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Babies and Toddlers

Infant ear piercing

Nov 2009

Its been a while since anyone has posted any information regarding good reputable and experienced Pediatrician/Dermatologist/Jeweler that perform infant ear piercing. ~M~

I just had my 6-month old daughter's ears pierced last week at Silver Lining Jewelers on Lakeshore Ave in Oakland. I actually searched the BPN archives for the recommendation and I'm so glad I did! Carol is the person there who does infant piercings and she has been doing them for 30 years. She was kind, patient, and very good. There is no charge for the piercing, you just have to pay for the earrings. We picked the most expensive earrings and paid a total of $33 for everything including the solution to clean her ears with when we got home. Carol works Tuesdays and Wednesdays and they recommend that you call ahead to make sure she is there before you go. Their number is 510-465-5103. Good luck! Happy with piercing

I had both my daughters ears pierced at about 6 months at Claires in the mall. One thing I would suggest is to see if anyone you know has used the particular store that is close to you, as the quality of service really differs from store to store. I was fortunate to have an experienced, nurturing girl who was willing to work with me to make my kids feel comfortable. I prefer to do one ear at a time, as I feel the shock of doing both at the same time is too much trauma to a little baby, but I know of people who feel the exact opposite, so I guess it is just a matter of choice. Good Luck! TMH

There is a kiosk in the middle of Serramonte Mall that will pierce infants - 6 mos & up. I took my daughter at exactly 6 mos. It was a great experience - no complaints! Anon

I second the Silver Lining. It is clean, quiet and was very easy for both my daughter and I. They have been doing this service for many years. My daughter loves her earings

Ear piercing for 3 year old

May 2009

Hi! My daughter just turned three and I would like to get her ears pierced at the earliest. She is already aware of the fact that it's going to hurt. So I would like to go to a place where they are child friendly and would tend to both her ears at the same time.We are in Rockridge and would appreciate it, if anyone had any information on this. Thanks

Silver Lining on Lakeshore Avenue is a traditional jewelry store with expertise and years of experience piercing children's ears. They have a nice selection of starter/piercing earrings (i.e., hearts, stars, etc.), and the staff is warm, friendly, and accommodating. It's generally two women that pierce simultaneously, and they're good with all the kids -- tots to teens. You may want to let your 3-year-old know that it doesn't always hurt a whole lot, actually. Can be more like a hard pinch if done right. My daughter's ears were pierced there at age 6, and she smiled right after the procedure and left the store skipping. Good luck

Should we have 18-month-old's ears pierced?

Jan 2007

Our daughter is 18 months, and since we didn't pierce her ears when she was an infant, I'm wondering when we should have it done. I'd like to do it when she is still young (rather than waiting until 10 years old, for instance), but I know that there are risks, such as fiddling with them too much, pulling out the earrings, etc. What have people's experiences been, and at what age is it recommended to pierce the ears? Thanks! jewelry-loving mommy

Have you considered waiting until she expresses an interest in pierced ears herself? If she's old enough to care for her healing ear lobes herself (cleaning, ointment, etc), she'll be more likely to be cooperative/consistent in caring for them if the brief pain of the piercing was something she chose or had a say in, as opposed to something chosen for her. When we choose to vaccinate our kids, it's briefly painful, but we believe it's for their overall good health. With ear piercing, it's also briefly painful, but it's for cultural and/or cosmetic reasons, not medical reasons. Not a bad thing, of course, but consider letting her have a choice in something that's not a medical issue for her body. proudly had my ears pierced when old enough to not need mom's help to care for the pierced flesh

I was about 2 1/2 when my mom took me to get my ears pierced. I had no problems. I think I stuck with tiny, gold studs for a long time and my mom used alcohol to clean them. anon

Hi, I had my daughter's ears pierced at age 3.5. We were in Claire's one day and she wanted a certain pair of (pierced) earings. I said, ''Well, you can have those kind of earrings if you get your ears pierced. Do you want to do it?'' She was excited (but a little reluctant) to do it, but she did. She never (and still hasn't) fiddled with them. She doesn't care to change her earrings very often though becuase of one incident where her daddy tried to do it while I was out of town. She's 5 now and still doesn't fiddle. So I guess what I'm trying to say is you can probably do it at any time, even at 18 months. Just make sure you prevent the holes from getting infected by turning the earrings regularly, etc etc.
Early ear piercer

Hi jewelry-loving mommy,
We had our daughters ears pierced by her pediatrician when she was 3 months old. She used the gun, though if I had been able to find someone who would have used a thin gold wire instead, I would have preferred that. The pain was temporary, Im thinking, because she stopped crying within 15 minutes of the procedure. I suspect her discomfort was increased because of the spring loaded mechanism of the gun. We didnt have any issues with infection- its important to rotate the post within the ear and lubricate it with oil to prevent discharge coagulating and so on. Im glad I had her ears pierced- shes six now and loves wearing earrings!! Vaiju

I wonder if your daughter will want pierced ears as much as you want her to have them. You might consider waiting until she's old enough to make the choice herself. anon

Where to get infant's ears pierced

July 2004

I'm looking for reputable and experienced jewelers that perform infant ear piercing. Thanks. Maria

Hello! Believe it or not the best place is at the mall. I took my daughter to the doctor's office thinking it was the best, & it turned out to be a diaster. The doctor even had my daughter's ears noticeably uneven. I took her to Piercing Pagado at the mall & they fixed the problem & my daughter who was 6 months didn't even blink an eye whereas at the doctor's office she was crying bloody murder. skasha

I HIGHLY recommend Silver Lining on Lakeshore in Oakland (465- 5103). We used were there 11/02 and plan to take our 3.5 month old there as well.

We originally had our 11 month old daughter's ears pierced at one of those mall places by the extremely shakey hands of a teenager. Big mistake, because she was moving so much and the girl was shaking, she ended up missing the hole completely and pierced the ear at a funny angle at the very tip! We didn't even get the second ear pierced, we waited a month and went to Silver Lining. The owner of the store did it for us, she's been doing it for like 20 years and was VERY good. My husband did have to keep my daughter in some what of a head lock as this time around she knew what was coming, she did cry, but it was over after a few mins.

Just some advice add'l advice, if she's old enough, make sure to have some sort of treat in hand to reward her with afterwards. Also, the sooner you get it done the better; the older they get, the feistier they get! Good luck. HB

You may try your daughter's doctor. I just made an appointment with my daughter's pediatrician. They had a display that they now offer this service which costs $40. This pediatrician is in Concord but others on the other side of the tunnel may also offer it. My pediatrician's phone number is (925) 827-9195 in case you want to call. ARA

I know that my pediatrician's office has a nurse who does piercing for infants and children, though I am not sure whether it is drop-in or by appointment. Bancroft Pediatric Group in San Leandro. Here's their contact information: 1300 BANCROFT AVE # 204, SAN LEANDRO, CA, 94577, (510)483-2605 Good luck. Rachel

Expecting a girl, want to get her ears pierced

March 2004

I am 37-weeks pregnant with my first baby (a girl!) and I would love to get recommendations from moms that had their little girl's ears pierced when they were still infants. I'm from Brazil and in our culture there are nurses that come to the hospital to pierce infant's ears with special little needles, not the usual guns. Does anyone know of any place or anyone that does that? I would really appreciate any recommendation. Thank you! can't wait to be a mommy

Hi, I had much angst over this question as well. My partner's family is latino and it is very normal to pierce the baby's ears in the first 3 months. Her grandma was very sad and always asked me when I was going to get my baby's ears pierced. But being a first time mommy, I was scared and didn't want to inflict much pain or deal with infections.

