Piercings: From Idea to Aftercare -- Everything You'd Need to Know
This article was contributed by Authority Tattoo.
Thinking of getting your ears pierced? While earlobe piercings are the most common, some people have other parts of their ears and body pierced such as the area of the ear with cartilage, belly buttons, and noses.
However, before you can start sporting a cool stud and other types of jewelry, you’ll need to decide where you want to get pierced, who or where you’ll have it done, and how to take care of the area after piercing. If you’ve come here with these questions, we’ve got the answers.
Take a seat, get comfortable, and let us tell you all about ear piercings to help you prepare. Let’s start with a little history…
When Did Ear Piercing Start?
Otzi the Iceman, a mummy discovered in 1991, is cited as the oldest human to have ear piercings in both ears. He’s estimated to be about 5,300 years old.
Throughout history, different people from all over have worn earrings for a multitude of reasons. For example, some sailors in ancient Greece have been known to wear earrings so the earrings could help pay for their funeral rites in case they get lost at sea and are washed ashore.
In indigenous regions, getting your ears pierced was part of superstition and religion. It was believed that spirits entered the body through the ear and metal earrings were believed to repel them. They were also worn as a representation of one’s cultural or tribal identity.
Whatever the reason, earrings have mostly functioned as ornamental accessories throughout time. The earliest archeological evidence of earrings was found on Sumerian women who lived around 2,500 BCE. Their remains show them wearing crescent-shaped gold hoops.
Types Of Ear Piercings
The ear may appear small but they offer many possibilities for ear piercings since there are different areas that you can get pierced. Here’s a rough account of all the different ear piercings you can get.
The conch is in the middle of the inside ear. When pierced, tiny hoops can be affixed on the inner and outer ear. Its name is derived from the spiral-shaped shell with the same name.
Located between the tragus and the rook, the daith is a subtle piercing location, one that can be best viewed from a side angle. Getting this type of piercing is rumored to help alleviate migraines.
The most common of all ear piercings, your earlobes are a great place to start your piercing journey since you can experiment with many types of earrings. The earlobes are the soft lower section of the ear.
The flap that connects your head with your ear is called the forward helix. It’s the front part of the ear that is closely followed by the rook and helix.
A helix piercing is placed along the upper outer cartilage of the ear. Helix piercings allow you to experiment with personalized placements and unique styles.
The rook is an unusual inner ear piercing. It sits above the daith and between the inner conch and the forward helix. It sits close to your head through the ridge of your inner ear.
The tragus is the area of skin that sits close to the ear canal. Due to its location at the forefront of the ear, this piercing is visible even when viewing the face from the front.
Your anti-tragus sits opposite the tragus. It’s a triangular flap of skin just above the earlobe.
Here’s an additional guide on the types of ear piercings as well:
What Happens When I Get My Ears Pierced?
Getting your ears pierced is a quick and easy procedure. Depending on the area of the ear you’ve chosen, a professional marks the spot for piercing and uses a needle or a piercing gun to make a hole. The earring is then placed through the hole.
Do Ear Piercings Hurt?
Pain is understandably a big factor so it’s only natural to wonder about it when getting your ears pierced. Since pain is also relative and each of us has a different threshold for pain, there isn’t a single overarching answer to this question. What’s painful for some may be a momentary sting for others.
When you get a piercing, you’re messing with your body’s natural autonomy. Disrupting this barrier will cause some discomfort so you should always take that into account.
Of course, you won’t experience the same pain in every part of your ear. The earlobe, for example, isn’t the most painful piercing because it’s located in the soft section of the ear. On the other hand, a piercing on your tragus, conch, etc. will be more painful since they’re located on harder sections of the ear.
What Are the Risks Involved in Ear Piercing?
Before you get a piercing, it’s good to know the risks involved. If you’re unsure about it, it’s best to wait. Never get a piercing under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or peer pressure.
