I received a question and photo from a woman who has an ear cartilage piercing that is experiencing problems. Below is a somewhat condnesed version of our correspondence:
I've read your book many times, but I wanted to seek guidance from the author herself! I got my helix pierced at a tattoo and piercing parlor about 3 weeks ago. The piercer put a rather large ring in my piercing with a bead.
He then told me to clean the piercing with alcohol and Dial soap (I knew better after reading your book, so I just nodded and smiled).
Instead, I did nightly sea salt soaks, but the piercing seemed fine after about a week- in fact, it felt and appeared to be fully healed.
However, about 4 days ago, it started to feel warm and red. 2 days ago, the skin around it (basically the top half of my ear) is very warm to the touch, purplish red, and sore (the piercing throbs). However, there is no strange discharge or swelling from it- all of the discharge is clear to light yellow and it's very minimal and there is no swelling. What's going on with my piercing? The bump looks a little more irritated than usual because I just got out of sparring practice and had a good amount of contact with my ear.
Unfortunately, I was unable to go and get the jewelry changed as I left for school a few days after. The piercing is not painful, tender, or warm (although I can't lay on it, that's not surprising as I usually can't lay on my ears in general).