Finally, I got them done at 10 months and I think that is about the uppermost limit to get them done or wait until they want them (maybe after 5-7 years old?)cuz then they are more ''aware'' and will freak out! We went to Bombay Jewelry on University and they did a wonderful job. i wanted a place where it is ''normal'' in the culture to pierce baby's ears and have done it for a long time, not a jewelry stand w/ no experience (hey! I used to pierce ears in college for such a place). They've been doing it for over 10 years. They say they only pierce between 9 months up to a year - interesting window. They said something about the earlobes developing and doing it before the ''too old'' and freaked out age.

I do recommend taking someone with you for support and whoever can hold the baby's head firmly.

Anyhow, we did have a little bump in the road with an infection, but that was because the backing fell off and i put a gold one on and it bugged her ear. once i replaced it was fine and really didn't bother the baby much. When you consider all they go through with shots, the piercing isn't a biggy.

Lot's of moms (including myself) wondered if the baby would tug or bother w/ the earrings and they never have bugged her.

good luck! happy i got it over with

Looking for a place to pierce 4-month-old's ears

June 2003

Our daughter is now 4 months old and I am looking for a clean/professional/reliable place to have her ears pierced. He pediatrician recommended that we wait until she got the second tetanus shot. That's done and we don't want to wait any longer or else I know we'll never do it. I checked the web site and only found recommendations for older children and teenagers. Oddly enough it seems that the most reliable places are the tatoo/piercing shops on telegraph. It feels wierd to take a baby there, although I do trust them better than the Mall. I also suppose that for baby it is better to use a needle (vs gun). I will greatly appreciate your advice! Mariel

DEFINITELY stay away from the mall. It is impossible to properly sterilize the needle guns that they use. Professional piercers are the way to go, as they are very adept at what they do, plus they sterilize their needles in an autoclave. However, some piercers won't do children who are so young, some will. For some, it's a personal consent issue, ie, the baby is not able to give consent. Robin

Want to get 11-month-old's ears pierced but pediatrican won't

March 2003

I'd like to get my 11 month old daughter's ears pierced, but her pediatrician has a policy of not piercing infants. I am reluctant about having it done at a place like Afterthoughts or Claire's Boutique. If anyone knows of an alternative, I'd like to hear from you. I'd also like to hear about your experiences (good and bad) if you've had your baby's ears pierced at a jewelry/accessory store. Denise

We had our daughter's ears pierced at Hilltop Mall, and it was a total DISASTER. Since you asked for people's experiences, I will offer you ours, and also try to discourage you from getting your daughter's ears done at this age. First of all, it hurts. Second of all, at 11 months, she will be grabbing at them, pulling at them, and won't understand that she has to leave them in until they heal. One of our daughter's posts was put in at a slant, so you can see the back of the post from the front (this really bugged me). Also, one got infected, despite our cleaning them daily, and the pus oozed and dried around the post and...need I go on? I would suggest waiting, since you have already waited 11 months, until she is old enough to understand, ask for them herself (after all it is HER body), and help in the care and maintenance of them. I will NOT pierce my second daughter's ears until she is at least ten years old! Wiser the second time around

I had my daughters ears pierced when she was a year old, at ''Piercing Pagoda'' (we lived in PA then), a run-of-the-mill accessories island at the local mall. Make sure that they break open a new pair of ear studs, sterilize her ears and do both ears at once (very important, one at a time is obviously traumatic). It also helped to have my daughter sit in my lap while it was done. We called ahead to ensure that there were 2 people at the store at that time who had dealt with infant ear piercing before. She cried for exactly 2 minutes, at which point we entered a toy store and that was the end of the tears :) I diligently swabbed her ears with the solution they gave me and she had no problems at all. I know it's scary, but it hurts them less than it hurts the parents :) Richa

I'd recommend Beadazzled at the Hilltop mall for infant ear piercing. My daughter had her ears pierced there at about 5 months with no problem. My wife is from Bali, where it is customary to pierce little girls' ears early. The Balinese wisdom is that the younger the child, the less pain they feel. My daughter responded more to the fussing over having her hold still than to the piercing itself, but never even cried. I also have several friends whose kids' ears were happily pierced there, and based on whose recommendations we went there. The lady who did the piercing is very calm and gentle. Good luck! Ralph

School-aged Kids

Ear Piercing Place that uses needles, not guns

Jan 2010

I have read all the archives on ear piercing for children and learned that it is probably much safer and less traumatic to have my 9 year-old daughter's ears pierced by a professional, reputable piercer who uses piercing needles instead of the ones at Malls who use those guns. However in reading the archives, I saw no names of specific ''reputable'' places that use needles. We live in El Cerrito and are looking for a very good place or person here in the East Bay that pierces ears, and works with children. I want someone who will give us good advice on how to properly keep the ear clean to avoid infection, and who will suggest the proper kind of earrings that won't cause the kind of problems that lead to trips to the doctor, like getting an imbedded earring removed from an earlobe! We want someone who knows what they are doing and knows what are the best kind of earrings to use. Anon

I don't have a recommendation for a place that uses needles, but my 10-year-old daughther had a great experience recently at Silving Lining in Oakland. It's a jewelry store, not a mall setting, and they use surgical steel for the earrings. They had two people do my daughter's ears simultaneously, which seemed like a better method than doing one at a time (all the pain at once). They were not rushed and very specific about how to take care of the pierced ears, and my daughter has not had a problem. anon

I don't know if Fura in Castro Valley works with young children, but I have been very impressed with Mel there. You are right that needles are better than piercing guns. And the proper earring is just that, a small ring with a bead that holds it closed. With a ring rather than a stud, the earlobe has room to swell and it is far easier to keep clean. Also, no alcohol for cleaning, just good castille soap. anon

We took our 6 year old to Zebra on telegraph in Berkeley. The scene is what you'd expect of a piercing salon. Lots of highly decorated people. They use needles. The process was--the ear was cleaned, hole markers were dotted on w/ a white ointment (zinc oxide?). A special gizmo attached a stud to a needle and the whole thing went through the ear, with the stud staying--there was no in/out/in. I believe the piercer used a cork on the other side of the ear, to catch the needle, but it's been a few years. You leave with a bactine like liquid for cleaning. And very different instructions than those we observed as teens. No twisting, no alcohol. Instead, the main care method is to soak in a sea salt water solution (makes sense, think sore throat, or mouth issues). We had to do this for months. Our daughter healed slowly. At one point we thought maybe it was infected. The staff there took a quick look and assured us it was fine, and advised more soaking. That was the ticket. The staffer was very kind, in helping enouraging the soaking, she told my daughter how hard and boring it was to soak a nose..versus an ear lobe. Keep in mind what soaking entails. We set my daughter up on a cushion, placed her ear in a bowl of warm water on the coffee table and turned on a video, 10 minutes each ear. You might want your child to be a little older to understand the commitment entailed!!! The earpiercing was not my idea, by the way. But I liked how Zebra took care of it! only ears, I hope!

