People first started bejewelling their ears 5,000 years ago to symbolize wealth and to prevent demons from entering the brain. Piercings then went dormant until the 1500s, when hairstyles that exposed the ears became popular. The trend, particularly piercing the nose and septum, was revived during the 70s, based on Indian culture. Now, a major trend is tiny and chic rings in piercings - from tiny hoops on the upper ear to chains on the ear lobe.
● Allergic reactions – Some types of metal, particularly nickel, can cause allergic reactions.
● Skin infections – Anytime the skin is cut or pierced, there’s a risk of infection, which tends to manifest in redness, pain, swelling, or a pus-like discharge.
● Scars and keloids – An overgrowth of scar tissue may be found if you get your ears pierced later in life.
● Blood-borne diseases – Hepatitis B/C, tetanus, and HIV are all potential diseases that you can contract if equipment was contaminated.
● Tearing or trauma – If the earring is pulled, particularly in the weeks after the piercing, it can get torn out, which would require stitches.
However, most of these problems can be avoided by getting your piercings at a licensed place and following proper after-piercing procedures.
There are two main locations to get your ears pierced: a jewelry store in the mall or a state-regulated tattoo and body piercings parlor. At jewelry stores, such as Claire’s and Piercing Pagoda, a piercing gun is used to push the earring through the earlobe. However, at a professional body piercings parlor, a hypodermic needle is used to core out part of the earlobe to make room for the piercing. Make sure to select an earring that has a post that’s either sterling silver, gold, or gold-plated. It’s up to you to decide.
Regardless of where you got your ears pierced, the aftercare is the same. You should clean out the earrings twice a day, for 6 weeks. The procedure for cleaning your piercings is as follows:
1. Wash your hands thoroughly, with antibacterial soap and water.
2. Use a cotton ball or swab to apply rubbing alcohol to the earlobes.
3. Gently rotate the earring and slide it back and forth a few times to allow the alcohol to work its way into the piercing.
During the first six months, make sure to keep only post earrings in the piercing in order to retain the size. Make sure the piercing is free from soap, cosmetics, perfume and hair products. Take extra caution while brushing your hair, talking on the phone, swimming, and wearing headphones to reduce the risk of accidentally tearing the earring out of the earlobe.
With the proper post-piercing care, your piercings will stay the correct size and free of pain, so you can enjoy those silver hoops you’ve been dying to wear!
Niharika Vattikonda is currently a sophomore at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Northern Virginia – she loves biology and computer science. She recently completed a yearlong freshman research project on the effect of electromagnetic fields on E. coli. She first was exposed to Computer Science in middle school, when she learned coding in HTML/CSS, studied Java in freshman year, and is now learning app development on her own. Niharika enjoys STEM outreach, starting science clubs for girls at elementary schools and volunteering at science fairs and hackathons. When she’s not coding or writing for Scientista, Niharika enjoys debating, participating in Model United Nations, singing, and writing for her own blog, Teen Thoughts on Politics.