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Ear Piercing Help

hawaiianorangetree

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My daughter's 11th birthday is fast approaching and she has been asking to get her ears pierced.

She has had them done twice before and both times have ended with infected ears and we had to remove the earrings and let them close over.

We kept them clean and bathed them in the antiseptic bath for the required six weeks and they looked healed, it was only after this time period that the infections set in.

I'm wondering if she has a metal allergy from the cheapie piercing earrings?

What kind of allergy could it be and what metal should we be using?

Also, in a past thread it was suggested that having your ears pierced with a gun was the worst possible way to have it done and could increase the risk of infection. Am I crazy for thinking about taking an 11 year old to a piercing place to have them done?

Anything else I should be looking out for / doing?

Hopefully this will be the last time we have to get her ears pierced and we can manage to get through it without infection.

Your help is appreciated. :))
 

manderz

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No, you're not crazy for thinking of taking her to a piercing place! They can give you a much better experience overall, and better quality earrings than go in the gun. Plus, you're really paying for the expertise there too. I'm really not sure why your daughter would have issues after the 6 weeks, maybe she is just a slower healer, and it will take her more time than that?

The antiseptic stuff that they give you isn't really the best way to clean her ears either, you'll honestly be much better off doing saline soaks. You can mix the solution yourself, just put 1/4 of a teaspoon non-iodized sea salt in 8 oz of very warm water (filtered or bottled, in my opinion). Just have her soak her ears for 15-20 minutes at a time, twice a day. The warmth encourages blood flow (and thus healing) and the saline solution helps to draw out any grossness that may have accumulated. Plus, I find the soaks very soothing! After a soak, rinse with clear water and dry well. Make sure she washes her hands when she touches them, and no playing with them. Also, apply perfume/hairspray carefully, covering the piercings so nothing gets in them. Frequently changing pillowcases helps too.

ETA: Missed part of your question! Sorry!!

You should be looking out for an infection, and metal allergies.

An infection will look like: red, swollen ears that are hot to the touch, and opaque yellow/green/reddish discharge. They will be sore too.

Metal allergy looks like: moist piercings, the skin may look like it's pulling away from the earring (making the hole look larger) and this will itch, not hurt.

Typically, people are allergic to nickel. I would suggest titanium earrings or surgical steel, but if you go to a piercing place, they may have other recommendations. In my experience I heal better with 14k gold than anything else.

I think I covered everything, but I will think about it, and if I remember anything else, I'll be back :)
 

yssie

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When I had my navel re-pierced I went to a tattoo artist, he told me that it was a good thing I'd come to him as re-piercing around scar tissue can be a difficult job, and you want to avoid going through if possible - it'll still heal if you take care of it, just hurts more! Apparently piercing behind the scar tissue can help prevent migration as well.

Hands off, regular (but not over-) salt water soaks in warm water, no alcohol cleansers, rotate/push during cleaning to be sure to get it clean. The first time they used surgical stainless - I had all sorts of problems until it eventually got ripped out, second time titanium - same aftercare, no issues. Don't know *why* that is, though!
 

Miss Sparkly

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I would take her to a tattoo/piercing studio to have them done. It most likely will be with a hollow needle not a gun. (TMI warning :cheeky: ) The hollow needle will hurt a bit more but you can then choose the earrings that go into them. I've had my ears pierced since I was 4 and anytime that I wear earrings with nickle my ears become pussy and infected. So you might want to try only 14k earrings, or stainless steel, etc.
 

manderz

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Honestly, I have to disagree sparkly blonde. Every piercing I've had done with a needle hurt less than a gun piercing. The needle is much sharper, and single use. Imagine this: how much does it hurt when you cut your finger accidentally with a really sharp knife? It doesn't really. But, if you cut yourself with, say, a screwdriver bit, you know that's going to HURT!!
 

yssie

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manderz|1308447007|2949254 said:
Honestly, I have to disagree sparkly blonde. Every piercing I've had done with a needle hurt less than a gun piercing. The needle is much sharper, and single use. Imagine this: how much does it hurt when you cut your finger accidentally with a really sharp knife? It doesn't really. But, if you cut yourself with, say, a screwdriver bit, you know that's going to HURT!!