Try Zebra on Telegraph near Haste. If your definition of ''reputable'' means ''no funny hair, dramatic piercings or tattoos on the staff'' then it may not be the place for you. But if your main goal is a clean, professional establishment with friendly, gentle staff, you will definitely find that at Zebra.

When I took my then-7yo there to get her ears re-pierced after a mall piercing had gotten infected, the staff at Zebra were gentle, reassuring, thorough, cheerful and completely professional. They gave much more detailed instructions for ear care than I had gotten at the mall, encouraged me to call if anything came up, and said ''We want this to go well for you.'' I would recommend them over Claire's any day of the week... plus you get the ''My Honor Student got pierced at Zebra'' bumper sticker for your minivan. ;-) JM

I wanted to share my experience as someone who also did the research and came to the same conclusion you did. Hopefully, you will find someone good who uses needles. We searched and found a woman in a tattoo parlor on Telegraph near 40th. She was not used to working with kids and it was not set up for kids since they mostly do adult piercings. It took what seemed to be a long time for her to pierce the ear- once she did, my daughter screamed in pain and started to cry (she was 6 years old). I could not beleive she wanted to peirce the other ear, but she did.

After all that, my daughter still ended up with an infected ear. Meanwhile, all her peers got the gun piercing and seemed fine. If you can't find a good place for needle piercing, the folks at Itsy-Bitsy on College are very nice and I know they pierce a lot of kid ears. anon

Surgery for 7-y-o's embedded earring backings

Feb 2007

My 7 year old had her ears pierced at Claire's last year. All was well until she lost the backings a few times and we needed to change earrings. While she never seemed to have an infection she did complain about her ears feeling sensitive a few months ago. She of course is very protective of her ears and I never really investigated thoroughly until about a month ago. I could not get the earrings out! We went to Claire's and they were able to pull out the posts but, the backings had already become embedded in her ear lobes. No infection and no sign that they were even there.

We went to the pediatrician who sent us to surgeons. We just returned from there today and the surgeon said he had never seen this before, but that it was fairly simple. He said we will have to do general anesthesia and it will take about 8 minutes to finish both ears. I know my daughtert can't move during the procedure but I never imagined we'd have to do so much.

Has anyone ever dealt with anything like this? If not, might you share any experiences you've had with general anesthesia and your child's reaction. I am not very familiar with hospital procedures and anesthesia so any comforting words would be appreciated (or not). thank you

While I don't have advice for you about the surgery, I did want to let you know you were not alone in this happening.

It happened to me when I was a girl. I had my ears pierced when I was 7 (now 40) and my mother bought me my first pair of earings that I chose which were sterling silver (after I wore those giant studs for the minimum six weeks) I wore them day in and day out for I am not sure how long, but when I went to take them out one night, the skin had grown over my backing! I'd never noticed and it hadn't bothered me! I was taken to the emergency room and had it removed. My guess is that they hadn't been in as long as your daughter's because I didn't have surgery. Just local anesthesia so I didn't feel it when they took it out. But I was home in a couple of hours and my ear healed fine. What I was most upset about was that my sleepover (my best friend was spending the night) had to end!

And finally, and most importantly, that I am allergic to anything less than 10k gold in my ears....I know that might sound crazy but I've tried em all....and those are the only earrings that dont bother me now even after just a few hours...

So keep that in mind. And good luck! anon

When I was a nanny one summer about 10 years ago, one of the girls I was caring for lost an earring backing -- it also became embedded in her earlobe. She and her parents went to the emergency room when we realized what had happened, and the docs there removed it without general anaesthesia. I don't remember what the specifics were, but I suspect a little lidocaine did the trick for the numbing. It hadn't been months of lost earring backings, though. We found the ER bracelet in a time capsule we made to be opened this past summer and had a good but squirmy laugh about it, and J. has her ears pierced again, so no lasting life-altering trauma there. Good luck! Erika

Well..your doctor never met me!! When I was in 7th grade the exact thing happened to me! I had my ears pierced and soon afer I got the surgigal studs removed and the gold ball posts put in, I got an infection of some sort. I woke up in the morning and my earrings were 'gone' but my lobes were swollen. Sure enough my lobes had 'swallowed' the earrings!

My mom took me to the pediatrician and he said what your daughter's doctor said! But he was wonderful and very creative, apparently. He gave me a course of penicillin and had my mom bring me in 7-10 days later. He was able to reach the metal with a surgical instrument, and yanked the earrings out the back of my lobe (not as painful as it sounds!) Yes; about 4 years later I had my ears re-pierced. Good luck

Several holes in my head!

I did the same stupid thing with my earnings when I was 9 years old. Only my ear lobe became infected, and my mother took me to the doctor and not to the jeweler. Our family doctor gave me a shot to numb the ear, and cut the back of my earlobe open to extract the earring back (and gave me a prescription for an antibiotic). The procedure took just a few minutes in the doctor's office, and my ear healed in a couple of weeks. (I had my ears pierced again a few years later). General anesthesia seems a big intense for this--there just aren't that many nerve endings in the ear lobes. Elizabeth

About two hours before reading this posting I had a call from a friend who was on her way to the doctor with her middle school aged son who had the same problem...an embedded earring back. I just called her for an update and she said it was handled in the office with virtually no pain. Her son's earlobe was injected with numbing medication (he didn't feel the shot)and with what she described as something like a ''splinter removal'', the earring back was removed in a snap. I really think you should think twice before subjecting your daughter to general anesthesia for such a minor procedure. BTW, her doctor said it was quite a common occurance. Jan

i have removed the embedded earrings on one patient before, under local anesthesia. i would imagine it happens all the time. i think general anesthesia is overkill, not to mention risky in and of itself. but it depends on your child and if they will be able to sit still for a short period of time (it took me about 5 min beginning to end). i'd seek a second opinion. i'm a dermatologist and there are lots of options other than general anesthesia! best of luck! paige

I'm very sorry your daughter has to go through so much b/c of her ear piercings, and I don't want to sound preachy: but I do hope this serves as a message that I've been carping on for ages: go to a reputable piercing establishment that uses piercing needles, not a piercing guns.

I truly hope everything goes well, and that in the future, when/if another piercing is considered, you please, please, please go somewhere like Industrial where they do not use piercing guns and the old-fashioned post and backing, which your daughter's experience demonstrates, can cause a whole lot more than infections. Anon

I do not have any information for you about anethesia but I just wanted to say that when I was 9 I had a similar thing happen to me. I got my ears pierced at a mall store and after a while I got sensitive ears and then the backings got imbedded in my ears. I had sores on my ears so we caught it pretty soon, they had not healed over, and my aunt did ''bathroom surgery'' to get them out. You can tell your daughter that I waited about 3 years, my holes closed up and I was able to get them pierced again. Since then, all has been fine as long as I wear hypoalergenic or 14 K gold earings. That is the light at the end of the tunnel. I hope someone else can offer you advice about the anesthesia. I agree that it seems like a general is pretty much for just ear lobes. Good Luck! Jennifer

Just wanted to add that if you do get your child's ears pierced I recommend replacing the piercing studs (after 6 weeks) with 22kt gold earrings - you can purchase at Chinese/asian and Indian jewelry stores on University or China town/oakland/sf.

