What Happens If You Never Take Out Your Earrings?

If you don’t regularly clean your earrings, they can get clogged with “ear cheese,” which is the icky brownish-gray gunk that builds up on the backs of your earring posts and the rubberized backs (and clear plastic bit over the backing) of hoop and dangle earrings. It’s caused by a build-up of oil, dead skin cells and bacteria. The odor that accompanies this build-up can be really off-putting, and it’s difficult to get rid of.

If the piercing is still new, you need to keep the earrings in for six weeks so that the hole doesn’t close. This includes sleeping with them in. It’s okay to take them out during the day, but they should be in when you go to bed.

You’ll also want to follow your piercer’s aftercare instructions, which will typically include cleaning the area around the earring two or three times a day with a saline solution. If you don’t, your ear will probably be itchy and painful. You might even notice some bleeding when you take the earring out, which is normal for new piercings.

Earrings can also get caught on hair or clothing while you’re wearing them and pull out of the earlobe. This is particularly dangerous if you’re wearing a heavy earring or one that’s too tight in the ear channel. Tight earrings cause pressure that reduces blood flow to the earlobe, which can lead to an infection. An infected earlobe is red, warm and painful and may ooze thick, yellow-white pus. If you notice these symptoms, talk to a grown-up right away.

Sleeping with earrings in can also be uncomfortable, especially if they’re tight. This can lead to a pulling action in the ear canal, which can be very painful. It can also cause a flattened appearance of the earlobe, which is not pretty.

It’s important to have a good pair of quality earrings that are made with gold, titanium or medical-grade surgical steel and that have a solid clasp or post. This will help prevent piercing problems in the future, including allergic reactions.

Ear lobes can also become irritated from constant contact with abrasive materials like plastic and synthetic textiles, which can lead to a variety of problems, including piercing rejection and infections. Choosing high-quality jewelry that doesn’t scratch or snag the ears will make them healthier and happier.

If you’re planning to pierce your ears, ask a professional ear piercer to use a needle instead of a piercing gun. The latter causes a lot of stretching of the skin and can be difficult to sterilize. A needle is sharp and pierces the skin in a more controlled way, making it less likely to cause ear trauma.

It’s okay to wear earrings all the time once your piercings are healed, but you should always be sure to clean them on a regular basis and avoid wearing any jewelry that causes an allergic reaction. It’s a good idea to take them out at night to allow the ear to breathe, and you should never wear them while swimming or doing strenuous activities, such as gardening.