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Ear Piercing at Your Doctor’s Office or Pharmacy

Do you have questions? We have the answers.

Besides rings, necklaces and bracelets, earrings are the most popular jewelry accessory. This makes not only the first ear piercing but also all following ear piercings quite an important event. This is why many people seek the advice of medical experts, for they appreciate their doctor’s or pharmacist’s professional competence in all medical concerns.

At doctor’s offices or pharmacies that use STUDEX ear piercing systems, you’re in good hands: This useful guide informs you about everything you need to know about professional ear piercing and the correct aftercare. If you have any individual questions about these topics, your doctor or pharmacist is always happy to help. Beauty and health should always go hand in hand, also in terms of ear piercing. Your doctor or pharmacist is happy to advise you.

Ear piercing means piercing the earlobe or upper flat cartilage area using state-of-the-art hygienic ear piercing systems with sterile single-use cartridges. The sterile stud is inserted directly into the hole, while the clasp is automatically positioned correctly at the same time.

Body piercing means piercing the skin in areas other than the earlobe or upper flat cartilage area. First, the respective part of the body is pierced with a sterile, single-use hollow needle. Then the sterile jewelry is inserted through the fresh hole and closed manually by the piercer.

The areas marked in pink in the image are suitable for professional ear piercing with state-of-the-art precision instruments at your doctor’s or your pharmacy.

Traditional ear piercing through the soft earlobe with state-of-the-art instruments is barely noticeable. Most people say they only feel the slightest little pinch. The earlobes are well supplied with blood; therefore the hole heals quite quickly. This means, after only 6 weeks you can remove the hypoallergenic studs and wear other earrings. Normally, after approximately 5 to 6 months the holes have fully healed.

Ear piercing through the upper flat cartilage area (helix) is the second popular type of ear piercing. Cartilage is the only body tissue that is not supplied with blood. In these areas, the body cannot use blood to transport metabolic products and supply nutritive substances but has to use diffusion instead. Therefore, the healing process of an ear piercing in this area takes considerably longer. The hypoallergenic studs in the cartilage area may only be replaced by other earrings after a healing period of 12 weeks. It takes approximately 12 months until your ear cartilage piercing is fully healed.

Our STUDEX partners use state-of-the-art hygienic STUDEX System75 ear piercing systems for ear piercing. A sterile cartridge is inserted directly in these precision instruments containing the hypoallergenic stud and the earring clasp. The ear is pierced gently by pushing the special stud through the earlobe with just a short movement of the hand holding the instrument. The clasp behind the ear is automatically positioned correctly in the notch on the post at the same time. Thanks to the state-of-the-art cartridge systems, only the sterile stud and the clasp touch the ear, not the instrument itself. Here is what the piercing process looks like.

Do you know if you get allergic reactions to certain substances? For example, nickel, house dust, certain drugs or antiseptics? Are there any known cases of allergies in your family? If you are uncertain, please clarify this with your general practitioner before having your ear pierced. This is essential to avoid complications.

Choose only earrings made of top-quality materials, such as surgical stainless steel 316 Ltitanium or real gold, to avoid allergic reactions and promote the healing process. Please make sure that your earrings are hypoallergenic and skin-friendly in accordance with the EU Reach Regulation 2004/96/EC.

In everyday life, nickel can be found in many places: jewelry, glasses frames, watches, zippers, buttons, buckles or scissors. Also steel always consists of nickel and other materials. Even lettuce or chocolate contain traces of nickel. Cheap fashion jewelry can contain a high amount of nickel. As some people can get allergic reactions to nickel, the EU Reach Regulation imposes limits on the amount of nickel that is allowed to be released onto the skin per week. For ear jewelry, these limits are a maximum of 0.2 micrograms per square centimeter per week (i.e. 0.2 millionth of a gram).

Materials such as surgical stainless steel with the designation 316L as well as medical titanium, which are common materials for piercing studs, are also used in medicine, e.g. for surgical implants that remain in the human body all life long without causing harmful side effects. Rest assured that any STUDEX piercing earrings inserted by your doctor or pharmacist are hypoallergenic and skin-friendly and fall significantly below the maximum limit of the EU Reach Regulation, which makes them perfectly suited for ear piercing.

