You asked, “How can I make my piercing heal faster?”
We hear you. We’re always anxious to swap jewelry and get on with life, too.
That’s why we responded to questions about how to heal your piercings fast.
Check out the FAQs below to get the answers you need.
Frequently asked questions about healing piercings
Here’s everything you want to know about piercings. The answers cover how fast they heal and close up without jewelry. They also discuss piercing aftercare, including how to treat an infected piercing.
What is the quickest healing piercing?
Some people think that earlobe piercings heal the quickest, but that’s not true. They take between 6 to 8 weeks.
In reality, a tongue piercing heals much faster. It’s done in about 3 or 4 weeks.
Also, an inner labia piercing heals in 4 to 6 weeks.
In any case, a piercing will heal quicker if it’s kept clean, and the jewelry doesn’t cause irritation. Start off with piercing jewelry that’s safe for sensitive skin, and you’ll have a head start.
How long does it take for a nose piercing to heal?
It depends on which part of the nose is pierced. A nostril takes 3 to 6 months, but the septum is faster at only 4 weeks to 3 months.
The bridge of the nose heals in 12 weeks or less.
Then, a nasallang can take as long as 6 months and a rhino as long as 9 months.
How long does it take for a lip piercing to heal?
Even though it’s part of the mouth, a lip piercing takes a lot longer than a pierced tongue to heal. Let’s take up to 2 months. However, a cheek piercing takes 6 months to a year.
How long does it take for a tragus piercing to heal?
How long it takes to heal an ear piercing depends on the location. The tragus takes 4 weeks, at least, and up to 6 months for some people.
Meanwhile, helix, anti-tragus, rook, and conch piercings all heal between 6 months to a year.
A daith piercing is a little faster at 3 to 6 months.
If you were to get a transverse piercing of the earlobe, it might take as long as 10 months to heal.
How long does it take for a belly piercing to heal?
A navel piercing can heal in as little as 6 months but may take as long as a year. It’s the same for nipple piercings in females.
Guys’ nipples heal quickly at 4 to 8 months.
How long does it take for a piercing to close?
Imagine that you were pierced within the past couple of weeks. Nothing is healed yet, but the skin isn’t infected or sore.
What if you need to take out the piercing for an MRI or a job interview? How long will it take for the skin to close up?
The answer depends on a person’s ability to heal.
Some new piercings close up in as little as an hour or two. Or if you took out the jewelry to sleep, a nose piercing may be sealed in the morning.
Nipple piercings can close in just a few minutes.
But don’t let this scare you as there are solutions. First, you can get a transparent retainer to wear when you need to remove metal jewelry.
Retainers are made of biocompatible plastic or glass. They keep the hole open, yet are inconspicuous.
Another option is to visit a piercing parlor as soon as possible. The staff can reopen the piercing. In worst-case scenarios, they could do a new piercing a few months down the road.
Should you try to reopen a closed piercing at home?
As we write this, we’re in the middle of a pandemic. Many people aren’t too excited about visiting piercing shops, and they’re trying to do piercing at home.
Unless you have experience and sterile tools, please don’t try to take care of a closed piercing at home. You don’t want to give yourself an infection or cause nerve damage. You could also end up with a nasty scar if you’re not careful.
How long does it take for a tongue piercing to stop swelling?
Here’s the problem: a tongue piercing is located in one of the most bacteria-filled parts of the body. It’s likely to get infected if you aren’t diligent about cleaning it.
Moreover, the swelling of a tongue piercing may continue for up to 10 days. It will ooze and bleed, which is why it’s crucial to rinse it with saline solution and mouthwash.
At some point after the first week, the outside will look better, but the inside will be healing still. Once the swelling is gone, you can ask the piercer to replace long jewelry with something shorter.
How to heal an infected piercing?
The skin is swollen and red. It hurts to touch, and there’s pus. What can you do if your piercing is infected?
The first thing to do is to clean it.
Wash your hands and dry them with a clean towel. Then, use saline solution or antibacterial soap to wash the piercing thoroughly. Get advice from the piercer as to which is best for your situation.
If you need to blot the skin dry, use a fresh, clean towel or disposable paper towel. By reusing a towel, you could deposit bacteria back on the piercing.
Please don’t ever use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol to clean a piercing. They will damage the tissue and slow down the healing.
Next, make sure the jewelry you’re using is hypoallergenic.
