Why Is My Piercing Itchy - featured image

Why Is My Ear Piercing or Body Piercing Itchy?

Imagine this: You've just walked out of the piercing studio, flaunting your new sparkling ear piercing. You're feeling bold, a bit rebellious, maybe even a touch invincible.
But then, a few days later, an insidious itch begins. It's as if a tiny imp keeps poking your. Your happy smile turns into a worried frown. Suddenly, the earring feels itchy, like an intruder on your head. You wonder why your skin is reacting this way.
In this article, we'll scratch beneath the surface to uncover the reasons behind this discomfort. Itching can be a normal sign that your body is healing. When you get a piercing, it creates a small wound. During healing, your body makes new skin cells. This activity in the healing area can make it feel itchy.
A woman with ear piercings on her ear. 
However, this itch can also be a red flag signaling other issues. The jewelry in a piercing can sometimes cause a severe allergic reaction. This is especially true if if contains nickel or other irritating metals. This often results in intense itching.
Moreover, improper aftercare can lead to an infected piercing, with itchiness being one of the early symptoms.
In this article, we're going to talk about why piercings can get itchy. We'll learn how to tell if it's just healing or if there's a problem. We'll give you advice on how to calm your skin so your piercing heals well. We'll help you learn about the materials in your jewelry.
We'll also show you how to take care of your piercing. Our goal is to help you take care of your piercing. We're here to guide you through maintaining your piercing – and your sanity – during the healing process.

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What are the common causes of an itchy piercing?

Getting new body jewelry is exciting. It shows off your personal style. But it can also make you itchy.
This itchiness can stem from a variety of causes, each requiring its own approach and understanding. Let's explore these common causes to help you navigate this prickly phase of your piercing journey.

Healing Process: The Body's Natural Mechanism

Your body doesn't quite share your enthusiasm for this new addition. The piercing acts like a wound to the body. To heal, it causes inflammation and skin regeneration. This process causes itching around the area. This is a natural part of the healing process, albeit an annoying one.
A man's eyebrow with a metal ring through it.
When you get a piercing, your body thinks it is a wound. This is because a piercing makes a hole in your skin. Your skin is important because it keeps harmful things from the outside world away from your body. The same is true of a cartilage piercing.
When this barrier is breached, the body's natural defense mechanisms kick in to start the healing process. This process includes:
Inflammation: When you get injured, your body reacts first by sending more blood to the injured area. This makes the skin turn red and feel warm. It can also swell and throb with pain. Inflammation's goal is to bring immune cells and molecules to the injury. This helps fight off any infection that might occur.
Formation of granulation tissue: New connective tissue grows where the wound is. It acts as a support structure. Skin cells use this structure to heal over the gap made by the injury.
Skin regeneration: New skin cells develop and heal over the wound. During this process, a scab may form on the surface.
Remodeling: As time passes, the new tissue grows stronger. When the new skin beneath has healed enough, the scab comes off.
When your skin is healing, you might feel itchy. This happens because new skin is growing and special cells are working to heal the area. Nerves in the skin get annoyed or excited by different things, like chemicals released from healing cells. This is what causes the itchy feeling.
As the skin heals, new cells form. This process can cause a feeling of tightness or a pulling sensation. These feelings may also lead to itchiness. It's important not to scratch a piercing to avoid introducing bacteria and potential infection.

Ear Piercing Aftercare and Hygiene: A Delicate Dance

The road to a healthy piercing is paved with good a good care regimen. Be careful not to overdo it when looking after your piercing. Too much care can irritate your skin just as much as not caring for it properly. Striking the right balance with gentle products and a consistent routine is essential.
Taking care of your piercing is crucial for healing. It also keeps your new body jewelry healthy. When performed correctly, it might even prevent infections and other complications. Here's a more comprehensive guide on how to navigate this delicate dance:

Initial Healing Phase

Immediately after getting a piercing, your body starts the healing process. The length of this phase varies. It can be as short as a few weeks or as long as several months. The duration depends on the piercing's location and the person's unique healing process. During this time, it’s critical to handle your piercing with care.

A young girl is getting her ear piercing cleaned.

Cleaning Your Piercing

  • Frequency: Clean your piercing 2-3 times a day to keep it free from bacteria.
  • Saline Solution: Use a sterile saline solution. If you don't have any, you can make it. Dissolve 1/4 teaspoon of non-iodized sea salt in one cup of warm distilled or bottled water.
  • Soap: If advised by your piercer, you can also use a mild, fragrance-free soap. Avoid harsh chemicals and alcohol-based products as they can irritate the skin.