I thought I was going to pass out when I saw the needle they were going to use - OMG. It is HUGE.

I squeezed my eyes shut and they pinched the skin really tightly on both sides with this - contraption - and I honestly didn't even feel it going in, or when they twisted the ring on! I sure felt it in the car on the way home though :-o
 

manderz

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I know! It seems like that needle is so huge! I did pretty much the same thing. I swear, I walked around like I was about 9 months pregnant afterwards, trying not to bend over because it hurt later! haha :) My navel was the only piercing that really bothered me for an extended amount of time while healing.
 

hawaiianorangetree

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Thank you ladies!

Manderz~ thank you for the tips on cleaning and not to use the antiseptic stuff. From your description they were definitely infections, not allergies, although the cheapie earrings probably contributed to the initial irritation. We may just have to keep bathing them for a lot longer than the recommended 6 weeks. The tip on changing pillow cases is a good one too! I wouldn't have thought of that.

Yssie ~ I'm a little worried about the scar tissue that she has, there's not a heap but I can feel it if I pinch her ear lobes between my fingertips so its good to know they can work around it. I'm not letting her read your description of the huge needle. I may have to take her in there blindfolded! :cheeky: She wants them done but is scared it's going to hurt so it's good to hear that it won't hurt too much.

Sparkly ~ I'm not sure how I'm going to deal with the needle part. The gun is good because you don't see it and it's all over before you know, but theres no point if we just have to take them out again. I'll make sure that we choose earrings with no nickel.
 

packrat

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I agree about not having it done w/the gun. I'd get surgical/stainless steel studs for her...that's what I always had when I was younger and never had a problem.
 

monarch64

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I would let her ears rest for a year or two!

It sounds to me like she has a nickel allergy. I went through something similar when I was her age...

I was DYING to get my ears pierced. I wanted to wear pierced earrings just like every other girl in my class. I had no idea that I was very allergic to certain metals, namely "nickel," and I begged and pleaded with my parents until, when I was in 2nd grade, my grandmother finally took me to the mall and had my ears pierced. All was well! I had lovely gold studs in my ears, which I turned twice a day, and squired "Misty" solution on all the time. Hooray!

suddenly, though, I started developing knots in my neck. I was in 2nd grade, in love with Michael Jackson and reading Tiger Beat religiously, and noticing giant KNOTS in my neck and arms. I told my mother. I was then (at 8 years old) subjected to barrages of testing, including blood tests, etc. My primary doctor diagnosed me as non-Hodgkins-Lymphoma right off the bat. That's a sinister disease to diagnose an 8 year old little girl with.

I spent an entire year being tested and disproved...I did not have non HL. I did, however, have a severe allergy to nickel (the metal), and had to rid myself of all fake jewlery, including my pierced earrings. It was a MAJOR ordeal for both me and my family. :blackeye:
 

Amys Bling

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I agree that akin her to an actual piercing place sounds best.
 

hawaiianorangetree

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Thanks Packrat and Amy.

Monarch~ it's been 2-3 years since the last time she had them done. I was quite happy not to do them again until she was old enough to take herself to have them done but she has been asking on a fairly consistent basis over the past 6 months. Just about every girl in her class has them so I can understand why she wants to as well.
What a horrible experience that must have been for you! And how careless of the dr to diagnose you like that. Thank goodness it was 'only' a nickel allergy and nothing worse. Pity the dr couldn't have spared you and your family the trauma to begin with though!
 

Loves Vintage

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HOT - Thanks so much for posting this! How funny that I have had the SAME experience with earrings as your daughter, but I'm a few decades older!! Haha. This thread has inspired me to try again! Please let us know what you decide to do.

Anyway, when everyone says a piercing place, do you all mean the places at the mall? Does anyone know if a doctor's office would do ear piercing, and if so, by what method?

As far as metal, is it possible to be allergic to gold? I *think* they used gold the last time I had my ears pierced, but perhaps it was gold-plated??? I don't recall. Do they usually use nickel? Or is nickel a component in whatever metal they use? :confused:

I do recall that I *thought* my ears had healed each time they were pierced, but then I started reacting badly, though I'm sure I wore silver earrings after the initial piercing.

