Dear Alley is our weekly advice column for pierced, inked, and amazing individuals (and everyone else too!) who might need a nudge in the right direction. Relationships, mods, or whatever, Alley's got you covered :).
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Disclaimer: Body Candy is only here to give you fun and helpful advice and information when it comes to getting pierced. Always consult a professional piercer to make sure a new piercing is right for you!
My nipple ring sometimes is itchy. It will come and go, particularly if I tap it on accident.
I never scratch it [and only use saline to clean it]. I have had the piercing for 6 months and have not changed out my jewelry.
Alley: Hi Whitley!
Piercings are pretty fickle - your nipple rings included. Although they might look healed on the outside, nipple piercings can actually take up to a year to be fully healed. You can't see the internal portion of the piercing, so it's hard to know if your anatomy has completely healed around your piercing... But this "itching" is a pretty good indication that it's not!
The itching could be a few different things, but you mention it typically happens when you tap/bump it. This probably just means your nipple piercing is still healing, and any unnecessary movement, jostling, or pressure is still going to irritate the tissues inside.
If you piercing starts oozing yellowish/greenish liquid, starts to smell bad, or is very painful to the touch (moreso than usual), it might be time to visit a medical professional or a professional piercer. Until then, be patient! It sounds like your aftercare routine is spot on (salt water/saline washes once a day). Do your best not to irritate your nips for now - hopefully you'll have a happy and comfy pair of piercings before the end of this year.
I just got a double helix two days ago, and it still throbs when I bump it or try to clean it. Is this normal?
And what can I do to help the pain subside with this piercing?
Alley: Hey Kathryn!
Congrats on your double helix piercing! That's a really cool mod and a really great look, I'm jealous! :)
That being said, yes, it's totally normal for your piercing to still be hurting after two days. A piercing is literally an open wound - a needle going through your ear cartilage is going to hurt for a bit, no matter what you do. On top of that, cartilage piercings are notoriously tough to heal - it won't hurt like it does now for much longer, but you should plan for up to a year of patient healing before you feel like you're completely healed up.
I know this is a fresh new piercing that you're still getting used to, but do your best not to bump it, touch it (besides a gentle salt soak once a day), or put any unnecessary pressure on it. I'm not going to lie - it's going to be painful for at least a little bit... But to help with the pain: no hats or hoods, don't sleep on your piercing, and be very careful with brushes or changing your clothes. You DEFINITELY want to avoid any snags!
Last but not least, I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but sometimes a few Ibuprofen can help to take the edge off of a particularly painful day.
I’ve had my ears stretched for years and they are still red and wet and smell bad. I got my septum and it healed fine. But my ears are still so sore. I even took them out and started over and they still aren’t [healed].
I’ve been using the piercing wash and jojoba oil and it’s still funky... Plus if I leave them out for a bit (like hours) they will start to close (I’m a 0g). And if I’m feeling lousy they tend to get swollen.
I really wanted to go up to 00g since those don’t close but my ears seem too sensitive to go up... It’s been years, what do I do?
Thank you, - Tayla
Alley: Hey Tayla!
Bummer! Just like Whitley's question above, piercings can be tricky, stretched ears included. I'm not 100% sure what is going on here and I do think you should talk to a piercer for sure (I am not a professional piercer)... But in the meantime, I do have a few suggestions that you may not have tried yet.
What kind of materials are you wearing in your ears? Acrylic plugs, silicone plugs, and metal plugs are occasionally the culprit in this sort of situation, as these materials can't "breathe" and thus don't allow oxygen to get into your piercing. Have you tried any organic materials like wood, stone, or bone? These materials are porous and actively let more oxygen into your piercings, which can effectively help with that "funky" issue. Even glass plugs might be a good option for you.
For now, keep up your good hygiene - a nice hot shower once a day where you massage your lobes, gentle salt soaks otherwise, and the jojoba oil regimen. I don't think 00g is an unrealistic goal, but I think you should try sizing down for now. Try a size smaller with plugs that made of an organic material until your lobes have healed.
I've had trouble with my lobes as well... And the true answer here is that patience is key! Once your lobes aren't feeling red, sore, or itchy anymore, you can try slowly sizing back up to 0g again, repeat the healing process, and then size up once more.
P.S. If you're still having trouble after you size down, it's definitely time to see a piercer!