Piercings are addictive. I’ve always heard people say this but never really understood it until I got my second piercing. I only have 5 (individual) piercings in total…which isn’t a lot but this blog post was highly requested so after deliberating, I finally decided to do it.
Let’s start with the most common one. The standard lobe piercing. I don’t have any memory of getting this piercing done as I got it done at a very young age.
Fast forward to 2014 when I got a second lobe piercing. This one right above my first, another pretty common piercing.
Pain: 4/10 (10 being extremely painful). I have quite a low pain tolerance but getting this piercing wasn’t bad at all. It felt like a pinch and I definitely expected worse. I got it pierced with a gun and it was over fairly quickly. My ears were red and felt warm for the first few hours which is completely normal after getting a piercing.
Aftercare: I cleaned the area twice a day using rubbing alcohol and a cotton swab. I will admit that after the first few weeks, and initial paranoia, I got lazy when it came to cleaning and would often not clean it. After a while (maybe a month or so) the piercings got infected (the left ear was significantly worse than the right). This is completely normal and part of the healing process, and may happen no matter how well and often you clean it. I remember it being sore and inflamed. I got an antibacterial cream from the pharmacy that I applied twice a day after cleaning. That seemed to do the trick.
I was able to remove the earrings after about 10 weeks (I had to take them out for school) but made sure to put them back in every night. This was to prevent the hole from closing.
These piercings were quite troublesome for me and got infected yet again a few months later. They were constantly sore and took a while to heal. I would say that they were fully healed after about a year or so. But even after 3 years, if i leave the earrings out for too long (a number of weeks), it hurts to put them back in.
In June of this year (2017) I got my cartilage/helix pierced on my right ear. I had prepared myself before getting this piercing done. I watched countless videos of people getting theirs pierced…so many that I could probably have pierced it myself.
Pain: 7/10. In terms of pain, it was quite high up on the scale (for me at least). It felt like an extremely long process when in reality it was probably only a few minutes. I got it pierced with a needle (I don’t recommend getting it done with a gun as it could shatter your cartilage) and at one point, before the earring was put in, I had a long needle poking through my ear…not the most pleasant sight. My ear felt much warmer than it did when I got my second lobe piercing done, but again, that’s normal.When it was pierced it did bleed a bit, but not a lot which I was thankful for.
Aftercare: My ear was extremely sore for the first two weeks. The piercing would get hook on my hair, my clothes, pretty much anything it could’ve gotten itself hooked on. I even accidentally hit it with my hand a few times which made it even more sore than it already was. It was a pain. I didn’t sleep on my left side for the first month or so (and i’m still not supposed to…but I do it anyways). I clean the piercing twice a day with a salt water mixture (NON-IODINE sea salt diluted in warm water). Rubbing alcohol will dry out a cartilage piercing as there isn’t much blood flow to that area of the ear. I strongly recommend using the sea salt to clean any piercing in the upper ear area.
My piercing got infected twice so far but seems to be doing fine at the moment. (I’ll share my tips below). While it was infected it was red pretty much 24/7 and extremely sore. It was also so inflamed that the earring couldn’t more back and forth (which it can freely do now). The piercing is still in the general healing process which may take a while as cartilage piercings usually take a long a couple months to heal. I was able to remove the earring after a month and I switched it out for another one.
- Use a sea salt paste- this is super easy to make. Crush some sea salt until its almost in a powder form and add a few drops of water (the less water the better). Then apply this to the piercing after cleaning it and leave it there overnight. This will help to quicken the healing process as well as help get rid of infections.
- Soak the piercing when cleaning- cleaning the piercing using a cotton swap isn’t enough…especially when it’s infected. I usually bend my head sideways over a sink and pour sea salt water over the back and front of the piercing. Ensure that you stop to move the earring back and forth while doing this. You can also hold a bowl with the sea salt water to your ear and allow it to soak for a few minutes but I find the previously mentioned method quicker and more convenient.
- Use tea tree oil- I didn’t use this for my second piercing but it has been a life saver when it comes to my cartilage. I apply it twice a day after cleaning and it helped when the piercing was infected. It helps with swelling, soreness and I the general healing process.
- Avoid lakes, oceans and rivers- you shouldn’t expose you piercing to the bacteria in the ocean for the first month and in rivers and lakes for the first two-three months. If you do expose your piercing to it while it’s still healing (after the recommended time period), be sure to take a spray bottle with clean water with you and rinse the piercing clean afterward. And clean it using the sea salt water as soon as possible to kill any remaining bacteria.
- Avoid sleeping on the pierced ear- this should be done for as long as possible. I know that it’s hard to do but sleeping on the ear puts unnecessary pressure on the piercing and slows down the healing process.
- Avoid touching it- this is especially hard for me as I tend to fiddle with the earring (sometimes without even noticing) but this slows down the healing process and may cause it to become irritated and even infected easier due to bacteria.
- Be sure to move to earring regularly- if the earring is a hoop you should rotate it and if it’s a stud then you should move it back and forth regularly. This will prevent the skin from attaching to the jewelry while the piercing is healing. I also recommend that you remove the earring regularly (once it is safe to do so) and clean both the area and the jewelry thoroughly. I do the about once a week with my cartilage piercing.
More piercings in the future?
I think that i’m done with ear piercings but I definitely want a navel piercing sometime soon. Is it worth the pain and long cleaning process? Not sure. But i’m considering it.
This post was quite a long one but I hope that it was helpful. Be sure to comment any tips of your own and feel free to ask my any questions that you may have 🙂