Industrial Piercing Infections – Symptoms & Treatment
If you’ve recently gotten an industrial piercing and it feels sore or doesn’t look quite right to you, you may be wondering if it’s infected.
Industrial piercing infections are fairly common complications, but fortunately, they can be treated and healed fully, and you can also take steps to prevent infection from returning, or even from developing in the first place.
This article has all of the information required in order to help you take care of your new industrial piercing.
What is an Industrial Piercing infection?
An industrial piercing infection is when harmful bacteria builds up in one or both of the holes where your ear is pierced. Bacteria is always present on your skin and in your body, but certain circumstances can cause excessive bacterial growth and prohibit your body from regulating it normally.
Most of the time, if one of the holes gets infected, it’s likely that the other will get infected also.
What Causes Industrial Piercing Infections?
A variety of circumstances may cause your industrial piercing to get infected. Here are the most common reasons.
Unsanitary piercing conditions
Most professional body piercing studios follow strict hygiene standards to prevent their customers from getting infections. When you go in to get pierced, make sure your piercer washes their hands and wears gloves. They should also disinfect the area to be pierced on your ear and use a new, sterile piercing needle.
Handling the piercing too much
The first rule of piercings is to keep your hands off them. Every time you touch your industrial piercing, you are potentially irritating it and adding more bacteria to the area from your hands. If you have to handle the piercing or jewelry, wash your hands first.
Injuring the piercing
If you catch your jewelry on clothing or something else or get hit in the ear, the irritation can make your industrial piercing inflamed and more susceptible to an infection.
You can also get an infected industrial piercing years after your piercing is healed because injuries to the area can create tiny tears in the piercing that let bacteria in. Even sleeping on the piercing can cause irritation and potentially set off an infection.
Using cheap metal or other sometimes acrylic jewelry can lead to infection. It depends on how sensitive you are to those materials.
Many people are allergic to metal alloys or particular metals, and an allergic reaction weakens the immune system and increases the chance of infection.
Itching an ear that is having a reaction will also lead to infection because you are creating tiny cuts and filling them with bacteria from your fingernails.
Acrylic is not the best material for piercings because it is more likely to absorb and harbor bacteria than metal jewelry.
You must continue to clean your industrial piercing until it has COMPLETELY finished healing. Not doing this could easily result in nasty germs and bacteria infultrating the area - even if the surrounding skin appears to look nice and clean.
Continue to use a salt water solution, or a good piercing aftercare product right until the skin in/around the piercing has completely healed.
My Favorite Piercing Aftercare Product
The best piercing aftercare product I've ever had the pleasure of using up to this point is the H2Ocean Piercing Aftercare Spray.
Not only is every single ingredient completely natural, but the spray works brilliantly on all skin types (including sensitive skin) and comes in a very generously sized can.
Many users of the spray advise that when using it from the very start of the healing process, it appears to decrease healing times and helps to reduce any lingering pain/soreness.
Read more about the H2Ocean Piercing Spray here. Have a quick look at some of the customer reviews and you'll see why it's one of the most popular piercing sprays on the market.
Is My Industrial Piercing Infected? - Sign & Symptoms Of Industrial Piercing Infections
So you know what might cause industrial piercing infections, but how do you know if your piercing is actually infected? Look for these signs and symptoms.
- Swelling that lasts beyond the first couple of weeks
- Red, tender skin around the sites of the piercing
- Skin that is hot to the touch near the piercing after a week
- Piercing bumps
- Green or yellow pus draining from the piercing holes
In cases of severe infection, the swelling and inflammation may spread beyond the original piercing to the rest of the ear cartilage. If this happens, you need to get to a doctor right away for antibiotic treatment. Do not remove the jewelry.
Clear discharge is normal during the healing period. It comes from your lymph glands and is not a sign of infection.
How To Treat An Infected Industrial Piercing
If your industrial piercing gets infected, you treat it in the same way you would any infected cartilage piercing. The first step is to soak the piercing in saline solution, or sea salt water. You can usually purchase piercing saline from the piercing studio where you get your industrial piercing done.
In fact, saline or sea salt soaks should be something you are using for aftercare from the first day you get your industrial piercing.
For normal aftercare, you only need to soak your piercing about twice per day. Just squirt the saline onto the piercing holes and surrounding area, or put the saline or sea salt water into a small bowl or cup and tilt your head so that your ear is submerged. But when you have an infection, you should increase the soaks to about 4 times per day.
To make your own sea salt soak, dissolve ¼ teaspoon of fine sea salt into 1 cup of warm water.
Avoid using harsh disinfectants like alcohol or peroxide because they can further irritate your ears, and don’t use antibiotic ointments, which prevent your piercing from draining, which it needs to do. If it doesn’t drain, the bacteria gets trapped in the cartilage and can spread.
What Happens After An Industrial Piercing Infection?
As long as you follow treatment recommendations, the infection should clear up. You may be left with a cartilage bump on one or both holes for a while. Continue following the aftercare routine until the piercing is fully healed and the bumps are resolved.
How To Prevent Industrial Piercing Infections In The Future
There are some easy steps you can take to keep yourself from going through the pain of industrial piercing infection again.
- Wash your hands before handling your piercing or jewelry
- Leave your jewelry in place throughout the healing period
- Don’t sleep on your piercing
- Do your best to prevent the piercing from being snagged, hit, or otherwise injured
- Continue to clean the piercing and jewelry
- Keep yourself healthy with enough sleep and a good diet
Industrial piercings take a long time to heal, and that makes them susceptible to inflammation and infections.
However, an industrial piercing infection can be treated at home with simple sea salt soaks if you catch it early. You just need to keep your piercing clean, avoid harsh cleansers, and keep hands and other objects off your piercing until it has completely healed.