These are some of the risks involved when getting your ears pierced:
- Allergic reactions
- Skin infections
- Overgrown scar tissue
- Tearing or trauma
- Blood diseases
Ear Piercing Aftercare 101
Aftercare is one of the most important aspects of getting your ear pierced as it can significantly impact your piercing experience. Here are a few things you should do in the weeks following an ear piercing:
- Your ear will be a little swollen and tender after piercing. To prevent irritation and infection, avoid touching your piercing or fiddling with it during the first 24 hours.
- New piercings can close up quickly so you should refrain from removing the piercing jewelry that was inserted.
- Clean the piercing 2 to 3 times a day with a saline-based solution, mild soap, or oil-based solution like Emu Oil from Emu Joy.
- You should also clean the area with a mild non-antibacterial soap after bathing to rinse away any soap or shampoo that can irritate your piercing.
The time it takes for your piercing to heal depends on which part of your ear you had pierced. Earlobe piercings take between 6 to 8 weeks while ear cartilage piercings take between 3 to 4 months. However, this differs from person to person so you’ll need to pay close attention to how your ear is healing and perform piercing aftercare accordingly.
Why and How Should I Clean My Ear Piercings?
Giving your piercing a soak with a mild saline solution, soap, or oil-based solution prevents infection, scarring, and speeds up the healing process. Here’s how to do it:
- Thoroughly wash and disinfect your hands before attending to your piercing.
- Spray the solution on the pierced area and make sure that it’s fully soaked. Alternatively, you can use a cotton swab to gently coax dried blood and/or discharge out.
- Rotate the earring a full 360 when cleaning your ear piercing. Don’t twist, or fiddle with your earring when the piercing site is dry as it can cause pain, discomfort, irritation, and infection in addition to feeling crusty and sticky.
If you’ve opted for a stud, keep the back of the earring a good distance away from the ear. It may look and feel loose but it’s best to avoid pushing it too close to the earlobes to give the area room to heal.
Why Should I Consider Oil-Based Solutions?
Using oils to clean your ear piercings offer the unique advantage of softening up the healing tissue while soothing your wound. If you decide to use an oil-based solution, opt for a high-quality oil that is designed to be used as an aftercare solution for body piercings.
A good product to consider is Emu Oil, a product by Emu Joy that can be used as aftercare for fresh piercings, tattoos, chemo, and radiation burns. It can also be used to moisturize dry skin and scalp and has a multitude of other uses. Because of emu oil’s great similarity to the oil on our skin, it is absorbed better and deeper by each of our skin’s 7 layers.
This product from Emu Joy helps heal irritated skin while relieving pain and inflammation. It’s also ethically sourced, made from 100% emu oil, and AEA (American Emu Association) certified. Emu Oil is available on the Emu Joy website and Amazon.
Keep an Eye on Infection
Pain and discomfort are normal during the first 3 to 5 days. If it lasts for more than 5 days, check for signs of infections like redness, swelling, pus, fever, etc. If you notice that your piercing is healing at a slower pace, you should also look out for allergies and metal sensitivity.
To avoid the risk of infection, look for hypoallergenic and nickel-free metal alternatives especially when your ear is newly pierced.
Precautions To Take
The piercing site will take time to heal. To ensure your piercing heals as quickly as possible, take the following precautions:
- Pick your metal carefully. Medical-grade metal, hypoallergenic, and nickel-free earrings are good choices.
- Ensure everything is sterilized to reduce the risk of infection. Make sure your piercer is wearing sterilized gloves and using a sterilized alcohol wipe before piercing your skin.
- Don’t change your starter earrings for the first 6 weeks and wear lightweight earrings as your ears heal.
- Avoid putting pressure on your piercing. Steer clear of turtlenecks, sweaters, or any piece of clothing that can potentially snag and cause trauma to the piercing site.
- Wait for your ear piercing to heal before you go swimming as the bacteria and chlorine in the pool may cause infection and irritation.
Practice Diligent Ear Piercing Aftercare
Taking care of your piercing is not a complex task. As long as you’re diligent with ear piercing aftercare, you can speed up healing with minimal risk of infection and soon look forward to the many stylish possibilities that pierced ears offer.
Learn more about using Emu Oil for your piercings here.