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How to Care for Newly Pierced Ears

Four Methods:Handle the Piercings with CareClean the PiercingsWatch for Signs of InfectionContinued Care

After you get your ears pierced, it's important to take care of them properly, so they completely heal before you start wearing the hoops and dangling earrings you have waiting in your jewelry box. If your ears get infected, do not remove the jewellery this can trap the infection inside your body. Learn how to take care of your newly pierced ears and watch for signs that you might need to seek medical attention.

Method 1
Handle the Piercings with Care

  1. Image titled Care for Newly Pierced Ears Step 1
    Don't remove the starter earrings until your piercings have healed. When you first get your ears pierced, the piercing technician inserts starter earrings. These earrings are made from hypo-allergenic materials and specific type of post designed to be safe to keep in your ears indefinitely. If you remove them prematurely, your piercings may close or heal improperly.
    • If your piercings are on your earlobes, the starter earrings can usually be removed after six weeks.
    • If your piercings are in your cartilage, the starter earrings can usually be removed after eight to twelve weeks.
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    Don't touch your ears often. Unnecessary handling of your piercings can lead to infection. Don't touch them unless you're cleaning them. If you do need to touch them, wash your hands with antibacterial soap first.
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    Be careful with items that could snag your earrings. Hats, scarves, and other items that may catch on your earrings should be worn with care. Avoid items like earmuffs or tight toboggans that put pressure on your ears.
    • If you wear a veil, choose a fabric that won't snag easily. Try to wear very loose veils, and do not wear the same veil multiple times without washing it.
    • Be careful when you're changing clothes, especially if you're putting on a fabric that is easily snagged.
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    Don't let other substances touch your ears. Avoid getting shampoo, conditioner, and other hair products on your ears, since the ingredients in these products could lead to an infection.
    • You can place a plastic sandwich bag over either ear to help protect your piercings while you're in the shower.
    • If you want to swim you will just need to clean them with the solution that you get after getting your ears pierced before and after you swim. Just make sure you rinse your ears with clean water before cleansing them, after you swim.
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    Try to sleep on your back. Sleeping with your ear against the pillow can irritate your piercings, in addition to being painful.
    • If you find it difficult to sleep on your back, make sure your pillowcase is clean each night. Bacteria from your pillowcase can get transmitted to your piercing, which could cause an infection.
    • You can also use the t-shirt trick to avoid infection: cover your pillow with a clean t-shirt and replace it nightly.

Method 2
Clean the Piercings

  1. Image titled Care for Newly Pierced Ears Step 6
    Wash your hands with antibacterial soap. This is an important step, since you can easily transfer bacteria to your ears with your fingers. Make sure they're clean every time you touch your ears.
  2. Image titled Care for Newly Pierced Ears Step 7
    Dip a cotton ball or swab in cleaning solution. Use the salt-based cleanser provided by the technician who pierced your ear or another one meant specifically for treating piercings.
    • Don't use rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or antibacterial ointment. These contain ingredients that inhibit your skin cells from regenerating and healing.
    • Use a sea salt solution as an alternative to a store-bought cleaning solution. Use 1/8 teaspoon of sea salt per 8 oz water. Do not use table salt, which contains iodine.
  3. Image titled Care for Newly Pierced Ears Step 8
    Swab the piercing with the saturated cotton ball or swab. Clean both the front and the back of the piercing, making sure the entire area gets covered with the cleaning solution.Make sure the solution goes inside the piercing.
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    Rotate the earring. Gently rotate the earring two or three times to make sure the antiseptic gets inside the piercing. Also move the piercing back a forth.This also prevents the piercing from healing too tightly around the hole.
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    Use a new cotton ball or swab for the other side. Throw away the applicator you used to clean the first piercing, and use a new one for your other ear.
  6. Image titled Care for Newly Pierced Ears Step 11
    Clean them three times a day. Don't skip a cleaning, especially in the first few weeks after you get your ears pierced. It's important to disinfect your ears often, since dirt and debris from the air, in addition to the natural substances produced by your ear, can irritate the piercing and lead to an infection.
    • Clean your ears after taking a bath or shower, in case shampoo or conditioner got into the piercing.
    • Clean your ears after swimming or sweating during an outdoor activity.

