As long as yourinfection is minor, you may be able to take care of it at home. If you’ve had a cartilage piercing and it seems infected, seek medical treatment. These types of infections are harder to treat and may require oral antibiotics. Significant infections of the cartilage can require hospitalization.
Follow these steps to take care of a minor piercing infection:
• Wash your hands before touching or cleaning your piercing.
• Clean around the piercing with a saltwater rinse three times a day. Use sterile saline (you can find some online) or combine 1/4 tsp. of salt with 8 oz. of distilled water.
• Don’t use alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or antibiotic ointments. These can further irritate the skin and slow the healing process.
• Don’t remove the piercing. This can cause the hole to close up and trap the infection.
• Clean the piercing on both sides of your earlobe. Pat the area dry with paper towels. (Other materials may leave behind fibers.)
After the infection appears to have cleared, continue this cleaning regimen twice a day until the piercing is totally healed. Remember, an earlobe piercing can take six to eight weeks to heal. Routine care is important during that time.