The ear-piercing procedure leaves a small hole in the skin and tissues, which needs complete healing to avoid infection. Usually, the area next to the pierced hole will also experience minor trauma after the procedure because of its force when creating the piercing.   

To wear earrings without pain or discomfort, you’ll have to ensure that the pierced hole and the tissues surrounding it have fully healed. Only after then can you try out other earring designs of your choice. You can find out more about ear piercing supplies at this link if you’re looking for more styles to wear after your healing.   

While the open wound will gradually heal by itself, following aftercare instructions is essential to speed up the healing process and prevent complications. To know more about ear piercing aftercare procedures, here are some tips you may find helpful: 

1. Allow The Pierced Hole To Heal 

To prevent the pierced hole from closing, you must leave the starter earrings on for at least six weeks after the procedure before removing them. Leaving the earrings on will allow the wound to heal without closing the ear piercing and protect it from irritants.   

During the first few weeks, you’ll need to twist or adjust the earrings a few times daily to keep the holes open. Then, gently pat the area around the piercing using a cotton ball lightly sprayed with rubbing alcohol. Aside from keeping the site around the wound clean, it will also help prevent scabbing. You can also lightly dab a small amount of petroleum jelly around the area for added protection.  

2. Wash Your Hands Before Touching Your Newly-Pierced Ears 

Before cleaning your piercings or adjusting the earrings, it’s essential to wash your hands with water and mild cleansers to avoid bacteria transfer which may cause infection. If needed, you can also use cotton swabs to clean the area and apply medication to the piercings to minimize hand contact.  

Another way to prevent bacterial exposure is to clean your piercings in a room or corner away from the bathroom, kitchen, and garbage bins. These areas may have high concentrations of bacteria, increasing the risk of infection for your piercings upon exposure.  

3. Follow A Regular Ear Cleaning Routine 

Regular cleaning is essential to speed up the healing process and prevent infection to the pierced areas. To help you establish an ear cleaning routine, you can do it after completing other hygienic practices such as bathing or brushing your teeth. Most ear piercings take one or two months to heal completely, though this may also depend on the area and how you observe the aftercare instructions.   

4. Use Gentle Cleansers  

Avoid washing your ears with scented soaps or cleansers as perfume and other chemicals may be too harsh for the open wound. Also, it’s crucial to protect the piercing from any hair or body products such as shampoo and conditioner, hairspray and gel, or cologne. These products may contain substances that can irritate the tissue and delay healing.   

To clean the piercings, you can create a saline solution by mixing 250 milliliters (ml) of distilled water with half a teaspoon of table salt. Then, you’ll need to wait for the salt to completely dissolve before dipping a cotton pad into the solution and using it to dab on the pierced area and the surrounding tissue gently.  

You can clean the area using the saline solution and cotton pad a few times a day to prevent infection and promote healing. Aside from this, you’ll also need to clean the wound after removing the starter earrings. As germs and bacteria can quickly spread on the earrings, your hands, and the hole, it’s essential to clean each time the earrings are removed or adjusted.   

5. Minimize Contact, Pressure, Or Friction Against The Pierced Area 

To speed up recovery and prevent complications, you must minimize contact, pressure, and friction against your newly-pierced ears. For instance, you can put your hair in a ponytail or wear a headband to limit contact with your ears. You’ll also need to avoid touching or checking the pierced area too often to prevent irritation.   

When sleeping, avoid lying on the side where the piercing is so that it won’t be heavily pressed against the bed or pillow. Aside from friction, lying down on your piercing can expose it to sweat, moisture, and bacteria which could hinder the healing process.   

6. Watch Out For Signs Of Infection 

An infected wound can cause pain and discomfort and pose serious health hazards if not addressed promptly. Hence, it’s essential to look out for the first signs of infection as your piercings heal.   

One of the most common signs of infection in ear piercings is having foul-smelling or discolored discharge around the area. In this case, you’ll need to consult with your doctor right away to have the area treated or to get a prescription for antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medications.  

Aside from the appearance of discharge, here are other typical symptoms of an infected ear piercing: 

  • Sharp or throbbing pain around the ears 
  • Redness 
  • Itching and burning sensation 
  • Swelling 

In extreme cases, having an infected wound can also cause fever, chills, or nausea, and it’s vital to consult with your doctor immediately if you observe any of these symptoms.  


Ear piercings typically heal after about one to two months, provided that the pierced holes are given proper care and treatment. It’s essential to protect the pierced area, avoid irritants, and minimize friction. Following the aftercare instructions closely will help you have a faster and easier recovery process and help prevent serious complications.   

However, some ear piercings, such as cartilage or helix, take longer to heal. For instance, a helix piercing may require up to six months of recovery to completely heal. Hence, you may need to ask your ear-piercing specialist for further aftercare instructions to ensure a full recovery.   

As the wound heals, it’s essential to keep the starter earrings on to prevent the holes from closing. Doing so will also help minimize the risk of exposure and infection. Thus, if you’re planning to switch jewelry, you can consult with the specialist and see if it’s safe to remove the started earrings. This way, they can examine the piercing and see your options regarding using other earrings.