Do I have an infected tragus piercing? What are some of the signs that might show and how can I treat, heal or get rid of any infection on a pierced tragus effectively? What are some of the good aftercare tips that might help me?
The time when ear piercings were restricted to earlobes only is long gone. Nowadays, people tend to have various types of ear piercings including the tragus, anti-tragus or even cartilage piercings.
Piercings on your tragus can make a ‘powerful fashion statement’ but it is also vulnerable infection too. We are going to discuss the causes, symptoms, treatment and care you need to deal with the problem of tragus piercing infections.
Is my tragus piercing infected? What caused it?
Just like any other body piercing, tragus gets infected too. Although the tragus area is small, it is so exposed, making it vulnerable to infections. Some of the common causes of infected tragus piercing include the following:
1. Poor Tragus Piercing aftercare
Ignoring or not taking proper aftercare of your new tragus piercing is one of the most common causes of infection. Follow the right aftercare procedure you have been given which might include cleaning it with a saline solution or any other solution you might have advised to use.
2. Unsterilized piercing equipments
A second cause of this infection is going to an unqualified piercer who might not know the importance of keeping high hygiene standards as well as sterilizing the equipment he or she uses. This can lead to an infection that might appear after 2-3 days from the time of piercing.
3. Excessive cleaning and care
Some people often get their piercings irritated due to the excessive cleaning that “aggravate and irritate the infection”. You are likely to suffer from tragus inflammation as it gets irritated.
4. Wrong jewelry and jewelry material
After you have your piercing, it is important to ensure you wear the right size of jewelry to avoid much pressure on your tragus. For instance, a jewelry that is too tight can hinder the healing process and this can lead to an infection or your piercing growing bump.
Furthermore, some materials such as nickel tend to cause allergic reaction to many people. Generally go for jewelry made from stainless steel, gold, platinum, titanium or silver as these materials have shown rare cases of allergic reactions.
5. Poor personal hygiene
Poor personal hygiene can cause tragus piercing infection during the process of healing, weeks, months or years later, after you have completely healed. Avoid touching your piercing with dirty hands, dirty cell phones or letting other people touch it. Hair care products and dirty hair can also cause infection especially during the healing process.
6. Physical injuries
Finally, your infection could be caused by physical injuries especially by your tragus “earrings to a new piercing without a mirror might make it get hurt as it is still recovering”. Furthermore, inserting jewelry at wrong angles can also cause injuries or even tragus piercing bleeding that will make you vulnerable to infection.
Signs of an infected tragus piercing and symptoms
Any body piercing will tend to show some signs or symptoms when you get infected. Some of the common signs to expect include but not limited to the following:
- Swelling, tenderness and arching pain that persists for more than 48 hours for a fresh piercing
- Tragus inflammation and redness around your piercing site.
- Prolonged bleeding
- Discharge from the piercing site especially pus that might be greenish or yellow. In extreme cases, the discharge might have a foul odor.
- The site feels so hot when you touch it.
- Skin color changes on the area around the piercing site
- Pustules and bump behind or in front of the piercing
- Scarring around the piercing site
How to treat infected tragus piercing, best treatment and home remedies
From the symptoms and signs above, you should be able to tell that your piercing is infected. This section will focus on how to treat infected tragus piercing where we will also discuss some of the treatments and home remedies that can helpful.
1. Rubbing alcohol
The first way to treat an infected piercings on your tragus is using rubbing alcohol to clean it at least two times a day. However, this should not be used if your piercing has not completely healed which takes about 8 weeks. A cotton ball or Q-tip can be used in the cleaning process. Avoid using hydrogen peroxide since it can cause a crust or dryness on the piercing site.
2. Saline solution
If you have an infection during the tragus piercing healing process, clean it using saline solution (mixture of sea salt and water -1 teaspoon of sea salt in 8 ounces of water). As usual, use a cotton ball or Q-tip for cleaning. An ear swab might be good in cleaning as close to the piercing as possible. Ensure you remove all the “debris; dead tissue, pus, dirt or other foreign material.
