If you’ve recently got an industrial piercing and it feels sore or doesn’t look quite right to you, you may be wondering if it’s infected.
Industrial piercing infections are fairly common complications, but luckily they can be treated successfully most of the time, and you can also take steps to prevent infections from returning or developing in the first place.
An industrial piercing is a cartilage piercing that enters and exits the ear through two separate points. Then a rod-shaped piece of jewelry is used to connect the two piercings.
An industrial piercing infection is when harmful bacteria build up in one or both of the holes that your ear is pierced in. Bacteria are always present on your skin and in your body, but certain circumstances can cause excessive bacterial growth and prevent your body from regulating it normally.
Most of the time, if one of the holes becomes infected, the other is likely to become infected as well.
Signs and symptoms of infection
So you know what can cause industrial piercing infections, but how do you know if your piercing is actually infected? Look for these signs and symptoms.
In severe infections, swelling and inflammation can spread beyond the original piercing to the rest of the ear cartilage. In this case, you need to immediately consult a doctor for antibiotic treatment. Do not remove the jewelry.
A clear discharge is normal during the healing phase. It comes from your lymph glands and is not a sign of infection.
What Causes Industrial Piercing Infections?
A variety of circumstances can cause your industrial piercing to become infected. Here are the most common reasons.
Unsanitary piercing conditions
Most professional piercing studios follow strict hygiene standards to prevent their clients from getting infections. If you are getting pierced, make sure your piercer washes their hands and wears gloves. You should also disinfect the area that will be pierced on your ear and use a new, sterile piercing needle.
Dealing too much with the piercing
The first rule with piercings is to keep your hands off them. Every time you touch your industrial piercing, you may irritate it and add more bacteria to the area from your hands. Whenever you have to deal with piercings or jewelry, wash your hands first.
Injury the piercing
If your jewelry gets caught on clothing or something else, or gets hit in the ear, the irritation can ignite your industrial piercing and make it more prone to infection.
You can get an infected industrial piercing years after your piercing has healed, as injury to the area can lead to tiny cracks in the piercing that allow bacteria to enter. Even sleeping on the piercing can cause irritation and possible infection.
Using cheap metal or other acrylic jewelry can lead to infection. It depends on how sensitive you are to these materials.
Many people are allergic to metal alloys or certain metals, and an allergic reaction weakens the immune system and increases the risk of infection.
The itching of an ear that is having a reaction also leads to infection as you create tiny cuts and fill those with bacteria from your fingernails.
Acrylic is not the best material for piercings because it absorbs and houses bacteria more than metal jewelry.
You need to keep cleaning your industrial piercing until it is done Completely Healing ended.
Keep using a saline solution or a good piercing aftercare product until the skin in / around the piercing has completely healed.
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 alcohol-free and free of additives. The solution is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin, and comes in a generous spray bottle for easy application. When the spray is used from the beginning of the healing process, it will shorten healing times and aim to relieve persistent aches or pains.
If your industrial piercing becomes infected, treat it the same as you would any infected cartilage piercing. The first step is to put the piercing in saline or sea salt water.
In fact, saline or sea salt should be used for aftercare from the first day you receive your industrial piercing.
For normal aftercare, you only need to soak your piercing about twice a day. Simply squirt the saline solution onto the piercing holes and the surrounding area, or pour the saline solution or sea salt water into a small bowl or cup and tilt your head so that your ear is submerged. However, if you do have an infection, consider increasing the soak to around 4 times a day.
To soak your own sea salt, dissolve ¼ teaspoon of fine sea salt in 1 cup of warm water.
Avoid harsh disinfectants like alcohol or peroxide as these can further irritate your ears. Also, don’t use antibiotic ointments that will prevent your piercing from draining, which it needs to do. If it doesn’t drain, the bacteria become trapped in the cartilage and can spread.
You can also mix a few drops of tea tree oil with coconut oil. Apply this to the area of your industrial piercing with a cotton swab to help reduce inflammation and help the infection heal faster.
As long as you follow the treatment recommendations, the infection should improve. You may have a cartilage bump in one or both of the holes for a while. Follow the aftercare routine until the piercing has completely healed and the bumps have resolved.
Try a warm compress
Applying a warm compress to the area can promote healing by soothing inflammation and reducing irritation, which in turn helps relieve swelling and reduce pain.
To make your own warm compress, place a clean, damp towel or cloth in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time to make sure it doesn’t get dangerously hot.
There are also many ready-made compresses that contain herbal blends and grains of rice to help retain heat and soothe swelling.
You can also add these items to your homemade compress if you want. Just make sure to close the towel tightly so that none of the ingredients fall out.
How to use a warm compress:
- When you’ve made a compress, put it in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time. Repeat until the compress is warm enough, but not too hot.
- If using a store-bought compress, heat it as directed on the product label.
- Apply the compress to the infected piercing area for up to 20 minutes, twice a day if possible.
You can also use two compresses at the same time, or flip the compress over to make sure you are treating both sides of the piercing. Alternatively, you can just keep switching between the two pages.
This is how you prevent industrial piercing infections in the future
There are some simple steps you can take to prevent the pain of an industrial piercing infection again.
Industrial piercings take a long time to heal, and this makes them prone to inflammation and infection.
However, an industrial piercing infection can be treated at home with simple sea salt soaking agents if you detect it early. All you need to do is keep your piercing clean, avoid harsh detergents, and keep hands and other objects away from your piercing until it has completely healed.