The concept of ear piercings in and of themselves are an odd, if not mildly unhygienic practice. And yet, it doesn’t stop so many of us from getting multiple body parts pierced.
So what happens when the entire process goes a little awry, with infections and injury inevitable?
We decided to crowdsource the Mamamia office because gross stories are a-plenty. And this, friends, is what happens. Here’s hoping you’re not eating.
The foreign one that went wrong
Emily, 25, had her horror experience overseas. Naturally.
“I decided to get my nose pierced while volunteering in a rural town in Ecuador after being dared by the other volunteers. Despite the piercing studio’s lack of first-world hygiene (think no gloves, questionable looking needle, v questionable looking technician), my new nose piercing never once got infected. It did however bleed like crazy when it ripped out, caught on a fibre in the towel I was using to dry my face,” she said.
The ones that got too swollen to handle
“I had a ear piercing middle of the ear, on the cartilage and it blew up went bright red. My ear then expanded like three times and I had to go to the doctor to get it removed because it was one of the screw-ons you couldn’t take off yourself. Oh, and I had to go on antibiotics because it was an ear infection,” Ruby, 27, said.
“When I was about 15 I got an ear piercing at the mall with some friends. At first, everything seemed fine with the piercing, but when I tried to take out the earring I realised the back was jammed. Deciding to deal with it tomorrow I went to sleep and forgot about it, but when I woke up the next morning my earring was missing. When I felt my ear I realised it was really swollen and incredibly sore. It had essentially swallowed up the earring overnight. Ten hours and a hospital visit later it was cut out, and unsurprisingly, I never had the spot re-pierced,” Holly, 29, says.
The one that...popped
"When I was like 12 and got my ears pierced, one of mine ears swelled until I had this purple ball on the back of her ear. It was sooo big, I can't even explain. Then one night in bed it popped and was full of blood," Georgia, 26, says.
The one that's still infected
Another took to Reddit to share their own hellish story, saying after two and a half years, their ear is still infected.
"I got my tragus pierced 2.5 years ago at a professional shop with implant grade metal, I think it's titanium. I've been following the piercer's advice and using sterile saline wound wash to clean it twice a day. It still hasn't healed, and has always been swollen and still crusts," they wrote.
That's cause enough to steer well clear of piercings...for now.