Newly pierced ears are vulnerable to infection – that’s because a wound has been made which allows bacteria on the skin to get into the flesh. When your ear has been newly pierced, carefully clean the earlobe each night with disinfectant or antibiotic to kill of any bacteria there, and to give the skin around the piercing a chance to heal. Hydrogen peroxide works really well for clearing any nasties that may have decided to congregate around the piercing. You can also clean the earlobe with alcohol, which will do a similar job. It usually takes about six weeks for an ear piercing to completely heal so that flesh is not exposed to the elements. If the ear lobe is oozing or red, you have an infection and you need to see your doctor and you need to stop wearing earrings straight away.
When you have newly pierced ears, never ever put cheap earrings in them. Anything that has copper in it will start to corrode and oxidise, and anything that has nickel in it can give you dermatitis. Because copper and nickel are cheap metals, almost all the cheap costume jewelry contain them. Instead choose gold, which is a safe inert metal and go for the highest carat you can afford. 22 carat gold earrings are best, and 18 carat gold earrings will do at a pinch. Don’t try lower carats, as they will have too much copper and nickel in the alloy. You can also use platinum, as it is also an inert metal (but more expensive than gold). Ear infections can occur at any time, not just in newly pierced ears, so it’s worth deciding from the very start that you will never ever wear anything other than gold, platinum or silver.
If you don’t wear earrings, a newly pierced earlobe will close again. However after the initial six weeks is up and the skin has healed around the piercing, you can go longer without earrings and not have to worry about the hole closing. Initially choose simple stud earrings instead of hoops. Hoops can tear the earlobe, especially if the earlobe is tender and newly pierced. However do make sure you don’t have the earrings closed so tightly that blood flow in the earlobe is cut off. Clean your earrings religiously – sebum from the skin will accumulate on the earrings and bacteria feed on it. Wait till the skin has completely healed around the piercing before you try the more exotic dangling or “chandelier” type of earrings. Because these are heavier, they will drag the earlobe, enlarging the piercing. Therefore only wear them sparingly for special occasions and wear normal earrings at other times.