Go to AAD Home
Donate For Public and Patients Store Search

Go to AAD Home

How to care for a new piercing

Board-certified dermatologist’s aftercare tips

ROSEMONT, Ill. (Sept. 20, 2023) — Piercings can be a fun way for people to enhance their personal style. While people may get piercings on different parts of the body, some piercings, like earlobe piercings, are more common and can be less risky. However, all body piercings can cause complications if not cared for safely.

“The first step to caring for your piercing is choosing a qualified piercer,” said Steven Daveluy, MD, FAAD, associate professor and program director at Wayne State Dermatology. “Select an experienced piercer in a licensed studio. Then properly care for your new piercing afterward to prevent problems, such as an infection or your piercing closing.”

Dr. Daveluy and the AAD recommend people with new piercings follow these tips to keep their new piercing looking and feeling good:

  1. Leave your jewelry in. Don’t remove your new piercing for six weeks or more. Keep it in — even at night. Removing your starter jewelry too early may cause your new piercing to close.

  2. Keep the piercing clean. Always wash your hands before touching newly pierced areas to help prevent an infection. Then, gently wash your piercings with a mild, fragrance-free cleanser and water at least once a day. Thoroughly rinse soap away from your piercings after washing and avoid getting water in your ear. Avoid cleaning your piercing with hydrogen peroxide or antibacterial soaps, which can damage your healing skin.

  3. Keep the wound moist. Apply petroleum jelly around each piercing to help it heal faster. Use petroleum jelly that comes in a squeeze tube instead of a jar to prevent transferring germs.

  4. Keep an eye on your piercing. If your skin around your piercing becomes sore, red, or puffy, or your piercing oozes yellowish liquid, you may have an infection. If the skin around your piercing becomes raised, you may be developing a type of scar called a keloid.

“If you think you have an infection and your symptoms don’t resolve quickly, make an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist,” Dr. Daveluy said.

These tips are demonstrated in “Caring for New Piercings,” a video posted to the AAD website and YouTube channel. This video is part of the AAD’s “Your Dermatologist Knows” series, which offers tips people can use to properly care for their skin, hair, and nails.

To find a board-certified dermatologist in your area, visit aad.org/findaderm.

# # #


Rhys Saunders, rsaunders@aad.org

Media Relations, mediarelations@aad.org

More Information

Picking Your Piercer (Association of Professional Piercers)

Suggested Aftercare for Body Piercings (Association of Professional Piercers)

About the AAD

Headquartered in Rosemont, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology, founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential and most representative of all dermatologic associations. With a membership of more than 20,800 physicians worldwide, the AAD is committed to advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical, and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair, and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care because skin, hair, and nail conditions can have a serious impact on your health and well-being. For more information, contact the AAD at (888) 462-DERM (3376) or aad.org. Follow @AADskin on Facebook, TikTok, Pinterest and YouTube and @AADskin1 on Instagram.

Editor’s note: The AAD does not promote or endorse any products or services. This content is intended as editorial content and should not be embedded with any paid, sponsored or advertorial content as it could be perceived as an AAD endorsement.