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Pierced ears never healing - help or advice greatly appreciated!

(14 Posts)
metalmum15 Fri 24-Mar-17 09:50:32

Hoping someone may be able to advise me a little!

DD2 had her ears pierced at a reputable jewellers nearly a year ago. Since then, we have had continuous problems with them just never healing - weeping, crustiness, pus, bleeding, pain when the earrings are taken out or put back in (but only sometimes, and sometimes they go straight in with no problems!), plus hard lumps coming and going. They healed beautifully for the first 6 weeks, the main problems seemed to start when we had to start taking them out twice a week for PE lessons.

I started to suspect she may be having a reaction to the silver jewellery, so I tried surgical steel, and although it cleared up a little it still wasn't great. I searched around and found some medical plastic earrings for children who can't wear any metal. She wore those for 4 weeks and her ears looked the best they had since we had them done! However, the last couple of weeks she's gone back to a surgical steel pair she particularly likes and now they're back to being painful, crusty and bleeding. This weekend I'm going to try the medical plastic again but it's really my last resort. She loves her earrings but I'm just not sure it's worth the continual pain and hassle.
Does anyone have any advice? If I let them heal up I fear she'll want them doing again in a year or two and then we'll be right back to where we started, unless she waits until she's 18 and out of school and then we don't have the PE problem of constantly having to take them out. Has anyone had long term problems that have finally healed, or had them re-pierced at a later date and they've been much better second time round?

DD1 had hers pierced a few years ago but hers were fine after a few initial teething problems. I used to have allergies and could only wear gold (although now my ears will tolerate any old crap :-) ) but then I didn't have to take them out for school!

Any tips would be much appreciated!

HottySnanky Fri 24-Mar-17 11:22:16

Sounds like the kindest thing to do would be to stop using earrings altogether, let her ears heal completely and not let her have earrings until she's finished school. Infections and scarring aren't really worth the trouble.

FWIW I have pierced ears and wear earrings very rarely, i.e. about three or four times a year (my ears don't like anything that isn't gold) and have never had a problem with them sealing up.

lougle Fri 24-Mar-17 11:29:56

Have you tried gold? DD3 had lots of infections with sterling silver, which surprised me, because I find silver best for my ears. She tolerates gold the best.

metalmum15 Fri 24-Mar-17 11:54:51

Thank you ladies. I haven't tried gold so I might invest in a pair, although I did read you're more likely to be allergic to gold than surgical steel, so I'm not sure. I'm thinking we'll give it until easter holidays so she can have a couple of weeks of us not fiddling about with them and if they're no better we may just have to give in. We've stuck at it for so long now but I fear it may be the best option 😐

RoganJosh Fri 24-Mar-17 11:56:55

Have you tried nickel free?

metalmum15 Fri 24-Mar-17 11:59:10

Yes, I bought a pair of medical plastic earrings which are completely nickel free. Her ears seemed fine with them in for a few weeks, but then she had some new surgical steel ones so we changed them. I'm going to try the medical plastic ones again when she comes home tonight and see if they improve.

TheTurnOfTheScrew Fri 24-Mar-17 12:05:15

dd1's ear piercing's have been very slow to heal.
we had them done at a piercing studio, so don't think ti was a technique/skill issue.

what helped was sticking with the original gold piercing earrings, and twice daily saline soaks. Not a quick wipe, but properly soaking the ears AM and PM for 5 minutes using half a pint of boiled water to 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. After we did this for about a month, we reduced to daily for a month. The school were ok with her covering them with micropore tape for PE - is this an option?

Foolishly though I've just let her wear a cheap pair of earrings that MIL bought for her birthday, and we are now starting over.

HeyRoly Fri 24-Mar-17 12:05:34

It's common to react to surgical steel, to the extent that the best piercers won't use steel in fresh piercings. Titantium is much better.

However, the main problem is that she's taking them out too often. Can't be avoided I know, but the best thing to do with an angry piercing is keep it clean and leave it alone. Taking the jewellery out and back in is traumatising to the healing tissue and lands you back at square one, healing wise.

So on balance it might be better to give up. I don't know if I'll ever let my DD pierce her ears, because the healing period, realistically speaking, is way more than six weeks. But six weeks is the longest time you'll ever be able to leave earrings undisturbed, assuming you get pierced at the start of the summer hols confused

metalmum15 Fri 24-Mar-17 12:22:30

@TheTurnOfTheScrew we've been doing twice daily saline soaks too. I wish I could remember where I put her original piercing earrings as I can't remember what metal they were (I know they weren't yellow gold) but she was fine with them. The backs were extremely stiff though so probably not really great for taking on and off. Unfortunately her school is very strict and earrings HAVE to come out.

@HeyRoly I have thought about Titanium, but they are so expensive and I'm worried she'll lose one at school. I agree completely about the constant taking out and putting in, it's really not helping, I was just hoping to persevere until summer and hope a good few weeks of leaving them alone would finally do the trick. I guess it just bugs me that every other child I know (DD1 included) has ears that healed fine even with taking them in and out 6 weeks after piercing :-(

OhTheRoses Fri 24-Mar-17 12:27:54

It's an allergy to the metal. I can wear 18ct or silver. Nothing else. Give up until she stops taking them out for PE. She will probably never be able to wear inexpensive earrings if she can't wear silver.

HeyRoly Fri 24-Mar-17 13:11:23

Titanium isn't that expensive. Well, it depends where you look and what you want. Body piercing websites do a wide range of titanium jewellery - only problem is they tend not to sell the typical post-and-butterfly type of stud. I wear labret studs in my ears. They ARE more fiddly though, because you have to put them in from the back and screw on a ball/gem at the front. Too fiddly for a child to manage at school, I expect.

Needingchange Tue 04-Apr-17 23:18:06

Go back to using the earrings she was pierced with or go to the shop and buy a set as they use gold usually. I had the same with my tragus piercing as a teenager but it did heal after a year and over a decade later I have no issues. I would get the disinfectant spray and make sure you are putting it on twice a day and if she's taking it out for pe i would advise spraying the stuff on her fingers after washing to avoid any contamination. Also twist them regularly to prevent them sticking and maybe even masking tape them at night to prevent hair catching as mine became very sore after catching it

Madlizzy Tue 04-Apr-17 23:24:36

Don't twist them, that is strongly advised against now. Agree with titanium, saline washes, and just to add an extra - do a wash with a hot chamomile teabag once a day too, as this soothes and reduces inflammation. Other than that, they need to be left alone.

Fairylea Tue 04-Apr-17 23:35:23

You need titanium ones. They should have used titanium to pierce, with a needle in a proper piercing studio. If they used a piercing gun it may be part of the problem as the skin is pushed through with force causing scarring. Lots of people are allergic to gold, silver and steel. Titanium is far more easily tolerated which is why they use it for surgery etc.

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