SOURCE: American Academy of Dermatology

American Academy of Dermatology

October 07, 2014 12:46 ET

Caring for Pierced Ears: Tips From Dermatologists

SCHAUMBURG, IL--(Marketwired - Oct 7, 2014) - Although ear piercings are more common and can be less risky than other body piercings, they can still cause complications if not handled safely. For anyone thinking about getting their ears pierced, dermatologists urge people to take care of their pierced skin to avoid infection.

"It's important to remember that pierced skin is skin that has been wounded, leaving it vulnerable to infection," said board-certified dermatologist Elizabeth S. Martin, MD, FAAD, who maintains a private practice in Hoover, Alabama. "To minimize the risks, always go to a trained professional for piercing, use hypoallergenic earrings, and keep your newly pierced ears clean."

To encourage healing, Dr. Martin recommends the following tips:

1. Always wash your hands before touching newly pierced ears.
2. Leave the earrings in your ears for six weeks or more -- even at night. Removing the starter earrings too early may cause the piercings to close.
3. Regularly wash your ears with soap and water. Carefully do this at least once a day to avoid infection.
4. Twist the earrings a few times daily. This will help keep the pierced holes open.
5. Put rubbing alcohol on your ears: Using a cotton ball or pad dipped in rubbing alcohol, gently clean the skin around the piercings twice a day to keep away germs and prevent scabbing. You may also apply a thin coat of petroleum jelly around the opening.

"After piercing your ears, keep an eye on them," said Dr. Martin. "If they become very tender, red, or if the holes ooze yellowish liquid, see a board-certified dermatologist, as you may have an infection."

Certain individuals may not be good candidates for pierced ears, including people who have a personal or family history of developing keloids after injury to the skin.

The "Pierced Ears: How to Care" video is posted to the Academy website and the Academy's YouTube channel. This video is part of the Dermatology A to Z: Video Series, which offers relatable videos that demonstrate tips people can use to properly care for their skin, hair and nails. A new video in the series posts to the Academy's website and YouTube channel each month.

Headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology (Academy), founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic
associations. With a membership of more than 17,000 physicians worldwide, the Academy is committed to: advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education, and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care for a lifetime of healthier skin, hair and nails. For more information, contact the Academy at 1-888-462-DERM (3376) or www.aad.org. Follow the Academy on Facebook (American Academy of Dermatology), Twitter (@AADskin), or YouTube (AcademyofDermatology).

To view a media-rich version of this release, go to: http://www.pwrnewmedia.com/2014/aad/pierced_ears/

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