I'd love to get my ears pierced again soon and eventually get some OECs. Help!?!?!
 

Pandora II

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I can only wear gold earrings (or platinum), I can't last a day with any other metals. Even surgical steel is bad on me. So I would suggest get a pair of gold earrings initially - also second the idea of a piercing place to have it done.
 

manderz

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Vintage- I would not go to any place in a mall that pierces ears, they will likely use a gun. I would also avoid the doctor's office as well. When I say piercing place, I'm referring to a body piercing studio, hopefully you can find one where they focus on piercing, and not a tattoo/piercing place. Even places like those, where you find a tattoo artist who pierces, you aren't going to find the same skill as a pro piercer. Look for a piercer who is associated with APP, look here http://www.safepiercing.org/ . Good luck!!
 

Loves Vintage

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manderz - wow, thank you so much for that link. There's one place in my state that's associated with the APP. I totally thought piercing place was the mall, haha. Sooooooo, this is interesting. I'm going to do it! They have titanium earrings. Should I try that? If I try gold, should I bring my own? Looks like they sell a lot of earrings.

Oh, and, wow, I saw some piercings I never knew existed! I've never seen/heard of surface piercings before! There's a picture of multiple piercings on a woman's back. Yikes!

Thank you again! I can't wait!
 

swingirl

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Just my unpopular 2 cents. Wait a few more years. Childrens' skin heals more quickly that adults' so they are more prone to scarring. If she keeps building up scar tissue it could be a problem for the rest of her life. We choose not to cave in to "all the other girls have them" and made our daughter wait. We knew she has a nickel allergy and possibly would have some problems. When she got them pierced at 18 they healed very slowly and she had to keep the steel studs in for 6 months. Later she got her nose pierced and that ended up with a keloid growth. She took it out. Then she got her lip pierced and although it stayed in longer, it never felt completely healed or comfortable. She tried surgical steel and platinum.

So if you've tried twice already maybe you should wait a bit longer. All her friends may have pierced ears but they all don't have nickel allergies.
 

marymm

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If it's been a couple years since her last ear-piercing experience, I would vote for trying again now... I echo others' suggestions of going to a piercing studio and choosing someone who regularly does piercing work.

I would also suggest choosing basic ball-stud post earrings - even if kind-of boring in style, they really are the easiest to turn regularly and to clean behind and around...

I have multiple ear piercings (three on one lobe, two on the other lobe and one up in the cartilage) - my 1st ear piercing was at age 16 (I was allowed on my 15th birthday, but once there, I was too scared to go through with it until my next birthday). I was slow healer too, and I ended up keeping my original earrings in for 3-4 months before feeling like the holes had healed enough to be comfortable with changing out earrings on a daily basis. I did the same thing with all my additional piercings -- the cartilage piercing I actually kept in for probably a year as it seemed to take much, much longer to heal.

Based on your daughter's past experience with piercing, I would recommend she keep in the starter earrings at least 3 months before taking them out at all, let alone changing earrings... it may be overkill time-wise, but especially because she already has scar-tissue areas on her lobes, you want to be extra confident the holes have healed sufficiently that no infections will set in with the change to other earrings (and other metals). And if the piercing areas still feel sensitive to her (meaning not-quite-healed), I would keep them in even longer.

Hope this time works - good luck to you and your daughter!
 

MichelleCarmen

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I would take her to a body piercer.

I recently had my upper ear pierced and the place was extremely sterile and the piercer had me wait while he sterilized the needle & barbel. Also, rather than fancy metal, I chose stainless steel. Unlike what it may seem like, stainless steel & titanium are MORE hyperallergenic than gold, platinium, etc., so that's the best option.

ALSO, using hydrogen peroxide is a no-no. Even though it kills off the bad bacteria, it also kills off the good. The best way to help healing is have her NOT touch her earrings and to clean with *non-iodine* sea salt. The piercer can explain this. The establishment I went to gives me free bags of it (b/c upper ears take longer to heal) so it's not necessary to seek it out.

Oh, and just a side-note, with piercers, a tip is expected! Sounds different, but that's how things jive in salons!
 

