If you have ever started stretching your ears it doesn’t take long to realize that they smell of death when you take them out. Or if you ever went to nibble on your significant others ear and caught a nasty whiff. This only gets worse as you go up in gauges.
What is Ear Funk?
We know it smells, but why does it smell? What is ear funk and how can we deal with it?
It’s a lot like ear wax, only grosser. By stretching your ears and keeping them gauged you are creating the perfect environment for bacteria. It is warm and moist, and there’s really nothing you can do about that. The environment alone doesn’t cause the stink, but it certainly doesn’t help either. The majority of your ear funk is actually dead skin cells. There is also some dirt and other odds and ends that could possibly accumulate in them, but the majority is all dead skin cells.
If you remember back to high school health class, you may recall that you are constantly shedding skin cells. They are microscopic and hundreds fly off with just the wave of your hand. This is no different around your piercing jewelry. The only difference is that the jewelry is keeping those cells from falling anywhere, instead they build up gradually into a paste like funk. That moist paste of dead skin cells continues to decay due to the warm moist environment your jewelry creates. That decay is the smell you get from your piercings.
Sexy, isn’t it?
There is absolutely no way to prevent your stretched piercings from collecting funk. The shedding of old skin is a process that you can’t and don’t want to mess with. The only solution is control.
It takes a while for enough dead skin cells to accumulate and start to produce a smell. This isn’t a long time, but if you were to clean your jewelry and piercing once a week, the smell should be very minimal. Each cleaning should give you at least 3-4 days of fresh and clean before any kind of smell creeps in.
When cleaning be sure to clean both the jewelry and the piercing thoroughly, they are equally important. You want the jewelry to look just as clean as the day you bought it when you put it back in. Anything you leave on it will just start to break down immediately, which is counterproductive to your goal of fresh and clean piercings. You must be sure to clean the actual piercing as well. This is probably the hardest of the two. Be sure to clean both the inside and outside of the piercing. Regular old soap and water do well for this. I like to use paper towels or toilet tissue for this, so i can get rid of the funk right away. A good general rule when choosing a product to clean your piercing is… “If it works well on the rest of your skin, it should be no problem to clean your piercing with it”.