Allergic Reaction?

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Wednesday January 6th, 2010 @ 4:19 PM

Filed under: Ear


I’ve had my helix piercings happily stretched to 0g for over a year. Last night I changed from acrylic plugs to single-flare stainless steel tunnels with black rubber O-rings on the back. This morning the left ear was fine but the whole posterior part of my right ear was very, VERY itchy and the area directly around the piercing was red, hard, slightly swollen, and the O ring left a sore indent in my skin. I removed the right tunnel, cleaned the piercing, and put my old plug back in which made it stop itching very quickly.

I would assume this is some sort of reaction to the new jewelry, but wouldn’t I have the same problem on the other ear as well? I bought both tunnels together so they should be the same material. Should I attempt the switch again in a week or so? Is it possible for only a portion of the body to have a sensitivity to rubber?

Thank you!

It would be pretty unlikely to have just one of your ears freak out due to a reaction to the o-ring, but anything is possible. It’s also possible that one o-ring was a slightly better grade than the other, thereby making the problem not as a apparent on the other side. I would assume that your acrylic plugs use o-rings to keep them in place. If so, perhaps you could try wearing the steel eyelets with those o-rings. Or, even better, try switching to clear (silicone) o-rings and see if that helps.

If switching o-rings doesn’t help, then you may be having a problem with the tunnel itself. It could be a sensitivity to the material, although again, a reaction on one side, but not the other, isn’t likely. There is also the chance that the eyelet on one side has a polishing or manufacturing defect which is causing the problem.

Unfortunately, you may have to try a couple of different things in order to effectively troubleshoot the problem.

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7 Responses to “Allergic Reaction?”

  1. I have the same problem with my ears. Only my left ear has an allergic reaction to the O rings.

    same problem on February 2nd, 2010 at 6:01 pm
  2. I know, it’s totally weird, but I have the same problem with o-rings. My right ear gets red, itchy, dry, skin flakes off, etc., while the left ear is fine. I try to just avoid jewelry with o-rings, because even higher quality clear ones give me the same reaction.

    Dicey on February 11th, 2010 at 7:37 pm
  3. O-rings kill my ears. Always one worse than the other. I haven’t used o-rings in many years, so I can’t remember which was worse. I now use screwed on tunnels instead. Haven’t had an issue.

    Aggronieszka on March 29th, 2010 at 12:01 am
  4. Sorry but happy to hear that other people are having the same problem.It started when I got some new 7/16 stainless plugs and thought it was that but after they healed I but some thing different in and the same thing happened which leads me to think that it is the grommets.

    James on March 31st, 2010 at 8:11 pm
  5. That usually happens too me, only the ear that is sensitive switches the more I stretch, could be that one just isnt healing as fast and just gets irritated.

    Rhi on May 30th, 2010 at 2:35 am
  6. I actually have a similar problem… i have been at 25mm for over 8 months now and i always take my jewelry out before bed… i wore some wooden plugs that i have worn many times, and when i took them out my ears were fine and when i woke up the next morning my left ear has a hard lump in the lobe… I have no idea what it is because i have not torn my ears or had a blow out ever. So i pretty much ruled out any chance of it being scar tissue, but i dont know what else it could be. any insight?

    Alex on September 1st, 2010 at 2:10 pm
  7. im at 35mm and i started tapping my plugs and i have dune tapping for a long time and never had a problem but these time im up about 12 layers of tap and i got up and my left ear has small bumps all over the side of my lobe and its really itchy i wasn’t thinking to much of it till now there showing up on my other ear now so im thinking its a allergic reaction to the tape i have of 1/29/2013 taken the tape off and down sized but there still really itchy and red. idk what to do ? any hlep?

    jason on January 30th, 2013 at 2:16 pm

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