After you get pierced, your piercer will give you an indication of the total healing time. The exact moment your piercing is fully healed is hard to determine because that is depending on, amongst other things, the specific placement, the method by which you got pierced, the quality of the jewellery, how well aftercare instructions are followed and of course, how fast your body heals. So sometimes a piercing is healed before the indicated healing time but it can also take longer.
A piercing can be considered fully healed when there is no more swelling, no more redness or discolouration, not sensitive and when there has not been any build up of crusties for at least a month. If you’re doubtful about your piercing being fully healed it’s best to have your piercer check this for you before you change the jewellery or to simply wait longer. In any case it’s better to wait too long before you change the jewellery than to change it too fast as changing too fast can lead to complications and additional healing time.
With some piercings it’s necessary to downsize the bar during healing after the first swelling has subsided. Downsizen means that the initial, longer bar will be replaced by a shorter one. It can be necessary to downsize the bar because a long bar can cause quite a few issues when left in place. For example, it’s easy to get hair or your mouth mask caught on the bar which can irritate the piercing. Your piercer will tell you if it’s advised to downsize your particular piercing. Often, your piercer will ask you to come back after several weeks for a check up at which time your piercer will also check if it’s possible to downsize. It’s important to realise that your piercing is not healed when you downsize and a sterile bar should always be used. With that shorter bar you have reduced the chances of irritations, bumps and the risk of your piercing to crow crooked and it can now continue to heal safely.
You can only change the jewellery yourself after the piercing is fully healed. It’s possible to get some swelling and irritation after changing your jewellery. That usually means that it was too soon to change the jewellery or that the material that your new jewellery is made of isn’t suited to be worn inside the body. Contact your piercer when this happens, usually the best solution is to switch back to your old jewellery and give it some more time.
For an indication on healing times see the section “average healing times”