19 answers

Help! My 6Yo Has an Infection in a Newly Pierced Ear!

I hope someone can help me. My 6 yo daughter got her ears pierced 9 days ago. We have been cleaning them two times a day, every day, as we were instructed to do. Yesterday, when I was cleaning her ears, I noticed that one of her ear lobes looked slightly red and puffy. I cleaned it really well. This morning I was really moving it around so I could see what it looked like under the earring. When I pushed on the lobe I was able to get a tiny amount of discharge out. She complained that it hurt when I did that. I really rinsed it with the cleaner that came with the kit. I also poured some hydrogen peroxide around it and as I expected it did bubble..........what do I do? I don't want to take it out. Can I get this to clear up without taking the earring out? Should I continue with the hydrogen peroxide? Is there something better to use? Antibiotic cream or something? Thanks for your advice!

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Featured Answers

She probably has an allergy to the metal in the earring. Usually it is an allergy to the nickel. Avon earrings have no nickel in them so most people are not allergic to them. If you have a small pair of Avon stud earrings, put them in.

Hypoallergenic earrings still have nickel in them so you have to go nickel free.
I sell Avon so am quite familiar with this and I also have the nickel allergy and the Avon earrings work fine for me all except the copper ones.

More Answers

If you have been that faithful with the daily cleansing, then I too would suspect it's an allergy to the metal of the earring, not necessarily just from the piercing itself. I have super-sensitive ears and I try to buy "nickel-free" earrings. Sterling silver earrings also work well for me, but they can be more pricey. Sometimes I only know which ones work by trying to wear a pair and in 1/2 a day or so one lobe or the other will get itchy or red and irritated. But by putting in one of my "safe" pairs, the irritation quickly goes away. I haven't cleaned my ear lobes for years, but I used rubbing alcohol 25 years ago...it burned like the dickens, but did clear things up. I would probably go for a different pair of earrings and a milder cleanser with a little one though, just to make it less traumatic. Good luck!

Try neosporin for faster healing. Usually the earring used for piercing are surgical steel. Keep them clean and make sure if your daughter is touching her ears her hands are clean as well. Be careful as MRSA can be a bad infection to mess with.

Do not take it out! She will freak out when it's time to put it in and at this stage you won't have a hole to put it back into. It'll close on you. My daughter has had her ears pierced 9 months and we've had between 5-7 infections. I cleaned twice a day and then went down to once a day after 4-6 months and infection 1 started. We've been pretty good about the twice a day thing but she still gets them. We switched out the earrings at 6 months with 14K gold. I don't think it's the metal but maybe your child has an allergy to the metal. When an infection happens I switch to a non burning non painful spray from Walgreen's http://www.walgreens.com/store/product.jsp?CATID=100951&a.... I wouldn't use peroxide because that can be painful. I'd clean it 3 times a day during infection time. Hope it clears up soon.

I would use alcohol on that ear for a while. I did it with my daughter and they turned out just fine.

My son got his ear pierced in Sept for his birthday. His did the same thing. the lady who pierced his ear said to use peroxide or alochol it did better than the antiseptic solution. we did it two times a day with the peroxide.. washed hands before and after and it still got red, hot and had some discharge. then we cleaned it really good with peroxide.. took the ear ring out and soaked it in peroxide until the bubbles quit then did it again. while doing that we washed his ear first with peroxide then with anti bacteral soap. let it air dry then after 15mins put the ear ring back in with the peroxide still on it so it got inside the ear. since then he has had no problems.

As someone with several piercings I can tell you that the solution that they give you at the store is horrible to use. I am allergic to it as is my daughter (who also has multiple piercings) and using it has always caused us problems. Peroxide is not advisable to use because it actually prevents scar tissue from forming (by the bubble action). When we get a new piercing, we always go to a tattoo shop rather than a local store as the piercing method they use is much easier on us than a gun and seems to heal faster. We also use sea salt mixed with water (as recommended by our piercer) and have had excellent results with it. Sea salt can be bought quite cheaply at your local grocery store next to the table salt. We also use contact solution, as also recommended by our piercer as it is sterile and effective in cleaning. If this doesn't clear up the infection, then you might try switching her to gold earings as it may be a metal allergy causing it. Good luck to ya hun!

My daughter went through the exact same thing a few times. My advise is to take them out and let her get her ears pierced when she is older, maybe 11 or 12. We tried over and over with everything imaginable, nothing worked so we took the earrings out.
She is now 15, had her ears pierced since age 11, and wears earrings all the time with no problems!

She probably has an allergy to the metal in the earring. Usually it is an allergy to the nickel. Avon earrings have no nickel in them so most people are not allergic to them. If you have a small pair of Avon stud earrings, put them in.

Hypoallergenic earrings still have nickel in them so you have to go nickel free.
I sell Avon so am quite familiar with this and I also have the nickel allergy and the Avon earrings work fine for me all except the copper ones.

As a licensed cosmetologist, we have always recommended using alcohol. Peroxide doesn't dry out the holes and the bubbling action prevents the healing process. I would also have to agree with one of the other posters that you might want to think aabout trying a different pair of earings as your daughter may very well have an allergy to the earrings themselves. Good luck!

When I had a piercing problem my piercer told me to use baby Castile soap. It is more for cleansing everyday, but an extremely mild cleanser. You might have to go to a health food store to find it. Some of the cleaners you are using might to harsh. Baby Castile comes in a bottle that you can squirt it in the hole (while leaving the earring in).
I would also check the type of post that is currently in her ear. She might have an allergy to it and you might have to use the "real stuff".

