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How Long Will My Piercing Take to Heal?

Updated on September 20, 2017
Heather Ingram profile image

Heather is a 20-something cat-lady with a love of knitting, opera, and body modification. She's slowly working on traveling the world.

Healing times will depend on where your piercing is located, how well it's cared for and any unexpected setbacks such as irritation from being bumped or caught on clothing. You can give yourself the best chances of quick, uneventful, healing by going to a reputable piercer who uses high-quality jewelry and by following their aftercare instructions. I've provided guidelines of how long healing is expected to take by piercing location. If you're taking longer to heal than seems normal, or something doesn't look right it's best to talk to your piercer and get their advice.

Optimistic Piercing Heal Times

 
 
1. Ear lobes
6-10 weeks
2. Genitals
4 weeks to 6 months
3. Lip and tongue
6-8 weeks
4. Ear cartilage (daith, tragus, rook, helix, and industrial)
12 weeks to a year
5. Nostril or septum
3-6 months
6. Navel
6-12 months
7. Nipples
8-12 months
8. Surface piercings/microdermals
May never heal
These are listed from quickest to longest heal times. Of course, most healings encounter a glitch or two, so these estimates are only for the luckiest people!

Ear Lobe

Earlobe piercings are one of the quickest and easiest to heal and are generally healed enough after 6-10 weeks to comfortably change your jewelry. You may want to wait 6 or more months after the initial healing period to leave jewelry out for longer than 24 hours.

Piercings done with a needle are likely to heal faster than those done with a piercing gun. Piercing guns use force to pierce you with a blunt stud which leaves a jagged incision (and possibly some bruising), while a sharp needle leaves a neat incision that will heal more easily.

Other ear piercings

Healing times for other ear piercings will vary slightly depending on location, but a good ballpark figure is to allow 6-12 months. Daith and tragus piercings are on the shorter end of this estimate, while rook and helix piercings may take longer. An industrial piercing may take longer again due to it being easier to bump or irritate.

Nostril/Septum

Expect healing to take 3-6 months for either a septum or nostril piercing. Both of these piercings are easy to bump or snag when washing your face or taking clothing on or off which can extend the healing time. Nostril piercings are particularly prone to irritation bumps, so be careful!

Navel

The healing time for navel piercings can vary greatly and will depend on your anatomy. Some people will find their piercings heal effortlessly and others will find that their piercing is sensitive for months. Allow 6-12 months for healing.

Lip

Lip piercings heal relatively quickly. Allow 6-8 weeks for healing, though your piercer will usually recommend that you come back after 2 weeks to get the initial jewelry changed to a something smaller once the swelling has subsided.

Tongue

Like lip piercings, tongue and other oral piercings heal quickly. Allow 6-8 weeks, though the first week of healing will be the worst while you're swollen. Your piercer will usually recommend that you come back after 2 weeks to get your jewelry changed for a shorter barbell.

Nipples

Nipple piercings are one of the more painful and time-consuming piercings to heal. Allow 8-12 months, though this can take longer. Well-healed piercings can still become tender occasionally due to hormonal changes or rough handling.

Genitals

Most genital piercings are surprisingly quick and uneventful to heal. Allow up to 6 months for healing, though most genital piercings will be well healed within 6 weeks.

Surface piercings and microdermals

Surface piercings and microdermals are usually considered long-term temporary at best. The healing time will vary greatly due to location, jewelry choice and the skill of your piercer. Expect to baby these types of piercings and possibly never have them fully heal.

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© 2017 Heather

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