A freshly damaged earlobe bleeds profusely, even from a superficial cut. If a piercing is ripped from the lower lobe, seek medical intervention to ensure appropriate treatment and prevent infection as the wound may need sutures to heal properly. You can fix a superficial cut to your earlobe yourself but a severe injury or one where the bleeding does not stop requires professional medical assistance. An over-stretched pierced hole caused by prolonged use of heavy earrings may need corrective cosmetic surgery to repair damage to the earlobe.
Wash your hands with antibacterial soap and water and dry with a clean cloth. Put on the disposable gloves if you are treating an open wound or you have cuts on your own hands that may come into contact with the patient.
Apply gentle pressure to the bleeding earlobe with a clean gauze pad or rolled-up bandage. Hold the pad in place until the bleeding stops. If the bleeding does not stop or the wound continues to weep extensively after 10 minutes, consult your GP or call NHS Direct for further advice. You may need to attend your local accident and emergency unit if the earlobe is severely damaged.
Ensure the wound is no longer bleeding. Wipe the area around the wound with a clean cloth and warm water, taking care to avoid opening the cut again. Allow the earlobe to dry naturally or dab with a clean, dry cloth. Apply an antiseptic cream to the cut and cover with a clean gauze dressing or plaster.
Change the dressing at least once a day and wash the wound between dressings if necessary. Re-apply antiseptic cream until the cut heals. Replace the plaster or gauze if it becomes dirty.
Consult a cosmetic surgeon to correct an over-stretched earlobe piercing. Wearing heavy earrings over several years can stretch a piercing hole until it becomes elongated. This condition requires intervention through minor corrective surgery where sutures are inserted to restructure and strengthen the original piercing site. The procedure is under local anaesthetic.
If you require reconstructive surgery to fix a damaged earlobe, ask your health professional for advice if you intend to have your ears pierced near the site of the repaired wound.
If you are bitten by an animal or the wound on your earlobe is ragged, dirty or there is debris in the cut, seek medical help. If you need to visit the accident and emergency unit because your earlobe will not stop bleeding, do not lift or remove a blood-soaked cloth from the wound. Continue to apply pressure and add further cloths over the first one to maintain pressure on the wound.