The regular post earrings are prone to infection and if you want ones you can put in and ignore - the rings are the ticket. Just ask for children's hoops and they will show you what they have - should be about $40. My daughter has had them in for 3+ years with no problems.

She also had reactions to all the metals and even the ''sensative'' ear types - and the silly backings always fell off anyway.

A piercing studio once told us they only use rings for that reason (because the posts are easily infected)... good luck

I had to post after reading all these others. My 6yo daughter just had ''bathroom surgery'' by me a few weeks ago to fix a soon- to-be-embedded earring back. We were able to catch it early because it was itchy and when I investigated it was raw - totally raw - a bit inflamed, and her ear was starting to swallow the back. I very cleanly extracted the back and the earring (don't know why it did this in the first place - she's had earrings for nearly 2 years), and then replaced them with gold hoops that have a straight post that locks into the top- back of the hoop. In this way, we were able to save her pierced hole and let the back heal with nothing against it. She was told that I would inherit the hoops after the healing since I think 6 is too young for ''danglies''. Anyway, we covered the wound with bacitracin and it was fine in a little over a week. You might ask your doctor (without general anesthesia, I think) if you can put in a hoop like that if you are concerned about re-piercing later. I purchased the hoops at a mall jewelers (not a cheap shop) for $40 and consider them a gift to myself that she will inherit with a good story. Also, there was no pain putting them in or sleeping with them.

BTW, there are great ''baby'' earrings that have screw-on backs so that you don't have to push the backs on and have them too tight. We now use these on her Budda-ears. You can find them at Target or more high-end shops. Freyja

Where should we take 5-year-old to get ears pierced?

March 2006

Hi, My soon to be 5 year old wants to wear earrings! Where should we go to get them pierced? Zebra on Telegraph? anon

We had great luck with Cold Steel on Market Street in San Francisco. Very sterile and professional plus a dad/employee who had experience with kids ears. My daughter ended up giving pep talks to all the adults waiting to get piercings about how to ''breath out and that it didn't hurt much''! A memorable experience... I got my ears repierced right before she did to show her how easy it was. I had to force a smile but my daughter was a real trooper! Through much research I found that the malls are the most risky places to get pierced, very unsanitary! not a particularly hip mom

Please go to a respected piercer who uses needles to pierce rather than that staple-gun piercing method like they use in malls. Info on Web as to why staple gun method is more traumatic to the tissue, harder to heal and loud and scary and annoying to boot. Took my daughter at about 8 to professional piercer who used needles. She did not even flinch. Luckily we also knew the man which increased the comfort level of the whole situation. Then if you use stainless steel hoops instead of post earrings, sleeping on her/his side at night will also be more comfy! :) good luck

My daughter got her ears pierced about a year ago at 4.5 years old. We went to Claire's in the new Emeryville shopping center (it's near Old Navy). IT HURT! But she only cried for about 5 minutes. I had her on my lap and held her arms. She picked cute little pink rhinestone flower earrings that fit in the piercing gun (a mistake, see below), and after a week, one fell out when she was sleeping. I couldn't get it back in--I think the lobe had already started to heal. She garnered all her courage, and we went back six weeks later and got that ear pierced again. THEN, that earring fell out when she was playing on the monkey bars!!! The poor child was reluctant, but agreed to get the ear pierced again before kindergarten started, about four months later.

1. Decide where you want the holes before you get to the piercers. This actually took me a long time to decide and probably added to my daughter's growing anxiety. You can put a dot on using a Sharpie.
2. Go early in the morning, when they first open. Because it wasn't crowded we had two women pierce my daughter's ears at the same time. I'm sure if we had to do one at a time, my daughter would have backed out after the first one.
3. Have your child wear ear plugs--the noise of the ''gun'' was as frightening as the pain.
4. Choose the basic gold studs. After trying three styles, these had the tightest backs and did not fall out. Boring, but your daughter can pick out another fun pair for when her ears are healed.
5. Claire's hygiene was excellent--they use alcohol to clean the ears, wear gloves and use earrings that are sealed in a ''clip'' that goes into the piercing ''gun.''
6. Let your child put earrings on you. My daughter thought putting in earrings after they were pierced would feel like a needle--she didn't get that it wouldn't hurt after the hole healed.
7. Buy the second pair of earrings from a good store. My mom got her several pair of child-sized earrings with screwbacks from Itty Bitty (?, it's a jewelry store on College, just south of Market Hall). She's worn one pair for almost a year, and they have never fallen out. (Tiny gold flower with a rhinestone in the middle--matches everything!)
Learn from my mistakes!

Experienced and clean kids' ear piercing

April 2002

Greetings - My daughter is now ready (as am I) to have her ears pierced. I've heard of a great place on Solano but of course can't remember the name. I really need a place that offers experience, expertise, hygiene, and is very kid-friendly. There are only two recommendations on the archives and neither one is recent. Any updates or positive experiences would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. Rena's mom, aka Deborah

My daughter's ears were pierced by our pediatrician. Pat

I got my daughter's ears pierced at a small jewelry store on Lake Shore (east side of the street) across the street from Noah's. I can't recall the name but it's close to the end of the block, near the game store. They use two piercers at once with one person on each ear, so both ears are done simultaneously. It was easy and cheap! Suzanne

One thing I should have learned with the first kid, but didn't, because it has recently happened with the second kid: don't get the posts too small, even if they look better on smaller ears. My 10 year old daughter got 3 mm balls (at Claire's) and we followed the recommended cleaning procedures for 6 weeks, no problems. We took them out a couple of times, but it was a nervous-making process, so we didn't do it often. Then basketball season began and we would forget and not take them out (as required) until we arrived at the game. This last minute removal, occuring several times a week, and maybe the earrings not getting cleaned enough before they went back in led to a slight infection in one ear. She complained of a sore ear one night and we applied disinfectant solution, but I didn't loosen the post. Her earlobe was slightly swollen. Well, after sleeping on that ear, the next morning the ball of her post was INSIDE her earlobe! This had happened to my older daughter years ago and I should have learned my lesson, but I thought these posts were large enough. When I took her to the doctor, he said, ''oh, yes, I get one of these cases per month'' and he said that the posts need to be larger to prevent this. It was a rather ticklish procedure, to get that ball out of the earlobe when there was nothing to grip! Then he gave her the option of having larger balled posts put in right then, while her ear was still numb, but we thought of all the basketball games and practices left to go and sports won out. We would have been fine without the sports issue, since her ears weren't giving her any trouble before that, but it's something to think about. Liz O.

Ear piercing for 6-year-old

June 1999

I just did some searching for a good ear piercing place for our 6-year-old daughter. We ended up with Silver Lining Jewelry on Lakeshore in Oakland. No appointment needed. Friendly. Good earring studs to select from. I highly recommend them.

