How Long After Ear Piercing Can I Change Earrings?

How Long After Ear Piercing Can I Change Earrings

By Rowan Nurse Leah Mortenson, RN

Rowan’s first core value is Safety. During piercing appointments, nurses focus on the importance of aftercare of ear piercings. Along with cleaning the piercings, one other important point is waiting at least six weeks before changing out the starter studs into another pair of earrings. It is also recommended that only hypoallergenic earrings are chosen to replace the starter studs when it is time. Although ear piercings are major milestones and merit memory-worthy celebrations, it is crucial to know how to care for ear piercings in the healing process.

hypoallergenic hoop earrings

One of the most common questions from clients is “when can I change my earrings?”. Wearing the starter studs for the initial six weeks gives the ears time to properly heal. During this time, the piercing will undergo the 3 phases of wound healing which includes the inflammatory phase, the proliferative phase, and the remodeling phase (1).

The inflammatory phase starts at the time of piercing and lasts about two to four days. The body will do everything it can to reject the jewelry and give off signs that the jewelry should be removed. There may be many of the normal signs of trauma - swelling, redness, pain, and heat at the location of the piercing. This is caused by the chemicals that are released from the damaged cells. The inflammatory phase protects the wound from pathogens and also triggers the new skin growth.

The proliferative phase begins on approximately day three and is the act of the body producing new skin. 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 in order to repair damage that was caused during the piercing. This stage can take up to a year and requires long term care and precautions to ensure that the piercing does not become infected or have other problems. During this period it is normal for scabs to form around the piercing early on, discharge to collect on the jewelry, and the piercing to tighten to the point where the jewelry will not move freely. Often the piercing will not be painful and seem healed although the piercing remains an open wound. 

The remodeling stage begins once the piercing wound tunnel has completed its growth and the two sides have connected. The piercing is no longer an open wound. However, the piercing tunnel remains thin and fragile. During this phase the body produces additional skin cells to expand and strengthen the tunnel. There should be no discomfort and the discharge should have stopped. The piercing holes will pull in and be more even and uniformed. Jewelry should be left in the piercing at all times during the first year in order to assure that all three wound healing stages have occurred.

Once the initial six week period has passed, and earrings can be changed it is best practice to only wear jewelry that is hypoallergenic (made of metals that do not contain nickel). It is common for nickel to cause allergic contact dermatitis (2). Due to this, education of clients on avoidance of earrings containing nickel is a critical part of the aftercare instructions during a piercing appointment. All of the hypoallergenic hoop earrings that are able to be purchased through Rowan are hypoallergenic. Not only are they absolutely adorable, the earrings are also safe for everyday use!

hypoallergenic earrings

A super fun and convenient way to get nickel-free and hypoallergenic earrings is through Rowan’s Earring Subscription Box. The best-selling Earring Box is a monthly subscription delivering surprise and sparkle each month. Every box features a new theme and includes earrings designed with love in Brooklyn, NY. A thought-provoking mindfulness card to inspire conversation is also enclosed. Additionally, there is a surprise accessory in each subscription box!

Taking proper care of ear piercings is imperative in order to be able to keep the piercings patent and enjoy the many different earrings suitable for the ears.  Want to get your ears-pierced?  Learn more about our ear piercing service!

(2): “Body piercing and metal allergic contact sensitivity: North American contact dermatitis group date from 2007-2010”; Warshaw EM, Kingsley-Loso JL; source: Dermatitis. 2014 Sep-Oct; 25(5): 255-64