  • Gentle Touch: Wash your hands thoroughly before touching your piercing. Apply the saline solution with a clean gauze or paper towel. Do not use cotton wool as it can leave fibers behind.
  • No Twisting: During the healing phase, avoid twisting or turning the jewelry. This can bring in bacteria and harm the skin.
  • Pat Dry: After cleaning, gently pat the area dry with a disposable paper product. Cloth towels can harbor bacteria and snag on jewelry.

Avoiding Irritation

Over-cleaning or using harsh products can irritate your piercing. To avoid irritation:
  • Products to Avoid: Steer clear of alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, and ointments that are occlusive and can trap bacteria.
  • Touching: Minimize touching the piercing outside of cleaning times.
  • Clothing: Wear loose clothing around the piercing site to prevent friction and allow the area to breathe.

Monitoring Your Piercing

Keep an eye on your piercing for signs of infection which may include:
  • Redness and Swelling: Some is normal initially but should improve with time.
  • Pain: Tenderness is expected, but worsening pain can be a red flag.
  • Discharge: A clear or slightly yellowish discharge is normal, but green or foul-smelling discharge is not.
  • Temperature: The area may be warm initially, but persistent warmth could indicate an infection.

Lifestyle Considerations

  • Sleeping: Try to avoid sleeping on the piercing to prevent pressure and irritation.
  • Exercise: Keep sweat and gym equipment away from your piercing. Otherwise your piercing might get infected.

A woman jogging on a wooden boardwalk.

  • Swimming: Avoid swimming pools, hot tubs, lakes, and other bodies of water during the initial healing phase.

When to Seek Help

If your skin stays red or becomes swollen it's very important to get help from a professional. The same is true if it hurts, or looks infected. Consult with your piercer or a healthcare provider for advice.

Long-Term Care

Even after your piercing has healed, it’s important to maintain good hygiene. Regularly clean your jewelry and piercing site to keep it healthy.
Remember that every individual’s body is different, so healing times and reactions can vary. Always follow the maintenance instructions provided by your professional piercer as they are tailored to your specific situation.

Allergic Reaction to Jewelry: The Unwelcome Surprise

Sometimes, the culprit behind the itch is the jewelry itself.
Jewelry often adds the final touch to an outfit, giving extra sparkle or a personal style. But some people may experience an unwanted side effect: an allergic reaction. This reaction can appear as a red, itchy rash called contact dermatitis. It happens when skin touches a substance that triggers an allergy.
Various types of piercings on a table.
Nickel is a common allergen found in many metal items, including jewelry. It may be the primary metal or mixed with gold and silver. If nickel touches the skin, it can trigger an allergic reaction in sensitive people. The result is an intense itch that can transform your fashionable accessory into a source of discomfort.
In addition to nickel, other metals such as cobalt and chromium can also cause allergic reactions. Even gold can cause allergic reactions. This happens when it is mixed with nickel or other metals that people can be allergic to. Despite its reputation, gold is not always hypoallergenic.
A woman with an allergic reaction is touching her neck with her hand.
To avoid this itchy predicament, individuals with metal sensitivities should look for hypoallergenic jewelry options. Hypoallergenic materials are less likely to cause an allergic reaction, making them a safer choice for sensitive skin.
These materials include:
  • Pure metals such as platinum or high-karat gold (18K or higher) are less likely to cause allergies. This is because they don't often include allergy-causing alloys.
  • Sterling silver, which is usually a safe option as long as it does not contain nickel.
  • Titanium and niobium, which are highly biocompatible and rarely cause skin reactions.
  • Surgical stainless steel is designed for implantation into the body. It has a low risk of causing allergic reactions.
If you have metal sensitivities, you can wear jewelry made from glass, plastic, or wood instead. Apply clear nail polish to the areas of the jewelry that come into contact with your skin. This can prevent allergic reactions.
It's important to know that you can develop allergies to jewelry over time. This can happen even if you've never been allergic before. If you start to show allergy symptoms from jewelry, take it off right away.
Then, wash the area with soap and water. Over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams can help alleviate itching and redness. If your symptoms don't go away or get worse, you should see a dermatologist. They can provide more treatment or test you for allergies.
A dermatologist can help
Choose jewelry made from hypoallergenic materials if you have sensitive skin. This way, you can wear accessories without worrying about allergic reactions.

