This is how to go about caring for your pierced ears

By: REBECCA MUTHONI

Most of us pierce our ears for cosmetic reasons. Whatever age you choose to have the procedure, ensure that it is done by someone with experience in ear-piercing.

Some newborns have their ears pierced after birth, even before they leave the hospital. However, if the earlobes are too small, more time is needed before the piercing can be done.

RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH EAR-PIERCING

Since there is always a risk of infection each time skin is broken, the technique and tools used should be sterile, in this case the piercing gun.

Also, risk of infection increases with the part of the ear that is pierced. For instance, the risk of infection is relatively lower for piercings on the earlobe compared to piercings on the upper ear, due to poor blood supply in the area around the earlobe.

Risk of infection can however be reduced by following after-care instructions for newly pierced ear lobes.

To avoid cross-contamination, the piercing gun should have a single-use cartridge.

Signs of infection include swelling, inflammation and discharge a few days after piercing. See a doctor immediately if you spot these symptoms.

In some cases, you might develop allergy to the jewellery you wear once piercing is done.

If you get an itchy rash on the skin surrounding the pierced part, then you could be allergic to the metal the jewellery is made from.

Jewellery made from nickel is most likely to cause allergic reactions. However, allergy to copper, silver, gold, or any other metal may occur.

Titanium or surgical stainless steel jewellery has the least risk of causing an allergic reaction.

An additional risk associated with ear piercing is the formation of too much scar tissue, which is referred to as as keloids.

HOW EAR PIERCING IS DONE

Ear piercing feels much like getting an injection – it is brief and momentarily painful.

The ear lobes are first cleaned with an alcohol swab and allowed to dry.

The piercing site is marked on each ear lobe using a surgical marker pen.