Ear Piercing  was  popular from time immemorial.

Piercings , at all levels of the pinna is popular even now.

Sometimes  even the tragus is  pierced.

Previously seen in rural ,but now more  among the urban population  than before.

So what’s the worry

Traditionally single piercing of ear lobule’s fleshy part caused little problem .

Proper aseptic  precautions  in a right setup was all that is needed !
But piercing of the cartilaginous  part often    brings with it multiple problems.


Ear piercing in children

Ear piercing


 Problems of Piercing in cartilaginous  part
  • perichondrits (inflammation of cartilage ),
  • hypertrophic scar
  • keloid
  • sometimes even necrosis of the cartilage
  • collapse of pinna .

The problems of inflammation,infection hypertrophic  scar,

keloid can occur also in the lobular part.

 Signs of infection

Pain,redness, swelling,discharge.

 If piercing can cause these problems both in the ear lobules  and cartilaginous  part , then why the precaution  for cartilage  piercing?

The deformity produced  in the cartilaginous  part is greater and often more severe.

 Add to it the sensitive nature of cartilage and the prominent  site of your ear.

This piercing may give you the kind of “look” which is more than what  you bargained for!

 So what should you  know before you go for Ear Piercing?

1) Avoid piercing of the cartilage of your ear.

2)Go for Ear Piercing in the fleshy  lower part(lobe)

3)Ensure  Aseptic measures are being taken care of.

The doctor or the piercing clinic representative should be using sterile gloves.

Sterile instruments  should be used.Cleaning the ear lobules with betadine solution,

Cleaning the ear lobules with betadine solution, spirit is recommended .

4)If you have a history of thick  raised scar forming in regions with cuts and scars…
AVOID EAR PIERCING especially if you are still in your growing years!

What material should you use while choosing ear-ring?

Gold, Silver , platinum,titanium,stainless steel  nonreacting, neutral  pure metal.

Ring or stud with no ridging.This is important  because  imitation alloys  and even white gold

(it contains nickel along with gold )can cause  a foreign body reaction.

Inflammation, infections, allergic reaction  predisposes to hypertrophic scar and keloid  formation.

Can pain during piercing be reduced?

Yes, it’s possible by topical application  of a local anaesthetic agent.

15 to 20 min before the procedure.

Who can do ear-piercing?

ENT surgeon, Dermatologist  can both pierce the ear aseptically

with due precautions.But all of them may not be doing it.

Often piercing clinics are the only option and, in that case,

you have to use your sensibility to choose the best option!

 So what is the care required after Ear piercing?




1)Keep the ear-piercing clean.
After washing hand with soap and water clean the ear lobules with  cotton wool  dipped in antiseptic  solution  ,twice a day.
2)Rotate  the  ear-ring in its hole slowly to avoid build up of debris.
3)Keep the region dry
4)Look out for signs of infection.Infection and allergic reactions make the chance of hypertrophic scar, and keloid formation more likely.
5)Don’t try to change the ear-ring/stud before 6 weeks after Ear piercing.
6)Continue wearing ear-ring continuously for 6 months as otherwise tract will not form and the piercing may close.

 What to do for foreign body reaction to ear-ring?
 A granulomatous inflammation due to foreign body reaction

may  manifest as an itchy,reddish, nodular lesion at the site

of the piercing.

  • Taking out the offending object  followed by steroid ointment  application in proper  concentration helps cure the condition.
  • More aggressive lesions may need intralesional (within the swelling) steroid injections and sometimes even excision.
  • Keep in mind to avoid further piercing at least till 6 months after this event and ideally till the growing age of the person is over.
What is Keloid and why you should be careful?

Some people may have an aggressive response of  skin repair  after surgical nonsurgical  trauma to skin.
It’s characterization by elevated itchy scars after even minor skin lacerations.

This occurs due to an over enthusiastic, poorly regulated proliferation  of the cells responsible for skin repair and is mediated by individual  immune system.
The problem with people with this problem going for Ear Piercing is they will develop  unsightly nodular lesions on the pinna which are often very difficult to get rid of completely.

 Best treatment options for Keloid

1)Steroid treatment

Steroid containing creams and ointment. May work for small lesions.Helps to flatten the lesion and decreases itchiness.Often regains  to original size after stoppage of cream.

 For both hypertrophic  scar and keloid:

Serial weekly course of intralesional steroid helps decrease the itching,r edness and decreases the size of the lesion.
The main reason steroids work is they decrease the hyper-reactivity of the scar forming tissues.
A prolonged treatment up to 6 to 7 weeks may be needed in some cases.
Pros of this treatment:

  • May be done in outpatient setting.
  • Not expensive
  • Less morbidity

Cons of this treatment:

  • High level of patient motivation and compliance needed for weekly pricking with a needle.
  • There’s often loose extra skin left at the site of lesion , which looks unsightly.
  • Smaller lesions respond better.

2)Surgical treatment with steroid injection

This mode of treatment  actually gives good results in most cases, especially for large keloids.
The principle of surgical excision  for best result in keloid is to give the surgical incision within 1cm of the external border of the lesion.This avoids involvement of further area of skin.
After excision of the bulk of the keloid intralesional steroid injection  is given at the base of the lesion to inhibit further proliferation of fibroblasts.

 This  steroid injection is again repeated weekly till about 6 to 7 weeks for best results.
Laser surgery is  also another method of excision.But not much difference in results has been seen compared to regular surgery.
Results for surgery alone are not very good.But surgery along with steroid injection gives quite a good result in majority of small to medium sized keloid.Results may, however, vary according to size of Keloid and patient profile.

3)Radiotherapy along with Surgery

 Radiotherapy is a definite  a last resort.
It’s used only in case of highly disfiguring keloids resistant to other types if treatment.
Important  thing to remember is if you have  a tendency to keloid formation, you  should definitely avoid repeat piercings and all

nonsurgical types of skin trauma.

You  should also tell your doctor about this before all surgical treatment.

Whats the Ideal age for skin piercing in Children?

This is a somewhat controversial area.
Though there’s no set age for Ear Piercing. It’s better to get it done when the child is able to actively help take care of the ear-piercing site and ear-ring.About 6 to 10 years is a good age when the child is able to understand  the process and will be actively interested.

So pierce your ear or your child’s ear,d o it with due precautions.Did you get your ears pierced?

Do you plan to get your ears pierced?

Comment  below to let me know what problems(if any ) you have faced, when you got your ears pierced

when you got your ears pierced.


Ear piercing image by Stuart Miles at  freedigitalphotos.net

Originally posted 2016-01-03 23:21:07.

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  1. Yup, I have both my ears pierced. I got the normal two, when i was a baby. Didn’t feel a thing. So I can understand why most people pierce the ears when the kids are babies. I got another when I was 14 and it was quick but I totally felt the pain. Nowadays I don’t even put a ring through it. So I look “normal” with two lovely earrings. But the full body piercings is just madness. Even the ones that pierce all their ear. Like stop it!!
    So thanks for the share of this post. Very important to know the facts of things.