We went to 14 Karats on College Ave. The owner is a character and comes out in outlandish hats. I trust their cleanliness and caring more than I would the mall type ear piercers. I don't remember cost but I do remember they replaced one of her earrings for free when she lost it. Also, she didn't have any allergic reactions to the earrings they gave her but she does with many others.

7 year old wants to get his ears pierced

July 1999

My 7 year old wants to get his ears pierced. I have told him that if he wants to do it when he is older (say 12), that would be fine, but not now. This has been a major topic of conversation daily for the past month. His only reason for wanting it seems to be that a couple of kids he admires have their ears pierced. We have discussed the discomfort involved, the work in keeping it infection free, etc. etc. My husband thinks I am being too rigid and we should say yes but I just can't think of a good reason to do this (except, of course, to make my son happy). Any thoughts??

If the only reason is because somebody else is doing it...This is not a good enough reason, in my book. It's like keeping up with the Joneses. In my generation (ok, I'm a fogey) this reason was just not good enough. My own 7 year old is adept enough to come up with another, more solid reason, if pressed. In some families and cultures it is quite natural for the girls to have their ears pierced as infants, on the other hand.

I would tell your son no for now, but on August 1st or September 1st (before school starts), you and your husband will reconsider the request. Then, don't remind him. (*It's OK, really*) If he still wants it and remembers, then you must seriously consider his request, but only if he gives you a reason better than his admired friends are doing it.

I know this reflects values that may not be your own, but I do want to help since I also have a very precocious and difficult 7 year old son.

About ear piercing for your 7 year old. You said you can't think of a good reason for him to get his ears pierced and I say do you have a good reason for him NOT to get his ears pierced? I believe that you should accomodate your child's requests as much as possible. In other words, unless there is a good reason your child can't do something, say yes. In this way you are showing your child that they can acheive their goals. When you say no and don't have a good reason I think you block healthy, emotional development.

When he was 10, my older son wanted his ear pierced. At the time (he's 16 now), not many kids were doing it, and I think we were impressed that he was making such a bold self-expression. Hid dad took him down to Telegraph Av. and got it.

He wore an earring off and on, and was pretty good about keeping it clean, etc. but he lost interest in it after a while and hasn't worn it for the last couple years. His younger brother also asked to have his ear pierced, but we told him he had to wait until he was 10, thinking it might be a passing fancy. He did get it pierced when he was 10 (again on telegraph Av.) but almost immediately stopped wearing his earring and the hole closed up. Now, he's almost 14, and he's recently been asking to have: 1) several holes along the edge of the ear - the spiral notebook look as I call it and 2) a pierced nostril. I have not agreed to either of these. I told him he has to wait till he's 18. This seems to be OK with him so far.

Advice for parent who is thinking of giving in to the ear piercing. My son, who is now 22 years old wanted the same thing when he was around nine and I said no. It really did not make him an unhappy child. You must remember that it is okay to say no. Saying no allows a child to know that he is truly loved and that you are not afraid to set limits. I told my son that when he turned 16 years old we could re-evaluate the situation. Trust me your son will not forget to ask again. Trends change. Your son may change his mind as he matures. My son did not change his mind. When he turned sixteen, he again asked me to allow him to pierce his ear. I at this time agreed and took him to our physician and allowed the physician to pierce his ear. I don't think that they do that anymore, but you will find that there are a lot of local and reasonable places to have your ears pierced. Whatever you decide make sure that your son knows the finality of having holes put in the body. You may want to try the look like pierced ears, earrings. They give the impression of having the ear pierced. This may give him a chance to see the reaction of family and friends before he makes a decision.

My youngest is 4 and wants to get her ears pierced. My oldest got her ears pierced at age 7. She is now 9. She had wanted her ears pierced since she was 5, but I settled on you have to be 7 for no other reason than that is how old I was when my mom let me. Picking an age is fairly arbitrary, so pick one you are comfortable with. In our house the magic age is 7. The funny thing is that my 6 year old son was the one explaining the 7 year old rule to his younger sister, followed by a statement about how next year he would be old enough to get his ears pierced. I honestly never thought about him getting his ears pierced. I don't know why it did not occur to me. His dad has his ears pierced. So, do I and his older sister but I did not imagine my son doing it. At least not as a 7 year old child. Maybe as a teenager. But, in all fairness I feel that if he wants to get his ears pierced at 7, I'll have to let him because that is the rule I made up, and being a boy or not being a girl, is not a good enough reason for me to hedge.

You and your husband have to decide what age you both feel comfortable with for your child. 7 & 8 are a popular age but, I know some families who wait longer. One of my daughter's friends has to be 11. Another friend had it done as an infant (Ow). It is pretty arbitrary. You could You could also take into account how old you were or how old your husband was if you both have had it done. And, how good is your son about taking on the responsibility? My daughter at 7 years old was highly motivated when it came to washing her ears and turning them every day. She knew if they got infected I would take them out, and after the initial first 2 or 3 months, she has done all of it on her own.

Are you sure that there aren't any unconscious sexist ideas behind not letting a boy pierce his ears? Many girls have it from a much younger age, and I'm sure they can't be all fighting with infections all the time. It IS manageable!

Ear piercing -- My daughter really wanted her ears pierced, so we finally let her do it around her 9th birthday. She is very happy, but it was a bit more troublesome than either she or we expected. They tend to get infected, and they need to be cleaned at least twice a day, which is a bit of a nuisance, and even after you can put real earrings in you still have to be careful and clean then a lot and pay attention to them. For all these reasons, I'm glad we waited until she was nine. I know several children who had them pierced when they were younger and ended up letting them close up again because they were such a bother. Also, I think kids ears tend to close up more quickly than adults would. After one day without earrings, my daughter's are always almost closed up. My mother made me wait until I was eighteen! which I think was a bit excessive, but I think maybe waiting until you are nine is not sooo terrible.

My reaction to your letter was that your son is too young to be putting semi-permanent holes in his body. I was 13 when my folks finally broke down and let me get my ears pierced, and this seems like a reasonable age to me now (it did then, too, although I fought tooth and nail to have it done at 12). At 7, and maybe especially for boys, since it's been acceptable for them a much shorter period of time and trends change, children really can't have any idea how they'll feel about the piercing later in life. There are lots of other ways in which your son can express himself; I feel sure sure he won't be so easily stifled.


Pierced ear closed up - options?

Nov 2009

Hi, recently, for no apparent reason, one of my pierced ears closed up. I had been wearing quality gold hoops and one ear just suddenly got infected. So, I took the earring out, let it heal for a few days and was never able to put it back in. Has this happened to anyone and if so, do you know what my options are for opening the piercing back up? anonymous

I had the same thing happen with one of my ears. I'm not a fan of always wearing earrings, so perhaps it was bound to happen. But one ear seemed always more sensitive than the other and I always wore 24K gold. I did get the ear that closed up re-pierced in the same area. It felt a bit strange during the process as the tissue that closed up the ear is tougher. I've even been able to stretch it a bit without issue now. So, no worries, it can be done. Ear again

Just pierce it again.... hmmmm

Where can I get my ears pierced?

