General Question

aviona's avatar

Why do piercings smell?

Asked by aviona (3240 points ) April 21st, 2009

I know all the methods of cleaning, but why do piercings smell funky (at least cartilage piercings)?

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24 Answers

sandystrachan's avatar

Non of mine smell . Could it be an infection or something has been trapped in it ?

AstroChuck's avatar

Bacteria.

aviona's avatar

@sandystrachan maybe, but I mean I clean it every so often and it doesn’t hurt and it looks healthy…

jbfletcherfan's avatar

I’ve never heard of this. I’ve never had one smell or known anyone’s who did. You cleaning it with alcohol? How old is the piercing?

sandystrachan's avatar

It could have been the person who performed the piercing , the equipment may have not been 100% clean and during the act something has become trapped you don’t know about. It may also be the type of material used for the equipment you have have you tried changing to a different material like say plastic or something else ? Have you really cleaned hard with an alcohol drenched swab ?

aviona's avatar

I trust the people who pierced it. Plus, I’ve had other piercings (done by other piercers) where this has happened and known other people that this has happened to. I clean it with warm salt water and tea tree oil diluted in warm water. NO ALCOHOL! The piercing is about 10 months old I’d say.

casheroo's avatar

Lymph. It smells weird. Bacteria is what smells bad I think.

Judi's avatar

People with oilier skin have a harder time keeping their holes clear. They fill up with a greasy substance similar to a black head. I think it has more to do with body chemistry than with hygiene.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

I like tea tree oil, too, but it’s not killing germs. All of this dilution in warm water business isn’t going to cut it at all. Yes, get some rubbing alcohol on it.

poofandmook's avatar

There’s nothing wrong with cleaning your piercings with rubbing alcohol. If you don’t want to use anything that harsh, you can use Bactine diluted with water or a Provon soap/water solution.

It’s dead skin cells and natural body oil/bacteria stuck in there. Happens to my lobe piercings if I go a few days without a good alcohol swabbing.. even though my lobes have been pierced for years. Oddly enough it doesn’t happen with my cartilege piercings. Used to happen to my eyebrow piercing too, until I started getting a keloid and took it out.

casheroo's avatar

I use antimicrobial soap on new tattoos, I think I used it on piercings as well. I also used salt water, which was very soothing and healing.

aviona's avatar

Thanks for the tips guys. @Judi, the interesting thing is, I don’t have oily skin, if anything I have dry skin.

kayysamm's avatar

If you clean it everynight when you take a shower, the smell should go away.

I have my ear guaged and I can tell you THEY STINK SO BAD. But I clean them everynight and the smell gets better.

adreamofautumn's avatar

Only put rubbing alcohol near a piercing if it’s old. If it’s a new piercing you definitely do NOT want rubbing alcohol near it as it will dry it out and prolong the healing process. If it’s older however, and completely healed than you probably should give rubbing alcohol a try.

Likeradar's avatar

I once made the mistake of smelling my nose ring when I had that piercing, which led me to the mistake of smelling my earrings… ew. I never had an infection in any of my piercings though. Maybe some people just smell icky in their piercings?

asmonet's avatar

It’s like your belly button, particles, bacteria on the skin, oil, sweat, and a small enclosed space all make for a stinky piercing. It’s no big. Just keep it clean.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

i’m not really sure why, but it’s pretty common, especially in gauges. i have a few friends who have gauges, and they all complain that it smells bad (when they take the plugs out), but most of them do frequently wash them.

elijah's avatar

It’s very common and normal. It is only infected if it swells, turns hot and red, and hurts. Never remove jewelry if you have an infection because the hole will close trapping the infection inside. Like @poofandmook said, use Provon soap to clean piercings, and occassionally spray a little Bactine on it. Make sure while cleaning you run the jewelry through the hole back and forth a couple times. Then rinse well while running it through again.

becqui's avatar

My daughter has gauges as well and her’s smelled so bad. (She cleans them regularly) Many of her friend’s gauges stink as well. She switched to wood gauges and they don’t smell anymore.

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
littlekori's avatar

which piercings smell? because its pretty normal for gauges to smell, because its like an open wound and even if you clean them everyday they still smell. thats how mine and all of my friends are.

Chrissy91's avatar

I have piercings, my lip piercing never had bad smell…so the other piercings i have…sometimes i had my ear piercings smelly and cleaned them…but only happened when i wore the piercing for long time. About a year ago i pierced another one on my face next to the ear…and it smells… i never removed it from when i pierced it..and i wash my face 2 a day obviously, but it still stinks. i donno what to do without taking it off (i’m afraid and cant open the earing its too tight). Any ideas?

Btw its not true about plastic earings dont stink…i tried them and if u wear them for long time they also stink.

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
OliviaB's avatar

It just means its healing. I got my spetum peirced three months ago and this month is just started to smell. Just dont mess with it too much and it wont be as smelly. My piercer told me it would. It’s normal. But if your realy worried go to your piercer and ask:3

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