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All the Do's and Don'ts of Taking Care of a Fresh Ear Piercing

All the Do's and Don'ts of Taking Care of a Fresh Ear Piercing
IMAGE Instagram/bernardokath
The last thing anyone wants is an infected piercing.

Full disclosure: the thought of getting a new piercing is always thrilling. Especially with curated piercings in trend, we can’t help ourselves from going down that rabbit hole of endlessly scrolling through piercing inspo. But as fun as it is to daydream, actually deciding to get a piercing is a different story. As we know, it isn’t a painless affair. For some, our very first ear piercing was done with a piercing gun—which isn't actually as sanitary and safe as we thought.

It’s a standard that whenever a foreign object is introduced to your skin (like surgical tools or even the tools used for facials), it must be sanitized to avoid possible infections. In a Good Housekeeping article, they tackle the debate between piercing guns vs. a needle, pointing out the sanitary concerns that come with using a piercing gun. 

With the words of doctors and experienced piercers, they say that the gun is difficult to properly sanitize as it’s made out of plastic. The material can easily melt in an autoclave (a sanitizing machine which uses steam and pressure to kill harmful bacteria and viruses). And though you can use an antiseptic wipe, it wouldn't be safe to assume that the wipe would deliver the same thorough cleansing as an autoclave.

So this got us thinking; what other dos and don'ts are out there when it comes to piercing—especially aftercare? To settle our curiosity and concerns, we reached out to Don Antonio Tattoo (, who shared their expertise on how to care for your new ear bling.


The Dos and Don’ts for Ear Piercing Aftercare

Do: Research about your desired piercing placement.

A piercing's healing process depends heavily on its plaement. For a lobe piercing, it takes roughly 6 to 8 weeks to heal. Whereas if you were looking to get a cartilage piercing (think a helix piercing or a daith piercing), that can take around 4 months to a whole year for the wound to heal.

Important reminder: don’t forget to be extra mindful when wearing and taking off your face mask (no wants the strap to get caught—ouch)!

PHOTO BY Instagram/

Don't: Use a cleaning solution without doing a patch test.

One of the most important tools for piercing aftercare, if not the most important, is your cleaning solution. Don Antonio recommends cleaning your piercing with a saline solution or a fragrance-free antimicrobial soap—or both, once or twice a day. And make sure to always do a patch test beforehand (even if you got your cleaning solution from your piercer) to check for possible allergic reactions. 

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ear piercing aftercare dos and donts
PHOTO BY Instagram/bernardokath

And while we’re here, here are a few other things to keep in mind while attending to your new piercing: stay away from products that have petroleum jelly in their ingredient list as it can irritate the wound. The same goes for using baby oil as dirt and debris can get stuck on it, as well as clog your piercing. And lastly, stick to the “soak and rinse” method (soaking your piercing in saline solution and rinsing with purified drinking water) to clean instead of using cotton since cotton fibers can get caught on the piercing and may lead to an infection.

Always better to be safe than sorry, right?

Do: Monitor your piercing for a possible infection.

Of course, with any open wound, there will be the possibility of an infection. But when redness, swelling, and pain is normal for a newly-pierced site, how can we tell the difference between what’s normal and what isn’t? 


Don Antonio says that it’s normal to experience these symptoms within the first 72 hours of getting pierced for up to a week. But do remember that it also depends on how diligent and consistent you are with the aftercare! 

On the other hand, if after a week you still experience symptoms, it may be a sign that your piercing has been infected. Watch out for swelling (or your ear being hot to the touch), prolonged and increased pain, continued redness or a change in color, itchiness, blood or pus, and fever symptoms as well. In the event of a possible infection, please consult your doctor.

ear piercing aftercare dos and donts
PHOTO BY Instagram/

Do: Avoid swimming, excessive sweating and sun exposure, and pet saliva.

Yes, we know it’s hard to completely avoid all of these things, but it never hurts to be extra careful—especially with a new piercing. This is beacuse these elements can introduce bacteria or irritate your skin, possibly delaying the healing process. In the end, your piercing will thank you for taking it easy with the workouts and pet kisses!

ear piercing aftercare dos and donts
PHOTO BY Instagram/leilalcasid

Do: Go on a hypoallergenic diet.

Think of your new piercing as the chance to eat more mindfully! Staying away from food such as: nuts, dairy, eggs, beef, and seafood while your ear is healing will help decrease the probability of any food-related allergic reactions. If you're already aware of your own allergies, then you'll know exactly what to avoid during your healing period!

Don't: Remove your jewelry prematurely.

There comes a time in the healing process when pain and swelling subsides, making us think that our piercing is fully healed—but don’t remove your jewelry just yet! Don Antonio shares that it isn’t uncommon for the outside of a piercing to heal faster than the inside; so if you take out the jewelry at this stage, the chances for the piercing site to either shrink or completely close is high.

ear piercing aftercare dos and donts
PHOTO BY Instagram/

Do: Leave the jewelry alone.

For anyone who’s had a piercing before, they know not to sleep on the side their piercing is on because placing pressure can cause damage and irritation. That said, if you’ve heard that twisting or rotating your jewelry helps heal your piercing faster—it doesn’t. Rather than accelerating the healing process, moving the jewelry can lead to an infection since bacteria can be transferred from our hands to the wound. In short, hands off!

ear piercing aftercare dos and donts
PHOTO BY Instagram/chiefilomeno

Don't: Feel discouraged by the lengthy healing process.

If you’ve made it this far, we know—it’s a lot to digest. But when has anything good ever been easy, right? Being meticulous and diligent with your piercing’s aftercare only ensures that your piercing will look exactly like the photos that inspired it in the first place.

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