How Long Does It Take for Earring Holes to Close
For many people, earlobe piercings are a popular form of self-expression. For others, they’re just a fashion accessory to compliment daily outfits. Whether you have one piercing or multiple, taking care of your holes is important to prevent infection and ensure they heal properly.
But what happens if you stop wearing earrings? Will your holes close up on their own? Let’s find out how long you can go with out wearing earrings before your ear piercing holes close.
Table of Contents
- How Long Does It Take for Earring Holes to Close?
- How To Keep Ear Piercings Open
- Reopen a Partially Closed Earring Hole
- Re-Piercing Aftercare
How Long Does It Take for Earring Holes to Close?
The answer to this question depends on a few factors, including the individual’s healing rate, the size of your piercing hole and its location, and how long it has been since you last wore earrings.
Freshly new earlobe piercing holes can close within 24-48 hours if the earring is taken out shortly after piercing. You should leave your newly pierced earrings in for at least 6 weeks before you remove them for cleaning and change earrings.
Generally after 6 months of being pierced and constant earring wearing, a pierced hole will stay open for 6-12 weeks before healing closed. It isn’t until after 2-3 year mark that the earring hole will remain open and will never close or take many years to.
Again, it really depends on how often earrings were worn and the the person’s own healing rate. In some cases, earlobe piercing holes may close up within a few weeks or months or may never close at all. The higher up the earring is on the ear as well plays a factor in healing time as the higher up the ear cartilage you go, the longer it takes to heal.
How To Keep Ear Piercings Open
If you want to keep your earlobe piercings open, there are a few things you can do. First, avoid removing your earrings for extended periods of time. Within the first 6 months of piercing your ears, you should not leave the earrings out for more than 24 hours. If you know you’ll be taking them out for an extended period (e.g., for surgery), make sure to use sterile saline solution to cleanse the area around your piercing at least once a day. This will help prevent your holes from closing.
Implant grade metal should be used for faster healing as your body will form a healed layer around the metal. Additionally, consider using slightly larger gauge earrings (22-gauge or larger) to keep your piercings open. Larger gauge earrings put less pressure on the hole, which helps prevent it from closing up.
Make sure to clean and disinfect the pierced area daily. Crusting and bleeding is common and nothing to worry about. Wash away any nastiness with warm water and anti-bacterial soap and dab the area with disinfecting alcohol using a cotton swab twice a day. Rotate the earring in its hole in a circular motion daily to keep the skin from re-healing around the earring.
Reopen a Partially Closed Earring Hole
If you notice your pierced ear hole is starting to close up you can usually reopen the partially closed hole at home. It may be a little painful but it will save you money and a trip to the piercing shop.
First, warm up your earlobe by rubbing it with a hot washcloth. Give it a short massage to soften the lobe, making it less sensitive to pain. Make sure you thoroughly wash your hands and sterilize the earring you will use to reopen your hole. You can disinfect the earring with rubbing alcohol. Dab a little bit of rubbing alcohol over the earring hole on your ear lobe as well.
Next, add a bit of petroleum jelly like Vaseline or another antibiotic, healing ointment on to the earring needle as well as a little bit on your ear lobe. Pull your lobe taut so you can clearly see where the pierced hole is. If you feel a small ball of hardened skin in the back of the lobe it may mean the hole has healed completely. You can continue to try to re-pierce your ears but if it does not go through easily don’t force it.
Carefully but firmly push the earring through the hole. Keep your thumb directly on the hole behind the lobe and push the earring through until it meets your thumb. A quick motion is the best technique to minimize pain and cause tearing but you may have to wiggle and twist the earring a bit to break through a thin layer of healed scar tissue. If the earring does not go through easily with a little pressure or is causing too much pain it may already be healed and it’s best to consult with a professional piercer before causing any damage to your ears.
After the earring is in be sure to clean the area with warm water and a mild antibacterial soap. Keep the area dry and not exposed to any bacteria or pressure, just as you would a brand new piercing. Clean away any crust and dab the area with rubbing alcohol at least twice a day. Be sure to rotate the earrings daily in circular motion to keep the hole open. You can change the earrings after 4-6 weeks but be sure not to leave the newly re-pierced ears without an earring for too long so the hole does not close.