Minors (under the age of 18) must bring a release form signed by their parents or legal guardian. For minors under the age of 16, a parent or a legal guardian must be present during the ear piercing process.

Adults (aged 18 or older) should also sign a release form before having their ears pierced.

In general, there is no legal minimum age for ear piercing in most countries. Parents or legal guardians can individually decide on the right point of time for their child. Your doctor or pharmacist is happy to provide individual medical advice.

From a medical point of view, age does not play a role for ear piercing. As the German Association of Otolaryngologists (Deutscher Berufsverband der Hals-Nasen-Ohren-Ärzte) states:

From a medical perspective, it does not matter whatsoever if the ear is pierced as a child or later. Michael Deeg from the Association of Otolaryngologists in Freiburg, Germany, explains, “The earlobe is equally suitable for ear piercing at every age.” The expert says that the experience of pain was not higher for children than for adults. Often the piercing itself would only be perceived as a little pinch.

Source:, Oct. 16, 2012

Before piercing the ear, your doctor or pharmacist will clarify any so-called contraindications with you and inform you about the general risks of ear piercing as well as the importance of proper aftercare. Contraindications may be, for example, hemophilia (bleeding disorder), HIV, hepatitis or proneness to heavy scarring. You are also questioned about known allergies, especially metal intolerances. The medical expert then examines your ear for possible cuts, rash or skin irregularities and recommends to postpone ear piercing to a later point of time in case of any findings.

It may be very small, but a freshly pierced hole is a wound. Therefore, hygiene is essential. In order to minimize the risk of infections or inflammations, especially those caused by improper or insufficient aftercare, it is important that you follow the care instructions given by your doctor or pharmacist.

In many countries, ear piercing is subject to “hygiene regulations.” In Germany, for example, these are the “regulations on the monitoring of businesses according to the regulation on the prevention of communicable diseases” (“Bestimmungen der Überwachung von Betrieben gemäß der Verordnung zur Verhütung übertragbarer Krankheiten”). The ear piercing procedure as well as requirements to the facilities and their equipment is defined by special hygiene plans, which also cover all other topics such as disinfection, cleaning and disposal. You can be sure that the medical experts at your doctor’s office or pharmacy observe all hygiene regulations. The piercing expert wears disposable gloves. The ear is properly disinfected. The hypoallergenic piercing stud and the clasp are packed in a sealed single-use cartridge, thus ensuring sterility. The expert loads the cartridge into the instrument without touching the earring or the clasp. The instrument itself does not get in contact with your ear. And yet, the instrument, the workplace and all surfaces are disinfected after each use.

Care and Prevention

Professional ear piercing minimizes the risk of inflammation

After the ear piercing, proper and regular aftercare is essential for keeping your ears beautiful and healthy. Newly pierced ears must be cleansed with appropriate aftercare products at least twice a day. Your doctor or pharmacist will explain the aftercare details to you and give you a care product and detailed instructions for newly pierced ears. By carefully following these instructions, inflammations, infections or other complications can easily be avoided.

Do not touch the stud or your ear unnecessarily during the healing period. Always wash your hands thoroughly before touching the studs or your ears. The instrument positions the clasp automatically correctly on the post. Do not push the clasp along the post toward the ear. This ensures the correct positioning of the stud and allows for adequate air circulation at the piercing channel. An earring that sits too tightly can cause an infection.

Leave the hypoallergenic piercing studs in your earlobes for at least 6 weeks continuously before removing them. For cartilage piercings, leave the piercing earring in your ear for at least 12 weeks continuously. The studs should not be removed from the ear during this period, not even for aftercare.

Generally, try to keep your ears dry in between cleansing with a piercing care product. Keep hairspray, shampoo, soap and other preparations away from your new ear piercings. After showering or bathing, the ear should be rinsed with clear water and then prepared with an aftercare product.

Some schools, sports clubs or other institutions have strict regulations on wearing jewelry. Earrings may generally be forbidden during sports activities, or must be covered with tape or bandages. Please obtain information about these regulations in advance. To prevent the new holes from closing, the piercing earrings should not be removed during the healing period. If this is not possible because of any regulations, we recommend planning your ear piercing for the vacation period.

