Should I Leave The Crust On My Piercing?

  • Written By Dan Hunter on November 6, 2020
    Last Updated: November 27, 2020

A piercing of any kind can be a quick and straightforward procedure, but that does not mean you should ignore the aftercare and healing process. After getting a piercing, you will typically see some crust forming around your jewelry.

Why does that crusting happen, and more importantly, should you leave the crusting on your new piercing?


What Causes Crusting after a Piercing?

When you get a piercing, especially an ear piercing, the needle creates a puncture wound or a “tube” through your skin. When the puncture wound happens, you will see a discharge of fluids including blood and a thick yellow liquid (the liquid is typically a mixture of sebum from your oil glands and white blood cells). 

Because air cannot get inside the puncture wound to dry up the fluids, the fluids will seep out and collect around the earring. Once the air hits the fluids, it will dry it up, creating a crust. 

Crusting vs Scabbing

The crusting that you get after a piercing is very different from the crusting that happens after you fall and scrape the surface of your skin. If you were to fall and scrape your skin, crusting would appear in the form of leaky fluids that dry up and eventually turn into a scab

Like scabs elsewhere on your body, a piercing scab is meant to protect the new skin that is forming underneath it. The crusting that forms around a piercing is different because it prevents air from reaching the broken tissue to dry it out and heal it. 

Should I Leave the Crust on My New Piercing?

Because of the type of puncture wound a piercing is, it’s important to remove the crust that develops around your earring or on the outside of your piercing. This is because air needs to hit the punctured tissue to properly heal your piercing

Still, you can’t just pick at the crusting and remove it by hand. You have to do it hygienically to avoid an infection from happening. An infection will only happen if you pick at the scab with unclean hands as this is how bacteria and germs get introduced to the open wound.

How Should I Clean My Newly Pierced Ears?

Cleaning your newly pierced ears is pain-free and straightforward. However, because piercings can be so sensitive, not following the right protocol can easily lead to an infection. Here’s a quick guide on how to clean the crust on your piercing.

Step One 

You should never use harsh chemicals, including alcohol, peroxide, soap, or anything with benzalkonium chloride. All you need is a .09% saline spray solution. 

The best aftercare product I’ve personally used is the After Inked Piercing Aftercare Spray. Not only is it vegan, but it’s also completely alcohol and additive-free. The solution works well on all skin types including sensitive skin, and it comes in a generously-sized mist-spraying bottle for easy application. When using it from the very start of the healing process, the spray helps to decrease healing times and aims to eliminate any lingering pain or soreness.

Step Two

Apply the saline solution directly onto your piercing. You will want to spray just enough that the crust is moist and loosens up. You do not want to overspray the solution because it might start seeping into the puncture hole. If this happens, you are only exaggerating the healing process because the point of removing the scab is to allow air to hit the tissue and dry it out.

Step Three

As the solution dries on your ear,  It will loosen up and fall off on its own. It is unnecessary to use a cotton swab or a Q-tip to rub the crust away because this will only irritate your ear.  If after you let the spray loosen up the gunk, and it does not fall off, you can use a Q-tip or a cotton swab to push it off gently.

Stuff Four

Follow this aftercare procedure for your piercing at least three times a day.  Be consistent in the aftercare routine because doing so will slowly decrease the amount of crust your piercing develops, eventually keeping the crust from reforming. Within a couple of days, you should see the piercing start to heal, with it healing completely after about a week.

Additional Tips for Cleaning Crusting Out of Your Piercing

  • It can be tempting to want to turn your jewelry around during the cleaning process. However, it’s imperative that you do not do this. If you turn the jewelry around, you are only irritating the skin and delaying the healing process.
  • Never touch your healing piercing. Your hands are chock-full of germs, and if you introduce those germs to an open wound like a piercing, you can easily cause an infection. An infection could force you to remove the piercing and, in a worst-case scenario, close the piercing altogether.
  • It’s okay to shower with a fresh piercing. Just make sure that you rinse the area with warm water before you get out of the shower. Shampoo and conditioner residue can cause irritation that will delay the healing process. 

Final Thoughts 

Making sure your piercing heals properly is half the battle when you get a new piercing. By following these tips and maintaining proper care, you should be able to enjoy a clean, healthy, and healed piercing in no time.