Skip to main content

Everything You Need to Know About Piercings

  • Author:
  • Updated date:

Emily takes an interest in piercings. Otherwise, she's a girl trying to help the world.

Count how many different types of piercings this person has just from nose to jaw.

Count how many different types of piercings this person has just from nose to jaw.

Understand the Risks of Body Piercing First

  • It is possible to receive/spread an infection if the piercing equipment hasn't been sterilized properly. Never get a piercing that wasn't sterilized first!
  • Infections caused by bacteria getting into the puncture of the piercing can happen later, even after the piercing has healed. Prevent this by cleaning your piercing and area at least twice a day.
  • If the studio uses a piercing gun to do body piercings, leave! Piercing guns cannot be sterilized and should not be used for body piercing.
  • You can have an allergic reaction to the kind of jewelry used. (More information on different types of jewelry listed below.)
  • Bleeding may result from the piercing.

There are more piercings listed below, but these are the basic piercings most people get.

PiercingsHealing TImes

Ear Lobe

4-6 weeks

Ear Cartilage

3-6 months


4-6 weeks


9-12 weeks


2-4 months


2-3 months


3-6 months

Navel (Belly Button)

9 months - 1 year

Male Genitalia

4 weeks - 2 months

Female Genitalia

4 - 10 weeks

Other Eye/Eyebrow Piercings

Other Eye/Eyebrow Piercings

More About Healing Times

Listed above are the average times for piercings to heal. However, some may take longer to heal for various reasons:

  • An ear cartilage piercing can take up to a year because of the pressure placed on it while you're sleeping.
  • A tongue piercing will swell a lot at first, but can heal fairly quickly if the right jewelry is used.
  • Metal jewelry in the mouth can damage gums and chip off enamel on your teeth.
  • Nipple piercings can cause an infection in a woman's breast from breast feeding her baby.
  • Belly button piercings can get irritated due to tight clothing. Piercings need air to heal.
Other Lip Piercings

Other Lip Piercings

Different Kinds of Jewelry

  • Stainless Steel: The most common used. Least likely to produce an infection in the skin.
  • Gold: Costs more than stainless steel. It tends to wear away easily and it can chip with even slightest contact of the body. Some people have difficulty with gold jewelry piercing because it contains “nickel”—a metal that can cause allergic reactions for some people.
  • Titanium: Costs more than stainless steel. Can be used for new piercings. Titanium is usually used for surgical implants inside the human body. It’s recommended that titanium jewelry be polished often to reduce the “porosity," which may take a toll on skin.
Other Ear Piercings

Other Ear Piercings

How to Properly Clean Your New Piercing

Follow these steps to prevent infection:

  1. Always wash your hands before touching or cleaning your piercing. This is hard to remember, but any sort of bacteria that you may have on your hands could really mess with your piercing.
  2. Clean off any dirt off the area and from the jewelry with warm water.
  3. Gently wash the area around the piercing with a mild liquid antibacterial soap every day. There is also a sea salt piercing cleanser that is sold at your average department store.
  4. Never use a towel on your new piercing. Bacteria may cause an issue. Instead, use napkins or a paper towel.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 twice a day. Overdoing it or underdoing it may irritate the area.
  6. Since every new piercing needs air, never use an anti-ornament on it. Anti-ornaments block air from getting through.
  7. Never use hydrogen peroxide as it can irritate healing tissue.
Other Nose Piercings

Other Nose Piercings

Preventing Infections

  • Strong soaps and peroxide will irritate the area. Stay away from these.
  • If you exercise while you have a piercing, make sure to rinse your piercing afterwards. Sweat around a piercing is not good.
  • Do not have oral sexual contact for 4-6 weeks if you have a tongue, lip, or genital piercing, as well as not letting anyone touch, lick, or kiss a healing piercing.
  • If you want to use hairspray while having an ear piercing, put a tissue over the piercing to keep the spray from getting into it. Or if you wear glasses with an ear piercing, clean them regularly.
  • Avoid tight clothing and belts if you have a navel piercing still in healing.
  • Watch out for spicy foods with an oral piercing.
  • Do not use lotion and stay away from tanning around the new piercing.
  • Avoid swimming with a new piercing.
  • Eat foods rich in vitamins to help your body heal.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.