These are just a few of modern ear piercings styles worn by men. Ear piercings among men began to become popular through the hippies community and sailors as well. Men have sported this look for decades.
But how do you make sure your pierced ears are healthy?
Your basic concerns with earrings are keeping the piercings healthy, the jewelry clean, and the holes open if you have to go without visible piercings for a while.
How to Keep Pierced Ears Healthy
The biggest health concerns for piercings occur immediately after the piercing was made. That's when after-care matters the most — it's much harder for a piercing to get infected once it's had time to heal.
That said, it is a hole in your body, and they can theoretically develop bacterial or fungal growths that aren't good for you at any point. So keep your piercings clean.
A basic cleaning solution is 1/4 teaspoon of pure non-iodized salt dissolved in 8 oz. of bottled or sterilized water.
You can also buy packaged saline solution and other cleaning products that will work just fine. If you're only using soapy water, make sure it's at least an anti-microbial soap.
Use a wet Q-tip to gently rub away any “crusties” from a new piercing (these are dried lymph fluid — harmless, but gross, and you don't want to let it build up). It's not a sign of infection on its own, so don't panic if there's a little leakage.
Watch for swelling, pain, redness, or large amounts of colored discharge — those indicate an infection.
A clean lifestyle in general will always help your piercings stay clean as well. Change your bedding regularly so that you're not lying in old sweat and dirt, and bathe regularly, being sure to clean anywhere you have a piercing.
When to Wear Visible Piercings
For the most part, visible earrings (and other piercings) can be treated like other non-functional jewelry for men: they're not normally worn in business settings, but the rest of the time it's up to your discretion.
Possible exceptions include solemn events like funerals and high-formality events like some weddings and award ceremonies.
If there's a dress code involved, and it's requiring you to wear a suit and tie, it's probably worth leaving the earrings at home.
Use your own judgment and knowledge of specific settings. The funeral of a counter-culture artist, as thrown by his/her friends, is probably not going to be somewhere that earrings are frowned upon.
The wedding of an influential and conservative banker probably is. You can figure these things out without too much trouble.
The problem with “leaving the piercing at home,” of course, is that piercings, especially newer ones, can heal with startling speed.
“Young” piercings, generally defined as anything less than a year old, should be kept full as much as possible. You don't want to leave them open for more than a half-day or so if you can avoid it.
There are a number of clear or flesh-colored products designed for filling small piercings. If you can find one in your gauge, and in a color that blends in, they're usually the best option.
More primitive home remedies include things like short lengths of thick fishing line or broken plastic comb teeth used in lieu of earrings. If you go that route, make sure anything you put in your piercing is thoroughly sterilized, and change to a new one every day.
Grooming your ears, in short, boils down to this:
- Lightly swab out earwax any time it's visibly crusted outside the ear canal.
- Carefully trim ear hairs any time they're visibly growing beyond the ear canal.
- Keep any piercings clean, and only where them when appropriate.
If you're doing those things, your ears should be fine. All told the grooming tasks will probably take up five or ten minutes every couple of weeks — an easy investment of time, and well worth the trouble.
Anything growing or oozing around the ears is pretty gross. Take care of it proactively, and enjoy being an attractive gentleman.
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