Getting a piercing is always both an exciting and scary moment for most people. Each piercing a person gets has some special meaning for them. Like the first time, you got your ears pierced.
For most, the ear-piercing is their first-ever one. While piercings are great, the hardest part is taking care of them, especially when it is still new. There are several precautions one is meant to take or risk getting an infection or something worse.
One of the many concerns people have about new piercings, especially for swimmers, is how safe it is to swim after a new piercing. How long should you wait?
How will the chlorine in the water affect the piercing? You must be asking yourself all these questions. Well, you have come to the right place, because this post will be covering all the concerns mentioned above.
Can You Swim In A Pool With Newly Pierced Ears?
Ear piercings or any form of piercings for that matter can be very sensitive. That is why you need to be very cautious and take care of it until it has completely healed.
When it comes to swimming in a pool after freshly pierced ears, it’s ideal to wait until the piercing is completely healed. But for those of you who simply can’t stay away from the water for too long then you should at least give your new piercing a full day. This reduces the risk of getting catching an infection.
Private pools may be safer, but still, you need to take precautions. You never know what bacteria or germs are lurking in the water. They could very well end up giving you an infection.
As such when going into the pool you should ensure that you have protected your piercing by covering it up securely. That way none of the water from the pool will get to it.
It is important to keep the piercing dry at all times as the moisture makes for a great breeding ground for the bacteria likely to cause infections. After swimming, also remember to disinfect the piercing just in case some of the water seeped through.
Does Chlorine Affect Newly Pierced Ears?
Because chlorine is generally used as a disinfectant, most people assume that it is okay to swim in a pool with new ear piercings. The truth is that the answer is a little more complicated than it may seem.
While chlorine may kill most of the bacteria in the water, it doesn’t do so immediately. It may take a minute or two and the water has to be at a specific pH for the chlorine to act effectively.
Even so, not all the bacteria are killed instantly and some viruses and parasites can survive in chlorinated water for much longer.
Another thing to consider is that as a chemical compound, chlorine may irritate your piercing. This could be especially true for individuals with sensitive skin.
What’s more, metals like silver and gold should never come into contact with chlorine. It could damage the metal in your earring by chipping and scratching it, causing it to dull as well as tarnish or discolor in the case of silver pieces.
It is, therefore, better to avoid the chlorinated water until the piercing is healed. That way, you can take off the earrings before swimming so the metal won’t react with the chlorine. Also, because it would have been healed completely you won’t have to worry about the piercing closing up.
How Long Before You Can Swim After Ear Piercing?
The best advice is to wait until the piercing has completely healed. The amount of time requires varies depending on the type of piercing and the person. Some people tend to heal faster than others. It also depends on how well you care for the piercing.
By that time the piercing would have completely dried and closed up, so bacteria and other germs wouldn’t penetrate easily. Luckily, unlike the navel piercing, ear piercings do not take so long to heal.
Ear lobes can take about 6 to 8 weeks to completely heal. Cartilage ear piercings or other top ear piercings may take slightly longer like about four months or more.
For some people, staying away from water for months may seem unbearable, that is why the least you should give your piercing before swimming is 24 hours.
Others suggest 48-72 hours, while others suggest that the ideal time is a week or two. Basically, the longer you wait before going for a dip, the less likely your ear piercing will get infected.
How To Cover Ear Piercing For Swimming?
Like we mentioned before if you cannot avoid the water until the piercing is healed completely then you need to cover it before going into the water. The following are three methods you could use to cover up the piercing and ensure no water gets into it:
1. Using a Waterproof bandage.
These types of bandages can be bought from a drug store or even a convenience store. They are the best and most popular option especially for ear lobe and some cartilage piercings.
Before applying the bandage, ensure your piercing is clean and dry. You can clean it using warm water and mild soap and then part it dry.
Only then should you place the waterproof bandage around the piercing, ensuring that you have covered it fully in an airtight fit. You can test it by taking a shower or splashing water on the area.
If the water seeped through it could mean that the bandage is not completely waterproof or you didn’t wrap the piercing securely enough. Ensure the bandage is waterproof and properly set before entering the pool.
Even while swimming, constantly keep checking the bandages, as they do not stay on for longer than an hour at a time. If you notice it peeling off, get out of the pool and replace it, repeating the process.
After swimming, ensure you clean the piercing again and pat it dry, especially if some water managed to get to it. This will wash off all possible bacteria and reduce the chances of getting infected.
2. Use a swimming cap
This is another option if using a bandage seems like too much work. Swimming caps are easy to find especially in good sporting stores or online. The only issue is not all of them are designed to cover your ears securely or entirely.
So, while purchasing, ensure you do your research. Pick ones made of silicone, rubber, or latex, avoid the ones made with spandex. Also ensure you get the right size for you, with consideration of how long your hair is.
Once you get the perfect cap, ensure the piercing is clean and dry and your hair is pulled back and tacked in. Place the cap over your head and ears ensuring everything is completely covered and you feel comfortable.
The cap should stay in place until you are done swimming, but it doesn’t hurt to keep checking every once in a while. When you are done swimming, also check to see if any water got on the piercing and clean it to avoid infection.
3. Use Neoprene Ear Band
This is in case you can’t find the right swimming cap or want extra security under the swimming cap. The neoprene ear band functions similar to a headband only it’s meant to cover the ears and it is waterproof. You can get them online or in sporting goods stores, ensure you purchase the right size.
Once you do, clean and dry your piercing and pull your hair back in preparation for wearing the ear band. When putting it on, ensure it completely covers the ear and fastens the adjuster to ensure it is secure and comfortable.
You can add the swimming cap to hold the ear band in place just in case you are worried it may slip. As always, clean and dry the wound again once you are done swimming.
An ear-piercing is like an open wound, that is why you must take good care of it so it can heal properly. Infections are easy to get otherwise.
That is why, if possible, avoid swimming until the ear piecing is completely healed or at least wait for as long as possible before going into the water and don’t do it too often.
Use the tips we’ve offered to cover the piercings and avoid getting them wet while swimming.
Once you are done always remember to clean and dry the area.
If you want to know the piercing is infected, you will notice the area will turn red, or become swollen and painful.
You should get medical advice if you notice pus or a foul smell coming out of the piercing.
Read more useful piercing tips here or here!
Stephanie is a jewelry lover when she was a teenager. Her major was fashion design when she was in college. She is a jewelry designer at SOQ Jewelry and other design companies. Now she is also a writer for our website. She writes a lot of designs&brands posts with very actionable tips.