When Can I Change My Ear Piercing? Here's What to Know

Whether this is your first ear piercing or one of many, you will most likely be eager to see how your new piercing looks with different earrings. Before you start switching out your ear piercing, it is important to understand when you can change it safely.

Let’s talk about new ear piercings and when you can start changing the earrings out.

Why Do I Have to Wait Before I Change My Ear Piercing?

When you pierce your ears or any other part of your body, you are creating an open wound in your skin, which is your first and strongest line of defense against bacteria and infection. And to top it all off, you are pushing a metal object into the wound to manipulate the way that it heals. This means that we have to be extremely careful with our new piercings to make sure that they heal without any complications.

Related: How to Choose the Right Earrings for Your Face Shape

When people are careless with their new ear piercing, they risk complications such as bacterial infections and the piercing closing up. Ear piercings that are high on the ear and pierce cartilage are more susceptible to serious infections that can cause disfigurement.


a man with gold earrings



Ear Piercing Infection

An infection at the site of a new ear piercing is fairly common and is usually caused by bacteria entering the wound. There are a couple of ways that this can happen, but the most common causes are bacteria not being wiped away from the skin before piercing or equipment that has not been properly sterilized and disinfected.

Touching your ear piercing without washing and disinfecting your hands can expose the piercing to bacteria from your hand, which can greatly increase the chance of infection. Make sure to wash your hands with hot water and antibacterial soap, or use some hand sanitizer to sterilize your hands before you handle your earring or piercing.

Related: Got an Infected Ear Piercing? Here’s What to Do

Another reason why ear piercings get infected is that the piercing and earrings were not cleaned often enough. Earrings tend to accumulate dirt and grime from sweat, oil, lotion, and soaps, which can quickly become a breeding ground for bacteria. This gunk and bacteria can get pushed into the piercing, where it can cause infection.

Removing the earring before the piercing has properly healed will not only lengthen the time it takes for your piercing to heal, but it can also cause an infection. If you think that you may have an infection, make sure you talk to your healthcare provider so that it can get taken care of before it progresses into something much worse.

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Piercing Closing

If you take your piercing out too early, you run the risk of the piercing closing up. When we have a new piercing, our bodies treat it as a wound and work as hard as they can to heal it. Keeping our earrings in until our body completes the wound-healing process will allow the ear to heal around it.

Although even older piercings can close up over time, new piercings can close up in as little as an hour. Even after the ear piercing has fully healed, you should avoid going for an entire day without having an earring in the piercing for the first eight months. If you have your ear piercing close on you, go back to the piercer to see if they can get the earring back in or re-pierce it for you.

a woman with dangling earrings


How Long Does it Take Before I Can Change My Earring?

The length of time that you have to wait before you can change your earrings depends on where the piercing is located at. Before your fiddle with your new piercing, you will want to make sure that it has properly healed.

Related: What Are The Best Ways To Clean My Earrings?

For piercings that are located on the lobe of the ear, it is recommended that you wait seven to eight weeks before trying to change the earring. It is not uncommon for some earlobe piercings to take a bit longer than that, so make sure it is ready to be changed before you remove it.

Piercings that are in the cartilage of the ear can take a little bit longer than earlobe piercings to heal. You can expect the healing process to take anywhere between four and twelve months to heal, but you should not attempt to change a cartilage piercing out for at least six months. 

These types of piercings can turn into keloids, which are thick and raised scars, so have a professional piercer change it out for you, if possible.

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Final Thoughts

It might be tempting to attempt to change your earring out as soon as possible, make sure you give yourself time to properly heal before you do. This way, you can avoid running into complications like bacterial infections or scars.

Give it about seven to eight weeks for an earlobe piercing and at least six months for a cartilage piercing before you attempt to change it out.