Potential Infection: The Unseen Enemy

Infections are like hidden enemies for body piercings. They lurk around and attack when there's a weakness. They are particularly insidious because they can invade silently and rapidly multiply if given the opportunity. Unwelcome intruders come from many places. They can turn a simple decoration into a troubling experience.
Poor piercing practices are often the primary culprits. When piercings are performed under less-than-ideal conditions or by inexperienced individuals, the risk of contamination skyrockets. Using dirty equipment, working in unclean places, or using the wrong methods can infect a wound.
Even with a flawless piercing procedure, post-treatment is equally critical. Neglect or improper care for your piercing during the healing process can open the door to infection. Clean your piercing regularly, don't use the wrong products, or touch it with dirty hands. Otherwise you can bring bacteria to the sensitive area.
A woman is getting an ear piercing.
The human skin is naturally teeming with bacteria, some harmless and others potentially dangerous. When a piercing needle breaks the skin's protective barrier, bacteria can get into the wound. When a piercing is in a moist area bacteria can grow more easily. This includes areas such as the mouth or belly button.
The telltale signs of an infection are not always immediate but can develop into unmistakable symptoms. Redness around the piercing site is often the first sign of a problem. If the swelling continues longer than expected after a recent piercing, it's another sign that something is wrong. An itchy sensation may also develop, signifying the body's reaction to the invading bacteria.
Moreover, other signs such as persistent warmth, an odorous discharge, or persistent pain should raise alarms. The symptoms show the immune system is fighting an infection. You might need to see a doctor.
Preventing such infections requires a multifaceted approach. Selecting a reputable piercing studio with experienced professionals who adhere to strict hygiene standards is paramount. Following their expert healing care advice diligently will foster a safe healing environment. It's also vital to maintain personal hygiene and avoid any unnecessary contact with the piercing. Alsways wash your hands with soap and warm water.

Why You Should Seek Professional Advice: An Expert Touch

It's smart to seek professional advice before getting pierced. It's also important for taking care of your current piercings. Experienced piercers have a lot of knowledge and skills. They are very important for many reasons.
Firstly, licensed piercing studios adhere to strict sanitation protocols. They are equipped with autoclaves to sterilize equipment and use single-use needles to prevent cross-contamination.
A person in a purple glove is holding a piercing gun. 
Maintaining high hygiene standards is crucial. It helps prevent infections that could cause complications. These complications can range from allergic reactions to more severe problems.
Secondly, professionals at these studios are trained to perform piercings with precision. They know the structure of various body parts well. This knowledge helps them choose the best spot for a piercing. They aim to avoid harming nerves or other sensitive spots.
Thirdly, experienced piercers can provide tailored piercing care instructions, which is vital for proper healing.
They can suggest the right products for you. These will match your skin type. They can also recommend routines suited for your piercing.
They can also help you choose the right jewelry. The new item should not only suit your style, but it should be made from hypoallergenic materials to prevent allergies and rejections by your body.
A person in a white glove holding a black piece of body piercing jewelry. 
They will also recommend the best size, shape, and type of jewelry. This ensures your piercing heals well and looks good.
If you have problems like ongoing itching, redness, or swelling, see a professional piercer. They will check the pierced area. They can tell if these signs are normal for healing. Or, they might show an infection or an allergy.
In summary, the expertise of a seasoned piercer cannot be overstated. When you choose a licensed piercing shop, you ensure a safe environment. You receive professional service. You have peace of mind because you can get expert advice for your piercing journey.

When Should I Be Concerned About My Itchy Piercing?

It's a familiar scenario: You're enjoying the new look your piercing has added to your style, but then comes the itch. Itching is often normal. However, it's important to recognize when it becomes more than a minor irritation. If it does, it might be a warning sign of a bigger issue.

Identifying Symptoms of Infection

An infection is more than just an inconvenience; it's a health concern. Look out for persistent redness, swelling, warmth around the piercing, or discharge that is yellow or greenish. These symptoms, especially when accompanied by fever or severe pain, warrant immediate medical attention. They can be a sign your piercing is infected.

Signs of Healing Process Progression

Itching can be a sign of healing, but it should gradually subside as your piercing heals. If the itching persists or worsens, especially after the initial healing phase, it could indicate a problem. Monitor the healing process closely. A healing piercing should get better, not worse.

Dealing with Persistent Itching and Irritation

Persistent or severe itching, not aligned with the typical healing timeline, requires a closer look. It might be a reaction to the jewelry or an indication of an underlying skin condition. Consulting with a healthcare professional can provide clarity and a path to relief.

Next, we'll look at different ways to soothe an itchy piercing. We'll cover helpful home treatments and advice from experts.

How Can I Relieve the Itching in My Body Piercing?

Once you know the causes, consider when to worry about an itchy piercing. Then, look for ways to soothe it. Itching, while often a normal part of the healing process, can be distracting and uncomfortable. Let's explore some effective methods to soothe your skin and promote healing.

