Ears That Keep Getting Infected

@Pigglies (9340)
United States
June 22, 2008 1:37am CST
I've had my ears pierced for I think over 2 years now. I only wear gold earrings, but my ears keep getting infected. I can get them to clear up, but it takes a few months. I've tried using salt water, tried hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, and betadine. Eventually, they get better (I have a pair of 24K gold earrings I leave in while they're healing). Then I wear 14K or 18K gold and eventually they get infected again. Sometimes, it starts spontaneously. Other times, it is because I left my earrings out for two days or so and had to re-poke the hole part way. Everyone in my family has a problem keeping their ears pierced it seems. How can ears be so sensitive that even gold is not enough? Has anyone here had ears like this and found something that would work to stop them from getting infected over and over and over again?
3 people like this
7 responses
@phoenix25 (1543)
• United States
3 Jul 08
I have had the same problem with my ears. Mine used to stay infected until I realized that I had an allergy to nickel, which is used for the posts of most non-sterling silver or gold earrings. Do you have a skin sensitivity to gold on the rest of your body? If the 24k gold earrings are helping your ears heal, then you need to only wear 24k gold earrings. No amount of cleaning or use of substances on your ears is going to help if your ears are super sensitive.
@Pigglies (9340)
• United States
3 Jul 08
I don't have a skin sensitivity to any metals on the rest of my body. I can wear the cheapest necklaces, rings, anything else. The only metals I've tried on earrings are: surgical steel (first pierced only), 24K gold, 18K gold, some 14K, and once 10K gold with horrible results, and sterling silver. That's it. I don't think the 24K earrings were helping much, but I put in some silver ones and it's hard to tell, but based on my ears leaking out tons more stuff, I think these may actually be worse. My ears are leaking out transparent yellow fluid now though, not pus. So maybe that's allergy, not infection?
@phoenix25 (1543)
• United States
3 Jul 08
I'm not sure, but that sounds exactly like what I used to have. Technically, if you think about it, a true infection would involve pus, swelling, and redness. So maybe it is just an allergy. I'm not surprised that 10k gold gave you worse results than other types of gold. 24k gold is pure gold. As you progress farther down to 10k gold, other metals are added into the gold to cut down on the actual amount of real gold. Nickel could be one of those metals included and perhaps you have an allergy to it. You could see an allergist to talk to them about it and find out what is making your ears so sensitive. Also, have you ever looked for hypoallergenic earrings? Apparently, they have no nickel included in the materials that the earrings are made of, so I'm thinking that a sensitivity to nickel must be a pretty common problem.
@Pigglies (9340)
• United States
4 Jul 08
I buy nickel-free silver earrings on eBay from European countries that don't allow nickel. But for the gold, I don't know if it's nickel free. I haven't tried the hypo-allergenic earrings because I'm too afraid that they'll make my ears worse (at this point though, it's hard to see anything getting worse). The neosporin seemed to make it all worse, so I'm back to Betadine since if that works on animal bite punctures, it should work on ear punctures. I'm going to try to find some earrings in titanium. I've tried stainless steel when I first got my ears pierced and that didn't even work out too well, but they use titanium in surgeries so I'm hoping that will work.
• United States
22 Jun 08
I tried having a second hole pierced in my ears twice and I could never get them to heal even once. After about 6 months both times I just gave it up. I hope you can figure out something that will help you :)
@Pigglies (9340)
• United States
23 Jun 08
Was it a cartilage hole? I always wanted one of those, but now I realize I'd definitely never get one. Thankfully, the paper towels seem to be helping my ears a little bit as of now. But I don't want to speak too soon because they're still leaking out junk.
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Jun 08
Oh no. I'm not brave enough to get a cartilage. There is no room for error in getting one of those and I just don't trust anyone to do it LOL. I hope you have good luck! I'm glad that you found something to help :)
@Pigglies (9340)
• United States
23 Jun 08
Yeah, I guess my ears aren't allergic to paper towel. :) I'm almost wondering if plastic earrings might help or something. I've seen those. But I'm allergic to latex so I'm not sure if they are actual plastic or if they are some type of latex derivative. I couldn't wear a retainer after I got my braces off because I was allergic to that. I don't have a whole lot of allergies, but it seems like I always get the worst ones. The funny thing is, for the longest time I never even wanted pierced ears. Now I don't really want them either, but I know there will just be a scar there now which would be worse than the constant infections. Plus, I have already spent thousands of dollars on earrings.
