Infections In Old Ear Piercings

  • Written By Dan Hunter on December 21, 2019
    Last Updated: January 6, 2021

It’s not only about the fun or excitement of getting a new piercing to express yourself, but it’s also about the responsibility to keep it clean and healthy. To be able to do that, you need to be aware of the causes and treatment of ear piercing infections.

While uncommon, infections can still occur in old ear piercings. To treat an infection, both sides of the ear should be cleaned 2 to 3 times a day with a saline solution. Jewelry should also be cleaned regularly in the same way. Make sure you have clean hands before touching your ears or jewelry. If the infection doesn’t clear up, spreads further or causes a fever, seek prompt medical attention.

Causes of old ear piercing infections include:

  • Re-piercing the area on your own at home, not by an experienced professional
  • Damaging the area and not cleaning it properly as it heals
  • Build-ups and blockages around the area caused by dirt

An old ear piercing infection can be treated by:

  • Washing the piercing area with saline solution twice a day
  • Keeping your hands clean before touching the pierced area
  • Using nickel-free jewelry if you’re allergic to reactions or have eczema or dermatitis

How to Discover a Piercing Infection

The signs of an infected piercing are very obvious and can be intense, and you may have more than one of them at the same time. It’s essential to notice these signs as soon as they show up so you can avoid any further issues. These symptoms can be the following:

  • Swollen skin around the pierced area along with a red color
  • Severe or manageable pain, according to the level of infection
  • Yellow or green discharge coming out of the piercing
  • Skin can be itchy, burning, or tender

Types of Infections And Treatments

Don’t forget that a piercing is an open wound so it can get infected even if you take perfect care of it. That means that treating may take a long time, but that doesn’t mean it’s serious. Knowing the type of infection can make your life easier while treating it.

Minor Infection

Minor infections can be treated at home without asking for doctor guidance. Taking your role at home seriously or not can decide the number of complications you’ll go through. Knowing the above symptoms of a minor infection will allow you to easily get it treated at home.

Throughout the treatment journey, monitor the infection to see if it’s getting better or worse. If the infection didn’t get cured within 48 hours, you should see a doctor.

Here are some ways to help you treat the infection on your own:

  1. Washing your hands with antibacterial soap before dealing with your infection
  2. Using a clean cotton swab to remove the pus from your infected ear area
  3. Using a saline solution to clean the infected area
  4. Pat the area dry with a paper towel

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.

Carrying out this routine twice a day will allow the area to heal faster and lower the chance of the infection from getting worse. Remember that consistency can prevent you from getting infected again after healing.

Major Infection

An infection can get worse if you treated an infection as being minor or didn’t take action fast enough. With a major infection, you’ll face different symptoms:

  • Won’t be able to remove the earring
  • Embedded earring clasp in your skin
  • Fever
  • Inflammation expands beyond the pierced area

Once you notice any of these signs, seeing a doctor is the only solution. The sooner you visit a doctor, the better, as piercing infections can cause long-term health problems if you don’t take them seriously from the beginning. We’re talking about the likes of hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or HIV human immunodeficiency virus. All of these diseases can be caused by sharing uncleaned needles of piercing with an infected person.


Ear piercings are, no doubt, fashionable and cool, but that doesn’t mean they come without dangers. This means that it’s imperative to deal with a professional with high hygienic standards and a piercing license. Before the piercing process, they must provide you with detailed information on the procedure and how to take care of your piercing. 

The average time for treating a minor infection is around two days. If it takes longer than that, you should consult further medical assistance. To prevent an infection from worsening, be sure to clean both the earrings and the piercing site whenever you remove your jewelry. By carrying out a rigorous cleaning regime twice a day, you’ll make great strides in ensuring a clean and healthy piercing.