How To Reopen A Closed Ear Piercing By Yourself

  • Written By Dan Hunter on December 21, 2019
    Last Updated: November 27, 2020

There’s a very brief, very blunt answer to the question of how to reopen a closed ear piercing at home. The answer is, don’t. Piercings aren’t home procedures, despite the success of your one friend who did it and “it worked out fine for them.”

Since ear piercings are so commonplace, we may have forgotten or never knew that ear piercings can have serious life-long side effects. They should be done by a professional, using sterile equipment, and following best practices.

If you’re wondering about how to reopen a closed ear piercing, remember these guidelines:

  • Never re-pierce your ears home
  • Gently probe the piercing hole with a sterilized stud from different angles to see if it’s only somewhat closed
  • If you experience any pain in this scenario, go to a professional piercing parlor to get re-pierced

What If It’s Only Partially Closed?

Piercings can close up quite quickly, but if you have a piercing that’s only partly closed, it’s possible to help guide jewelry through this opening to reopen the hole. The most important part of this situation is recognizing that the hole isn’t closed and not healed over. 

If an ear piercing is healed over, there are no circumstances in which you should be trying to re-pierce this at home. For one, DIY ear-piercing lacks a sterile environment, proper training, and equipment. It may seem straightforward, but it’s much healthier to have this done by a trusted professional. 

The other reason is that you might pierce a hole that you think is closed but may only be half healed over. This could lead to a pretty nasty infection. You want to avoid that, and a professional piercer will know how to make sure that it doesn’t occur. 

What Does Partially Closed Mean?

If you’re not accustomed to wearing earrings much anymore or removed your ear piercings before they were healed, you may notice that there’s resistance when you go to put an earring through the hole. 

This resistance comes from an attempt by the skin cells of your ear to close up the hole. Also, dead skin cells plugged into the hole may be creating the resistance. 

The Partially Closed Test

To figure out if it’s partly healed over or maybe just plugged up by some dead skin cells, you can do an investigation at home:

  1. Wash: Wash your hands with antibacterial soap. Pay attention to under your fingernails, as this area can trap bacteria and dirt. To be extra cautious, you can wear protective gloves to avoid any potential for contamination of the pierced ear 
  2. Heat: Apply a warm compress to create a more humid environment. That humidity and warmth may soften whatever is blocking the ear piercing 
  3. Test: Pick a stud earring with thin posts to test the piercing. Be sure to pick hypoallergenic earrings, like titanium or stainless steel
  4. Posts: Rub the posts with a disinfectant. Then leave them to dry on a fresh, clean towel
  5. Disinfect: Use a disinfectant to clean your earlobe. Make sure it’s diluted, or you can use a natural alternative, like a tea tree oil wash 
  6. Antibiotics: Lubricate your earlobe with an antibiotic ointment.
  7. Stretch: Stretch your earlobe out
  8. Probe: Gently probe the hole with the stud 
  9. Angles: Try different angles to see if there’s an opening. Try inserting the earring from the back as well as the front.

If the earring goes in after all of these steps, then you don’t need to see a professional for re-piercing. Don’t push if there’s pain or if your earring post bends under pressure. If you experience either of those occurrences, you have to go see a professional. 

Go to a Professional Piercer

A professional piercer is the best person to consult with you for a re-piercing. If it’s a partially closed earring hole, they’ll stick a sterile needle through the existing hole. They may not even charge you for such a simple service. 

In this way, however, you’ll avoid tearing your earring hole, widening the hole, or creating a trauma that leads to irritation, swelling, or redness. If you ignore the advice and choose to re-pierce at home, make an effort to be sterile, or else you may even be opening yourself up to infection. 

Infection in an ear isn’t good because serious complications can lead to a deformity that’s aesthetically displeasing.

Why You Shouldn’t DIY Ear Piercings

Some things are just “worth it” to pay a professional to do. The potential cost of reopening a closed ear piercing at home is high. You may face infection, blood loss, pain, and even a physical deformity. The alternative is a quick trip to a professional piercer.

Follow our steps to see if you may have a part-closed earring hole or a blockage of dead cells. Don’t push this option further than it should go, however. You shouldn’t be in pain while doing it. Whether you succeed in loosening a partially blocked ear piercing or fail at that and go to a professional piercer, make sure to treat for potential infection, no matter what.

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