How To Treat An Infected Ear Piercing Without It Closing Up

  • Written By Dan Hunter on December 21, 2019
    Last Updated: January 8, 2021

Infected piercings aren’t always dreadful incidents. Nevertheless, you need to take infections seriously as they can become a nuisance at the turn of a blind eye. There’s no need to ring alarm bells and cause a panic — now is the time for intervention. 

It’s always best to get into action as soon as you notice anything abnormal. That way, you can treat the infected piercing without it closing and save another trip to the parlor. Let’s jump straight to it and start treating this infection.

Treating an Infection Without the Piercing Hole Closing

An infected piercing is a pretty broad label. If your piercing is cartilage, oral or on your genitalia, you should immediately begin the home treatment. We then suggest consulting our content related to these specific piercing infections for detailed information.

For minor infections, adopt one or both of these treatments three times daily. Don’t remove your piercing and remove any tight clothing or obstructions.

  1. Wash your hands with antimicrobial soap before touching your piercing
  2. Gently wipe around the piercing and any metal that’s showing with a saltwater rinse
  3. You may find crusting around the wound and dry skin. Don’t remove the scabbing unless it falls off naturally
  4. Pat dry with a paper towel that doesn’t leave behind fibers
  5. Repeat three times a day until the piercing is free from infection

Method 2:

  1. Using antimicrobial soap, thoroughly wash your hands 
  2. Using the sterile saline solution, fill a shot glass or small container with the liquid
  3. Submerge the pierced area in the solution
  4. Alternatively, place the shot glass over the area, creating a sealed rim so the fluid can’t escape. This works best for navel and nipple piercings
  5. Soak for up to two minutes and mindfully remove the vessel
  6. Dry the area with a clean towel that doesn’t release fibers

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.

You should notice the symptoms improving within a week but continue the regimen until only the regular healing signs exist. You can then return to your routine twice a day. 

Infected Tragus Piercing

Treating a Major Infection with Medical Care

Minor infections can suddenly become a major one. If you down-play health issues, then what you believe to be a small problem is going to be an infection that needs medical intervention.

Seeking a doctor’s opinion is never a bad idea, and the assistance of medicine can significantly decrease healing. Unfortunately, it’s common for physicians to advise you to remove the piercing. However, you can overcome infections and leave the piercing in, so that the piercing won’t close.

Always communicate with the physician the desire to keep the piercing in. After receiving treatment from the doctor, consult one or two body modification professionals about removing the piercing.

If the affected area hosts any of the signs and symptoms listed, reserve that appointment immediately:

  • Jewelry is stuck and won’t move
  • Home treatment isn’t improving the infection within two days
  • You develop a fever
  • Bruising occurs
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Either end of the piercing is embedded in the skin
  • Infection grows and moves to other areas

Identifying an Infection

Any bacteria, spatial restriction, irritation, foreign material or sensitivity can create an infected piercing. They’re essentially open wounds, and since you’re manipulating the tissue to heal unnaturally, your immune system is always on guard from anything introduced. 

Up to five days following your piercing, the signs and symptoms of an infection can be a part of the process. On the off chance they get worse or continue, then you have a minor infection. If it’s ongoing or has worsened quickly, then a major infection may be the case.

The signs and symptoms of infected piercings are very obvious, and you’ll most likely experience more than one, and very intensely. These may include:

  • Swelling
  • Tender
  • Sharp Pains
  • Yellow pus
  • Redness
  • Warm/hot to touch
  • Crusty and growing scab area
  • Swollen glands and fever

The number one rule for the piercing is not to remove the jewelry. Doing so will make sure it doesn’t close up. If you take the jewelry out and it heals over, you may trap bacteria inside the tissue, which sets the scene for future complications.

What to Avoid at First Signs of Infection

To increase the treatment and prevent the necessity to remove the jewelry, follow these tips:

  • Don’t swim or submerge your piercing in any body of water except the saline solution
  • Use only sterile utensils, fabrics and water
  • Don’t turn your jewelry unless after a shower and cleaning
  • Avoid handling or playing with the infected area


If you’ve identified your infection as minor, you can manage treatment on your own — keep an eye on it throughout the treatment. A good idea is to take a photo or write some notes on the infection when you first noticed it.

Then, as you’re moving through treatment, continue to document the progress. If you see it deteriorating, then you know you need to treat this as a major infection — take a trip to the doctor.