Ear piercings that are newly pierced or not fully healed would close, if you removed the studs. Therefore the piercing studs should be worn continuously for at least 6 weeks (earlobes) or 12 weeks (ear cartilage). It takes up to 5 months (earlobes) or 12 months (cartilage area) until the ear piercings have fully healed.

Once your ear piercings are fully healed, however, they cannot grow back together. The inside of the piercing channel will be covered by skin, which thus seals the “wound” caused by piercing the ear. Sometimes it may look like the piercing closed, since healed piercings usually excrete sebum, if you don’t wear earrings for a while.

During the healing period (6 weeks for earlobes, 12 weeks for ear cartilage), it’s best to avoid swimming. After all, each new ear piercing is a small wound, which should be kept as clean as possible. Public swimming pools are often contaminated with germs, especially bacteria. And pools that use chlorine may cause problems, since chlorine and its byproducts can dry out and irritate your skin. Even lakes or oceans may be contaminated with germs. Therefore, if you decide to go swimming anyway and your ear gets in contact with water, we recommend that you follow your swim with using an aftercare product. You may also use a waterproof bandage, which you should remove after swimming.

Even after the first healing period of 6 or 12 weeks after piercing, we recommend to use only post-type earrings during the following healing period, no hook earrings. The earring post should be made of surgical stainless steel or other hypoallergenic material such as titanium, real gold or sterling silver. Sensitive by STUDEX are ideal as follow-up earrings – or anytime. We do not recommend using cheap fashion jewelry, as this type of jewelry may release a large amount of nickel, or may even be laden with the harmful heavy metals lead or cadmium or the equally harmful metal cobalt.

Many women like wearing large earrings. However, these can be quite heavy and pull at the connective tissue. To avoid a permanent deformation of the earlobes, we recommend wearing heavy earrings for special occasions only.

Normally, there are no complications when the ear piercing is performed by a trained expert or medical professional. In rare cases, however, the wound may get infected. The most common cause of infection results from improper aftercare. Depending on the severity of the infection, the use of antibiotics may become necessary. Therefore we recommend that you always contact your doctor to clarify any possible intolerance.

In rare cases, cross-intolerances may occur. Our recommendation: If you are taking antibiotics, postpone the ear piercing to a later point of time.

Severe infections can lead to intense redness or swelling, bleeding or festering and are often very painful. In such circumstances, seek medical advice at your general practitioner’s or dermatologist’s immediately. Depending on the severity of the infection, your doctor will decide if the piercing earring has to be removed. She or he will cleanse the wound thoroughly and disinfect it, and advise you on how to further promote the healing process at home. Do not treat complications associated with ear cartilage piercings lightly! Failure to seek medical advice in case of complications may result in permanent scarring of the ear cartilage.


Have your ears pierced only by trained experts or medical professionals.

Clarify in advance if you or your family suffer from allergies (e.g. nickel, house dust, certain drugs or antiseptics).

Do you take any drugs? Are you resistant to antibiotics? If you are not certain, please contact your doctor.

Inform yourself about possible regulations on wearing earrings at your school, your sports club, etc.

Consider carefully in advance which area of your ear you want to have pierced.

Make sure that sterile single-use cartridges are used with the instrument and that it is operated with manual pressure. Ask for STUDEX System75.

Make sure that your earrings are hypoallergenic and skin-friendly in accordance with the EU Reach Regulation.

Carefully follow the care instructions given by your doctor or pharmacist.

Keep dirt, shampoo or soap away from the wound and avoid swimming, if possible.

If inflammations or other undue symptoms occur, seek medical advice immediately.

Let the wound heal completely.

After the healing period, choose earrings made of hypoallergenic materials, such as Sensitive by STUDEX.

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Do you have any questions regarding ear piercing?

For further information, contact your doctor or pharmacist, or send us an email.

Image credits
Header image: © Dmitry Kalinovsky/; images “care and prevention”, woman pointing to ear, and 3 women: © Syda Productions/; girl in pool: © tan4ikk/; woman with chandelier earrings: © Svetlana Fedoseeva/; drugs: © Stillfx/; other images and illustrations: © STUDEX of Europe GmbH