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How Long Will My Piercing Take to Heal?

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

Estimated heal times for all kinds of piercings.

Estimated heal times for all kinds of piercings.

How Long Does It Take for Ear and Other Piercings to Heal?

Healing times will depend on where your piercing is located, how well it's cared for, and if there are any setbacks (like if the piercing gets bumped or caught on clothing). You can give yourself the best chance of a quick and uneventful healing by going to a reputable piercer who uses high-quality jewelry and by following their aftercare instructions. Below, I've provided guidelines on how long healing is expected to take for each piercing location. If healing is taking longer than normal or something doesn't look right, it's best to talk to your piercer to get their advice.

Optimistic Piercing Heal Times

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 lobes

6-10 weeks

Genitals

4 weeks to 6 months

Lip and tongue

6-8 weeks

Ear cartilage (daith, tragus, rook, helix, and industrial)

12 weeks to a year

Nostril or septum

3-6 months

Navel

6-12 months

Nipples

8-12 months

Surface piercings/microdermals

May never heal

Ear Lobe Healing Time

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 six 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.

Earlobe, tragus, daith, industrial piercing heal times.

Earlobe, tragus, daith, industrial piercing heal times.

Other Ear Cartilage Piercings (Daith, Tragus, Industrial)

Healing times for ear cartilage 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 Heal Times

Expect healing to take 3 to 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 and bumps, so be careful!

Navel

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

Navel piercing heal times.

Navel piercing heal times.

Lip Piercings

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

Tongue and Other Oral Piercings

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 two weeks to get your jewelry changed to a shorter barbell.

Nipples

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

Nipple piercing heal times.

Nipple piercing heal times.

Genital Piercings

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 forever and possibly never have them fully 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.

© 2017 Heather