1 person likes this
• United States
22 Jun 08
i cant wear anything but pure silver, or 24k gold. anything less (18k and down) i will ALWAYS get an infection. not even those hypo-allergenic ones that nobody is supposed to have a bad reaction to. try to wear only the 24k for a month (with reg. cleaning) and see if you still get an infection. if not..then theres your answer, buy only 24k lol!
@Pigglies (9340)
• United States
22 Jun 08
I've been wearing only the 24K for over 3 months now and my one ear cleared up, but the other is still infected. You know, you may be onto something with the silver though... I have a few pairs of silver earrings and I've noticed that I never get infected ears wearing silver. Maybe I should stop wasting money buying gold.
• United States
22 Jun 08
there you go, wear the silver for ones for a month, ive known a couple of ppl that cant wear gold for long before they get infected, but i cant remember hearing anybody say anything about reacting badly to silver.
• United States
23 Jun 08
It sounds like you may be having an allergic reaction to certain metals. Have you tried hypo-allergenic earings? They be a little more costly but it may save you in the long run. I would look up some jewelry stores in your area or go online and research it. Good luck!
@Pigglies (9340)
• United States
23 Jun 08
Hypo-allergenic earrings are the ones sold in cheap costume jewelry stores, they are no where near the price of real gold which is what I have been paying. But I do not trust those earrings. I am not putting anything that cost only $5 in my ears. My cousins also have very sensitive ears and thought those earrings would be good enough. They no longer have pierced ears. Unless by hypo allergenic you meant platinum, in which case, I can't afford it.
@suspenseful (40331)
• Canada
23 Jun 08
Did you get your ears pierced by a professional, that is someone trained to do it, or by a neighbor? You can get a solution for sensitive ears and get some surgical loops in either silver, or 24k gold to keep the holes open. Also even though the loops are 24 carat gold, the rest of the earring may not be. I am allergic to nickel and even if the piercings are pure gold or silver or surgical steel the rest of the earring is not. That is why you should only wear earrings for sensitive ears. You should get a doctor to look at your ears and do what she recommends -get a woman doctor because men do not understand.
@Pigglies (9340)
• United States
23 Jun 08
I had my ears done professionally at a tattoo shop. I didn't get them done at a mall because of the risk of getting diseases there since they don't/can't clean their equipment. The tattoo shop autoclaves everything so that it was all sterile and safe. I already have 24K gold in the holes right now to keep them open. The entire earring is 24K, I am not buying cheap costume jewelry. I know good jewelry and I paid a lot of money for my earrings. The earrings don't say sensitive ears on them because they don't come from a cheap costume jewelry shop, instead they are stamped 24K. I will ask the doctor next time I go in to see if they can suggest anything else.
• Malaysia
22 Jun 08
let the wound heals before putting the earrings on again. the girl who pierced my ears advised me to avoid eggs and nuts (and a few other items) when the would is healing i avoid gold-plated accessories. yeah, they are gold. on the outer layer only. the gold layer will get thin somehow so the inner metal might be the cause of what is happening to you. i wear sterling silver or stainless steel instead of gold-plated earrings. 916 gold is ok. plated? no way if it's fully made of gold maybe there are some nickels mixed in it (926 gold is 91.6% gold and 8.4% other stuff so if you are super sensitive avoid nickel in the 8.4%) or maybe you should try something else. platinum? titanium?
@Pigglies (9340)
• United States
23 Jun 08
I don't wear plated gold, I cannot wear cheap costume jewelry. All of my earrings are either gold or silver. I am letting the wound heal, but of course, with the earring still in (otherwise, it is no longer going to be pierced). I haven't heard that about eggs and nuts, but I don't eat eggs anyway and rarely eat nuts so I'm doing good there I guess. I can't wear steel, that's what my ears were originally pierced with. It was really bad and eventually I realized the steel was causing problems and replaced them with gold studs. I should try titanium, that's not super expensive like platinum. I have noticed that my best earrings to wear are the silver earrings I bought online from a shop in London. I guess over there they aren't allowed to include any nickel at all.
@egdcltd (1893)
22 Jun 08
Some people even have problems with gold earrings. I think rhodium is supposed to be good for people with problems, although my mother is allergic to it.
@Pigglies (9340)
• United States
22 Jun 08
Rhodium is probably good because it is very similar to platinum. Rhodium is often used to coat white gold or silver earrings. I'll try some of my silver earrings that are coated with rhodium to see if that helps.