36 answers

Pain with Ear Piercing After 8 Weeks

My daugther - age 12 - has had her ears pierced for 8 weeks and is still experiencing pain when removing or putting in earrings. I took her earrings out on Sat. and had a problem with one. It seemed to have been stuck and when I got it out there was some gunk on it and the ear looked like maybe it was starting to close with the earring in it. It also bled a little bit. I cleaned both ears and we put in another pair. I had no problem putting the earring in the ear that we had the problem with. The other ear was a little more difficult to put an earring in. The earringds had been in for a while without cleaning, turning, or replacing them. I am a bit concerned that she is still having problems. She is a bit dramatic so it may be more than what it really is. I clean her ear and the earrings with alcohol and she complains it stings. She gets all flustered when I take them out and put them back in. Any help would be appreciated. Oh yeah, they do not look infected.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I had to send another update since it has been 4 months since my daughter had her ears pierced. After my initial email I started cleaning her ears regularly again and doing what we had from day 1. After several days her ears started to improve and am happy to report that we have been changing earrings every couple of days, for the last month, with no problems. She actually got brave and took them out herself. We are definitely on the road to being able to clean every couple of days and my daughter is SO HAPPY! Thanks again for all your help.

Featured Answers

My 4 year old had the same issue. I went out and bought her 14 kt. gold earrings and that semed to help.

My daughter had her ears pierced 4 years ago and she still has one that gives her trouble. It gets tender and is painful when we put an earring in it. I have debated letting it close but I'm afraid repiercing would result in the same problem. I have found that if she wears 18k gold or stainless steel she has fewer problems - we don't take them out very often. It annoys her because she wants to wear all the fun sassy earrings, but they cause her problems almost immediately. When I had my ears pierced they had me use hydrogen peroxide to clean them instead of the "ear cleaner" they now use - that might be worth a try. HTH...

I think you should keep them clean, rotate them and dont change the earings for a long time. I have a total of 13 earings and I never changed them for at least 6 months.

More Answers

Hi M.,

I have had my ears pierced longer than I care to think about, lol, but anyway, I go through the same type of thing if I wear a post earring too long. Try swtiching to a small pair of hoops, lever backs, and see if that won't help with it. And just be sure to clean them and move them around a bit.

It sounds like your daughter's ear is inflamed from the lack of care. Since the earrings were not turned, when the ear was healing, it was trying to close the entire wound instead of creating a hole. If she turns them daily and cleans them, it should heal fine. Try using neosporene as an antibiotic instead of alcohol (which will sting when applied to an open wound to delicate new skin). Coat her ear lobe and the earring post with neosporene before putting it back in. It should glide in easier and disinfect the inside. Peroxide also works as a disinfectant and will not hurt.

Good luck!

If she hasn't been diligent about the daily cleanings and turning the earrings then I think I would put a pair in and basically start over with the care instructions. Also, if I remember correctly, the cleaning solution you buy at the piercing counters is less harsh than alcohol. I used the cleaning solution years ago and don't remember it stinging as much as acohol, which is what I use now. The only other thing I can think of is to take her to the doctor (many peds do ear piercings) and discuss it with them. Maybe they can offer some insight or determine if she is sensitive to what the earrings are made of.

Hi M., we went through the same thing and we just had to clean them and turn the earring every morning and night to make sure the cleaner got into the ear hole. you can also dip the earring in bacetracin and then put it back in to clean it out. My neighbor had a similar problem as well and turns out her daughter was reacting to the metal of the earring and she can only wear 14 k. gold or plated. Hope this helps.

She may have the same problem that I have. I have to have pure gold or my ears get infected. Silver is ok but after a long day that starts irritating them as well. You may want to check the quality of the earrings. They can be expensive, which is why I don't wear them anymore, lol. Or she may just end up being the few who just can't wear earrings. If the earrings are fine, have a doc check them out. You'll want to be careful of infection.

K. B
mom to 5 including triplets

Chat and events, within 2 hour radius

I was always told not to change the earings until the ears were completely healed and it sounds like hers are not. I would replace the studs and clean/turn the earings twice daily until they are totally healed. It may also be worth picking up some of the cleaning solution that Claire's sells. Just dip a Q-tip in the cleaning solution and swab around the earing withouth removing it - front and back. I always had good luck with that.

I don't remember having much trouble, if any, with my first two sets of earings. My third set, up towards the middle of my ear were very infected and took a long time to heal, probably closer to 3-4 months. My cartlidge piercings, on the top of my left ear, took longer than those first 2 sets of earings also to heal.