March 2009

Can anyone recommend a safe, clean place where I can get my ears re-pierced? I've looked on-line at some of the piercing/tattoo parlors, but honestly, I think I would feel uncomfortable as a 45 year old going in for an ear piercing. Also, I have a nickel allergy, so I need to be sure that only sterile stainless needles are used, and I would be bringing my own nickel-free earrings. Perhaps some nice jewelry store, hair salon or spa? Thanks! Susan

I got my ears pierced again (after 20 years) last year at Edelweiss Jewelers on College/Ashby next to the movie theater. I used to have an infected lobe so I worried about that again this time. But I've had no problems. I use a dab of antibiotic ointment on earrings when I change them, a tip from a friend who also got her ears repierced at Edelweiss. Good luck.

From the sound of your posting, you might have already ruled this place out, but you might want to reconsider. We just had my daughter's ears pierced at Claire's accessory store. At first I was worried about cleanliness and professionalism, but our experience was fantastic. I don't know if they let you bring your own earrings, so you should call or stop in and ask about the needle and earrings used for piercing. I do know that they offered some solid gold earrings as a piercing option. We went to the one in Concord, but there is one in Walnut Creek, Emeryville and most other mall-type shopping areas.

I recommend Industrial Strength. They have a large selection of earrings which are not nickel and you will even see people that are 40+ years old. They have a very welcoming environment, and excellent piercers (I prefer Todd but Lisa is awesome too). Hope this helps! Patricia

Soulpatch on Haight in SF - They're rad (and I'm a grown up) http://www.soulpatchtattoo.com/aboutus.html Just call in advance and ask if you can bring your own earrings (I don't know their policy on that) But they are clean, professional, and fabulous! anon

I HIGHLY recommend the Telegraph Tattoo Company at 2599 Telegraph Ave in Berkeley, 510-848-8282. It is very clean and Freddy did an exceptionally careful job piercing my daughter's ears last year (11-years-old). Brenda

Earrings for super-sensitive pierced ears

Sept 2007

I've had my ears pierced for 40 years. But over the last 10 years my ears have gotten more and more sensitive, and now I find that even nickel-free earrings cause an uncomfortable reaction -- my earlobes get warm and itchy and it becomes so intolerable I have to remove the earrings. A couple of years ago I tried coating the in-ear portion with clear nail polish; didn't work. Is there anything else out there? Naked earlobes

When I was young I had this same problem. At that time my mom only allowed me to wear 14K gold and that really helped. Even those I had to be careful with, however. Some things that helped: 1. Wearing complete hoop or hook earrings -- anything WITHOUT a back 2. Cleaning them every day (I used hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol but I don't know if that was a good idea? it worked) 3. Not sleeping in earrings 4. For post earrings, buying plastic ''sheaths'' that go over the earring posts and using the accompanying plastic backs. This one obviously worked the best since I could still wear those cute, cheap earrings as a young'un. ~earring fanatic~

I've been having the same problems with my ears. One thing I never had a problem with is simple hoop earrings made from surgical stainless steel. I but the ones that are to go in piercings on various parts of the body and just put them in my ears. I have to live with just simple hoops, but it works for me. Perhaps you can find the hook parts in surgical stainless steel? Good luck!

My ears are also very sensitive and I was unable to wear earrings for over 10 years. This is what I do now: insert the backs of the earrings (sterling silver or gold only) into a tube of triple antibiotic ointment before putting them into my ears so the ointment makes it into the pierce. Surprisingly, it is working and I have been wearing earrings now for 2 months. Hope this helps. back in fashion

I developed a nickel allergy when I was in college after a bad experience with some disasterously cheap earrings (the metal coating flaked off the post). I can wear silver, gold, titanium or niobium wires. Silver is best when I keep it polished--it bothers me a bit when it's tarnished, I don't know why. It's easy to replace the wires on existing earrings--you can buy new wires at beading supply stores, they'll have gold and silver, certainly. I almost never wear post earrings, because I can react to the earring back or the part of the earring that touches the front of the ear, even if the post itself doesn't bother me. You can also buy nylon earrings, which can be fun but are very casual. Carrie

My daughter also has extremely sensitive ears. We've found that the only metals she can wear comfortably are titanium or niobium. The other thing that made a big difference was to stop wearing earrings with posts and only wearing those with shepherd's hook ear hangs or hoops. Since she stopped wearing earrings with backs and only those that let her earlobes ''breathe free,'' she's had no more problems. Hope this helps! C.

Hi, I sell .925 sterling silver jewelry, all handcrafted I can bring over a couple of pairs for you to try on. My ears are also sensitive to certain types of earings. The ones I sell work well for my ears and I have not had any problems. Just e-mail me if you want to give it a try.

Piercing won't heal after 5 months

June 2007

I've had pierced ears for 35 years without ever a problem. But, one of my new ear holes (old ones were stretching out) won't heal. I've been dutiful about using the surgical earrings and applying the ear solution given by the store who pierced them....after a month I then tried rubbing alcohol...nothing works. It feels as if a mass is in the ear that won't heal (scar tissue, I presume). It's been about 5 months now...anyone have any idea why one ear would heal but not the other? I'd especially like to know how I can get this last ear to heal. Thanks so much. sister

For any piercing problems at all, I highly recommend that you call or visit the folks at Body Manipulations in San Francisco. They are a highly respected piercing studio which has been operating for almost 20 years. I realise that you are talking about a simple, traditional piercing and they may seem to cater to more radical body changes, but I assure you that they will consult with you respectfully and professionally. Their website is http://www.bodym.com/ Good luck! Jennifer

It sounds like you might have a cyst in the area that has been piered. I've heard that cysts in pierced ears is common. I got my ears piered when I was about 10 years old. About 6 months later I was in an accident and one of my ears was sore and red where the earring was. I had to stay in the hospital for a week because of the other injuries I had from the accident. I wasn't allowed to wear earrings. The hole in my ear that had gotten sore eventually clogged up completely and I couldn't get an earring into it. I was taken to a doctor and they said a large cyst formed in the hole. So they injected it with some fluid, massaged it, and tried to remove as much of the stuff as possible. It was red and irritated for a while but eventually healed. Over time a bit of the cyst came back, but it never clogged the hole. Now I am 46 years old and that ear hole still, to this day, gives my trouble. Once in a while it gets red, sore and a bit swollen when I'm trying to get an earring in there. It's just very sensative. Just last week it got all infected and sore because of these new earrings I was trying to get into the hole. It was sore for almost two weeks. I just kept the ear as clean as possible and tried not to irritate it too much. Now it feels much better. I think when there is a cyst in the pierced hole, it is very sensative and easily iritated or scratched. Try to be as gentle as possible when putting an earring into that ear. Make sure the earring wire is smooth and not too sharp. Also, I don't know anything about ear peircing solution. My ears were piered the old fashion way - with ice and a needle. Maybe you had a mild reaction to the solution. Anon

Here's what I do when I have pierced ear problems like yours, so it's worth a try. I dip the post into an antibiotic ointment, like Neosporin or bacitracin, and then insert the earring(s) into my ear. This allows the medicine direct contact with the inside of my ear rather than just the surface. It's a bit messy but it has always worked. Christine

Hi, to get your ear to heal it may need to dry out a bit. Use some hydrogen peroxide on it, and aim a hair dryer at it for a few seconds. Then put the earring in when you are sure it is dry. Do this for a few days and it should heal. worked for me

Try this: use a q-tip to put bactine on the piercing morning and night. Every day, soak the affected piercing in hot (as hot as you can stand) water that has a couple of tablespoons of sea salt dissolved in it. Do this for a month. Sometimes cartilage has a difficult time healing and it could be that the piercing is far enough up your ear that it is near where the cartilage begins. Try using only silver or gold (not gold plate)earrings. Sara

Do I need to re-pierce my ears?

