How Long After Ear Piercing Can I Change Earrings?

    What to Expect While Healing

    How Long After Ear Piercing Can I Change Earrings?

    How Long After Ear Piercing is it Safe to Change Your Earrings, and What to Expect While Healing

     

    Whether it’s your first or your 10th, every piercing at Rowan is a milestone that deserves to be celebrated and cared for with the utmost safety.  After your appointment, proper care of your piercings is one of the most important aspects of ensuring that you enjoy your piercings for years to come. During your appointment, your nurse will go over how to safely care for your piercing, help you select the best aftercare solution for you, and review when you can change your earrings. You already know that Rowan uses only hypoallergenic earrings, which are the safest choice for your ears, helping to keep you from becoming one of the 30% of those who have poor outcomes after an ear piercing (such as an infection) due to low-quality jewelry or unsafe practices (Simplot & Hoffman, 1998).  

     

    Why do I Need to Wait to Change My Ear Piercings?

     

    An ear piercing is a puncture wound, and you may wonder what you can expect to see as your ear heals. There are three stages of wound healing your piercing will undergo; the inflammatory phase, the proliferative phase, and the remodeling phase (Komarcević, 2000).  

     

    The inflammatory phase is the first phase and starts at the time of piercing and lasts approximately two to four days (Armstrong & Meyr, 2022).  It is common to see swelling, redness, warmth, and mild pain at the piercing site during this phase of healing. The body does this to protect against infection and triggers new skin growth.

     

    The proliferative phase overlaps slightly with the inflammatory phase, beginning on approximately day three, and is the act of the body producing new skin in the wound (Armstrong & Meyr, 2022). The new skin growth begins at both ends of the piercing and then works inward. Angiogenesis, or the creation of new blood vessels, supplies blood to the tissue to repair the pierced skin. This stage can take several months and last up to a year, requiring long-term care and precautions to ensure that the piercing does not become infected or have other problems.  It is normal to have clear, fluid-like discharge from the piercing site that dries to form a “crust” (Angel, 2009).  This discharge may also collect on the jewelry and is easily cleaned and removed using water while showering (always make sure your hands are clean before cleaning your piercing, and never try to remove the crust with unclean hands).  Often the piercing will not be painful and may seem healed; however, it still has one more phase of healing left to go.

     

    The remodeling phase starts approximately six months after piercing and continues to the one-year mark (Gabriel, 2021).  During this period, it is normal for the tissue surrounding the jewelry to tighten to the point where the jewelry will not move back and forth freely.  Often the piercing will not be painful and may seem healed; however, it is not fully healed until this phase is complete (around the one-year mark).   During this phase, the body produces additional skin cells to expand and strengthen the tunnel. There should be no discomfort or discharge from the piercing. The piercing holes will pull in and be more even and uniform. Jewelry should be left in the piercing at all times during the first year to ensure that all three wound healing stages have occurred.

     

    Aftercare Wait Times by Piercing Type

     

    At the time of your appointment, your nurse ear piercer will review when you can change your starter earrings for another pair (see the table below for general timelines).  To ensure that your piercing heals safely, it’s best to only use hypoallergenic, nickel-free jewelry.  Our hypoallergenic hoop earrings or flatbacks are great for comfort, style, and healing!  

     

    Piercing Type

    Standard Aftercare/Saline

    Advanced Aftercare

    Hand-Pressured Device, Lobe

    6 weeks

    3 weeks

    Hand-Pressured Device, Cartilage

    12 weeks

    8 weeks

    Needle Piercing, Lobe

    30 days (post downsizing), then at 6-10 weeks if not sore

    n/a

    Needle Piercing, Helix

    30 days (post downsizing), then at 6-10 weeks if not sore

    n/a

    Needle Piercing, Conch

    30 days (post downsizing), then at 6-10 weeks if not sore

    n/a

    Needle Piercing, Tragus

    30 days (post downsizing), then at 6-10 weeks if not sore

    n/a

    Needle Piercing, Forward Helix

    30 days (post downsizing), then at 6-10 weeks if not sore

    n/a

    Needle Piercing, Flat

    30 days (post downsizing), then at 6-10 weeks if not sore

    n/a

     

     

    Knowing what to expect during your healing journey is important for the overall health of your piercing.  If you still have questions or concerns about your piercing, reach out to us through our Nurse Helpline, where one of our head nurses can help you!  And if you want a new piercing, learn more about getting the safest and most fun ear piercing experience available!



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    References:

     Angel, E. (2009).  The piercing bible: The definitive guide to safe body piercing. (1st ed.). Crossing Press.

     Armstrong, D.G., & Meyr, A., (2022). Basic principles of wound healing.  UpToDate.  Retrieved December 6, 2022, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/basic-principles-of-wound-healing?search=wound%20healing&source=search_result&selectedTitle=1~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=1

    Gabriel, A. (2021). Wound healing and growth factors. Medscape. Retrieved December 7, 2022, from https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1298196-overview#a3

     Komarcević, A. (2000). [The modern approach to wound treatment]. Medicinski Pregled, 53(7–8), 363–368

    Simplot, T. C., & Hoffman, H. T. (1998). Comparison between cartilage and soft tissue ear piercing complications. American Journal of Otolaryngology, 19(5), 305–310. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0196-0709(98)90003-5

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