Ear Piercing Bleeding: Causes & Treatment

  • Written by Dan Hunter on January 30th, 2020
    Last updated: October 20, 2020

Don’t worry if your ear piercing is bleeding. it happens to most of us. If your piercing is new, wait a few days to see if it stops. If the bleeding continues or has any of the symptoms described below, you should consider having it checked by a doctor.

Your ear piercing may bleed due to one of the following:

  • infection
  • Accidental bumps
  • Overcleaning
  • Crust removed
  • Interfere with blood thinners

Ear piercing bleeding: the reasons

It is normal to have light bleeding for the first few days after the ear is pierced. This is part of the natural healing process.

How long this takes depends on where it is on your ear. For example, cartilage piercings heal more slowly and are more prone to infection than those on the earlobe.

In the piercing shop

It is completely normal for your piercing to bleed immediately after the procedure. A needle just went right through your skin and (sometimes) cartilage, so at least a little blood should be expected. Piercings can even bleed profusely depending on their location, but this is normal in most cases.

Infected piercing

If the area is swollen or you experience green or yellow discharge, you should see your doctor. In most cases, you will need a short course of antibiotics.

Infected tragus piercing

Also, don’t miss out on your piercing cleaning routine, which should be done at least twice a day. It is important that you clean your piercing regularly to keep infection away. Infections can also occur in old ear piercings.

The best aftercare product that I have personally used is the After Inked Piercing Aftercare Spray. It is not only vegan-friendly, but also completely free of alcohol and additives. The solution is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin, and comes in a generous spray bottle for easy application. When used from the beginning, the spray will shorten healing times and aim to relieve persistent aches or pains.

Poke your piercing

If you accidentally poke your piercing, it can bleed. It is hard to get used to your new piercing. We found it difficult to pull clothes over our heads first. Try to become more aware of your surroundings and first consider if something is affecting your new piercing.

Moving around in bed while you sleep can put too much pressure on you. This is hard to avoid, but be sure to fall asleep on the non-pierced side.

Your ear piercing can be easily injured even if you comb your hair, do your makeup, or wash your face. Again, these are difficult situations to avoid – perhaps put a sticky note next to your makeup mirror to remind you to be careful with your piercing.

Take blood thinners

Blood thinners can cause your piercing to bleed more than usual. For the first few days of healing, avoid taking pain relievers such as aspirin (with your doctor’s approval) or drinking alcohol.

Also, avoid rubbing it with alcohol or hydrogen peroxide until the piercing has healed. These slow down the healing process as they dry out and kill new skin cells.

Remove the crust

Do not remove the crust of your piercing as this may cause bleeding. This happens because the crust may still be clinging to living skin and the wound may tear if removed.

Removing the scab should only be done while cleaning your piercing. However, do not do this by force and use only a clean cotton swab to remove dirt and crusts that fall naturally. Do not touch a new ear hole directly with your fingers when cleaning it thoroughly first, as germs from your hands can infect it.

Cleaning too much

Cleaning your ear piercing too much can dry out the skin near the piercing wound. This can cause skin cracks and bleeding.

We recommend cleaning your ear piercing twice a day if the healing process is going on normally. If the piercing is infected, you can clean it three or four times a day. You can use tea tree oil to aid the healing process and prevent infections.

How to apply tea tree oil

  1. Allergy test: Apply some tea tree oil on the inside of your arm or thigh, wait a day, and check for signs of allergic reactions. If nothing happened, you can continue with treatment
  2. Clean your hands: Use an antimicrobial soap to make sure your hands are sterile
  3. Apply: After dipping a clean finger in the oil, gently cover the pierced area with it. You can do this twice a day after cleaning your piercing.

Trying to reopen a piercing

Piercing holes can close up surprisingly quickly if you take a break from wearing jewelry for a while. Many people will try to break through the layers of skin that have formed to re-open a closed piercing, which can sometimes damage regrown blood vessels and cause some (usually) light bleeding.

Final thoughts

Ear piercing bleeding could be a sign of infection or not following follow-up instructions. Less serious factors can also be the cause.

Look out for symptoms associated with the bleeding, such as swelling, excessive redness, or green / yellow pus. In this case, contact a doctor. We recommend that you do not touch your piercing too hard and never move or change the piercing jewelry before it heals.

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