Make sure that you are only using real gold or surgical stainless steel earrings. Other metals may cause a reaction. Also stop using alcohol to clean the ears, it can be too harsh. I would just use a mild antibactrial soap and warm water at this point. Follow that with a small amount of Neosporin (they make one with a pain reducer in it.) Do not remove the earrings when cleaning the new piercings. The more you take them in and out, the more you are opening up the possibiity of infection. The earrings really should not be removed until the holes are finished healing. SImply wash the earlobes, apply some neosporin then turn them while in the holes. They should heal up fine.

We went through a similar situation. Once we figured out that anything but gold earrings bothered her ears it took about 8 months to have her ears completely pain free. We cleaned them nightly and also did neosporin if they looked red. She is now able to wear any earrings but with caution. Give it some time and some extra TLC. Hoepfully that will help.

I agree with what most of your responses already say-you NEED to clean and turn them diligently. Alcohol will sting if her ears have not completely healed, of course. You just need to follow care instructions. Crusties will form and if they get too large and dry, then when they do come off, it could open up the wound again.
I also only have a few pairs of earrings that I wear...that may be what she needs to do, or she just needs to give it more time to heal.


put the earrings that she got the pierced with back in and treat the ears like they are freshley pierced, use the ear cleaning solution not the alcohol, and turn them do it at least twice a day in the am and after her bath at night before bed, make sure she is not playing with them either. Also rinse them well after shampooing her hair thats the gunk that gets stuck in there. And as other moms stated the type of earring, me personally i can not use cheap earrings they make my ears itch and swell, i only use 14kt gold.

Your daughter may be allergic to the metal in the earring . many people are. I know that I was many years ago . Lookk for Whispers Earrings . They do not have the metal ( think it is Nickel)
They work like a charm and no more stuck earrings
From L.
Remarkable Living by Design

Am having the same problem with my 6 year old who got them done 8 weeks ago. She complains it hurts also and a litle bit of gunk when we first took them out and it is totally normal.

put some neosporin on her ears. i think it would help. she should have been turning them to help the hole open and so the earring would not get stuck. buy some ear cleaning solution at the place they were pierced at. if they do not sell it go to piercing padoga. another thing,try peroxide not alcohol. it is also a good anti-infective and will not sting as much. make sure she is wearing gold earrings not anything else at this point. sometimes it takes longer than 12 weeks for earrings to heal.

You mentioned that the earrings had been in for a while without cleaning or changing them. Not changing the earrings for a long period of time is not usually an issue if you clean them. However, for the first 6 weeks, she should have been cleaning them twice a day and turning/spinning/twisting them a minimum of twice a day. I know you said they don't look infected but if they are crusting over and bleeding when you take them out, they may be infected. It just may not be bad enough for them to "look" infected. It, also, sounds like her ears were healing to her earrings from not being turned.

If you check at a jewelry shop that does piercings, they make a cleaning solution for ears. I don't know what the difference is between it and alcohol (we used alcohol year's ago when I got mine done) but it seems to burn less than alcohol (My 9 year old got her ears pierced about 2 weeks ago and couldn't find her cleaning solution the one day and used alcohol. According to her the alcohol burned a little when the solution had not.).

If you truly do not think they are infected, then make sure to clean her ears twice a day with cleaning solution (or alcohol) and spin the earrings. You don't need to take them out to clean them. If the ears are needing to finish healing from not being turned earlier and healing to the earring then it would be better to leave them in. But you need to spin them a minimum of 2 a day. I would recommend doing it more often just to be on the cautious side. I would make sure they were starter earrings in her holes and leave them in for another 6 weeks following the directions on cleaning them.

Also, if I were you, I would call her pediatrician's office and let them know what is going on. They may want to see her or have additional directions they want you to follow.

If it is a big struggle with your daughter about cleaning the ears and twisting/spinning the earrings, I would seriously consider taking them out and letting them heal over. She could always get them pierced later in life when she is more readily able and willing to take responsibility for cleaning and spinnning them. She just may not be ready for them at this time. I don't know your daughter so I can't tell you if this is the case.

One final note... find out what kind of posts your earrings have. Growing up and even now, I need to have ones with gold, silver or surgical steel posts. A lot of the cheap ones are mixed metals that a lot of people react to. This is one of the reasons I suggested putting the earrings that were used to pierce her ears with back in or going to one of the stores and purchasing a pair of starter earrings that have gold posts instead of mixed metal.

My best advice is to look at the situation and decide what works best for you and your daughter at this time. Do you continue to struggle with them or do you let them heal over and try again in a year or two. Whatever you decide, I wish you the best of luck with getting them properly healed, with or without earrings. Anyhow, I hope this helps.