I have the exact same problem! I finally get brave enough to pierce my ears at age 19! I cleaned them faithfully but one ear or the other was always swollen and red and hurt. I finally bought some really good earrings. Some of the sensitive ones you can by at kohl’s are OK. I can never buy any from walmart even if they say they are for sensitive ears. Real silver earrings seem to do better with me. After I got better earrings I do fine now. I wanted to wear fun earrings as I am sure your daughter will. I realized that if I slept with some good earrings in and put some cheeper 0nes in my ear in the morning I could wear them for about 6-8 hours before they started bothering me. Good luck. I sure she will have fun once her ears start feeling better.

Hi C.,

The first thing I wonder is what kind of metal is the earring post? You may need to switch to a different type of metal.

I've heard hydrogen peroxide is too harsh for pierced ears.... I would wash the earlobe with mild soap and water, and then use the cleanser they provided you with. I would be doing this more like 3-4x/day. If anything, I would use Witch Hazel, which is very mild astringent.

For my navel, I did peroxide and antibac cream. My navel got pretty bad for almost a year, but I was an adult and knew that I could deal with the pain. I just made sure to clean it out well with water, then with peroxide. Also, I've heard peroxide is going out of favor, as it can scar, in favor of plain soap and water. (I have still used it though...I like the bubbles; they reassure me something is going on in there.) Anyway, I don't know how uncommon it is; I'd say a minor infection is not unusual, esp since she's 6 and probably plays with it a little bit. I guess I'd wait and see what she can handle--keep cleaning it, and if it gets too bad, take it out and let it heal and try again.

Keep using hydrogen peroxide and really use alot but use neosporin. Just slop it on real good.

If you have to, take the earring out, clean it and smear neosporin all over it and reinsert the earring immediately.

I have alot of piercings, my daughter(7) has 2 holes in each ear, and my 4mo.old has her ears pierced I swear by my method, I've dealt with infected ears too and never took the earrings out or let them close up.

I've also used seasalt on more professional piercings like eyebrow,nose and that works great too.

My 7 yo got a BAD infection a few weeks after getting hers pieced and we went back to where she got it done and they suggested taking it out so it could heal. We did, then dd was too afraid to put the earring back in, so it closed. She wanted to get it re-pierced, but we never did. A few mos later, the second one got infected, bad enough to go to the doc and get on antibiotics. So no more earrings for her. The doc says she is probably allergic to the metal. She is so disappointed, it took so much courage for her to get them pierced in the first place! I am sorry this is happening to your dd. I would use the cleaner they gave you and possibly take her back there and ask them for suggestions.

Well me and my husband are lovers of piercings. Earring, face, body the whole nine yards. My husband has gotten his lip infected and my eyebrow got infected. Both were becuase we got lazy and didn't clean them properly for a few days when they were newer. Not a bad record for how many we both have.

First STOP moving the piercing around. That is bad! Don't use hydrogen peroxide. I know it makes logical sense but it has been shown to make matters worse. Also DO NOT remove the piercing. It acts now as a shunt that allows the infection to come out. If you take the earring out it will close up and guess what you'll trap that lovely infection inside her little ear. So if you decide to take it out do so AFTER you cleared up the infection.

Now the best thing to use I've found is Sea Salt. It clears up the infection pretty fast if you do it deligently. First keep washing with an anti bacterial soap about 4 times a day. Nothing else! Then after you wash with the anti bacterial soap take about 16 oz of water and dissolve in about 2 tablespoons of sea salt. Put it on a q tip and put it all over the affected area.

You should start seeing results rather quick.

If you want more reassurance contact a professional piercer. Most tattoo shops have one on duty. Also, don't ever bring your children to the mall to use a gun for their little ears. It is so unsanitary. A real piercer doesn't use a gun because they can't be sterilized in a proper way. You can't put plastic in an autoclave... nor do mall stores have one! There can be small amounts of blood on them from every piercing they do. They think if they use new earrings on each person and wipe them off with an antibacterial wash they are safe. Not my idea of sanitary. Plus these are 19 year old girls half the time who were trained for about 5 mins on how to use the gun then let loose on little girls. Bad formula by any logic. But that is neiter here nor there. Just something to think about if you have other children or you decide to get her ears pierced twice.

Oh, to remember those days of newly pierced ears!

My mom used an A&D or triple antibiotic on my ears without having to remove the earring...it should clear up without it...you may have to do it a couple times a day to be safe!

Good luck!

It could be an allergy to nickel. Even the "sensitive ear" or "nickel-free" earrings at stores, including claires, can have small amounts of nickel in them. Me and my daughter both have this issue and the reaction mimics infection. The only earrings we can wear are "simply whispers" available on the internet and through their catalog.

Hi C.,

I know some won't like this because it will sting, but when my sister and I got our ears pierced my Mom used alcohol...never had any problems.

Do the earrings you have in your daughter's ears get tighter on her ears when she lays on them when she is sleeping???...sometimes this will cause problems. If they do, I know you can get earrings with posts that the backs will only screw on, or go on, so far.

I, also, know that if you put wires in, instead of posts, that the ears will heal faster. They get more air, but they also have more of a tendancy to get caught on things, so you have to be more careful.

I hope they heal soon.


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