Solid titanium is the best choice, followed by niobium and surgical stainless steel. Clean the new jewelry then swap it for the old.
Continue to wash the piercing three times a day until the swelling stops, and the redness goes away.
If things don’t improve in a day’s time, visit a doctor for treatment. Allowing an infected piercing to get worse puts your health at risk. You could end up in the hospital on an antibiotic drip.
The following are two excellent products for cleaning new piercings.
Arm & Hammer Simply Saline Solution Wound Wash
Instead of mixing saline solution at home, it’s easy to use this canned sterile rinse instead.
The wound wash comes out in a stream to remove dried blood and ooze. Be careful if your skin is extra-sensitive as the flow can be forceful.
The saline solution is manufactured in the USA from American ingredients. Plus, it’s free of CFCs to protect the environment.
Tattoo Goo Blue Wave Saline Cleansing Solution
Here’s a pharmaceutical-grade solution to help piercings heal fast.
It’s perfect for all sorts of body piercings, including oral piercings.
It does not contain sea salt. Therefore, it doesn’t contain unknown minerals and metals that could harm an open wound.
Instead, it’s based on sterile water and pure sodium chloride as used in medical facilities.
How long does it take for an infected piercing to heal?
An infected piercing will take longer to heal, and it may close up quickly if you remove the jewelry.
Your piercing won’t heal until the infection has cleared up.
How long to wait to repierce ears?
If the piercings have closed, you’ll need to wait until the skin has completely healed before re-piercing your ears. This may take as long as 3 months.
What are keloids?
Keloids start off as bumps around the piercing. Eventually, they turn into gnarly scars.
They take time to grow, which gives you time to treat them. Keep the piercing clean and try using a product like the one below.
Urban ReLeaf Piercing Bump Shrinking Drops
Here’s an aftercare liquid that reduces swelling and irritation like that caused by keloids. It’s made in the USA from vegan, natural ingredients.
The manufacturer recommends using only titanium jewelry during the healing process. This solution should not cause it to become discolored.
It contains grapeseed, rosehip, jojoba, tea tree, frankincense, lavender, and rosemary oils. Each is known to speed up the healing process. Some, like tea tree and lavender, are antimicrobial to fight infection.
Apply the drops 2 or 3 times per day until the irritation has subsided.
What not to do after piercing?
After getting a piercing, you should not:
- touch it without washing your hands first
- forget to clean it at least twice a day
- clean it with alcohol, peroxide, iodine, benzalkonium chloride, or soap with triclosan as they are not appropriate for long-term piercing care (2)
- remove the jewelry if the piercing hasn’t healed
- subject the piercing to rough movements or excess friction
- let animals or people lick the piercing
- submerge the piercing in a bath, pool, hot tub, lake, or ocean
- hang charms on the jewelry
- treat the skin with cosmetics or lotion
- consume tobacco, alcohol, or drugs because they slow down the healing process.
Instead, drink water, eat healthy, get enough rest, be gentle, and keep that piercing clean!
How to protect a new piercing if you go swimming?
It’s better if you don’t go swimming, take a bath, or sit in a hot tub until your piercing has healed. Of course, that only applies if the piercing site is underwater.
If you must enter the water, use a waterproof bandage to cover the site.
How to protect a new piercing in an awkward place?
Naval, nipple, and genital piercings need special protection unless you happen to live in a nudist colony. The very act of putting on your clothes can cause them damage.
But there is a simple solution to protect piercings in sensitive places.
You know those eye patches sold at the pharmacy? Cover the piercing with one of those. Use medical tape or an ace bandage to secure it.
Keep it clean, however!
How to protect ear and face piercings while sleeping?
There are two things to consider when you have a new ear or facial piercing.
For one, you can’t sleep on top of it.
One idea is to put a pillow behind your back to make you sleep on the other side. Or you could sew a tennis ball or similar onto the sleeve of your pajamas to keep you from rolling onto that side.
Next, you need a clean pillowcase each night. Or you could cover the pillow with a clean T-shirt and rotate it each night. You can get two to four nights from each shirt.
Can you use headphones with ear piercings?
You might be able to use headphones or earbuds depending on where your ear is pierced. Try not to mash the piercing.
What’s also essential is that you need to keep the headphones clean to not contaminate the skin.
The same goes for hats, glasses, or anything that touches the piercing.
How to heal an oral piercing quickly?
