Body piercings are more than just a trendy embellishment for your ear or your nose. They have been around for ages and they are also an extremely common practice amongst many cultures. Having said that, it’s not fair to your ears to just willy-nilly walk into any place and get it pierced, or worse, in your hostel dorm room! Whether you consider yourself an expert or an amateur, there is something you can always learn about ear piercings. From prep to techniques and types, here’s everything you always wanted to know about ear piercing!
- Types of ear piercing
- Ear piercing methods: gun vs needles
- Tips for prepping for an ear piercing
- Tips for cleaning ear piercings
- Did you know?
- How to treat an infected ear piercing
- FAQs about ear piercing
Types of ear piercing
1. Lobe piercings - most common form of ear piercings that involve standard lobe piercings and transverse lobe piercings
2. Outer ear-piercing - used mostly for studs and chain piercings; includes tragus piercing, snug piercing, forward helix piercing, industrial piercing, auricle piercing
3. Inner ear piercings - comparatively rare and includes anti-tragus piercing, helix piercing, rook piercing, daith piercing, outer conch piercing, orbital piercing
Ear piercing methods: gun vs needles
The two popular methods of ear piercings offered by most salons or jewellery outlets are the gun and needle piercings. While the gun is usually equipped with a traditional puncture and clap stud, the needle does not come with its own set of studs. Here are some details to consider before settling for a technique:
1. Piercing gun - Guns are used to pierce the non-cartilage area of the earlobe only. It requires little to no training and can be used if you want to have a stud put in your ear right away. It is quick, the shock value can mask the pain and has the same kind of aftercare as getting pierced by a needle.
2. Needle piercing - Needles are used for piercing all parts of the ear, even the cartilaginous areas. Interestingly, needle piercings have been deemed less messy and less painful than piercing guns. This is usually the case because needles are hollow and have a sharp point to create a clean hole. It also removes some of the skin and tissue at the piercing site, making it easier for your wound to drain out and heal. They do require a trained hand, so make sure you are getting it done from a professional at a piercing studio. The general consensus is that needle piercings are the safer option, as the action is controlled by the seasoned hand of the person doing the piercing.
Tips for prepping for an ear piercing
It is natural to get nervous before getting your ears pierced. But a little bit of prep can make you feel far more confident about your appointment and avoid any fainting spells in the chair!
Pick the right place: Half the battle is won when you trust the studio and the technician you’ve picked. Do your research, read up on reviews, ask your friends and walk in with the confidence that you are in good hands!
Eat and hydrate: Beat your nerves and keep hunger away by eating at least four hours prior to your appointment. Staying hydrated also helps calm your nerves.
Arrive a few minutes early: Piercing studios can look daunting, especially if it is your first time in there. Arrive a few minutes early and make yourself comfortable around all the equipment.
Pick out the right studs: Since you are going to be wearing your starter stud for at least six weeks, make sure to pick out a versatile one that is easy to pair with all outfits. Also, stick to hypoallergenic metals, especially if it’s your first piercing.
Tips for cleaning ear piercings
Your ear piercings need proper cleaning and care in order to be safe from getting infected during the healing period. Here are some tips to clean the piercing site properly:
Disinfect your hands: Before doing anything around the open wound, wash your hands and disinfect them in order to avoid any contamination.
Use a cotton pad or swab: Use a cotton pad or swab, dip it in rubbing alcohol and use it to clean around the piercing site at least thrice a day. Don’t use anything from your bathroom vanity to wash your pricing. Some piercing studios might recommend a good cleansing gel if you ask them!
Dab, don’t wipe: Avoid rubbing the open wound as much as possible. Dab, don’t wipe, with a tissue or clean cloth in order to get rid of any pus that might have congealed in there.
Petroleum jelly: A thin layer of Vaseline Aloe Soothe Skin Protecting Jelly can protect the piercing site from getting infected by external aggressors. Apply it at all times till the wound heals.
Keep the area away from products: Make sure you are not getting any skin or hair care products on the piercing site. Products like shampoos, soaps or hairsprays can irritate the tissue.
Did you know?
There are clear signs to tell if a piercing site has become infected while healing. Here’s how you can tell:
- Aching and throbbing pain in and around the piercing, especially a couple of days after the piercing
- Annoyingly itchy
- Visible redness
- Painful swelling
- Burning sensation
- Abnormal white and yellow discharge
How to treat an infected ear piercing
Even after multiple precautions, you can develop an infection from an ear-piercing. This is mainly because of the fact that you might be allergic to metals and your body’s natural healing process is too slow to accommodate it. In such cases, do not remove the stud, as this can close up the hole and trap the infection. Instead, clean with a sterile saline solution thrice a day, dab it dry with a clean tissue. Keep doing this until the infection is fully healed.
FAQs about ear piercing
1) Should you rotate your ear piercing?
A. A common belief with ear piercings seems to be to rotate the studs when they have been freshly put in. But this is not advisable as this will only push the bacteria into an open wound, the only time you should touch the stud should be to clean it.
2) How do you sleep with a newly pierced earlobe?
A. A newly pierced earlobe requires a lot of love and care. Try sleeping on your back, as any undue pressure on an open wound can cause it to swell and hurt. You should also lay down a soft cloth or muslin sheet in order to avoid any healing cream getting on your pillows.
3) How long do ears hurt after an ear piercing?
A. Much like the pain felt during the piercing itself, the healing time also depends on each person. Usually, the first three days is when the piercing site is tender to the touch, there is mild bruising or swelling or there might be a little bleeding. But most people are in the clear after the initial three to four days.
Main image courtesy: @sanyamalhotra