The ear piercing process takes only seconds, but newly pierced ears require six to eight weeks of healing time, according to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. Taking proper care of the pierced ears and keeping them clean will speed healing, reduce pain and prevent infection. It is essential that a trained professional pierce your ears in a sterile environment to prevent complications.
Leave the earring in your ear. Removing an earring from a newly pierced ear may cause the hole to close. You can promote healing and prevent or treat an infection while the earring is in your ear.
Replace the earring if it is made of nickel or another cheaper metal. The Nemours Foundation states that these metals are a common source of allergic reaction, and can slow healing in newly pierced ears. If you believe this could be an issue, change the earring to one with a gold or hypoallergenic stud. Put the new earring in the hole immediately to prevent it from closing.
Wash your hands with warm water and soap before handling your newly pierced ears or your earrings. Touching your ears with dirty hands can introduce potentially harmful bacteria.
Rotate the earring several times each day for the first few weeks after having your ear pierced. This will prevent your ear from healing tightly closed around the earring.
Soak a cotton ball in warm salt water, and hold it against your hole for several minutes to loosen any crust that is causing pain or difficulty when you try to rotate your earring. The Palo Alto Medical Foundation recommends making a salt-water solution by mixing 1/4 tsp. of salt in one cup of warm water.
Apply hydrogen peroxide to both sides of your earlobe twice each day with a clean cotton swab. Continue until your hole is completely healed. This will speed healing, and reduce your risk of infection. If you notice any itching or discharge, increase the peroxide applications to three times each day, and consult your doctor. You may require treatment with antibiotics.
Sleep on your back to prevent irritation during the night. Sleeping on your side increases the likelihood that your earrings will become caught on your sheets or blanket. If they become caught, they may pull out of your ears and increase pain and inflammation. Change your sheets and pillowcase every night during the first week or two of recovery.
Things You'll Need
Taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication for the first few days after the piercing can reduce discomfort and swelling.
If the technician sent you home with an antiseptic after your piercing, use that product instead of peroxide when you clean your ears.