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Earlobe Piercing Guide: Where to Get Them and Aftercare

Hilary has done extensive research on body piercings since she got her ears pierced. She intends to prevent misinformation about this topic.

A collection of piercings on the earlobe and cartilage

A collection of piercings on the earlobe and cartilage

Gun or needle?


You may be wondering why piercing guns should be avoided. For one, they cannot be completely sanitized. As these guns are made of plastic, they would melt in an autoclave. Autoclaves are devices that sterilize piercing tools by heating them to a temperature high enough to kill all viable microorganisms. Instead, piercing guns are given a quick swipe with an antiseptic wipe which does not completely kill all the microbes. This raises your chances of getting an infected piercing.

Another reason why piercing guns are not optimal is because they cause blunt force trauma to earlobes. Piercing needles gently part the flesh to make room for the jewelry. In comparison, the gun shoves blunt-ended studs through the ear tissue, causing more damage to the surrounding tissue. Because of this, piercing ear cartilage with a gun can be risky. You run the risk of shattering your ear cartilage from the force. Furthermore, piercing gun wounds take more time to heal because of the trauma.

However, I am not trying to claim that you are guaranteed misfortunes if pierced with a piercing gun. There have been many instances of people getting well-placed and worry-free piercings from a gun. I myself had my ears pierced with a gun at the pediatrician as my parents are biased against professional body piercers. My ears healed nicely after the procedure, and I never got an infection. Despite this, getting piercings done with a needle by a professional piercer is definitely optimal.


A piercing performed by a piercing gun

A piercing performed by a piercing gun

Where should I pierce my ears?

First and foremost, avoid places that use a piercing gun, especially if you are piercing your cartilage. A few common examples of places to steer clear from are Claire's and mall kiosks.

If you are getting your ears pierced at a local body modification facility, here are some things to look for. First, ensure that they sterilize their tools with an autoclave. The staff generally will not mind showing it to you, and some may even be glad that you're showing an interest in their safety procedure. Next, be aware of the shop's general cleanliness. If the lace looks grungy and dirty, think twice about staying. Also, look for business licenses and professional training certificates. If everything looks good and you're confident that they will provide a good experience, go for it!

In the end, you decide where and how you get pierced. Use your best judgement, do your research, and happy piercing!

Some starter stud earrings for newly pierced ears

Some starter stud earrings for newly pierced ears

How do I pick starter earrings?

The most important thing to consider when picking a pair of earrings is ensure that the metal will not give you an allergic reaction. While 14 karat and above gold is generally safe, there is a small chance that they could cause a reaction. Surgical steel, titanium, niobium, and plastic are safe choices. Avoid earrings with nickel as most metal allergic reactions stem from traces of nickel.

The style of earrings you select are important as well. Studs are simple and cute, but they could put pressure on your pierced lobe if it swells. They may also be a tight fit on thicker lobes, preventing the wound from breathing. Good alternatives to studs are captive rings, circular barbells, and labrets. When in doubt, ask your piercer for their recommendations. Every ear is different.

H2Ocean, a highly reviewed saline spray for healing piercings

H2Ocean, a highly reviewed saline spray for healing piercings

Basic Piercing Care Guidelines

Earlobe piercings generally take six to eight weeks to heal. It is recommended to leave the initial pair of earrings in for 24 hours of day, even when showering and sleeping, for as long as possible. Premature removal of the jewelry can cause the new hole to close and you to spend more money on another piercing.

Never touch your ears outside of washing them. Your hands are teeming with bacteria, and contact with the ear piercings may cause infections. Also, be careful when washing, brushing, and styling your hair on a daily basis. You might traumatize your piercings and make them take more time to heal.

Do not twist, turn, or slide your earrings. This will only slow down the piercing's healing process by irritating the wound.

Clean your ear piercings two times a day by soaking them in a sea salt solution for five minutes. You may also use a saline spray such as H2Ocean's spray every few hours to clean your piercings.

Earlobe piercings are not difficult to take care of. It's not the end of the day if you accidentally knock your new piercing. As long as you are diligent with your after care and refrain from excessive touching, your piercing should heal beautifully. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, leave a comment below or (even better) ask an expert!

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