The quickest way to heal an oral piercing is to keep it clean and don’t irritate it.
If it’s sore and swollen, you can let small pieces of ice dissolve in your mouth to numb it. You might also take an over-the-counter painkiller like ibuprofen.
Then, lip, tongue, and cheek piercings all need to be rinsed every time you eat or drink (unless it’s water).
You can use alcohol-free mouthwash or a sterile saline solution made for washing wounds. The saline solution may not taste as nice as mouthwash, but you can use it more often.
Swish inside the mouth for at least 30 seconds each time.
When you brush your teeth for the first time after getting the piercing, use a new toothbrush. Keep that brush in clean space away from other toothbrushes to prevent contamination.
If you floss daily, that reduces the number of bacteria in your mouth. Just be sure to rinse well afterward.
Try not to play with the piercing, and be careful not to bang or bite it when you eat. You might stick to protein shakes or smoothies for the first few days. Skip acidic, spicy, and salty food or hot temperatures, too.
The outside of the piercing can be cleaned with mild face soap. Pat it dry with a clean towel or disposable paper towel.
What are the stages of healing for piercing?
Right after you get a piercing, the tech will put pressure on the wound to stop the bleeding. What you can’t see happening is that blood cells are clotting to form a scab.
Next, the body begins to treat the piercing like an injury. It sends out white blood cells to destroy bacteria and clear out debris. This causes the piercing to leak clear liquid. It may also swell and feel sore.
Then, the skin will attempt to close the wound. It builds granular tissue to pull the edges of the piercing towards the middle. It’s crucial that you don’t take out your jewelry during this time. You’ll probably damage the newly healed tissue and restart the healing process.
Finally, the piercing will cure after a few weeks or months.
How can I make my piercing heal faster?
The way to make your piercing heal faster starts with the way it’s done in the first place.
Ask the piercer to use a needle instead of a gun (1).
A piercing gun doesn’t just force the hole open, but it also damages the surrounding tissue. The more damage, the slower the healing.
Worse, guns are difficult to sterilize. Chances are it will transfer germs to the piercing.
On the other hand, a single needle is accurate, completely sterile, and precise. It causes minimal injury and should hurt less.
Next, keep the piercing clean. Cleanse it with saline solution, piercing solution, or antibacterial soap and water at least two times a day.
Never apply rubbing alcohol or peroxide or anything that could dry out the skin.
If it’s a facial piercing, don’t wear makeup in that area. Also, steer clear of anti-aging products like retinol, acne medication, or alpha hydroxy acids until the piercing is completely healed.
Every time you need to touch the piercing, wash your hands first. If you must turn it, do it when the piercing is wet, never when it’s dry.
When you get dressed, be careful not to snag the piercing. And when you sleep, don’t lay on top of it.
If you’re concerned about redness, swelling, or pain, check with the piercer to see if what’s happening is normal.
You might simply need to clean it better or switch to hypoallergenic jewelry.
How do you know when a piercing is healed?
As a piercing cures, it heals from the outside in. After a few weeks, it should stop swelling, hurting, and leaking. Once it reaches the point where it looks and feels normal, it should be healed.
How to keep the piercing from closing up?
If you must remove the jewelry for some reason, insert a glass or plastic retainer in its place.
Forbidden Body Jewelry PTFE Flexible Piercing Retainers
Choose from a selection of hospital-grade plastic retainers like these barbells. They come in a variety of gauges for different types of piercings.
Each retainer is flexible and adjustable. You can custom cut it to a shorter length.
Furthermore, the material is autoclavable. It can be sterilized at temperatures up to 446 F.
Since it’s biocompatible plastic, not metal, it’s safe for use in MRI machines, during pregnancy, and for medical procedures.
The speed at which your piercing heals depends on two things: your body’s ability as well as proper aftercare.
Some people heal faster than others. But everyone can speed up the healing process by taking good care of the piercing.
Use jewelry that won’t irritate the skin. Keep the site clean. And protect the piercing until it fully heals.
Within a few weeks or months, you’ll be back to your usual routine. Then, you can curate your piercings with new jewelry to your heart’s content.
1. https://www.elle.com/beauty/tips/a26954/piercing-after-care-tips/ by Elle.com, published November 16, 2018, accessed October 8, 2020
2. https://www.safepiercing.org/aftercare.php by the Association of Professional Piercers, accessed October 8, 2020
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