The Complete Guide to Ear Piercings Including Cost and Care Advice



Ear piercing is something a man, woman or child can have done. This is a simple procedure wherein a person will have an ear piercing gun used to force an earring through their earlobe. While this sounds painful, it is done with an earring that has the end of what looks like a needle.

Let’s talk about this process a little more in-depth, see what costs you can expect and what care advice must be followed.

General Ear Piercing Guidelines

Piercing can be done in a variety of ways. The following are not uncommon:

  • Piercings in both ears.
  • Piercings in one ear.
  • Multiple piercings in one or both ears.

The choice is obviously yours. Each one will cost the same. If you have never had your ear pierced before, there is a typical protocol that is followed. When you sit in the chair to have your piercing done, you can expect the following:

  1. The earlobes are cleaned with alcohol. Usually, these cleanings pads will have a numbing agent to help dull the initial pain.
  2. The professional will mark the exact spot where the earring will enter the ear using a marking pen.
  3. The professional will look to ensure that the earring holes are both in the same spot before proceeding.

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Now, your ear has been prepped, and the last step is to have the ear pierced. This is done through a piercing gun which resembles an industrial nail gun, but is much smaller. Essentially, the professional will only need to lineup the gun to the whole marked in step 2 and will pull the trigger.

That is usually all that is needed to have your earrings put into place. There are some very important initial care instructions that will need to be followed to ensure that the piercing does not get infected or become closed. You must remember to follow these initial recommendations exactly.

Initial Care

The piercing is done with what is called a “starter.” This is a special type of earring that is basically a stud. While you may be tempted to remove the earring and put in a pair of beautiful diamond earrings, you must wait.

The hole that is made will close up very fast. In fact, some people will remove their earring just for a minute before realizing that the skin is already blocking the hole. Professionals recommend the following:

  • Leave the starter stud in for at least 4 – 6 weeks.

This will give the earring enough time to cause the skin to heal around it. Once this period is done, you can take out your earrings and put in different ones. It should be noted that even people that have worn earrings for years can have their holes close up entirely.

Sometimes, the skin layer in the hole is small and can be pierced. Other times, it will be too thick, and you will need a professional to pierce the ear again.

For the next 6 to 12 months, you will only want to keep your earring out of your ear when putting in a new pair.

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The professional that pierces your ear should provide after care instructions, but if they do not, the following will suffice:

  • Wash the ear once per day.
  • Use a cotton swab to dry the area.
  • Place antiseptic on a cotton swab.
  • Rub the antiseptic onto the pierced ear.

That is all that is needed to properly care for a recent piercing.

Signs of Infection

There is a chance that an infection will develop. This is usually within days or weeks from the original piercing date. A few signs to look for are:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Discharge

You can expect redness and swelling for a few days after the initial piercing, but it should not continue any further. If your ear has become infected, you will want to:

  • Apply a warm compress to the ear 3 – 4 times a day.
  • Continue using the antiseptic.
  • Apply an antibiotic cream to the area.

If your symptoms are not better within 24 hours, you will want to contact a doctor. Infections can occur for many reasons including, improper piercing or post care.

Continual Care Advice

Once you are able to take out your starter earring, you will be able to continue with care as normal. Continual care is rather simple, and there is not much that needs to be done. A typical cleaning routine will be as follows:

  • Monthly cleaning of the earring. Once per month, remove the earring and clean it. You will want to use rubbing alcohol on the back of the earring as well as the earring itself. You can do this with a cotton swab. Afterwards, dry the two pieces and put the earring back in.
  • Infections can occur later on, and you will want to be on the lookout for the symptoms we mentioned previously. If an infection does occur and you have been wearing earrings longer than 6 months, you should be able to remove the earring while the infection heals.

Routine ear cleaning is obviously needed. Aside from looking for signs of an infection, care from this point on will be rather simplistic.


Piercing costs vary greatly from one place to another. According to CostHelper, the average procedure costs between $20 and $55. High-end piercings may also cost as much as $80 at some places. Cosmetic upgrades, such as a more intricate starter earring, will add to the price if such upgrades are available.

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In some rare cases, you may receive a discount for multiple piercings at one time. If you want to pierce a single ear more than once, you will want to ask your piercer what discounts, if any, they will provide.

The age of the person getting the ear pierced will have no effect on the cost of the piercing. Generally speaking, a baby that is 3 months old can have their ear pierced. There are no age restrictions, but if the child’s lobe is too small, you may be advised to wait longer to have the ear pierced.