How To Look After A New Ear Piercing (Aftercare Guide)

Getting your ears pierced is something that most people decide to do at one point or another. From little kids to full-grown adults, the idea of being able to wear ear jewelry that complements your own unique style is enticing to many people. However, ear piercing care should never be overlooked.

While your piercer will handle the majority of the process, once you leave the shop with your new piercings, you have to take over and ensure that your piercings heal correctly. Doing so can be annoying at times, but it really doesn’t take that long to take care of your piercings on a daily basis.

Sure, you’ll get instructions from your piercer about how to care for your piercings, but it will be up to you to follow those instructions and make sure that your piercings are healthy for years to come.

Here is an overview of what you’ll have to do in order to help your ear piercings heal perfectly.

How Long Do Ear Piercings Take To Heal?

Piercings can be done all over the body and each particular piercing has its own timeline for proper healing. Fortunately, ear piercings are among the fastest healers of all variations.

If you get your earlobes pierced, you can expect a very fast healing process, comparatively speaking. Most earlobe piercings heal fully within just four to six weeks. This is great news, as it means you don’t have to wait long to change your earrings whenever you’re in the mood to.

If you choose to get a cartilage piercing, your healing process will take just a little bit longer. While it’s not impossible for your cartilage piercings to heal in a couple of months, it’s more likely that it will take a full three months for your cartilage piercings to heal. Sometimes, more time is required. Cartilage location (such as upperinner and conch) can also make a difference to healing times.

If you’re not yet sure which type of piercing you’d like, this ear piercing chart may help you to decide.

Ear piercing care

What To Do On The Day You Get Your Ears Pierced

Alright. So you went to the studio and picked out your jewelry. You sat in the chair, got past the scary part of actually getting your ears pierced and now you’re ready to get on with the rest of your day. What should you expect for the first day as far as aftercare?

You might expect that you’ll need to rush home right away and thoroughly clean your new piercings, but that’s actually not recommended in most cases. In fact, you usually save the cleaning for the next day.

Your biggest job for the first day is to simply avoid any activities that are going to get your piercings dirty or irritate them in any particular way. This means being very careful about bumping or rubbing up against things with your ears, which would only serve to irritate your new piercings.

You may be tempted to touch your new piercings. However, this is something you should avoid. Even if you feel like your hands are clean, they can contain many germs and bacteria that can lead to infection if you’re not careful. If you must touch the area for some reason, wash your hands thoroughly first.

The real care begins later on, and you should make sure that you’ve asked your piercer any questions that you may have before you leave the studio. Although you can always call and ask later if you have any new questions.

What To Do During The Rest Of The Aftercare Phase

Aftercare can be a pretty long process, but the good news is that it’s also a very repetitive process. Once you learn what you’re supposed to do and get into a good cleaning and aftercare routine, it will feel like second nature.

6 Important Ear Piercing Aftercare Steps You Must Ensure You Take:

The word “routine” here is significant. The best way to handle your aftercare is to work your cleaning and care tasks in with the rest of your day on a set schedule. For instance, cleaning your piercings when you brush your teeth in the morning and in the evening is one way to remember to do it.

About 24 hours after you get your piercings, you’ll want to do your first cleaning. Use a cleaning solution to do so. Afterward, if you feel the need to dry your piercings, use a clean paper towel instead of a regular towel or washcloth.

One important thing to remember is to avoid letting regular soap or shampoo get into your piercings. It’s really easy for this to happen, particularly when you’re washing your face or your hair.

To prevent this problem, do one of your two daily cleanings after you shower. It should also go without saying that you should avoid getting hairspray or other items in your piercings.

It should also be noted that your ear piercing may be painful for up to 3-5 days after the procedure was performed.

What Not To Do While Your Ear Piercing Is Healing

By now, it’s pretty obvious that you won’t be able to go for two months without touching your piercings in one way or another. However, you should really try to avoid touching them with your fingers, and you should avoid making contact with them whenever possible besides when you’re doing your regular cleaning.

If you do touch your earrings, avoid the temptation to move them around or manipulate them. It may be tempting to push them back, but don’t do so, as you need air circulation for the healing process.

Try not to mess with the backs of your earrings either, unless you have reason to think that your backs are not positioned correctly. After all, you don’t want your backs falling off of your earrings, but you also don’t want them on too tightly, preventing circulation and making infections possible.

Finally, don’t try to change your jewelry until your piercings are fully healed. We’ll discuss that more in-depth in a little bit.

How To Clean An Ear Piercing

The cleaning process is actually pretty simple. You’ll use a cleaning solution that you purchased from the studio, bought from a store, or even made yourself.

The right solution will be a saline or salt-based solution. You should absolutely not use any kind of soap for cleaning your piercings. There are also special piercing aftercare sprays available to help speed up healing times and effectiveness.

The best aftercare product I’ve personally used is the After Inked Piercing Aftercare Spray. Not only is it vegan-friendly, 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.

Make sure to wash your hands before you clean your piercings of course. If you are using a saline solution, you’ll want to spray or squirt the pierced area with it so the piercing can “soak” properly. Using a cotton swab, for example, isn’t likely to provide enough solution to the area.

Ask your piercer whether he or she recommends a natural, dye-free soap. Some piercers do, although no one should ever use a harsh soap on a pierced area.

If you are given the okay to use a natural, fragrance-free soap, wash your hands thoroughly first and carefully lather them before cleaning surrounding areas and getting any discharge off of your jewelry.

No matter what, don’t use antibiotic ointments, rubbing alcoholhydrogen peroxide, or solutions featuring benzalkonium chloride to clean or soak your piercings.

If your piercing becomes infected, you’ll still need to treat it with regular cleaning.

When Can I Stop Cleaning My Ear Piercing?

Cleaning your piercings isn’t exactly hard or time-consuming, but most people are still pretty happy when the day comes that they can stop going through the process twice per day.

While some people have been able to stop regular cleanings after four weeks, it’s safest to go for a full six weeks before you stop your twice-daily cleanings. This gives your new piercings plenty of time to heal properly and decreases the chance of painful infections.

Ultimately, no one will be there with you day in and day out to tell you when and how often to clean your piercings. While you can adjust your aftercare regime based upon how your piercings are healing, your likelihood of infections is much higher if you don’t continue cleaning them for at least four weeks.

When Can I Remove/Replace My Ear Piercing Stud/Jewelry?

One of the most exciting times for any person who gets their ears pierced is when they can finally remove their starter jewelry and put in new earrings. As you may have expected, the timeline for this milestone is generally about six weeks.

If you haven’t had any problems with your piercings, replacing earrings after six weeks is just fine. However, you should definitely avoid putting anything except post-type earrings in for the first five months for earlobe piercings. Those hoops or hooks will have to wait!

For materials, make sure your new earrings are hypoallergenic. Stainless steel is an excellent choice for posts and your first few earrings.

What about cartilage piercings? Those take at least 12 weeks before you can put in a new type. After that, it is recommended that you avoid changing to anything except other kinds of barbell-type earrings for the first full year.

Try not to leave your jewelry out for too long, however, as ear piercings can begin to close up relatively quickly.


Ear piercings shouldn’t be that inconvenient to have. Taking care of your new piercings is actually pretty simple and if done properly, won’t take up that much time out of your day either.

It may be tempting to skip out on your cleanings now and then, but remember that doing so drastically increases the chance of a painful infection.

It’s always a good idea to follow your piercer’s instructions to the letter, which will help your ear piercings heal quickly and let you switch out your jewelry faster.

Ear piercing care is easy, once you know how to do it.