The title should give a pretty clear idea of what this post is about- “Piercing Funk” as I so lovingly like to call it. With almost all piercings over time the body will begin to smell and in many cases you’ll find a white or crusty material present on a piercing when you take it out.
I noticed this strongly when I got to about 4g with my stretched earlobes. If I didn’t clean my piercing once every other day then I could sense a noticeable odor coming from my ears, definitely not something that you want to happen. I never knew about it before I got my piercings and honestly didn’t think to ask at first until the paranoia set in: Is this infected?!
Quick Answer: not necessarily. While I can’t say if a piercing is or is not (that’s for a doctor or piercer to judge) this funk that gathers is perfectly natural. As I’ve continued to stretch my ears I’ve noticed that my body’s attempt to heal made it more and more noticeable. For a long time I kept up my habit of trying to remember to clean it with unscented antibacterial soap and warm water (my personal choice of cleaning) until I realized there are two alternatives that I like much more.
The first is a different cleaning method. When I first had my ear pierced my piercer gave me a sample bottle of H2Ocean, a saline solution of sorts designed specifically to help hydrate and heal these sorts of holes. I’ve used it on and off for about a year now and noticed that my cleaning has gone from once every other day to about once a week to maintain a nice personal level of cleanliness. It’s surprising how big a difference just the right mix can make.
The second is in the actual composition of the plugs. This is where there’s a bit of science and interest. The reason that your body generates this “funk” is because the body isn’t getting oxygen to the spots where your piercing comes in contact with it, and therefore tries to heal up. With metals and plastics the skin is fully in contact and separated from the air whenever a plug or piercing is in, the trick is that this is only true with metals and plastics.
Wood and Bone plugs are organic materials, and are “Porous”. What this means is that there are tiny holes running throughout the structure that allow oxygen and air to make their way through. While some bone plugs are highly polished and sealed which covers these holes, many still have this perk. Now to make myself clear these holes aren’t noticeable to someone wearing them as rough or uneven, many of them are almost microscopic.
The presence of air and oxygen through these organic items almost entirely eliminates the attempt at healing and I feel is a GREAT way to follow up a pair of tapers and starter plugs, to get your ears comfortably to a new size if you intend to stay there for a longer period of time. I myself am going to be picking up a pair of White Bone Tunnels when I stretch up to ½” next week!