Why Do My Earrings Smell?

Why Do My Earrings Smell?

The creation of sebum, or your natural skin oils, is among the main causes of smell.

Have you ever realized that the scent of your healed piercings can be quite terrible at times? It smells like rotten food and stinky feet, and that’s enough to make your pets run away (or just want to cleanse you!). Ear funk, ear cheese, piercing funk, and ear stink are some of the terms used to describe it.

A nice pair of earrings are good, but why do your ears smell like rotting cheese? It seems that the clog is caused by a combination of skin cells and natural oils. Awful, right?

So, What Exactly Is the Cause of This Smell?

Accumulation of Sebum

So, what causes this smell that is so horrible that no amount of perfume can mask it? As part of its natural functioning, your body secretes a material known as sebum. Sebaceous glands in the skin produce sebum. This is an oily fluid that’s supposed to lubricate and waterproof your skin.

When you combine sebum with dead skin cells and germs, you get some rather strong-smelling piercings! It smells like smelly cheese and is semi-solid. This heavy discharge can even be wiped off your plugs at it’s worse.


The bacteria connected to a potential infection is the second cause of the foul odor, because piercings are wounds, they are vulnerable to infection. Such bacteria are typically Streptococcus or Staphylococcus species. If the nasty smell is followed by discharge from the piercing region, you could be dealing with this issue.


Infected wounds can have an unpleasant odor. Likely, you won’t notice a cut, scrape, or pimple behind your ear until it’s infected. Antibiotics are most likely required if there is swelling, discomfort, or discharge. If the injury is mild, clean it with soap and water and apply a triple antibiotic ointment. If symptoms persist after 1–2 days, see a doctor.

Seek medical help right away if you have a fever, are in a lot of pain, or your injury is highly flushed.

How to Get Rid of This Smell?

Make Sure Your Piercings Are Clean

Washing your piercings with soap and hot water regularly can help avoid these annoying accumulations and maintain the piercings sparkling.

If you have an ear piercing that smells bad, you can wash this with lukewarm running water using an antibacterial solution.

Select Your Jewelry With Care

Some ear-piercing accessory choices, such as studs, can capture dead cells inside the piercing and trigger an ear infection. There’s no room for mobility, so the bacteria are confined for a long time.

Choose rings that could move easily, allowing your skin to breathe.

Also, stay away from metals that could trigger allergic responses.

Metals such as nickel cause allergy reactions in many people. This might irritate the skin around the piercings and lead to infection.

Avoid Excessive Ear Cleaning

Most people go far in their efforts to keep their piercings bacteria-free, hurting the delicate skin on the earlobes in the process. Powerful antibacterial agents contain toxic materials that might irritate and agitate already sensitive skin. To maintain your piercings clean, simply use regular soap and warm water.

You should also take care of your piercings in addition to all of the aforementioned precautions. After cleaning your piercings, take a break from wearing earrings for a while to allow your skin to breathe. Also, if you wear artificial jewelry, remember to take off your earrings before going to bed to avoid a foul odor. Infection risks would be reduced as well.

Dealing With Infected Piercings

The first approach in preventing infection is to get your ear pierced by a specialist instead of at home.

Needles are preferable to piercing guns for non-earlobe piercings. Both piercing techniques require the same level of cleanliness, and the aftercare measures are just the same.

It’s critical to properly follow the piercer’s aftercare guidelines. Clean your ears twice per day with sterile saline water or the piercer’s rinse.

Stop playing with or handling the earring extensively. When changing clothes, make sure it doesn’t get trapped in your clothes.

To prevent crushing the ear as it heals, you may have to sleep on one side.

Infections in Existing Piercings

Infections in existing piercings have the same signs as infections in fresh ones.

You should wash the earring and both sides of the ear with saline solution and handle it with clean hands to treat an infection in an old piercing.

If the infection somehow doesn’t heal, worsens, or fever develops, medical help should be considered.

People who usually have signs or symptoms of illness should recommend buying only hypoallergenic jewelry since they might be reacting to the earrings.

When Should a Piercing Be Taken Out?

It is preferable not to remove an earring from a new piercing if it is infected. The infection may be trapped within the skin if the piercing is removed. As a result, unless a doctor or expert piercer advises otherwise, it is best not to remove an earring from an infected ear.

You can securely remove an earring after the wound has recovered, which normally takes 2 to 3 months for earlobe piercings and longer for cartilage piercings.

Which Is More Painful: Tattoos or Piercings?

Tattooing is a more long-term, subtle pain than piercing. With piercings, the needle penetrates your skin more deeply, and only for a fraction of a second if done correctly.

A tattoo, on the other hand, can be worn for several hours. The level of pain varies according to which body part is being targeted.

Because of the sensitive tissue, earlobe piercings are probably the least excruciating, whereas genital piercings are the most severe. The parts of the body with the most fat, such as the thigh, are the least distressing to tattoo. Incredibly painful pain can be felt in the more bony parts of the body, like the ribs.


People need to have their ears pierced by a skilled piercer who practices good sanitation. They should also strictly adhere to the post-operative guidelines until the wound has recovered.

The majority of infected ear piercings might well be addressed at home and will heal in a matter of days, while antibiotics may be required in some circumstances. If signs do not heal, the illness spreads, or new symptoms occur, you should get medical attention.

About the author

Johnny is dedicated to providing useful information on commonly asked questions on the internet. He is thankful for your support ♥

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