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

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I have many piercings and have never had an infection thanks to these care tips I've practiced over the years.

How to Minimize the Risk of Infection and Scarring

Here's what you need to know about your new ear piercing. 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 solution 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!

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.

© 2012 jelee


Kaitlyn on July 06, 2020:

I got mine down with a needle, its much less scary that way and there is a less chance of something going wrong. Mine was done by a professional and it didnt take long. Healing process is going just fine.

John0974 on March 15, 2020:

I had mine piearced 3 times with a gun and never had scaring others any problems what so ever

Opiumbrella on January 26, 2020:

The gun method forces a blunt stud through the ear at great force. What causes the infection risk is not the cleanliness of the gun, but the wound itself. Instead of a razor sharp surgical piercing with a needle, your ear gets torn by having something shoved through it that is dull. This leads to more healing problems/infection/scarring than with a piercing done by needle.

Faith on October 25, 2019:

I got my ears pierced with a gun and I am really scared but my ears are fine they did go sore but I’m fine I think

Molly on September 05, 2019:

@ Anais, you shouldn't be removing jewelry after only 3 weeks. That's a good way for your piercing to close completely.

Anais on August 28, 2019:

I have had my second piercing in for 3 weeks because the lady said I should and I’m trying to get it out but it won’t come out and I have school soon so what should I do??

Maddiemcbaddie on July 31, 2019:

So I got my doubles done and I lost the solution so I improvised with windex worked for me. Oh and the gun works fine

. on June 16, 2019:

i had my doubles done , and only one of them got infected and i put perfume on it , what should i do ??

Tutu on April 24, 2019:

The earring is not going inside the piercing fully! What should I do?? And it hurts when I touch it . Should I take pain killers???

Makynze on March 11, 2019:

I had mine done when i was really little with a gun and was fine but this is not the correct way DO NOT USE A GUN they can get infected way too easily

Cameron Mahomwa on December 30, 2018:

The Gun works fine.

Mikayla on November 26, 2018:

What can I put in my ear because for state competition we can’t wear earrings so what can I put in the hole?

Shree on August 05, 2018:

I got my ear pierced 1 month ago

I have been using ointment and all for this time

I rotate my piercing twice a day

But when i don't do it it gets stuck and rotating it becomes painful

What should i do... I don't want to close this piercing again because of healing issues

bex505 on March 06, 2018:

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?

sienna on January 19, 2018:

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???

Jack on January 13, 2018:

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

Kasey Woodchopper on January 04, 2018:

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

Piercing gun on January 01, 2018:

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

Blah on November 14, 2017:

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

Kaykay on October 23, 2017:

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.

unicorn on October 01, 2017:

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.

Dhehc on August 08, 2017:

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

Kendall on July 12, 2017:

I think that the ear piercing gun will work fine.

jam on July 08, 2017:

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

Destiny on June 21, 2017:

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

faith on March 12, 2017:

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

Twinstar on November 19, 2016:

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.

soup on November 07, 2016:

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

Raina on November 06, 2016:

Piercing guns can shatter your cartilage!!!!

Better to be safe than sorry.

jess on October 06, 2016:

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.

BigBlackDick on June 12, 2016:

BustlingBee5 your probably gonna Die

Wow on May 16, 2016:


Poo on May 14, 2016:

These will help me

BustlingBee5 on April 09, 2016:

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?!

Sky on April 09, 2016:

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:)

Hi on November 14, 2015:

Guns are fine had all my done with a gun

M on October 09, 2015:

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.

grace cozz on September 14, 2015:

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

AA on May 30, 2015:

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

Sara on May 06, 2015:

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

Amanda on August 19, 2014:

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.

Khrys on May 13, 2014:

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.

Kylie on April 29, 2014:

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!!!

josie on June 25, 2013:

when you use a neddle it hurts a lot

Jfft on May 15, 2013:

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.