January 2006

I had my ears pierced about 20 years ago. I rarely wear earrings, but every now and then I want to (especially if I'm going out and want to dress up). It is becoming more and more difficult putting earrings in, particularly in my left lobe. I've also noticed that there is a small mass, which I assume is scar tissue, in my left lobe. When I do prevail and get earrings in, it hurts after about an hour or so and hurts for another day or so after I remove them. So do I need to re-pierce my ears? Frankly, I don't know if I am up to it. Are non-pierced earrings readily available? laurel

I have had muchos problems with my pierced ears -- always have. I just let them grow closed at one point. But I have earrings that I love to wear and then my beloved son actually picked out a pair of earrings for me and purchased them. So I had the ears re-pierced in a very hygenic setting. I still have problems with occasional flare-ups of soreness and infection. Certain earrings have to be avoided. And when the soreness occurs, I clean the ears carefully, apply medication, and put in the posts I was given when my ears were pierced. I leave those in for several days at least, turning them regularly, until the infection is healed. Then I take them out and try again. It works so far, though I am looking forward to hearing what others say.
sensitive lobes

I had my ears pierced around age 12, but went through a phase where I wasn't wearing earrings on a regular basis in my twenties and they started to close. for a while I would have trouble putting the earrings in and after I wore them and even had one lobe get infected. So, I remembered what I did when I first got them pierced and for a month I wore only 24 kt gold posts and didn't take them out. i'd clean them with peroxide twice a day and turn the earings. After doing that, I went back to wearing cheapie fun earrings and never had a problem again (I'm now 41). Much better than re-piercing.

Belly button piercing and pregnancy

August 2005

I am thinking about getting my belly button pierced and have some questions. If you have a piercing and then got pregnant, what was that like? Did the piercing recover or did you have to let it close during or after pregnancy? Where did you go for your piercing? I am looking for somewhere clean, safe, and comfortable. Thanks!
ears pierced only
I got mine pierced about 7 years ago and had a baby 1.5 years ago. When I started to show, I went to some place on Telegraph in Oakland (sorry, don't remember where) and someone there put in a piece of fishing line and melted the ends for me (so I had a fishing line barbell). It was not very attractive, but I had no problems other than maybe a little irritation from my belly stretching and rubbing on my clothes. After the birth, I took out the fishing line and reinserted my ring. I got my piercing at a fabulous place in New Orleans, but can't recommend anywhere in this area.

Don't do it! I got my navel pierced when I was 19 years old, and I sure wish I had thought ahead about what a pregnancy might do to it. During my first pregnancy, I read in ''The Hip-Mama's Survival Guide'' that I should remove the ring during pregnancy. (Since then I have seen that there are special flexible rings you can keep in during the pregnancy. But I don't think that would have made a difference in what happened to me.) The hole itself totally stretched out and after the pregnancy was the most ugly, large, 2 inch mass of wrinkles on my otherwise flat, smooth stomach. I absolutely hate it, and it's made me self-conscious about showing my belly, which is no fun in swimming season. I don't think there's any way to determine whether this would happen to you, because I think it's just chance, but I do want to point out that I was not left with stretch marks or wrinkled skin on any other part of my belly - just where the pierce was. I can't imagine that it would have been any different had I left the ring in or gotten one of those flexible things, but who knows? Needless to say, I completely regret having gotten the piercing and really wish I hadn't.
older now

Hi, I already had my belly button pierced when I became pregnant so I don't know who to recommend but I can speak to the experience of pregnancy with a belly button ring. The ob said it would have to eventually come out because it would be uncomfortable. So, I left it in, waiting for it to become uncomfortable. It never did so I left it in the whole time. The only time I had to take it out was when I went into the hospital to deliver (in case of emergency c-section). After delivery, I put it back in and it was fine. I don't know if it makes a difference that I didn't gain a huge amount of weight (30 lbs) or what but it was fine the whole time.
pierced mama

I had my belly button pierced for more than 5 years before getting pregnant with my first child, so the piercing was pretty stable. About 8 weeks into my pregnancy, my body started pushing the piercing out. Every day it was a little closer to the surface of my skin. After a couple of weeks, it was so close to the skin that it was super sensitive and I had to take it out. It probably made my scarring a little worse, but nothing too bad. I haven't bothered to have it re-done, I've kind of moved past that stage. Mine was done at Zebra on Telegraph, years ago.
Former rocker

I had my belly button pierced a year or so before my first pregnancy (7 years ago) with the kind of ring you can't remove easily. At 7 months pregnant with my first -- the ring was standing out straight and it was the widest part of me! so I went to a piercing place (don't remember which) on Telegraph and they removed it for me. I never put the ring back in and the hole is now completely closed. some extra scarring occured around the hole(I think because the whole area stretches so much during those last few months--and maybe it makes a weak point in your skin?)but after my belly shrank back to more or less its original state you can't really see anything other than an extra dimple. if you plan to get pregnant within the next year or even 2 years I would wait on the piercing...

I took out my navel piercing (I wore a ring) at 27 weeks of pregnancy, since it was starting to feel slightly stretched. I'm now at 38 weeks and haven't yet delivered, so that's the extent of my experience. I considered replacing the metal jewelry with jewelry made of flexible sterile plastic tubing (they sell it especially for use during pregnancy!) to ensure that the piercing stayed open, but decided to wait and see what my poor belly will look like after I deliver. I may not wish to highlight that part of my anatomy for a while! I've had my piercing since 1992, so I figured it was unlikely to close up in three months anyway.

On a related topic: my cousin used to have her navel pierced, and even though she took it out long before she got pregnant, when she was pregnant the only place where she got stretch marks was radiating out from the hole. She figures the piercing weakened her skin. This hasn't happened to me, but I wanted to pass that along.

