Why does my ear and my earrings stink after I take them out?

14 Answers

Neha Agrawal Profile
Neha Agrawal answered
This is usually due to hardened up discharge known as 'crusties'. It is quite normal for people with new piercings to experience blood and pus and if this becomes solid, an odour can be released.

In order to prevent this you need to keep your piercings clean. To do this thoroughly, you should firstly wash your hands and then get a cotton wool pad and soak it in saline solution. When it's nicely soaked, you should place the pad on your piercing and keep it held there for up to two minutes. The solution will loosen any bits of discharge that have hardened around the piercing. Once the area has softened you should wipe it down with a clean cotton wool pad which will remove any crusties, as well as clean the whole area around the piercing thoroughly.

In some cases you may encounter an infection from your ear piercing with symptoms ranging from redness, green or yellow pus and irritation. To rid yourself of the infection you should soak a sterile cotton ball in a mixture of pure sea salt and hot water and apply it to the piercing. It should take a few days to clear up. You need to keep aware of what jewellery you have in your ear because some people can suffer allergic reactions to earrings made from cheaper metals such as nickel. You should refrain from wearing anything other than stainless steel earrings until the piercing has healed fully.
chris drum Profile
chris drum answered
Most of the responses have been on the right track.  Dead skin cells do have a lot to do with the odor from piercings.  However, the actual cause is a bacteria known as "Brevibacterium Linens".  This is the same bacteria that causes the "stinky feet" odor (also known as toe jam).  The accumulation of dead tissue around your finger and toe cuticles allows the perfect medium for this bacteria.  This is the same reason the bacteria accumulates around piercing orifices.

The best advice I could give (I am not a health professional) would be to take your piercings out on a regular basis and cleanse them in a mixture of water and rubbing alcohol.  Because bacteria causes the odor, it can be mediated with regular cleaning.  However the source of the odor can never be eliminated entirely because our body continually recycles tissue (new tissue to dead).  Hope this helps!
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Guys, I have had my ears pierced since I was 2, I am now 31 and my ear piercings still smell. Only the lobes. I have upper ear on both ears done and they don't smell. It's like cheesey feet. I always thought it was a build up of sweat, but I don't sweat often so I guess that ain't true. So for the person who said, it will go away, rubbish!
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Same thing happens to me. It's just the result of dead skin and other gunk building up around the inside of the piercing. The only thing you can do is take your piercings out more often and clean them.
Lisa Goldberg Profile
Lisa Goldberg answered
It is common and natural for this to happen. Even when you take the earring out, you can squeeze the white puss out; and that white puss is what smells so bad. Just take out your earrings and clean your ears once a week with the shampoo you use while cleaning your hair, or alcohol, and clean the earring with a toothbrush and soap or alcohol. Make sure you close the drain so the earring doesn't go down it if it falls out of your hand while cleaning it.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
The places we generally get pierced are areas that are cartilage. This means when forced to remain open the skin cells die. You can compare it to, but it isn't half as bad as a dead body. Washing it will help temporarily. I would suggest take your piercings out at night when you go to bed. This will also help aid in keep the holes from stretching; and allow the skin cells to slightly heal, instead of dying. If your piercings are new, you have to allow skin healing to take place before you can do this. A new piercing is flesh, and will always try to grow its protective sleeve (skin) back to cover sensitive tissues, veins, organs etc. I hope this has been of some help to you. Thought you may want to know the facts instead of assumptions.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
I have the same problem, my ears are a 00g.  I asked a friend who has a larger size in if his ever stink, and he said no, but when he had metal ones (same as me) in, they stunk all the time.  If you have stretched ears, try using acrylic or glass plugs.  Otherwise, I don't know what to do about the standard 18g size.  I'm sure they make earrings that size that aren't metal.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Mine stink, and I'm at a 6g (I know its small, but I'm still stretching). I rarely take them out, but I do wash them with a Sea Salt solution. I leave them in when I sleep, shower, work out, etc. I've also tryed using Dial soap and cleaning them and the hole, but it never seems to help for more than two days, As long as you don't move it much, it doesn't stink. I've heard of a lot of people having this problem. Maybe it's just how our bodies react to having an object in them. I wouldn't worry too much about them. As long as they don't hurt, bleed, or ooze pus, it should be fine. But thats just my opinion. By no means am I a professional, just someone who has piercings and loves them.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered

Some people are allergic to cheap metal like nickel which is commonly used in earrings.  I've only used nickel when I was younger and as soon as I stopped and went back to my silver or gold earrings the ear infection/irritation stopped.  

I've also had dead skin cells accumulate because I left my earrings in too long.  I've had earrings since I was 6 months old.  It is always a good idea to take them out periodically to clean the earrings and your earring hole once your ears are healed from the initial piercing.

Julie Bowman Profile
Julie Bowman answered
You could have an infection - be sure to clean your ears a couple of times a day and remove earrings at night and when swimming.
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Call me Rae..?
Call me Rae..? commented
I dont think I have an infection because my ears dont hurt. I hardly ever take my earrings out except to clean them, and around the hole, it is usually a little red. But, it never hurts unless my earring was on too tight. I usually leave my earrings in when im: Swimming, sleeping, showering, and every thing that I do, I always have my earrings in. Thank you for your advice.
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Samantha Quigley Profile
You must have an infection...get some cotton balls and douse them with peroxide, then moosh them all over your ears...I'll bet you'll see where the piercings are will get all fuzzy, that's the infection.  It will be fine, but you have to keep them dried out.
jewlz murillo Profile
jewlz murillo answered
That happened to me
either you're ear got infected by not having a clear earring in your ear (clean it with alchohol
or you had some type of reaction with the type of metal put on to your ear
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
It's from having fake gold in your ears and your skin probably isn't used to it maybe its best to buy earrings that are real gold if you do have real gold in your ears and your ears still stink just clean them with a cotton bud and put salt with hot water or buy some stuff called Ear Care Antiseptic do it twice a week that should help.
thanked the writer.
Call me Rae..?
Call me Rae..? commented
Thank you, but I wear real gold. I have silver, gold, and I believe the ones I am wearing now are white gold.
carol washington Profile
It sounds like you have an infection. A trip to the doctor will confirm this. If your earrings have a smell, than it might be pus stuck to the part that goes through the pierced hole.

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