MichelleCarmen

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Sparkly Blonde|1308446827|2949252 said:
I would take her to a tattoo/piercing studio to have them done. It most likely will be with a hollow needle not a gun. (TMI warning :cheeky: ) The hollow needle will hurt a bit more but you can then choose the earrings that go into them. I've had my ears pierced since I was 4 and anytime that I wear earrings with nickle my ears become pussy and infected. So you might want to try only 14k earrings, or stainless steel, etc.

Yeah, the hollow needle is what my piercer did and I can say it DIDN'T hurt. My ear had that warm feeling after. And, yes, the stainless steel! I've heard that 14K can be a problem too. My friend got hers done 7 months ago and it's still infected b/c she used 14K. I tried to get her to switch to SS, but she hasn't yet.

ETA - oooh, re: needle size...I have to admit I NEVER saw the needle. Since only one side was being pierced, the guy had me lay down and I never asked to see it. Wonder if there is a way to have your daughter not see the needle?
 

aviastar

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I will echo the recommendation to visit a piercing studio- the studio I went to for my belly button was was associated with APP, but was also a tattoo studio; they had a dedicated piercing artist on staff, so the two don't have to be separate. While I was there the piercer recommended starting any piercing with a hoop, rather than a stud, to facilitate healing. I also did much better with titanium than anything else, even gold.

Best of luck!
 

AGBF

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monarch64|1308467596|2949388 said:
I would let her ears rest for a year or two!

I did not have my ears pierced until I was 48 because my mother was so conservative that she had brainwashed me into thinking that pierced ears were not ladylike! My daughter, whom I had under pretty good control until she got into her later teens, waited until I allowed her to have her ears pierced, so she had them pierced, the first time, by a dermatologist (who used a piercing gun).

I have to say that my daughter, who went on to be The Queen of Piercings (no tongue ring; breast; eyebrow; or genital piercings, but pretty much everything else) has just not had good luck with piercings and infections. I don't think she has a single part of her pierced at the moment! Not even one ear hole! (At one point she had three.) She just couldn't keep her ears from becoming infected and she eventually gave up on earrings. I only mention this as a word of caution, not because it happens to everyone. I just think that Monnie's idea is a wise one. But if your daughter's heart is set on pierced ears now, just be ready with a lot of betadine solution to keep those ears super, super, super clean!!! And remember that you can always take out the earrings and try again in another year!

My daughter has holes above and below her navel from the multiple times she had belly button rings put into her in tattoo parlours. She would alternate between upper and lower rings depending on what she had had most recently since no sane piercer would be willing to re-pierce an area where she had just removed a belly button ring! Luckily she has no leftover holes from the nose studs, Monroe piercings, or multiple ear piercings!

Good luck!

Deb/AGBF
:read:

Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend
 

AGBF

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aviastar|1308512251|2949635 said:
I will echo the recommendation to visit a piercing studio- the studio I went to for my belly button was was associated with APP, but was also a tattoo studio; they had a dedicated piercing artist on staff, so the two don't have to be separate.

We learned (the hard way) to go where there was a piercing specialist, but I never heard of APP. I am glad to know of it, although I was kind of hoping against hope that there would be no more piercings! One of the tattoo parlours my daughter liked had a piercer who was either an RN or an EMT, I was never sure which. That woman was very skilled and responsible. But before we found her, we were at different dermatologists' offices; different cheap stores at the mall that sold earrings and pierced ears; and tattoo parlors in two states. I will say that the mall stores were often able to produce a person-if you knew what you were looking for-who could get the ear holes lined up evenly...something the dermatologist didn't do!!!

Deb/AGBF
:read:
 

4ever

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Hawaiianorangetree - Take her to a good, reputable piercer and tell her or him exactly what you have told us. They will have the best and most up to date advice, even if that advice is not to re-pierce or to wait longer.

As for cleaning, I'd wait to here what the piercer thinks is best - the perceived "best" way to clean piercing is changing all the time. When I was getting piercings the idea was to rotate piercing and clean with almond oil and a touch of tea tree to keep it moist and kill the bacteria - most of my piercings never healed properly and I ended up having to remove them. I took my friend recently to get a piercing and the new advice was to not touch it or clean it at all, but just "cup" the pierced appendage in you hand in the shower and just let the hot water soak it and remove the "crustiness". She has had no problems with it healing at all and I'm really jealous that I had to go through such drama and eventually removing them all and being left with ugly scars because of poor cleaning advice.
 

