In India, a baby’s ear piercing used to be celebrated with much fanfare by the family (காது குத்து திருவிழா). Friends and relatives were invited and a huge feast was served. These functions have decreased a lot nowadays in cities and many are opting for shot gun piercing.
There was a time when they used to heat a sharp metal rod and then pierce the ear lobe or nose with it….ouch. Now most jewellery shops have goldsmiths who use topical anesthetic like Lidocaine gel to reduce the pain before piercing.
My daughter hated having a foreign body stuck to her ears and kept touching her earring and finally managed to pull one earring off.
While I wanted to put it back before the hole closed, my husband wanted me to remove the other one also. I was worried that if we remove the other one too, then both holes will close and we have to go through this procedure all over again.
Neem is known for its anti-bacterial properties. To keep the hole from closing, we took the smoothest part of a neem twig (arrow points to this spot in the picture below) and inserted into the hole.
When the wound is raw, it can cause crust buildup and they cause adhesion and the hole will close faster sometimes even embedding the earring or nose ring inside (Neem twig in this case). So I cleaned the ear lobes thrice a day with cotton dipped in coconut oil.
A drop of Neem oil (Margosa oil) can also be added to a spoon of coconut oil and this oil can be used too. Neem oil is very viscous, bad smelling and extremely bitter in taste. It is a very potent antibacterial agent but it can be harsh on baby skin. So we always dilute it with another oil. This oil can also be used to disinfect and heal skin after tattooing.
The neem twig is used because of neem’s antibacterial properties. It keeps the hole from closing and it is the best natural method to prevent infection of ear and nose piercings.
The green twig will dry and turn brown. It is not necessary to replace it with another fresh green one. The twig has to turned a few times a day just like we would turn the earring to prevent it from getting stuck to the lobe.
In shotgun method, the hole will be small and most Indian earrings have a thicker stem. So my friend said that she slowly increased the size of the neem twig to increase the size of the hole. I have not tried this personally so I cannot say for sure that it will work. Nowadays we get studs that have thin stems. Another thing to remember is, when the wound is still raw, avoid earrings with short stems as they have a higher chance of getting embedded into the lobe when it gets healed.
Whether the ear is pierced in the traditional method or using a shotgun method, there is a chance that the wound can get inflamed (allergic reaction to earring) or infected.
To prevent infection
Wash hands and ear before piercing.
Avoid touching the pierced lobe often.
If you cannot get coconut oil and margosa oil, use cotton dipped in rubbing alcohol to clean the lobe twice a day.
Use a new earring / clean it thoroughly if reusing a old one.
To prevent allergic reaction
Use gold earring or surgical grade steel earrings. Some people may have an allergic reaction to gold also.
If nothing helps, we can always remove the earring and let the wound close automatically.