My daughters would get "stuck" if they weren't turned. My advice would be to stop taking them in and out - just leave them in - try putting ear cleaner (sold in the piercing shop - may not sting like alcohol) around them on the front and back morning and night, and at that time turn the earrings also. This shouldn't cause pain when done regularly, and will help them heal and hopefully cause you less drama! Good Luck.

Go to walmart to the jewlery counter and buy their ear solution for pierced ears. It is $1.75. Make sure that she or you clean them 2x a day until the site is healed. If it does not heal... clean the site with the earring in, then take them out clean the sites again really well and let them close and heal and try again to pierce in 6 months.

I had my ears done just two years ago and I had problems with one. First, you need to make sure you have good earrings, nothing coated or plated. Then DON'T take them out until the ears are completly healed. I took mine out too soon and had trouble. Have earrings that can be moved around in the ear, like hoops. I was given a medicated soap and antiseptic to use twice a day. It took a long time for them to feel normal. I got very frustrated, but they finally did get better. If in doubt see your Dr. Good Luck.

I would not have put the earrings back in if they had gook on them when you took it out. If she is having pain then it is probably infected, and the worse thing you can do is put the earring back in. I would take her to the doctor's office to have her ears checked just to make sure she doesn't have an infection.

She leave in the start earrings and clean them regularly for the recommended time period? She may have a sensitivity to the metal in the earrings. Or it may just be that her ears haven't healed yet from the piercing. I would advise to clean them twice daily with peroxide, or antiseptic. Turn them several times after each cleaning. Does she still have her "starter" earrings? I would have her wear them and not take them out until the problem stops. If she cleans them regularly and it gets worse or doesn't go away after awhile, try getting 14k gold earrings or earrings that are advertised for sensitive ears. Claires has them. Some people are more sensitive to others and have more problems with piercing their ears. I had problems off and on for many months after getting mine pierced.

M., I can relate to your frustrations. My 6 y/o experienced the same thing for about a year with her second piercings. I was advised to put neosporin on the earrings then put them in. It worked! I did this nightly for about 7 days.Hope this helps your girl.

I think you should keep them clean, rotate them and dont change the earings for a long time. I have a total of 13 earings and I never changed them for at least 6 months.

Continue to turn them daily for as long as it takes so that the piercing is completely healed - what they tell you may well not be long enough. We did it for the 6 weeks or so they told us to...and a month or so after that, my daughter's ear grew back over in the front with the piercing stud in her ear(I never noticed it b/c her hair is long) and we had to have her earring surgically removed!!! The pediatric ENT said he had never seen it before but I KNOW it can happen b/c it did here!!! Be vigilant b/c you do not want your child to have to have unnecessary surgery! (Weird but true!)

Hi M., Make sure that the earrings she has are good, either gold or nickle-free. Then make sure that she is still turning them daily as well as using the ear stuff on them and on each earring before putting them in. You can buy it anywhere for just a couple of dollars if you are out (even Walmart!). It has been my experience as well as all three of my daughters that one ear always seems to take longer to heal...and that cute cheep earrings should never be left in more than a day or two. If she doesn't want to change her earrings often just make sure that she has one or two sets of really good earrings that she can leave in comfortably for an extended time. Best wishes

My daughter had her ears pierced 4 years ago and she still has one that gives her trouble. It gets tender and is painful when we put an earring in it. I have debated letting it close but I'm afraid repiercing would result in the same problem. I have found that if she wears 18k gold or stainless steel she has fewer problems - we don't take them out very often. It annoys her because she wants to wear all the fun sassy earrings, but they cause her problems almost immediately. When I had my ears pierced they had me use hydrogen peroxide to clean them instead of the "ear cleaner" they now use - that might be worth a try. HTH...

Hi M., first off I want to tell you I worked for claires years ago and did many pierced ears. The solution that they sell there and walmart and many jewelry stores is not alcohol is a mild antiseptic. you should never use alcohol or peroxide on earrings because it pits the metal and they could cause infection every time you wear them. Clean her ears with the solution and the earring either with the solution or a mild antiseptic soap. Did she get her ears done at home or in a shop? The reason I ask is the earrings you get in a shop actually have thicker posts than a regular earring if those are what was used she needs to wear them a little bit longer so her holes are a little bigger than a regular earring post, if she got them done at home try the piercing studs, might be a little tuff to get in but then leave them in for a couple of months turn them several times a day. And last you dont want gold or silver earrings beleive it or not because with real gold it's never 100 percent gold as that is a very soft metal, and what they mix the gold with is nickle if she's going to be allergic to anything it will be the nickle. the piercing studs are made of surgercal steel so there should be no reaction to them. You can check anything I've told you by calling claires or even a licensed tattoo shop that does piercings. good luck and I hope this helps.

