I took a “class” this weekend from my 22 year old daughter, Beth…Ear Piercing and Gauging Maintenance 101. While visiting her for the Thanksgiving weekend in Lynden, WA, she gave me some basics on the subject that I found useful, and I thought I would pass them on to you.
When an ear is first pierced, it takes 4 to 6 weeks to fully heal. You will know it is fully healed because it no longer hurts when you pinch the pierced site. It should be cleaned daily with rubbing alcohol after washing your hands with soap and water. This decreases the chance of it getting infected. If it should get infected, the earring must be removed and, once the infection clears, you may restart the piercing process.
If you elect to gauge your ears, you should wait until the initial piercing does not hurt. Starting too soon will be quite uncomfortable. Preferably, you should also wait until the next gauge is no longer tender before stepping up the gauge size. During the gauging process, you should clean the gauge site twice daily, taking out the gauge only if it gets infected. Once you reach the desired size and the ear is no longer tender, you may remove the gauge without pain. At this point it should be washed daily. Metal gauges not routinely cleaned tend to be more prone to bad odor than wooden gauges, and gauges larger than 00 cause a permanent hole that will not spontaneously close if the gauge is no longer worn…Richard R Samuel, MD Family Practice and Urgent Care Hayden,ID USA