AGBF

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4ever|1308520223|2949692 said:
When I was getting piercings the idea was to rotate piercing and clean with almond oil and a touch of tea tree

Wow! Thanks for the reminder, 4ever! Teatree oil removed a keloid from my daughter's nose (I think it was the nose) when she was having problems with a piercing once! I think she found out about it on-line, too, through a website she went to for answers!!! (Maybe Yahoo Answers?) I was astonished that a keloid could disappear within a day or two-like magic-just from this little health food store oil!!!

Deb/AGBF
:read:
 

4ever

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AGBF said:
4ever|1308520223|2949692 said:
When I was getting piercings the idea was to rotate piercing and clean with almond oil and a touch of tea tree

Wow! Thanks for the reminder, 4ever! Teatree oil removed a keloid from my daughter's nose (I think it was the nose) when she was having problems with a piercing once! I think she found out about it on-line, too, through a website she went to for answers!!! (Maybe Yahoo Answers?) I was astonished that a keloid could disappear within a day or two-like magic-just from this little health food store oil!!!

Deb/AGBF
:read:

I tried this to remove a keloid on my tragus piercing but had no luck. I had to remove the piercing to get it to go away, wich was a shame because I spent about a year trying to the the thing to heal so I could eventually get something teeny and sparkly there. 100% tea tree oil isn't recommended on piercings because it is very harsh and very drying.
 

rosetta

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I have no metal alleges but I've gone for gold earrings every time (I have 3 holes in each ear) at my granny's insistence (she has 6 holes in each ear!)
 

AGBF

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4ever|1308549343|2949955 said:
AGBF said:
4ever|1308520223|2949692 said:
When I was getting piercings the idea was to rotate piercing and clean with almond oil and a touch of tea tree

Wow! Thanks for the reminder, 4ever! Teatree oil removed a keloid from my daughter's nose (I think it was the nose) when she was having problems with a piercing once! I think she found out about it on-line, too, through a website she went to for answers!!! (Maybe Yahoo Answers?) I was astonished that a keloid could disappear within a day or two-like magic-just from this little health food store oil!!!

I tried this to remove a keloid on my tragus piercing but had no luck. I had to remove the piercing to get it to go away, wich was a shame because I spent about a year trying to the the thing to heal so I could eventually get something teeny and sparkly there. 100% tea tree oil isn't recommended on piercings because it is very harsh and very drying.

I was only giving (true) anecdotal evidence, not medical advice! I am totally unqualified to give medical advice. Thank you for pointing out the flaws associated with tea tree oil, 4ever!!!

Deb
:read:
 

manderz

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Loves Vintage|1308495610|2949513 said:
manderz - wow, thank you so much for that link. There's one place in my state that's associated with the APP. I totally thought piercing place was the mall, haha. Sooooooo, this is interesting. I'm going to do it! They have titanium earrings. Should I try that? If I try gold, should I bring my own? Looks like they sell a lot of earrings.

Oh, and, wow, I saw some piercings I never knew existed! I've never seen/heard of surface piercings before! There's a picture of multiple piercings on a woman's back. Yikes!

Thank you again! I can't wait!

Not a problem!! If you have any questions or concerns, like about jewelry (since policy may vary from place to place) a piercer should be able to help you out. They should happily answer any questions you have, and make you feel totally comfortable.

I used to have a surface piercing as well as surface anchors. I no longer have them, but they were so adorable and fun while they lasted.
 

hawaiianorangetree

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Thank you so much to everyone who has given advice. There is just so much information to digest!

I spoke to my daughter about getting her ears pierced and when I explained that she couldn't get it done with the gun again (and why) and that it had to be with a needle, she decided that she wants to wait a little while longer, which is fine by me.

She expressed concern with them getting infected again so I think it is a good thing that we are going to wait until she is older (or until she gets used to the idea of the needle!)

Thank you again to everyone who has given their advice, I will be sure to look this thread up again when the time comes and LV good luck with getting your ears pierced! I'm glad this thread was able to help you out. You will have to thank everyone by posting some pics of your new OEC's :appl:
 
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