Ear Piercing Bleeding: Causes & Treatment

  • Written By Dan Hunter on January 30, 2020
    Last Updated: March 17, 2022

Don’t worry if your ear piercing bleeds; it happens to most of us. If your piercing is new, wait a few days to see if it stops. If bleeding continues or is accompanied by any worrying symptoms, you should consider getting it checked out by a doctor.

It’s normal to experience bleeding in the first few days after you get your ear pierced, and it’s part of the natural healing process. Any excess blood or dried crust can be carefully cleaned away with a cotton swab dipped in saline solution.

How long the bleeding lasts depends on the location of your ear. For example, cartilage piercings will heal more slowly and be more prone to infection than those done on the earlobe. 

Your ear piercing might be bleeding due to: 

  • Infection
  • Accidental trauma
  • Overcleaning
  • Removed crust
  • Blood thinner interference

Bleeding Causes

At the Piercing Shop

It’s entirely normal for your piercing to bleed immediately after the procedure. A needle has just gone straight through your skin and (sometimes) cartilage, so at least a little bit of blood should be expected. Piercings can even bleed quite a lot depending on location, but this is also normal in most circumstances.

Infected Piercing

If the area is swollen or you find a green or yellow discharge coming out of it, you should pay a visit to your doctor. In most cases, you’ll need to take a short course of antibiotics.

Infected Tragus Piercing

It’s essential that you stick with your piercing cleaning routine, which should be done at least twice a day. It’s vital to clean your piercing regularly to keep infections away. Infections can also occur in old ear piercings, too.

The best aftercare product I’ve personally used is the After Inked Piercing Aftercare Spray. Not only is it vegan, but it’s also completely alcohol and additive-free. The solution works well on all skin types including sensitive skin, and it comes in a generously-sized mist-spraying bottle for easy application. When using it from the very start of the healing process, the spray helps to decrease healing times and aims to eliminate any lingering pain or soreness.​

Bumping Your Piercing

Accidentally bumping your piercing may cause it to bleed. It’s hard to get used to your new piercing; we’ve found it difficult when pulling clothing over our heads at first. Try and be more aware of your surroundings and try to think first if doing something will potentially affect your new piercing.

Moving around in bed while you sleep may cause you to put too much pressure on it. This is hard to avoid, but be sure to go to sleep on the unpierced side.

Your ear piercing can get hurt easily even by combing your hair, doing your makeup or washing your face. Again, these are hard situations to avoid — maybe put a sticky note by your makeup mirror to remind you to be careful of your piercing.

Taking Blood Thinners 

Blood thinners can cause your piercing to bleed more than usual. Avoid taking painkillers — such as Aspirin (on your doctor’s approval) — or drinking alcohol for the first few days of healing.

Also, avoid rubbing it with alcohol or hydrogen peroxide until the piercing is healed. These will slow down the healing process as they dry and kill new skin cells.

Removing The Crust 

Don’t remove the crust of your piercing, as this can cause it to bleed. This happens because the crust may still be clinging onto live skin, it may tear the wound during removal.

Removing crust should only be done while cleaning your piercing. Don’t do this forcefully, though, and only use a clean cotton swab to remove dirt and any crust that naturally falls. Make sure to not directly touch a new ear piercing with your fingers within cleaning them thoroughly first, as germs from your hands can cause it to become infected.

Cleaning It Too Much

Cleaning your ear piercing too much can cause the skin near the piercing wound to dry. This may result in skin tearing and bleeding. Overcleaning can cause regenerating cells to be constantly removed without progress towards healing.

We recommend you clean your ear piercing twice a day if the healing process is occurring normally. If the piercing is infected, you can clean it three or four times a day. You can apply Tea Tree Oil to help with the healing process and to help prevent infection. 

How to Apply Tea Tree Oil

  1. Allergy test: Apply a bit of tea tree oil to the inside of your arm or thigh, wait for one day and check for signs of allergic reactions. If nothing happened, you could proceed with the treatment
  2. Clean your hands: Use an antimicrobial soap to make sure that your hands are germ-free
  3. Apply: After dipping a clean finger in the oil, gently cover the pierced area with it. You may do this twice a day after cleaning your piercing. 

Trying to reopen a piercing

Piercing holes can close up surprisingly quickly if you decide to take a break from wearing any jewelry for a while. Many people will attempt to break through the layers of skin that have formed in order to reopen a closed piercing, which can sometimes result in damaging any regenerated blood vessels, causing some (usually) minor bleeding.

Final Thoughts

Ear piercing bleeding can be a sign of infection or not following aftercare instructions. Factors less severe can be the cause, too.

Beware of any symptoms accompanying the bleeding, such as swelling, excessive redness or green/yellow pus. If this happens, contact a doctor. We advise you to avoid touching your piercing too much and to never move or change the piercing jewelry before it heals.

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