Here’s what happens when you don’t wear your earrings for a long time – you come home to a completely blocked/ sealed off piercing hole, a partially sealed earring piercing hole, or an intact piercing hole. In the latter case, you may or may not have issues reintroducing earrings back in if you haven’t had them on for some time; and if you are lucky, the earring will slide back in perfectly.
In case of partial closure, the reintroduction of the earring might cause some bleeding, and if you are not completely sure about the level of closure of the hole, you might end up with badly damaged or a lacerated earlobe.
As you can imagine, none of these sound fun, which is why you need to be extra careful when trying to wear earrings after being off them for some time.
This article shares tips on how to wear earrings again after not wearing them for a long time.
Why do your ears hurt after not wearing earrings for a while?
Your ears could hurt after wearing earrings, and the main reason why this happens is because of the re-traumatization that happens when you take the earrings out only to put them back in after a very long time.
Essentially, when you wear earrings after a long time without having them on, you will be inserting a foreign piece of metal into your ear, and it will be stuck there probably for hours and, in other cases, days.
During this time, the skin around your ear’s piecing grows more and more sensitive compared to all other areas of your skin.
Basically, you have an internal wound, and though the piercing might have healed in the past, you only end up re-traumatizing the piercing, hence the pain/ discomfort.
2. Metal Allergies
But the soreness is not the only reason why the piercing hole now hurts even though you could have been wearing earrings constantly in the past. The other reason for the soreness has everything to do with the metals.
When you experience sore ears when you wear the earrings again after a long time, only for that pain to disappear or subside when you take off the earrings, it only means that your body has just undergone something called contact allergy to specific metals in the earrings. Contact allergies or earring allergies are common when you reintroduce earrings after not having any earrings on for a long time.
The reason for the contact allergies is that the metals, specifically the metal alloys, are not designed for the human body, which also means that the metal allows pretty much incompatible with the human body, and when your body comes in contact with the metal alloy, the body builds up resistance to the alloy, and this resistance manifests as the allergic reaction that is characterized by swelling, soreness, and in other cases, bleeding.
The good news is that just because you are having an allergic reaction to the earrings doesn’t mean that you cannot wear earrings ever again.
However, having this reaction means that you should be extra careful with the earrings you choose next time, and it wouldn’t be a good idea for you to wear the same earrings you had on when your ears started to hurt.
7 Tips for wearing earrings again after a long time
1. Wear earrings made of safe metals
These earrings are safe on your skin, which is why they are used in most of the medical implants on the market.
While you’d have to spend more on titanium earrings, it would be a good idea to make this investment because the titanium earrings can be worn 24/7 safely, with no bad reactions.
Alternatively, try out the surgical stainless steel or the rhodium-plated white gold earrings.
2. Start off with studs
If you have sensitive ears and you haven’t been wearing earrings for a long time, you might want to start (or restart) things off with a nice pair of studs.
Skin-safe studs, often made of surgical stainless steel, are safe on the skin, and you can wear then 24/7 without worrying about allergic reactions.
The studs are also preferable because the small size will allow the piercing you haven’t had earrings in for a while to heal, especially in cases of active allergic reactions.
The stud also means that you won’t have to worry about causing additional trauma to the piercing hole – you won’t need to take the earrings on or off.
3. Surgical Stainless steel and healing time
If you haven’t worn your earrings for years, you might experience some bleeding the first time you wear the earrings, but you can reduce potential damage to your earlobes by wearing surgical-grade stainless steel stud earrings.
With the stud earrings, you won’t have to get them on or off all the time, and this means that you will have more than enough time for the re-traumatized piercing to heal. Note that putting the earrings on and removing them at the end of every day or after a few hours will that the piercing wound keeps opening and closing, and you do not want that.
Think of the reintroduction of the earrings as the re-piercing of the earlobe, which means that you have to let the piercing heal with the earring stud in the piercing hole. By treating the newly introduced earring as the stud that you first got in the ear when you had your first piercing, it means that you need to leave the stud earring in for about 4 to 6 weeks or even 8 weeks, depending on how fast you heal. You’ll need to rinse out the piercing/ area with a saltwater rinse to clean out the goop.
Note that you should opt for the surgical stainless steel rather than ordinary stainless steel earrings because most of the plain stainless steel earrings actually contain nickel. So, unless the earrings are surgical-grade, it would be a good idea to stick with titanium earrings. Also, it would be a good idea to insist on the surgical-grade stainless steel – these cost more, but they are worth it. Remember that keeping the earring in when you are allergic to the metal is only going to aggravate the situation.
An alternative to surgical-grade stainless steel is titanium.
4. Antibiotic treatment
To reduce the inflammation and reduce the risk of infection, you’d want to opt for an antibiotic ointment treatment.
While most people opt for Neosporin, you might react with Neosporin, and antibiotic treatment is preferable.
5. Avoid allergens
Basically, this means avoiding gold and silver earrings, and basically all other metal earrings that are free of nickel and other potential allergens.
6. Apply Vaseline
Besides medication, one of the most effective ways of controlling the soreness is the application of Vaseline.
7. How to put earrings in after a long time
Follow these steps to reinsert the earrings:
- Take a warm shower/ bath to soften your earlobe’s skin.
- Wash your hands the sterilize your earring posts
- Stretch out your earlobe to widen the piercing hole then check the hole’s size from the front to the back.
- Once you have located the holes, perhaps with the aid of a mirror, apply ice on your earlobe to numb it completely before you reinsert the earring.
- Now push the earring post from front to back, gently, but if this doesn’t work, you’ll have to reinsert it from the back to the front. Be gentle.
- If it still isn’t going through, try different angles. Note that reinserting earrings to your cartilage piercing might be a little hard, and you need to be very gently. This might hurt.
- If all these attempts fail, you may want to visit a professional to have the earlobe re-pierced.
You are not always guaranteed a safe ride to the world of accessories when you put your earrings back on after years, but you shouldn’t give up on your love for jewelry because of the soreness you may have to experience.
The good news is that your piercing will heal up very well eventually, and all you need to do is to follow the steps/ tips shared above.
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.