Most girls will consider having piercings at some point, whether in your ears, nose or elsewhere on your body. Bear in mind that any piercing will leave a permanent hole and make sure you know the age limits. Having your ears pierced is a completely safe procedure providing you do your homework and go to a licensed shop or licensed piercer to have it done.

  • Your local council may have a list of approved piercers (places that have passed strict health and safety checks), so check first.
  • Ask around – friends and family who have piercings may be able to recommend a reputable piercer.
  • Check that the premises are clean, that the piercers use sterilised equipment and wear surgical gloves (and they change these between piercings).
  • Avoid anywhere that uses a piercing gun because this cannot be sterilised properly.
  • Make sure you receive plenty of advice about the risks involved and plenty of information about aftercare and appropriate jewellery.

Even if you follow all these precautions, there can be health complications following any piercing. You must practice good hygiene:

  • always wash your hands before touching your skin near the piercing
  • don’t fiddle with it or turn the piercing
  • if a crust forms, leave it alone. This is your body’s way of protecting the injury.

Your piercing may bleed for a while afterwards, and on and off for a few days following the procedure. Keep it clean – gently wash it with salt water twice a day and dry it carefully with a clean piece of kitchen towel or tissue. Never used shared towels to do this.

Occasionally, piercings can become infected and form an abscess which can cause scarring. If left untreated, this could lead to blood poisoning which is very serious. It is essential that you seek medical attention straight away if you suspect your piercing may have become infected. If you have any of these signs, call your GP or NHS 111:

  • swelling and/or redness around the piercing
  • pain when touching the area
  • a yellow or green discharge from the hole
  • a fever

Find out more about the possible health issues from piercing on the NHS website here.