in a starter gauge and leave them in for at least two weeks. To keep it clean a soak in saltwater (1/4 teaspoon to 1 up hot water) as many times a day as I need. Extra thanks go to Christine who left this link to the aftercare guidelines from the Association of Professional Piercers.

· comments [67] · 01-7-2009 · categories:mumbling ·

67 responses so far ↓

  • 1 BabyCarrots // Jan 7, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    My piercers always told me to use saline solution (like you use to clean contacts) and stainless steel jewelry. It’s best not to remove the jewelry for a length of time, too. For fresh piercings I always waited 6 weeks or more. Cleaning & turning every day.

  • 2 BabyCarrots // Jan 7, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    Oh, and always use the saline solution after a shower, so you don’t have any soap residue on the piercing.

  • 3 christine // Jan 7, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    Wow, such a plethora of bad advice. You have no need to rotate your earrings, if anything you might be pulling any dried discharge (crusties)into the hole, irritating it.

    Salt water soaks are 1/4 t to 1C hot water. Soak as many times a day as you want.
    No on the ointments and harsh cleansers, bactine etc. These kill white blood cells which you need for healing.

    The Association of Professional Piercers is a good information source. Widely accepted and stringent standards for Body Modification.

    Although you do not have a new piercing, you probably have stretched the hole, causing micro tearing. So the above, easy, aftercare is a good plan to follow.

  • 4 Kara // Jan 7, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    If you didn’t have any trouble getting the studs in, a metal sensitivity is the most likely problem.

    One thing nobody seems to have suggested: coat your earrings with nail polish, acrylic sealer, or wax. I used to be able to wear any metal in my ears but now they are sensitive to everything but platinum and titanium! Coating the posts and backs allows me to wear anything I want.

  • 5 valentina // Jan 7, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    well, there’s a lot of advice already.
    you may have an adverse reaction to the metal of your earrings. i can only wear gold now, after having been able to wear anything.
    i’ve had multiple piercings, and the only thing i was ever told to use to help with healing is ‘bactine’. it’s fantastic.

  • 6 nia // Jan 7, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    first — peroxide is not your friend. try an ointment or aquaphor instead. also (gasp) QVC sells “platinum clad” CZ studs. i have a couple pair and I am very happy with them.

  • 7 shayna // Jan 7, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    are you sure it’s not an allergy? I had been wearing the same pair of earrings for – literally, without removal – years at a time for like 10 years and then suddenly, I couldn’t wear them anymore. My ears would get sore and occasionally rashy. Just a thought.

  • 8 Katie M. // Jan 7, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    I read often but this is my first comment. You probably have a nickel sensitivity like a lot of people have said. FYI surgical and stainless steel contain nickel. It keeps them from rusting. Make sure you buy new gold(most new gold doesn’t have nickel, double check though), yellow or white, or sterling silver from a reputable company that specifically states they don’t use nickel in their jewelry. Enjoy!

  • 9 michelle // Jan 7, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    please make sure you are wearing hypoallergenic studs & clean ears carefully every eve/or every other

    also – dip posts in neosporin (sp) prior to placing in ear, will help w/tenderness & infection

    good luck!

  • 10 rose // Jan 7, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    i have always found that neosporim worked…antibiotic salve. you can also do the alcohal but if your ears are red then they are infected and need the salve. also posts are best because your ears will be use to the larger holes rather than the thin wires. if you put wires in first and your ears heal then they won’t want to wear the bigger posts…hope this helps?

  • 11 Lisa // Jan 7, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    Husband is a body piercer and honestly, Knowing what I know about it all.. which is a lot.. Please follow what comment #53 says. It’s the best advice here.

  • 12 megan // Jan 7, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    Thank you Lisa (61) and Christine (53), I appreciate the solid advice!

  • 13 Stephanie // Jan 8, 2009 at 4:22 am

    I am so glad to see this information posted! I was wondering what to do if one needed to get their ears re-pierced? I may try to re-insert some earrings and follow the advice. Thank you and good luck!

  • 14 Megan // Jan 8, 2009 at 11:51 am

    It may seem obvious, but wash your hands before touching your newly-rediscovered holes.

  • 15 Jen // Jan 8, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    eh, there may be lots of NOs against alcohol, but that’s all I’ve ever used. both to swab my ear lobes, and to clean the jewellery. The earrings I wear most often are 14k or 18k, which is okay, but sterling silver actually agrees most with my piercings.

    Also, I would take them out to shower, particularly if you’re wearing studs, because moisture gets trapped. Dry off post shower before putting them back in.

  • 16 nazila // Jan 9, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    Hmm. I never take out my earrings except to clean them on occasion. I wear the noble metals as well. That being said, wearing earrings to bed does take some getting used to.

    If I was wearing chandelier earrings or huge hoops I would take them out, but I’m pretty much a purist when it comes to earrings – gold balls, studs and pearls.


  • 17 Jillian // Oct 30, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    I have a bad problem with normal earring posts and wires. I had a bad allergic reaction to earrings a few decades ago.
    A few years ago, I found that Titanium earrings are excellent for those who have an allergy to nickle or other metals used for earrings.

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