As far as places to get piercings done, there are plenty. I've been to Gauntlet in the Castro and a now-closed place in Santa Cruz, and many people go to Zebra on Telegraph. Just make sure it's a legitmate place with an autoclave, etc. Navel piercings are uncomfortable to have done and take a long time to heal properly, so make sure you're ready for the trouble!
Pierced Mama-to-Be

I got my belly button pierced when I was a teenager. I loved it - it really made me feel sexy. When I got pregnant 10 years later, I kept it in as long as I could, but I did end up having to take it out as my belly just got too tight. The piercing closed up right away. By the end of the pregnancy, the only place I had stretch marks was right at the site of the piercing. 3 years later it still looks scarred and not quite right... so I would recommend waiting until after you are done with being pregnant, and then do it.
belly button blues

I would think that if you decide to do this, you would want the piercing for a while before you got pregnant. Just so it is good and healed before your belly gets stretched out. I got my belly button pierced in 1996, had my first child in 2003 and am 9 months now with my 2nd. I still have my piercing in and did so throughout my pregnancy with #1. I've heard sometimes doctors will protest leaving the piercing in. I, personally, did not have a problem. Doc said as long as I was comfortable with it in, then it was not a problem for him. It is comfortable for me. It might not be the same for you. The only thing that might be a consideration is that when your belly gets bigger, the ring sticks out a bit more, so sometimes I noticed that I could see the bump of the ring through my shirt. As for where to go... I went to a place in the Castro section of SF. I can't recall the name, but it's around the intersection of Market & Noe. If you're going ''up market'' ie: away from downtown and facing toward going up the hill, it's on the left hand side. It's a fairly well marked place, has a great reputation and I believe is still there. The people were great, very professional and quick. BTW, it really does hurt A LOT! Plus takes a good 2 weeks to heal. Had to wear all my pants unzipped for a while. Hope this helps! Good luck.

I didn't see the original question, but I had my belly pierced for about 5 years before i got pregnant. I kept it in until I was about 7 months, and then had to get it removed because it got too painful and tight, and so I had had a piece of wide fishing line put it, which was even more irritating, so I had to take it all out. My hole closed up and I haven't gotten it redone yet, though it's been a few years. I do have more stretch marks radiating from that area than any other on my belly -- really very few stretch marks except for those, but they're pretty light. Another thing worth knowing -- it takes a REALLY long time for a belly to heal. Mine got infected 6 months after being pierced, and I was taking really good care of it. I got mine done at The Gauntlet, Market near Castro.

Post-partum sensitivity to earrings

June 2004

I have had pierced ears since I was 12 and have never had any problems til recently. I was able to wear any type of earrings, even really cheap ones, without the slightest irritation or special care. After I had my son 4 years ago I stopped wearing earrings for the most part, but now that he is older I want to start wearing them again. The problem is that every time I get an almost immediate irritation, sort of itchy and sort of painful. I am wearing only sterling silver Tiffany earrings, and I clean both my earlobes and the posts every time before wearing them, but I just can't make it through more than a few hours before I have to take them out. I have never had any allergic reactions to anything in my life, so this is really frustrating and annoying. Has anyone else had this experience? Any advice would be appreciated--it just seems like too trivial a thing to go to a dermatologist for! Thanks! Tracy

I can't wear earrings anymore either : ( I've tried all the things you mentioned - scrubbing the posts, putting various stuff on the posts and my earlobes, etc. etc. Nothing works. The problem is usually a nickel allergy, and nickel is a component of most earrings even if 'gold' or 'silver.' I haven't tried 48K gold or platinum (platinum is supposed to be allergy free?), because those earrings are just too expensive. There are websites though that sell hypoallergenic platinum earrings. Good luck. in commiseration

Hi - I've had exactly the same experience - developed a new sensitivity to earrings after a number of trouble-free years of wearing them, and sensitivity to sterling silver, which I thought shouldn't happen. My ears would begin to feel hot and swollen, the lobes would turn red, and if I tried to suffer through for a special occasion, I would even get hard bumps like bug-bites on my lower scalp. I had to give up wearing earrings for a while, which was a bit sad. What I realized by talking to a jeweler is that there are different grades/blends of sterling; some have more nickel (I believe) than others, depending on the source of the sterling for the posts. Not sure this is very well known; most of us think sterling silver is all alike. I tried a few different kinds of earrings after that, and have found a line that I can wear with no problems at all, from a jeweler on Telegraph Ave. here in Berkeley (Peter, who usually sets up shop right before the Gap store). He consistently uses the same sterling for the posts and he's even switched out the posts on some other earrings which I had but couldn't wear, which has been great. Good luck. Eileen

Earing iritation after having children is apparently quite common. I suffered the same problem, as did my sister and several friends. Of the different earing materials, silver (of any kind) was the worst for me. I would suggest trying gold of at least 14K or earings with surgical steel posts. Every time I start to feel the iritation, I switch back to plain gold ball posts (like the ones they use for piercing ears) and swab then and my ears a couple times a day. I have found that over the years (my youngest is 10) it has gotten better, to the point where now I can even wear silver for a couple of hours, say, for an evening out. good luck

I've had the itchy reaction to earrings in the past as well, and you may want to try switching to gold earrings for a while. It is an allergy, probably to some of the metals used as an alloy with the silver. I don't think there is much doctors can do to treat it. The good news is that I've found it can improve over time - I went from only being able to wear gold earrings to being able to wear sterling silver earrings again, although I still can't wear nickel or foreign silver earrings. vali

Sounds to me like your body chemistry has changed and you are now allergic to the expensive stuff. I am too - I have to wear stainless steel or else I get icthy, painful ears. You can find inexpensive hoops for dangly earrings at craft stores and otherwise, just skip Tiffany's and save on your jewelry budget! Freyja

I have the same problem with earring irritation. I have found that I can wear french hooks with no problem, though. It seems as though the irritation is caused by the metal or plastic touching the earlobe (back or front), not by the wire through the ear. I also avoid larger diameter hooks and try to stay with silver wire, as gold causes more problems for me. Becky

I have the exact same problem. I have no idea what will make it better. My daughter is two years old and ever since she was 6 months or so I cannot wear any earrings without intense irritation and itching about twenty minutes after I put them on. I don't have a solution but I will be interested to hear other responses. Julie

Did you go for a long period of time without wearing earrings? If so, your holes may have closed slightly. I had to get my ears re-pierced. Also, make sure your earrings are scrupulously clean (e.g. wipe them with alcohol), and don't share them with anyone. The first time I ever had an ear problem (in retrospect, probably an infection) was when a friend gave me some earrings and I put them on without cleaning them. This is especially important if the piercings have closed down a little bit, and you have to struggle to get the earrings in. anon

This is not directly related to your question, but it is not unusual to develop new allergies and/or irritations as the result of 1)getting older or 2)pregnancy and/or childbearing. Anon

I have a friend that had the exact same experience after her daughter was born. She couldn't wear any jewelry at all. Her husband had lots of allergies and someone told her that by carrying some of his genetic material (their baby), she was sensitized to his allergies. Strange, but true. She has found that gold does not produce as strong a reaction. Joan

I wore earrings everyday for over ten years and then suddenly developed an allergy to nickel. Now, I can only wear surgical stainless steel (like what many piercing-pieces are made of) or special earrings for people with nickel allergies. You may want to try Simply Whispers. http://www.simplywhispers.com/ They carry nickel-free jewelry (esp. earrings) and you can also buy new allergy-free clasps to replace those on your favorite earrings. In a pinch, try putting a coat or two or clear nail polish on the posts/clasps of your favorite earrings. This is good for one or two wearings. Good luck! Andi

I, too, have a sensitivity to certain pairs of earrings. There are two things I didn't see posted yet that have helped me. One is to coat the earring post with nail polish (creates a barrier between you and the metal). The other thing I've done is to dip the post into hydrocortisone ointment, which allows me to wear the earring without TOO much trouble for one day, and which I reserve for special occasions (since hydrocortisone is a steroid). Margery