Effective Home Remedies for Itchy Piercings

Several home remedies can be used to alleviate the itchiness of a piercing. Here are some simple yet effective options:
  • Saline Soaks: A saline solution is a go-to remedy for piercing hygiene follow-up. Mix non-iodized sea salt with distilled water to prepare. Apply it using a clean cloth or cotton swab. Saline not only cleanses the area but also helps reduce inflammation and soothe itchiness.
  • Chamomile Compresses: Chamomile has natural soothing properties. A compress using chamomile tea can help reduce inflammation and itchiness.
  • Cold Packs: Applying a cold pack or a clean cloth soaked in cold water can provide immediate itch relief. Ensure the compress is not too cold and is applied briefly to avoid irritation.

Cold compresses on a grey surface.

  • Aloe Vera: Known for its healing properties, aloe vera can be gently applied to the piercing. It's important to use pure aloe vera gel that's free of additives or alcohol.

Aloe vera is being poured into a glass jar.

These remedies are gentle and can be quite effective in providing relief from itching and dry skin while your piercing heals.

Ensuring the Proper Healing Environment for the Piercing

Creating an optimal healing environment is crucial to ensuring your healing is progressing properly. Keep the piercing dry and expose it to air as much as you can. Do not touch or move it unless you have to. Make sure your bedding and clothes are clean to avoid bacteria collecting during the day.
To handle the itchiness from a piercing and help it heal, follow these steps. If the itchiness worsens or you notice constant redness, swelling, or discharge, get medical help. Also, if you have a fever, it could mean an infection, so see a doctor.

Choosing appropriate aftercare products for an itchy piercing

When your piercing itches, choose the right aftercare products. They help with healing and reduce discomfort.
Here are some steps and considerations for choosing appropriate aftercare products:
Saline Solution
Use a sterile saline solution to gently clean the piercing twice a day. Saline solutions work well for taking care of piercings. They are like the body's own fluids. They can also help lessen itchiness.
Mild Soap
If recommended by your piercer, you may use a mild, fragrance-free soap once a day. Avoid harsh chemicals or alcohol-based products and soaps which can irritate the skin.
Apply a small amount of emollient or a fragrance-free moisturizing cream to the area around your piercing. This helps prevent the skin from becoming too dry and itchy.
Cold Compress
A cold compress can provide relief from itching. Ensure that any compress used is clean to avoid introducing bacteria to the piercing site.
Over-the-Counter Products
  • Hydrocortisone cream: A small amount of over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream may be applied to reduce inflammation and itching. However, use this sparingly and only if recommended by your piercer or healthcare provider. There are several risks associated with using topical steroids; and extended use may make the initial problem worse. Use of a non-steroidal alternative is a much safer option.
  • Antihistamines: Non-prescription antihistamine medications can help relieve itching, but consult with a healthcare provider before taking any medication.


A pack of pink antihistamine pills.
Natural Remedies
Some individuals find relief using natural remedies. Diluted tea tree oil is one such remedy. However, these remedies should be used with caution. They can be too harsh for some skin types.
Avoid Irritants
Steer clear of products containing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or strong fragrances. These substances can irritate the piercing. They may also exacerbate itchiness.
Clothing and Accessories
Wear loose, breathable clothing around your new piece of jewelry to prevent irritation and allow air circulation.
Consult with a professional piercer or healthcare provider if itching persists or gets worse. They can determine if there's an infection or an allergic reaction.
Patch Test 
Do a patch test before using a new product near your piercing. This helps check for allergic reactions.
Remember that every individual's body reacts differently, and what works for one person may not work for another. Always follow the advice of your professional piercer or healthcare provider when choosing aftercare products for your piercing.


Following a strict aftercare regimen is crucial for the healing of your piercing. However, sometimes additional measures are needed. These measures help manage symptoms such as itchiness. For a safe and fast way to soothe itching skin from piercings, consider trying Dermeleve® without harmful steroids.
A tube of Dermeleve® sitting on a rock in front of the ocean.
Developed by dermatologists, this product targets the itch at its source. It uses its SrX-38™ steroid-free formula. Its skin-healing ingredients have been clinically shown to absorb rapidly and significantly reduce the sensation of itch​​.
Dermeleve® works by interrupting the itch cycle, which is often triggered by external stimuli or internal conditions. This leads to an inflammatory response and skin damage. By reducing the sensation of itch, it allows the skin to heal more effectively​​. This makes it an ideal solution for itchy piercings, which can be particularly sensitive.
Additionally, Dermeleve® offers itch relief for various conditions. This includes psoriasis, eczema, and allergic reactions. It demonstrates its versatility and effectiveness in addressing different types of skin irritations. The product comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. This allows you to try it risk-free. You can get a full refund within 30 days of purchase if you are not satisfied.
Always ensure that any product you use is compatible with your skin and piercing care instructions. If itchiness persists or you notice any signs of infection, consult your piercer or a healthcare professional promptly.
By taking these proactive steps and using Dermeleve® where appropriate, you'll start a comfortable and successful healing journey.