Method 3
Watch for Signs of Infection

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    Check for redness and swelling. These symptoms are normal for the first couple of days after getting a piercing, but if they don't subside soon after that, you may have an infection or allergy.[1]
    • If the earring feels tight, you may just need to pull the earring clutch away from your lobe a bit. If the pain doesn't go away after pulling it back, see a doctor.
    • Problems caused by allergic reactions can usually be easily resolved by removing the piercing. However, this will cause the hole to heal back up.
    • If you want to save the piercing, see a doctor, who will be able to treat your ear and advise you on whether it's necessary to take out the piercing.
  2. Image titled Care for Newly Pierced Ears Step 13
    See a doctor if you experience serious symptoms. Pus discharge, excessive itching, redness, and extreme pain are signs of an infection. Either remove the earring immediately yourself, or if it is too painful, have a doctor remove it. Bathe the infected ear with antibiotic ointment and bandage it until it has healed.
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    Seek immediate care if your earlobe tears. If your earring snags on something and causes your earlobe to tear, you may need stitches. Go to an immediate care center or the emergency room to have your ear treated right away.

Method 4
Continued Care

  1. Image titled Care for Newly Pierced Ears Step 15
    Remove your starter earrings. Once your ears have healed, which will take six to nine weeks, you can swap out your starter earrings. Wear post-style earrings for the first six months to ensure that your piercing hole won't stretch out from heavy earrings. After six months, you can wear hoops and dangling earrings.
    • When you change earrings, take note of your ear's reactions to different metals. Some people are sensitive to metals other than gold, sterling silver.
    • Platinum is another good hypoallergenic choice for those with skin sensitivities or allergies.


  • Clean your ears and try to avoid getting hair or other objects stuck to your earrings.
  • Make sure the piercing studio is clean, hygienic, and qualified before you have any piercing done.
  • Take care when you are brushing your hair!!
  • Don't take out your starter earrings before the 6-9 week waiting period.
  • Don't fiddle with your earrings. This will irritate your earlobes.
  • If your ear gets crusty, mix up some salt water and apply it on your ear lobes to loosen the crustiness and twist the earring in.
  • Clean your earlobes with the solution and a cotton ball 2-3 times a day. Do it periodically throughout the day: after you wake up, middle of the afternoon, and before you go to bed. Repeat the same cycle over and over again until the six weeks is over.
  • Rotating your piercing is perfectly fine, if you do it only while cleaning.
  • If your ear is infected, don't take out the piercing! This can cause it to heal over, and the infection to stay in the ear.
  • Make sure you wash your hair at least every other day as the grease from your hair could come into contact with your ear, infecting it.
  • If your ears are completely healed before the six weeks are over, don't take it out yet. Instead, try cleaning your ears 1-2 times a day. That way, your ears won't get damaged from too much of the solution's chemicals. Trust me, it works.
  • The best time to do it is over winter or spring break so you can give your ears a break but aren't sweating and swimming as much as you would if it were summer break!
  • If your ear hurts a lot try putting ice on it. It makes it feel better and the pain will decrease.
  • For younger children, make sure you watch them to make sure they don't pull on their earring. Also make sure they clean the piercing everyday to prevent infection.
  • Always get allergy tested or when using earrings with different metal in your ear look for reactions in case you are allergic to a type of metal.
  • Take a few deep breaths or distract yourself when it starts to hurt.
  • When you first get them pierced make sure you don't sleep on your side this could rip out the earring or tear your earlobe. I hope you like your piercing. Keep it clean and healthy.
  • If you play sports, get your ears pierced at least 6 weeks before sports start, so you can take your earrings out, because you can't play sports with earrings in.
  • Instead of using a Q-tip or cotton swab, use a cotton ball because they are softer and won't hurt sensitive ears.
  • Don't twist, push and pull through the hole. Twisting rips off the scab forming inside the hole.
  • Sleep on a neck pillow if you can't sleep on your back or stomach. Place the hole around the ear and lay on it like it's a regular pillow.
  • If you're a swimmer, you can still go swimming, just wear your cap tightly over your ears. Then clean it out as soon as practice is finished.
  • If you’re planning on getting your ears pierced, try to do it before the weekend, so you can rest during the first few days.
  • Make sure you rotate the earrings frequently to keep them from adhering to your ear.
  • The more you wear earrings, the faster your newly pierced ears will heal.
  • For infants: don't wear dangling earrings. This may cause the earlobe to tear.
  • You can put bandages over your ears while you swim.
  • If you have long hair, try putting your hair up to avoid getting it caught on the piercing.
  • Don't ever allow anyone to pierce your ears with the plastic gun (like at mall piercing places). They are designed to be one time use devices, and are very expensive. Reuse to cut down on cost can lead to the spread of infectious diseases, including HIV. Only let a licensed piercer pierce you with a sterilized needle. Your ears will heal better and look better.
  • Don't swim for 24 hours.


  • Go to a professional piercer to get your ears pierced. Make sure the equipment they use is safe and sanitary.
  • Do not take the piercing out before six weeks. It may get infected easily or might close faster.
  • If you don't clean the piercing it will get infected.
  • Don't be fiddling with them constantly because you will make the area irritated or infect it.

Article Info

Categories: Ear Piercing