Ear Industrial Piercing

Summary General Healing Time 8 weeks

  • The manufacturers of piercing guns do NOT recommend their use for this type of piercing
  • Healing Time: 6 - 12 months
  • Do not touch your piercing, or let others touch it while it is healing
  • Clean your healing piercing only twice a day, with antibacterial soap
  • Never use alcohol swabs, Betadine or hydrogen peroxide to clean your piercing
  • Never use cotton balls or cotton swabs to clean your piercing
  • Pain, redness and unusual discharge may be due to infection. Consult your piercer or a physician if you develop any of these symptoms
  • Take vitamin C and zinc to maximize your healing
  • Wait till your piercing is healed before changing jewelry yourself

Daily Care Routine
  • Do not touch your piercing unless you are cleaning it. Unwashed hands carry bacteria and your piercing is a point where these bacteria can penetrate below your skin and cause an infection.
  • While healing, at least for the first 2 - 3 weeks, your piercing will need to be cleaned once daily - while showering is ideal. You will need to use an antibacterial soap.
  • The step-by-step procedure is:
Wash your hands with antibacterial soap.
Wet the piercing with plain water.
Put a few drops of antibacterial soap on the piercing and work them into a lather with a cotton bud.
Try to loosen any crusted discharge and float it off the jewelry and your skin with the cotton bud.
Leave the antibacterial soap on the piercing for two minutes while rotating the jewelry back and forth, allowing the disinfectant to penetrate the piercing.
Rinse with water and air dry thoroughly.
Piercing Options and Jewelry Choices
  • Suitable Types:
Captured bead rings
Rings are much cheaper than bar bells, but they do tend to park flat against the skin. Special pliers are usually required to remove or replace the bead.
Curved bar bells
Either choose internally threaded bar bells or, if the bar is externally threaded, be very sure that no threads are exposed.
  • Suitable Sizes:
    Only 14 gauge or heavier jewelry should be used. Smaller gauges will migrate out through the skin.
  • Suitable Materials:
    Surgical Stainless Steel, 18 carat gold, titanium, niobium.
    Do not use 9 karat gold, silver (which can stain the tissues permanently), or gold plated jewelry in new piercings. In a healing piercing the gold plating will wear off the jewelry before the piercing is healed. This is not such a problem in healed piercings.
  • Changing Jewelry:
    It is possible to change jewelry during the first 2 months, but this is best done by a professional piercer. Once a piercing is healed anyone can change the jewelry.
Other Issues
  • Bacterial Infections
Symptoms include increased pain, increased redness and an increase in the amount and thickness of the discharge. The infected discharge is usually thick and yellow, green or gray and may have an unusual odor.
Consult with your physician or piercer and do not remove the jewelry until you seek advice. Removing the jewelry may prevent pus draining and cause an abscess to form.
  • Cleaning Agents
    Never use alcohol swabs, Betadine, chlorhexidine, hydrogen peroxide, methylated spirit or tea tree oil to clean your new piercing. These do kill bacteria but they also destroy your healing flesh. The killed flesh then becomes easily infected.
  • Exercising:
    Be careful not to knock the piercing accidentally when playing sport or doing physical work. You can use a bandage to protect it, but afterwards remove it and wash the piercing as soon as possible.
  • Sleeping:
    Use surgical tape while sleeping to protect the piercing.
  • Swimming
    Swimming is not prohibited while your piercing is healing, but you should only swim for short periods in pools that are thoroughly chlorine- or ozone-treated. Do not let your skin become wrinkly and soft. If you swim in the ocean or waterways, do not swim after heavy rain. Storm water run-off often contains bacteria and parasites.
  • Tightening:
    Tightening can occur in all piercings. The skin at either or both ends can grow tightly against the jewelry. This is not dangerous and will usually resolve if the piercing is rotated or moved about with each daily washing. However, you should not rotate the piercing excessively as this can delay healing.
  • Viral Infections
    Viruses such as Hepatitis A, B, and C, and HIV can penetrate a piercing that has not healed. These viruses may be present in the blood, saliva, semen, sweat and vaginal secretions of infected persons. Until your piercing has healed avoid any other person's bodily fluids contacting your piercing.
  • Vitamins:
    Studies have shown that vitamin C and zinc promote wound healing. Aim for about 2000-3000 mg vitamin C and 100 mg zinc daily. Note that these amounts are not available in multivitamin tablets. Ask at your pharmacist or health-food store for advice on suitable products. If you are taking any medications, ask your pharmacist to make sure there are no interactions between them and the vitamin C and zinc you intend to take. For example, vitamin C can delay the absorption of the contraceptive pill - they should be taken at different times.