Ear piercing experience

I (Owl) finally pierced my ears late last year, yes generally a non-event for most. I had debated and procrastinated for the better part of 20 years. After much research I decided I would do this properly and with the needle method (not gun). There were several reasons for this, mostly pertaining to hygiene and wanting the least risk free path to piercedom. I’ll link the sites I found particularly useful at the bottom of this post and if you need a visual reason not to pierce by gun, just look up “ear piercing” on YouTube!

I decided to find a proper piercer to do the job, even though the price difference was about $35 (with piercing gun) versus $80 (with needles). I looked up piercers on Google and have to say there weren’t an abundant number of options. Since I’m based in the Inner West (Sydney) it made sense that Newtown would be a good place to try. There are a few piercers along King St and Enmore St – I initially tried to make a booking at Urban Steel in Broadway, but they never seemed to answer the phone. After trying Polymorph to no avail, I eventually got through to Industrial Strength. So I made a booking for the next day (before I could renege on my decision).

Industrial Strength open fairly late and my appointment was on a Thursday night – this is great if you work and don’t have time during the day. I brought Ant with me, because I wanted to have some reassurance and also someone to share the moment. They had a flyer offering discounts if you printed and presented – and as embarrassed as I was to do so, I figured some percentage off was better than none. All up two piercings and supplied titanium rings cost me $75.

The actual piercing themselves were not that painful, my piercer told me it was less painful than stubbing your toe – he was right. It tugs and hurts a little, but on the whole once the anesthetic goes on you really don’t feel too much. I must admit I was both scared and a little intimidated going into the shop. It was a bit of a different demographic to one I would probably fit in general. Overall, they were pretty professional, reasonably friendly (though the piercer was a little snappy at Ant for suggesting the holes might be slightly misaligned).

One month on and my ears were fine, they did not have any trouble with infections or much pain. I was quite paranoid originally at keeping them clean and doing salt soaks. I tried to get something to clean them and the pharmacy suggested using special “ear piercing solution” but I wasn’t too keen on that as I had heard they sometimes cause more problems to the piercing, so I went with saline solution (originally meant for contacts/eye wash) this worked okay for me. The solution didn’t aggravate my piercings and though some people mentioned they would not be good since they for your eyes and have other chemicals, Ant and I figured if it was gentle enough to be eye wash it’d probably be okay to clean ears. I also ended up buying non-iodinised rock salt and mixing 1/4 tsp with warm water and using cotton pads to wipe them down twice a day.

After about the two or three week mark I started to get a bit lazy and ended up just using Palmolive Softwash which I lather up and rinse my ears with at night and then dry with tissues (cleaner than towel). I was able to sleep on my ears again about two weeks after they were pierced. The piercer recommended I don’t touch them and don’t remove the original earrings until 12 weeks have passed – I see the logic in this as it means dirty fingers don’t transfer bacteria to open wounds and though keeping the earrings in for three months seems long – in the long run my piercings are meant to last a lifetime and leaving them alone is a small price to pay for the benefit of having healthy ears that will not be infected. Everyone I know who has pierced their ears with guns, have had some infection or trouble – don’t use guns!

Three months on for Christmas 2010 I was finally able to change my earrings after waiting for three months for my ears to heal, I was glad I waited! A little patience paid off in having ears which were well healed and able to handle the earring changes for the holidays. I did have a little bleeding in one ear and on the other it was a little irritated, but this all cleared up within a week and I’ve been able to change and take out my earrings without any problems. I did make the mistake of trying to sleep the first night I changed them without any earrings in at all and the next day it hurt a lot putting some back in, but I was told – you just gotta push through the pain! So I probably won’t sleep without any earrings in again for a long time. It was also amusing how you’re not used to taking the earrings in and out at first, but you quickly learn.

In summary

  • Ear piercing is really not that bad!
  • Go to a proper piercer – it costs more upfront but much less in the long term due to complications
    (Piercing your ears with a needle reduces trauma, infection and you have someone experienced doing it. If you don’t touch your ears and have basic hygiene, it’s really not much trouble at all to do and upkeep.)
  • Keep your earrings in for as close to 3 months as you can to give your body a good amount of time to really heal. It’s a little wait for a lifetime of less drama!
  • Don’t take your earrings out without putting anything else in because they start to close again and build up blockages in the holes and breaking these when reinserting earrings hurts.

Useful reference sites