My daughters ears where pierced when she was 11 months old. I got them done that early that way I new they were going to be taken care of the right way with out much of a fight. When a new hole is put in they should of told you that you dont change the earing for 6 weeks and after each bath, shower or heavy playing you can clean it. Most places have a item called ear care that is made to clean your ears and earings during the healing process. If you did everything right with the cleaning and turning she might be allergic to the type of post that was used when she got them pierced or the ones that you have replaced them with. Some posts are made of nickle or surgical steel. Most people have a reaction to the nickle.

It takes a very long time to heal. Do not take them out, it is very painful to put back in. Keep the alcohol on it, turn it & if it gets red & swollen, remove them & let them heal up & try again in a year! Poor little girl. It really does hurt, especially trying to sleep.

Both of my girls have pierced ears, and only one of them had problems like you are describing. Her one ear was infected though, eventually, a lump formed in the earlobe.....and it was very painful. She had gunk when you took the earring out also. Our pediatrician put her on antibiotics for it actually. Also, when we finally did get to a point where we could keep an earring in.....we used the solution from the ear piercing place....they said that alcohol was a BIG no no, and peroxide tends to dry out the skin. I also made sure she wore the earrings that we originally got for a very long time...the post is larger and will keep the hole opening a tad bigger for when she eventually changes her earrings. I also used to dip the post of the earring into Neosporin and put that on her earlobe as well. Make sure she twists the earring many times per day also! so they don't get stuck! Hang in there,it eventually gets better.

I certainly feel with you. My daughter had her ears done twice because of problems similar to yours. The gunk you speak of can still be an infection inside and the stinging. If you are using a stud earring, try changing to a good quality thin endless hoop that can be moved around more easily. We found that the problem ear was the one my daughter slept on all the time. Your daughter could have an allergy to the metal or metal contents. For example, I have several friends that are allergic to nickel and this is in a lot of mixed metal, cheaper earrings. Also, try using Hydrogen Peroxide instead of rubbing alcohol. The Peroxide will foam to show it is fighting the bacteria and germs. I take a soaked cottonball and squeeze it to the ears on both sides so that it can get into the hole of the ear. I hope this helps and good luck.


My 4 year old had the same issue. I went out and bought her 14 kt. gold earrings and that semed to help.

Hi M.....my oldest daughters (8 and 6) had their ears pierced in february and we experienced the same issues. I kept the original earrings in for about 8 weeks then removed them and allowed them to put in new ones( they were the cheap kind) well... My one daughter got the same thing as yours with the gunk and a sore ear ( i also have a very dramatic child so i understand exactly what your daughter does when you touch her ears!!) i treated her ears with the ear cleaner they give you when they get their ears peirced and also neosporin (i just clean the earing post well, then dip the post in the neosporin and slide it in her ear and then turn it to get it in the hole well). This really seems to help. I would recommend still cleaning the ear with the ear cleaner when you take them out and also the neosporin, even when they look okay i think the ears take a much longer time to heal then they tell you they will. My daughters still have issues now and then ands it's been 9 months!! Also, keeping sterling silver or gold earring in helps...my daughters are very sensitive to the cheap ones!! I hope this helps...C.

I'm guessing you either have an infection going on in there, and you should put in the original earings, and do 6 weeks of alcohol and turning again, or that you have allergies going on. It's probably nickel, so put in some hypoallergenic studs, and do the alcohol routine and turn them regularly until they clear up. Either that, or your daughter may simply think they are too much fuss, and pain, at which point, you take them out and let them heal over.

I would buy earrings for sensitive ears (Claires usually has a large selection they don't have to be expensive), make sure they are cleaned and turned twice a day and do not change the earrings until the look healthy for weeks. You probably have a lot of different issues at work and you need to eliminate them one by one. Once her ears are normal then you can try regular earrings and see if they are ok. Good luck!

My 11 year old had problems with hers also. Theifrst time I took them out (for a soccer game) I couldn't get them back in. I spoke to someone at the piercing place and she told us to leave them in fro six months to allow the peircings to hear completely. We did and it worked. We did have another issue though. She was using the small backs on little earrings. The backs actually ended up INSIDE her earlobes! I had to take her to the emergency room to have them removed. The ER nurse told me it was not an uncommon thing and could be avoided by using larger backs.

I Have the same issue, I have had hers pirced for a year. Her ears arent infected the must need 2 get repirced. I am not sure

Don't they need to be turned and have alcohol applied a couple of times per day? Seems like I remember doing that when I got my ears done at that age. OR she could possibly have an allergy to metals--that can happen even with good gold earrings.

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