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A Guide to Jewelry for Newly Pierced Ears

Best earrings for newly pierced ears

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Choosing jewelry for a new piercing is quite different from shopping for earrings in general. Did you know that some metals can interfere with your body’s recovery time or even cause infection? Considering that your new earrings will need to be in your ears for the first several weeks, choosing the right pair is important. It makes a difference to your health and your look.

 Here’s our guide to choosing the best earrings for newly pierced ears.

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Best Jewelry Metals for Newly Pierced Ears

1- Surgical Stainless Steel

Huggies stainless steel

Surgical stainless steel huggies. See them here.

Surgical steel is the type of steel used for biomedical applications, surgery, orthopedic, and dental implant devices because it has the greatest amount of corrosion resistance compared to other types of steel. When looking for jewelry for your new piercing, look for surgical stainless steel earrings since they are safe and won’t react with body fluids.

On the other hand, avoid jewelry made from typical stainless steel, which is an alloy composed of different metals like chromium, nickel, iron and copper. The chromium in the alloy might prevent the iron metal from oxidizing, but it can corrode when exposed to salt water—and you wouldn’t want to risk your newly pierced ears getting infected.

2- Implant Certified Titanium

Titanium earrings

Medical grade titanium studs. See them here.

Titanium jewelry is lightweight and affordable, but you should opt for implant certified titanium that meets the standards for surgical implants and fresh piercings. This type of titanium won’t react with body fluids since it’s nickel-free, and corrosion resistant. A great thing about titanium is that it can be anodized, allowing you to rock earrings in different colors—green, blue, yellow, purple. Not all anodized metals are safe for piercings, but anodized titanium won’t cause allergic reactions.

3- Niobium

Niobium earrings

Niobium earrings by Creating Unkamen. See it here.

If you want to wear colorful earrings, think of jewelry made from 99 percent niobium. Niobium might be rare, but it is hypoallergenic, affordable and safe for fresh piercings. It can also be anodized in iridescent colors, making niobium earrings your fashion-forward jewelry for everyday wear. The colors on niobium jewelry are made from a chemically stable reaction. Because of this the rainbow colors in the metal won’t even flake, wear off, or alter with time.

Jewelry Metals and Materials You Should Avoid

  • Silver Jewelry

While fine silver refers to pure 99.9 percent silver, sterling silver is made from 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent base metal such as copper. Fine silver is hypoallergenic, but it’s too soft to be used in jewelry so its typically alloyed with other metals. Sterling silver oxidizes, which can lead to infection when it comes into contact with body fluids and tissues.

  • Gold Jewelry

You might be thinking of fine metals for your new piercing, but gold doesn’t make the cut. Pure gold, labeled as 24K gold, is very soft and rarely used to make jewelry. Like silver, gold is also alloyed to strengthen it. Lower karat gold incorporates other metals like copper, palladium, and nickel, which can cause irritation. Remember, the lower the gold karat the more other alloys were used in the mix just to make gold more durable and affordable.

  • Gold Plated Jewelry

The base metal of gold plated jewelry is usually a silver or copper, which can cause irritation in an open wound. There might be real gold on such jewelry, even just a thin layer of it, but the plating can rub off, and expose the base metal.

  • Costume Jewelry

Most costume jewelry pieces are less expensive because they are made of cheaper metals—the reason you should avoid them for your unhealed piercing. In addition, some may contain large amounts of lead and nickel, which can be dangerous in an open wound.

  • Bone and Wood Jewelry

You might be a big fan of bohemian fashion, but avoid bone, wood, and other earrings made from fabric and absorbent materials until your piercings are fully healed. Did you know that porous surfaces on jewelry can slow healing and cause infection? These materials can be a breeding ground for bacteria and can lead to serious infections.

How to choose earrings sensitive ears

Best Jewelry Styles for Fresh Piercing

For newly pierced ears, the jewelry options are limited to studs, hoops and barbells depending on the kind of ear piercing you’ve just got.

For lobe and tragus piercings, labret stud earrings with a ball or flat disc backing are the recommended jewelry. When it comes to helix, opt for studs and barbells instead of captive bead rings and hoops.

Labret piercing

Labret studs. See them here.