3. Chamomile tea bags
This infected tragus piercing home remedy tends to fight any infection as well as quicken the healing process. Lightly press the infected area with a chamomile tea bag dipped in warm water. You could also use chamomile tea warm water for cleaning process.
4. Hot compresses
Another way to heal a tragus piercing infection is the use of hot compresses. They help in increasing blood circulation. Dip a clean piece of cloth in warm water and apply it on the area around the piercing site. Do this from about 3-5 minutes, for at least twice a day.
5. Infected tragus piercing antibiotics
If the infection is not showing any improvement after trying the above treatments, you should see your piercer or doctor for further advice. After examination, he or she might recommend some tropical antibiotic creams, oral antibiotics, pain killers or ointments you can use. Ensure you do not use any of these products unless recommend by a qualified medical practitioner.
In most cases, antibiotics are often recommended when cellulitis occurs, i.e. the wound grows beyond the piercing site because your body cannot fight off what could be causing the infection on its own.
Note: In case of a serious infection that leads to much damage of the skin around the piercing, your doctor is likely to recommend permanent removal of the jewelry since the need to heal will override issues like the piercing gets closed.
Tragus piercing risks
Other than just infection, which is one of the most common tragus piercing risks you might end up getting, you need to know other risks that are often associated with this process and they include:
- Development of piercing bumps
- Keloid scar tissue growth (bubble) that is very difficult to treat and they often recur.
- Jewelry rejection
Some of the risk and dangers often speculated such as hampering hearing and body balance function are not true since those functions are in the inner ear. Such risks can only occur in case of server infections that might affect inner ear, something not very probable or a very big keloid scar that blocks your ear (this can affect hearing process).
Tragus piercing infection bump or bubbles
In some cases, you might have tragus piercing bumps or bubbles on the inner or outside part of your ear. These are a sign on infection as seen earlier. Before you conclude you have a bump, you need to be careful since you might be developing a keloid scar tissue build up while you are assuming it is just a bump.
Tragus pierce bumps are often caused by wearing a too lose or tight jewelry, allergic jewelry materials, using a piercing gun, injuries and trauma on the piercing site,
There are many ways to treat an infected bump or bubble on a pierced tragus that include use of saline wash, crushed aspirin pasted, chamomile teabags, hot compresses, use of honey, lemon juice, among others. However, if you want to get rid of tragus piercing bump, just go for tea tree oil. It will wipe it off completely for most people.
Note: Sometimes, the tragus piercing bubble people complain about might not be just a bump but a keloid scar tissue that might be growing. This requires specialized treatment with no guarantee it might not reappear again.
Infected tragus piercing care
Other than the infected tragus piercing treatments, below are some important care tips that might ensure you not only get healed quickly but also avoid any chances of getting re-infected.
- Avoid removing your jewelry when you notice an infection. This will worsen the infection especially in the piercing channel as the infection gets trapped under your skin a condition known as abscess and your channel will not be able to drain well. Furthermore, the piercing might get closed.
- Always wash and disinfect your hands before you can touch your piercing (an antibacterial soap will be ideal). During the cleaning process, use gloves to ensure there are no chances of re-infection.
- Ensure nothing, including your hair touches the infected area. Your hair should be tied well. Furthermore, avoid earphones, and use your cell phone carefully
- Avoid swimming in chlorinated water during the healing process as well as using any cosmetic products on your infected piercing.
- If pierced tragus infection forms a crust, do not scrap it off. The crusty area might be a little itchy and this is a normal sign that you are actually getting better.
- Do not sleep on the side of the infected pierced tragus as this can cause bleeding and contaminate your bedding. Furthermore, ensure you clean your pillow and bed sheets since they might be hosting some of the bacteria that can re-infect your ear piercing again.
- Wear button tops and shirts if your infection has discharge since pullovers, T-shirts which are worn from your head might irritate the piercing as you wear them.
- Unless advised so by a doctor, do not use any ointments or tropical creams as they often hamper with the free breathing room.
I hope you all you need including what do for infected tragus piercing. Follow all we have discussed and infection during healing process or years after the piercing becomes history in your life.