The Truth About Ear Piercing: What You Need to Know Before You Go

If you’re considering a new piercing, or your children are asking for their ears to be pierced, you need to know these safety precautions and tips to protect from injury and infection. 

What Are the Complications Associated With Ear Piercings? 

You might not hear about it often, but many people who get their ears pierced experience complications, discomfort or infection afterward. In a survey, 35% of people questioned following a piercing stated that they experienced various complications, which can arise for several reasons, from unclean piercing instruments to a body’s allergic reaction to the jewelry used in the process. 

What Are Some Common Complications of Piercings?

  1. Allergic reactions. Some people are allergic to nickel, a standard type of metal used in jewelry that pierces or is inserted into a new piercing. 
  2. Skin infections. The skin around the piercing site may become red, swollen or expel a pus-like substance.
  3. Tearing or trauma. If the new jewelry is accidentally torn out or caught on clothing articles, the earlobe may tear, which could require stitches. 
  4. Bloodborne diseases. While not common, it is possible to contract a bloodborne disease if the equipment used to perform the piercing is contaminated with infected blood and not properly sterilized.

How Can You Prevent Complications

If you choose to get a piercing or allow a minor to get a piercing, choosing a reputable, clean establishment is vital. You’ll also want to avoid piercing “guns” and ask for hypoallergenic jewelry to be inserted into the newly pierced site, such as sterling silver, titanium, niobium or 14- or 18-karat gold. Following your piercing, properly clean the site daily and avoid swimming until the wound has healed. It’s important to note that complications are possible even if you follow these precautions, but these safety precautions can reduce the risks! 

Are Piercing “Guns” or Needles Safer?

Piercing guns are never a good alternative to piercing needles, according to the Association of Professional Piercers.

Piercing guns can’t be properly sanitized, are prone to malfunctions and may cause significant tissue damage. Unlike needles, which create a small hole in the tissue where jewelry is then inserted, piercing guns use jewelry to create a piercing, which tears through the skin. This is usually more painful and may cause swelling and potential infection. On top of these issues, training for gun piercing is not standardized, which can lead to inadequate expertise and misuse of the device.

Where Should I Get My Ears Pierced? 

If you make the choice to get an ear piercing, you may want consider choosing a reputable piercing provider who abides by the Texas Health and Human Services’ regulations.


You should look for this standard set-up:

Ultimately, if you choose to get a piercing, take steps to ensure the procedure is done correctly and keep up with the after-care steps to keep the wound sanitized and safe from infection. If you’re thinking about a piercing, but you have concerns about how it might affect your health, be sure to talk to your Coryell Health primary care physician for more information.