A large hoop for outer conch might look fashionable, but it’s best to start with a barbell or a small ring. When it comes to rook piercing, curved barbells are a great choice for starter jewelry. Just go for a barbell that is long enough, leaving space for swelling. Once it heals, you can switch to a smaller barbell where the beads sit nicely on your ears.

Curved barbell

Nickel free gold curved barbell by Ms. Piercing. See it here.

Also, a daith piercing calls for a small curved barbell, but it should allow space for swelling too. Remember, newly pierced ears are sensitive, so they need jewelry that doesn’t move around too much and something that won’t catch on anything.

How to Choose Earrings for Fresh Piercings

Girl wearing large earrings

Large dangly earrings are a no-no for fresh piercings!

Now that we’ve covered the best types of metals and earring designs to choose, here’s how to choose earrings for fresh piercings.

  • The jewelry must be of appropriate gauge or thickness.

The gauze size of piercing jewelry refers to its thickness. Getting the right gauge is essential for your piercing to heal comfortably. If the earrings are too thick in gauge, they can block the normal air and blood circulation on piercing. If the jewelry is too thin, it can shift around, slow healing, or even result to rejection and other complications. Your piercer knows best when it comes to corresponding gauge sizes to use in jewelry.

  • Starter earrings should be left in your ears for at least six weeks.

Everyone has a different healing process, but the duration will depend on the kind of ear piercing you’ve got. Earlobe piercings usually take about six weeks to heal, while cartilage piercings can take from five months to 1 year to heal. Your starting jewelry options are a little more limited since you need something lightweight, comfortable, and simple, so it won’t catch on things while sleeping. Also, the metals in jewelry should be safe from infection, and smooth without scratches or chips.

  • Once the piercing heals, you can transition to lightweight yet fashionable earrings.
Girl wearing light fashionable earrings

After six weeks when the piercing already healed, you can change your starter earrings into something more fashionable. However, you should opt for jewelry that is small, lightweight, and comfortable. Even if the piercing has healed, the ears can’t handle heavy, chunky earrings yet. Also, don’t wear cheap earrings and costume jewelry too soon.

To avoid the holes from closing, you must keep wearing earrings at least for the next three months if it’s an earlobe piercing, and 6 months if it’s a cartilage piercing. You may think of a timeless jewelry design that you can wear day and night. A simple stud or a lightweight hoop earring can be a great choice, but make sure the metals are safe and hypoallergenic as your starter earrings.

  • Watch out for common allergens and materials that tarnish.

If you’ve got some allergies and skin sensitivities, avoid metals such as nickel, copper, brass, and cobalt even after the piercing has healed. These metals are inexpensive, so jewelers still incorporate them in earrings, but they are the common metals responsible for skin allergies. Usually, they can be found in cheap costume jewelry that can stain your skin. Also, avoid wearing jewelry with materials that tarnish, especially after new piercings.

How to Take Care of Fresh Piercings

Caring for fresh piercings

Appropriate care and maintenance will help your piercing heal faster and painlessly. Here are some tips to follow:

  • Since you’ll be leaving the earrings day and night in your ears, go for a jewelry design that won’t urge you to touch your ears as well as the jewelry. Some opt for stud earrings with a flat design, as it reduces the urge to touch, especially if it has a gemstone or a ball-like top.
  • Usually, the piercing shop will provide a cleaning solution intended for your ears, but if not, you can use antibacterial soap and water. This is important to keep your ears clean and free of bacteria.
  • When cleaning your piercings, twist the earrings to prevent it from sticking inside the hole, but never make it a habit. You should always keep your hands clean, and don’t touch the piercing unless you are cleaning it. You might also want to avoid swimming in pools and other bodies of water to avoid infections from harmful bacteria.
  • Keeping your hair pulled back in a ponytail to avoid irritating your fresh piercing is a good idea. After all, your hair snags easily and can bring along with bacteria and dirt. If you notice some redness and painful swelling that don’t go away, let your piercer know, and see a dermatologist to prevent further infection.

Whether you’ve just had your ears pierced, or simply added more piercings to your lobe, the right choice of earrings is essential for your health and beauty. With our guide, you’ll be able to find the best jewelry for newly pierced ears, which are hypoallergenic and fashionable for everyday wear.