Common mistakes to avoid during the healing of a new piercing

When you get a new piercing, the aftercare is critical to ensure proper healing and avoid complications. Here are several common mistakes that can interfere with the healing process:

Over-Cleaning the Piercing:

While keeping your piercing clean is essential, overdoing it can irritate the skin and delay healing. Stick to cleaning your piercing no more than twice a day. Use a saline saltwater solution or follow the guidance provided by your piercing professional.
Wash your hands regularly before handling your piercing.

Using Harsh Cleaning Agents

Avoid using alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or antibiotic ointments. These substances can be too harsh. They may also dry out the surrounding area of the skin. These products can also kill the good bacteria that aid in healing.

Touching or Playing with the Piercing

Your hands carry bacteria. Frequently touching or playing with your piercing can introduce these germs to the wound. Always wash your hands before touching the piercing for any reason.

Changing Jewelry Too Soon

Give your piercing ample time to heal before you attempt to remove or change the jewelry. Doing so too early can cause trauma to the area and lead to infections or prolonged healing time.

Sleeping on the Piercing

Putting pressure on your piercing can cause irritation. Sleeping on it might also misshape the healing tissue. Try to sleep on the opposite side or use a travel pillow to avoid contact.

Exposing the Piercing to Dirty Water

Swimming pools, hot tubs, lakes, or oceans can harbor bacteria that can enter your piercing. It's best to avoid submerging your new piercing in bodies of water during the healing process.

Ignoring Signs of Infection

Redness, swelling, and some discomfort are normal at first. However, if these symptoms persist or get worse, they could signal an infection. If there is discharge that is green or yellow, you should see a healthcare professional. The same is true if you experience severe pain or have a fever.

Applying Makeup or Lotions

Products like makeup and lotions can clog the piercing site. Keep these products away from the piercing until it has fully healed to prevent irritation and infections.

Not Following Your Piercer's Aftercare Instructions

Your piercer should provide you with aftercare instructions tailored to your specific type of piercing. Not following these guidelines can lead to complications.

Assuming All Piercings Heal at the Same Rate

Different types of piercings heal at different rates, and individual healing times can vary. Be patient and give your body the time it needs to heal your new adornment properly.
To give your piercing the best chance at quick and issue-free healing, avoid these common mistakes. Always consult with your piercing professional if you have any concerns or questions about your piercing aftercare.

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Aftercare is critical in maintaining the health of a piercing and preventing undesirable symptoms, such as itchiness. Proper aftercare is essential for the healing of a piercing. It helps to prevent infection. Infections can lead to irritation and discomfort.


Regularly clean the piercing with saline solution or soap recommended by the piercer.
Avoid over-cleaning, which can irritate the skin and disrupt the healing process.

Avoiding Irritants

Stay away from alcohol and hydrogen peroxide. Avoid ointments not advised by the piercer. These can cause irritation. It is also important to avoid creams or lotions that are not intended for piercings.

Minimizing Trauma

Avoid touching or moving the jewelry unnecessarily.
Ensure that clothing or other items do not snag on the piercing.

Keeping the Area Dry

Pat the area dry after cleaning or exposure to water; moisture can foster bacterial growth.
Avoid submerging the piercing in bodies of water such as pools, hot tubs, or lakes.

Monitoring for Signs of Infection

Be aware of symptoms like excessive redness, swelling, pus, or unusual pain which could indicate an infection.
Seek professional advice if any signs of infection are present.

Healthy Habits

Maintain a healthy diet and stay hydrated to support the body’s natural healing processes.
Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption as these can impair healing.

Changing Jewelry

Wait until the piercing is fully healed before changing jewelry to prevent irritation and potential infection.

Use Dermeleve® to Soothe The Itch ASAP

Dermeleve®, with its unique formula, stands out as one of the top remedies to swiftly alleviate itchiness from a piercingnew piercing, offering a safe alternative to topical steroids.

 A person holding up a tube of Dermeleve® cream on a street.
By following these aftercare steps, you can help prevent itchiness and other complications. These steps are associated with piercings and ensure a smoother healing process.
By being mindful of these factors and following expert guidance, individuals can navigate the healing process confidently. This approach ensures a successful outcome for their new piercing.