Ear Piercing 101

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Here are the things you need to know about ear piercing.

Piercing Procedures
You should decide where to place the piercing and the type of metal for the jewelry. Some people are allergic to cobalt and nickel so you should avoid jewelry that have these alloys. Your safest bet are stainless steel, platinum, titanium and 14-carat gold earrings.

There are three types of ear piercing equipment used today. A piercing gun is spring-loaded and is fast and easy. Piercing needles or cannulas have a hollow core and are the favorite tools of piercing shops. Hand-pressured instruments and dermal punchers for cartilage are sometimes used too.

The ears should be cleaned first and a mark drawn to indicate where the piercing should go. Inspect the marked areas before you give the okay signal. Some people rub a numbing ointment as well to lessen the pain. The studs will then be placed using a gun or a needle. Finally, you’ll be given instructions on how to clean the piercings.

Types of Ear Piercings
1. Earlobe piercing is the most common. A hole is created in the center of each lobe. Some people can have two to three holes besides the first piercing.
2. Helix is in the outer rim of the ear. The piercing goes through the cartilage and usually takes months to heal.
3. Gauging, also called stretching, is the procedure that gradually stretches the pierced skin over time. The practice is quite common in some ethnic groups.
4. Cartilage is the upper part of the ear. The piercing can be done by a gun, but it takes longer to heal.
5. Industrial, also called scaffold, is a type of piercing that connects two holes using one jewelry. Two scaffolds in one ear is called an ear cage.

6. Conch is the part of the ear that forms its back. It is shaped like the conch shell. A bigger jewerly is needed for the piercing.
7. Tragus is the cartilage protruding directly in front of the ear canal. The piercing takes time to heal.
8. Anti-tragus is the area above the earlobes. This part of the ear is usually small so a small jewelry is used to pierce the ear.
9. Rook is also a cartilage located above the tragus. Getting a piercing in the area can be painful and will take long to heal.
10. Snug piercing is done on the outer rim of the ear above the anti-tragus.
11. The Daith is located between the ear canal and the rook.

Risk of Infection
It is possible to get infections if the procedure is unsanitary. Some piercing guns also place the earring too snugly on the ears, making it a possible breeding ground for bacteria because it can’t be cleaned while the wound is still healing. Earlobe piercings are usually done using a piercing gun and it’s relatively safe, but you should pick reputable shops that sterilize their equipment.

The first signs of an infection are swelling, redness, itching, drainage and pain. The first few weeks should be critical especially if the pierced area is always in contact with external objects.