The Dos and Don'ts of Taking Care of New Ear Piercings

Updated on September 23, 2014

Minimize the Risk of Infection and Scarring with These Tips

Disclaimer: I am not a professional, but I have learned and tested these tips through experience. These methods have worked well for me, and to this day, every one of my lobe and cartilage piercings has healed quite nicely. Below are the dos and don'ts for minimizing the risk of swelling, infection, and scarring when you get a new piercing.

Clean Your Ears with Antibacterial Soap

Clean newly-pierced ears regularly with antibacterial soap.
Clean newly-pierced ears regularly with antibacterial soap.

Clean your ears with an antibacterial soap. I recommend Provon Medicated Lotion Soap with chloroxylenol. Make sure you wash your hands before applying the soap, and pre-rinse your ears so it's easier for the soap to lather. Do this twice a day.

Spray Your Piercings with a Sea Salt Solution

Soak or spray your new piercings in sea salt and warm distilled water to facilitate healing.
Soak or spray your new piercings in sea salt and warm distilled water to facilitate healing.

Use a sea salt solution. Mix 1/4 teaspoon of non-iodized sea salt with 8 oz warm distilled water. Soak your piercings in the solution, or pour into a clean spray bottle and spray directly onto your piercings for speedy healing.

Avoid Irritants

Hairspray, perfume, and over-the-ear headphones are all possible sources of bacteria that you should keep away from new piercings.
Hairspray, perfume, and over-the-ear headphones are all possible sources of bacteria that you should keep away from new piercings.

Keep hair, hairspray, and other irritants away from your piercing. Be careful when talking on the phone or wearing headphones, since you want to keep your piercing as bacteria-free as possible.

Make Sure Your Earrings Are the Right Material

New piercings should be made of surgical stainless steel, titanium, or nickel-free 14kt gold and platinum.
New piercings should be made of surgical stainless steel, titanium, or nickel-free 14kt gold and platinum.

Make sure jewelry is made with the right material. Surgical stainless steel, titanium, and nickel-free 14kt gold and platinum are typically good. Avoid metal with traces of lead, such as sterling silver.

Clean Your Piercings After Workouts and Time in Pools

After getting sweaty or dipping into a pool, be sure to clean your ear piercing.
After getting sweaty or dipping into a pool, be sure to clean your ear piercing.

Clean your ears after exercise and after getting into any type of pool.

Call Doctor if Infection Occurs

If your cartilage piercing becomes infected, call a doctor.
If your cartilage piercing becomes infected, call a doctor.

See your doctor immediately if your cartilage piercing becomes infected, as cartilage infections are more dangerous than earlobe infections.

Don't Use a Piercing Gun

Avoid getting your ears pierced with a piercing gun.
Avoid getting your ears pierced with a piercing gun.

Don't get your ear pierced with a gun. By doing so, you are quickly forcing a blunt post through your flesh, and this could result in scarring. Make sure your piercer uses a very sharp, hollow needle that is discarded after use. Cartilage piercings should NEVER be pierced with a gun.

Don't Over-Clean your Piercing

Do not over-clean your new ear piercing.
Do not over-clean your new ear piercing.

Don't over-clean your piercing. Again, this will irritate it. Too much of a good thing is never good.

Don't Clasp Your Earrings Too Tightly

Don't clasp your earrings too tightly—leave a little bit of space.
Don't clasp your earrings too tightly—leave a little bit of space.

Don't clasp your earrings too tightly if you are using a standard post earring. The butterfly backing can catch hair, dirt, pus, and dried blood and serve as a breeding site for bacteria. Make sure you leave room for your piercing to breathe.

Don't Take Out Your Earlobe Piercing if Infected

An infected earlobe is painful, but do not take the piercing out—first call your doctor.
An infected earlobe is painful, but do not take the piercing out—first call your doctor.

Don't take out your earlobe piercing if an infection happens. Continue cleaning your ear two to three times a day with antibacterial soap, and if the painful swelling lasts for more than 24 hours after your piercing, see a doctor.

Personal tips:

  • Rotating your piercing - There has been debate over whether or not people should rotate their piercings during the healing process. Rotating it can push debris into the hole, but failing to do so will result in your piercing getting "stuck." My piercer told me to do so while cleaning, but to be safe, I gave my piercing two weeks to heal before rotating it while cleaning.
  • Types of jewelry - What I like to do is start off with a high-quality post earring, then switch to a curved barbell or a bioplast labret stud after the piercing has healed. Most piercing studios in the US use captive bead rings as the initial jewelry, which I both liked and disliked. The shape of the hoop prevented debris from getting snagged in the back, but, at least for me, it also resulted in a slower healing process.

These are my personal tips, and I hope they work well for you too!


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    • profile image

      bex505 3 months ago

      I had a helix piercing done with a captive bead ring a month ago. I think it is causing problems for it to heal cuz it moves on its own and puts pressure. Would it be a good idea or bad idea to switch it to a labret? Should I just wait for it to heal and leave it alone?

    • profile image

      sienna 5 months ago

      this is a very good and helpful website I always put my butterfly in too tight or too loose I don't know what to do when my ear closes up shall I push the earing back through or get it pierced again???

    • profile image

      Jack 5 months ago

      Got my ears pierced yesterday when can i remove the earrings ?

    • profile image

      Kasey Woodchopper 5 months ago

      I got mine pierced yesterday and it was with a gun so i am kind of frightened.

