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Caring for pierced ears

After getting your ears pierced, it’s important to care for them

The right care can prevent an infection, shrinking holes, and other problems.

Young girl with newly pierced ears

Although ear piercings are more common and can be less risky than other body piercings, they can still cause complications if not handled safely.

To avoid complications like an infection or piercings that shrink or close, dermatologists recommend that everyone with newly pierced ears follow these steps:

  1. Leave the earrings in your ears for six weeks or more, even at night. Removing the starter earrings too early may cause the piercings to close.

  2. Always wash your hands before touching newly pierced ears. This helps prevent an infection.

  3. Gently wash your piercings with a mild, fragrance-free soap and water at least once a day. This, too, helps to prevent an infection.

  4. Thoroughly rinse your piercings after washing them. You want to thoroughly rinse away the soap. Be sure to avoid getting water in your ear.

  5. Using petroleum jelly that comes in a squeeze tube, gently apply a thin coat around each opening. You always want to use a squeeze tube because it will prevent you from transferring any germs that may be in an open jar to your piercings. The petroleum jelly will keep the piercings moist. A moist wound heals faster.

  6. Keep an eye on your ears. If an ear gets sore, red, or puffy, or a hole oozes yellowish liquid, you may have an infection. If any of these doesn’t go away quickly, see a board-certified dermatologist.

If you have questions about caring for your piercings, see a board-certified dermatologist. To locate a dermatologist near you, go to Find a Dermatologist.

Last updated: 8/30/22