Maybe the many years of neglect and overall disregard for the effects of the heavy earrings, perhaps a piercing gone wrong, an unhealing ear piercing because of constant irritation or allergic reactions, a threatening medical problem, or even a change of heart and the realization that you don’t want to keep open the ear piercing holes.
Whatever the reason, you’re now here, having decided to close the ear piercing hole permanently, and you need help on the same. This guide gives you a detailed guide on everything you need to know about permanently closing your ear piercing holes.
But first things first…
Do earring holes close completely?
While there are many instances where you leave your ear piercings for too long and end up closing up, somehow, even if you hadn’t worn earrings for just months, the truth is that the piercings may or may not close entirely depending on how healed the piercing holes were.
This also influences how fast the piercing holes close up.
Generally, the ear piercing holes close up much quicker than healed piercings, especially if you take the piercing earrings out before the piercing heals completely.
However, the piercings will take much longer to close once the inner walls and mucous membranes of the piercing hole heal completely.
Also, it is essential to note that some piercings close better than others, which means that the kind of ear piercings you have will determine how fast and how safely the piercings close up.
Some of the hardest piercings to close include cartilage ear piercings, eyebrow piercings, belly button piercings, and lip piercings among others.
These piercings often leave intense piercings, which means that the piercings are much harder to close fully. The good news is that the micro-dermal piercings and all other piercings on the ears close up quickly and much sooner.
How long does it take for an earring hole to close completely?
Most ear piercings close up permanently in only weeks, which means that if you go for weeks without wearing your favorite earrings, you will have a hard time putting them back in if you are lucky.
However, in most instances, the piercing may be a goner, meaning that you may not be able to safely wear earrings on the same piercings unless you get the ears re-pierced.
As mentioned above, the new piercings will close up much more quickly, so unless you want to keep the piercing close, you should not remove the piercing jewelry until the piercing is fully healed, which is the recommended 6 weeks to 6/12 months, depending on the ear piercing type.
A new piercing that is completely unhealed will close up in hours because when you have a new piercing, the immune system kicks in and tries to heal and repair the hole.
If the piercing is healed, however, the new earlobe piercing would be closed and healed fully in 6-12 weeks. The cartilage piercings above the ear will take up to months to heal fully.
So, if you don’t want the piercings to close up but want the piercings to heal up soon, you may like the implant-grade metals like titanium which present no risk of irritation and allow for the fast formation of the healed mucous membrane layer around the metal.
With new piercings, you shouldn’t keep the earrings out for more than 24 hours, specifically in the initial 6 months after getting the piercing.
What about the older piercings?
Experts note that even older piercing holes on the ears will still close up permanently after some time. That said, it is important to remember that there is a difference between healed and permanently closed piercings.
Healed piercings are piercings whose channels or fistulas are completely intact and have passed through all the healing stages. Full healing means that the piercing no longer turns red, and the tissue around the piercing feels normal with no healing discharge or crust.
Note that when there is minimal fluid discharge and some crusting, you can take out the jewelry for some time.For piercings you have had since childhood, the holes may or may not close up depending on your body’s healing process and abilities.
How to close ear piercing hole permanently
1. The sooner, the better
If, after getting a new ear piercing, you realize that you don’t want the piercing anymore, especially if it’s within the 6 weeks window, the best way to close it would be to remove the piercing jewelry and let it close up.
Early on, the piercing hole is still healing, and the tissues can also get back together and close up faster and sooner. The earlobe ear piercings, like other soft-tissue piercings, tend to close up much sooner than the piercings on harder cartilaginous areas.
To encourage faster healing and closing up of the ear piercing, stop wearing the earrings early because this will allow the piercing to close. But remember that the earlobe piercings may not shrink back to the original size or disappear too soon if the piercing is larger than the 00g gauge.
Note that the holes close in hours for the brand new piercings, and you will not struggle to close them up.
2. Speeding up the process
If you’d like the piercing to close up even faster, especially for the earlobe piercing, you could speed up the process using hot compresses and kneading massages.
These encourage closure and also minimize the appearance of the hole. The best part is that these piercings often leave minimal scarring, and the hole size is also relatively small, so within days, you may be the only one able to see it since you know it to be there. No one else would quickly notice it that soon.
You also need to clean the pierced area twice daily. Like any other wound, cleaning helps speed up closing by preventing and reducing the risk of infections.
So, you will follow the piercer’s aftercare instructions, but with the jewelry out. Always wash your hands first, using warm soap and water, then clean the ear by dipping a piece of clean gauze into saline solution, then dab it on the piercing, on both sides, then dry it with a cotton cloth or paper towel.
3. Stitch It Up
This includes a degree of reconstruction for the ear tissue, especially if your earlobes are stretched out. A plastic surgeon would do the reconstruction because after healing and stretching out of the earlobe piercing, the changes are often permanent, so a surgeon can only reverse such changes.
In the surgery, excess skin is removed, and the earlobe is fixed by repairing the damage as it would be done on a torn earlobe. The surgical procedure will also help to prevent extreme scarring.
This cosmetic procedure takes 15-20 minutes on each earlobe and is done under anesthesia, meaning that it is literally painless and the skin is fixed perfectly.
After the surgery, you’ll need to wash up your stitches thrice daily with warm water and gentle soap for the first week. You also must apply some petroleum jelly over the wound once every day for one week.
Just use a small amount of the jelly, and apply after cleaning the ears, which is when they are moist; petroleum jelly helps to lock in the moisture – it is an important step because dry skin leads to scarring and scabbing.
And in the absence of a gaping hole but with a hole that has significant scarring, the dermatologist or plastic surgeon may recommend the use of cortisone injections that will reduce the scarring. There also are laser treatments and creams that help with these and reduce the appearance of the scars.
In case of complications after the surgery, you should call the surgeon. But if the piercing heals well, the doctor will take out the stitches in 1 or 2 weeks, depending on the healing speed.
Finally, it would be best if you didn’t get new piercings on the ear or wear jewelry on any other ear piercings until it heals fully or the recommended 2 months.
What happens if the piercing is infected?
If you need to close up the piercing but it is infected, the professionals recommend that you leave the earrings on and keep cleaning the piercing frequently with salty or saline water.
On top of this, we recommend talking to your piercer or the dermatologist because they will recommend the best course of treatment for the infection for faster healing and fewer issues.
You should not remove the jewelry because doing so would potentially seal up the infection in the ear, leading to abscesses.
The speed of closure depends on a number of things, including the age of the piercing, but in most cases, the close-up time varies from person to person.
So, even for piercings older than a year, some may never close up while others close up in days, while piercings less than a year old may take days or weeks to close up fully.
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.