    • profile image

      Piercing gun 5 months ago

      It all depends on how u take good care of it and I've just had my ears done and now only the one is hurting and swollen but I am taking good care of it, I had it done with a gun cause I find them quicker and easier to use

    • profile image

      Blah 7 months ago

      lmao I have four ear piercings, two on each side and my doubles I did with a needle and my firsts I did with a gun and the ones I did with a needle got infected and the ones I did with a gun didn't? Is that weird

    • profile image

      Kaykay 8 months ago

      I have had all my piercings done with a gun. If you go with the gun they clean it very well in front of you then they do the piercing. I have not had eny infections.

    • profile image

      unicorn 8 months ago

      it depends on how sensitive ur ears are. Sometimes it's not the tool they used but rather the metal that has caused an infection. I just got mine done with a gun and all seems to be fine so far.

    • profile image

      Dhehc 10 months ago

      I've had my doubles done with a gun and one ended up getting infected so I repierced it 10 months later by myself with a needle and it didn't hurt at all and didn't even sting like when I got it done with a gun

    • profile image

      Kendall 11 months ago

      I think that the ear piercing gun will work fine.

    • profile image

      jam 11 months ago

      my ear is to dirty after wearing jewellery please tell me what can i do now

    • profile image

      Destiny 12 months ago

      So many people are saying guns are okay because they didn't have a bad experience with it and if that counts as evidence then how about if I say the opposite? Me and my twin sister both got earrings via guns and followed the cleaning instructions EXACTLY. They got infected. We tried again years later and same thing. I also noticed that I have scarring, as does my sister. I (this time on my own) got an eyebrow piercing and earrings via needle and they did not get infected AND it was practically painless. The place I went to has a no gun policy because they're not safe and my piercer explained that guns cause a lot of trauma

    • profile image

      faith 15 months ago

      i just got mine done and she cleaned it very safely and there has been no infection so far.

    • profile image

      Twinstar 19 months ago

      The only time a piercing got infected for me was when the gun was used. I had to take out my 3rd lob piercings in each ear. I recently got them repierced but with the needle this time and already it is going much better. And agreed, the gun can shatter the cartilage. I stick to the needle only now.

    • profile image

      soup 19 months ago

      i did my own picering and it might be infected i dnt know what to do. should i take it out or keep it in and try to clean it

    • profile image

      Raina 19 months ago

      Piercing guns can shatter your cartilage!!!!

      Better to be safe than sorry.

    • profile image

      jess 20 months ago

      i got twelve, six on each ear and i had done it all with a gun. i think it depends in you though, on how u take care good care of it.

    • profile image

      OhhReallyReally 20 months ago

      Iv had all mine done with a gun and not once did I get infected I got six three on each ear. And I did the three on my left ear myself. ALL PERFECTLY FINE... Also two years ago i got my nose pierced with a gun STILL was FINE...

      So much you know.

      Miss Experienced

      Hahaha you people are b#*?hez

    • profile image

      BigBlackDick 2 years ago

      BustlingBee5 your probably gonna Die

    • profile image

      Wow 2 years ago


    • profile image

      Poo 2 years ago

      These will help me

    • profile image

      BustlingBee5 2 years ago

      Can someone help me? I took out my earring to find a surprise a nasty infection I don't know how to treat it and if I should put the earring back in. It looks like a pimple and very small what should I do?!

    • profile image

      Sky 2 years ago

      Grace cozz I had my peircing out for 3 months and it never closed even if it does it's not as painful to get it back in as it was when you got the peircing:)

    • profile image

      Hi 2 years ago

      Guns are fine had all my done with a gun

    • profile image

      2 years ago

      Guns are never safe and are about to be banned. Guns are NOT discarded after use and cannot be cleaned in an autoclave. Blood borne viruses can and do get passed with guns. I have five piercings, three done with guns before I was educated on the cleaning practices, and two done by a professional piercer with needle. The pain was about the same and the time was about the same as well.

    • profile image

      grace cozz 2 years ago

      Should I take out my earrings i just got today to clean them? Im nervous to because I think they might start closing and it will be painful to put back in. Please hellp

    • profile image

      AA 3 years ago

      the gun is totally safe, I got 6 piercing and all is well.

    • profile image

      Sara 3 years ago

      Ok rude comments are not necessary! Guns can shatter ur cartilage and plus they are not clean.

    • profile image

      Amanda 3 years ago

      I have had my ears pierced a lot. The only reason y some of them got infected was because of the metal. All of mine have been done with a gun even my cartilage.

    • profile image

      Khrys 4 years ago

      Guns are ok as long as it isn't for cartilage. Guns used for cartilage piercings run the risk of shattering or breaking the surrounding cartilage.

    • profile image

      Kylie 4 years ago

      Guns are perfectly safe!!! I have 3 piercings that have ALL benn done with a gun and I have NEVER gotten an infection and all my earrings have turned out PERFECTLY FINE. So feel free to use a gun, there's no need listen to "jelee". She must not have very much experience if she thinks it's not ok to use a gun. Honestly, people these days, and if you donf believe me you can check a variety of websites that say it's ok, oh and don't only check one, you should know you can't believe everything on the internet. My goodness, since when is it NOT ok to use a gun, they've been used for forever. Remember to clean EVERY DAY!!! And research multiple websites and feel free to ask your piercer questions, it's perfectly fine and your piercer shouldn't mind. Well good luck with you piercings/future piercings!!!

    • profile image

      josie 4 years ago

      when you use a neddle it hurts a lot

    • profile image

      Jfft 5 years ago

      They don't use a blunt post for guns. The back of the earring is sharp and shaped like a needle. Also, guns are discarded after use.


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