What was supposed to be a fun milestone ended in a painful infection for a 7-year-old English girl.
As reported in People, Suzie Nisbet took her daughter, Lily, to get her ears pierced in honor of the start of a new school year, and the two made a trip to Claire's in Essex to have the procedure done. An employee pierced the girl's ears and explained the aftercare instructions to the 39-year old mother: They were to use the store's Rapid After Care Cleanser for three weeks before changing out her starter earrings.
Claire's website describes the cleaner as "the only place you can get a solution" that will allow you to replace your earrings after only three weeks. The site claims that, "This new advanced after care cleanser has a 3 week hygiene application and is dermatologist & pediatrician tested for the effective care of your Claire's ear piercing."
Most experts agree that newly pierced ears need to keep their starter earrings in place for six weeks to ensure proper healing. But Nisbet didn't question the advice.
"I did think it was quick, but I didn't question it as Claire's is a reputable store and I trusted them. We regularly cleaned it as we'd been told to and it looked absolutely fine, no sign of infection at all."
The family changed the piercings on August 22, three weeks after they were put in. The girl's ears looked healthy and felt fine. A week later, the two noticed some discharge coming from the site of the piercing.
"I woke up one morning and my ear started to feel like it was vibrating, it felt really sore and yucky. It was really painful, it was hot and sore," said Lily.
The Nesbits could not find the back to one of the earrings, but never expected it could get embedded in her ear. "I didn't realize the back was still in there, I thought the lump was an infection," recalled the mother.
It was only after a family friend examined the girl's ear that they realized the earring's back had become lodged under her skin.
"I felt absolutely terrible, so guilty, as I'd spent three days trying to tug it out," Nesbit said.
She took the girl to a nearby hospital, where doctors worked for 20 minutes to remove the backing.
"At that point they said it was too embedded and that she would need to use a scalpel. Those 20 minutes felt like four hours, it was so traumatizing for us all."
Now that Lily's ears are on the mend, Suzie Nesbit has become outspoken about the "bad advice" she got at Claire's.
"I don't know why they are pushing the three-week healing process guidelines. A piercing is a wound and needs at least six weeks to heal," she said.