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Ear & Body Piercing/Old Piercings Causing Issues


I have 3 piercings in my earlobes. The bottom ones were done at least 12 years ago and have never given me any trouble. The middle ones were done 10-12 years ago, and the top ones were done 6-7 years ago. I don't usually wear jewelry in the top two, but they have never closed and I can put jewelry with no pain or bleeding.
Occasionally, the middle and top piercings will give me trouble. Typically this only happens on the right side, which is odd because I sleep on my left side and use my work phone on my left side. I do occasionally put earrings in the top two piercings, but only good 14k gold or 925 sterling silver.
The top two piercings on the right side are currently mildly infected, which is not uncommon- happens a few times a year. I am wondering, once I get the infection cleared up, should I just leave earrings out permanently, or should I put clear plastic studs in just to keep bacteria out of my piercing hole? I really don't care about keeping the holes open- I am just sick of the skin around the holes peeing and looking bad, and then the holes getting inflamed and infected.
I'm not sure if it would be better to just leave them empty or put a clear stud in just to keep the hole filled.



Hi Cate,
From what you described, the top and middle piercings are likely less stable than the lower ones and more sensitive to the jewelry quality. To help avoid sensitization when reinserting them, first make sure that you have completely round and smooth ends for the jewelry, and that the material is suitable for a healing piercing as described at Use a water based lubricant to aid with a smoother passage for the jewelry. Treat the piercings like new until they stabilize. Plastic jewelry is not usually a reasonable option.  

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Brian Skellie


I can answer questions in regards to and not limited to: jewelry safety, specifically material, shape, proportion, and related issues; aseptic technique and sterilization as it applies to piercing safety; ethical issues of technique and bedside manner; the aftercare and recovery process for piercings. *Available for consultation.


Body artist and founder of Piercing Experience (1992), and SciCan Authorized Dealer of STATIM Sterilizers and related infection control products

Currently serving on the APP Board of Directors as President, formerly as Global Media Director 2013-2014, International Liaison 2010-13, Treasurer 1997-99. Over fifteen years with ASTM and APP.

The Point Journal of the Association of Professional Piercers, USA Today, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Atlanta Magazine, Creative Loafing

I regularly participate and teach in many APP and related body art educational programs. I keep current certifications for OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens, First Aid, and CPR.

Awards and Honors
APP President's Award, Best Freehand Piercer, Best of Atlanta

Past/Present Clients
Tens of thousands of one on one client experiences as the founder of Piercing Experience in Atlanta, GA, USA *Body jewelry design and safety expert: Member ASTM committee F04( former Member AAMI ( Research advisor and educator for the APP for over a decade( teaching advanced studio setup, sterilization and equipment management, freehand piercing, aseptic/sterile technique and much more. Distributor and Body Art expert for SciCan StatIM sterilization and infection control products. and

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