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You may have noticed that your piercing is no longer as sore as it was during the first few weeks of healing. You may even find that your piercing doesn’t hurt when you jostle the jewelry in your piercing. Or perhaps your piercing no longer forms crusties and you don’t even have to clean it anymore. Your piercing needs to be fully healed before you can swap your jewelry yourself or go swimming, among other things, so how can you tell if your piercing is fully healed?
Estimated Healing Times
The number one most important factor when it comes to determining if your piercing is fully healed is the estimated healing time your piercer quoted you. Your cartilage piercing is not fully healed after two months, no matter what signs it is showing. Piercings go through stages of healing and while it may appear more healed at a given time, it is not fully healed until the duration of the healing time has passed.
The Formation of Crusties
Piercings secrete far more lymph and therefore produce many more crusties when they are healing. A fully healed piercing will only very rarely produce a crustie. When your piercing is nearing the fully healed stage, you may notice less and less crusties. If you don’t need to clean your piercing as much as you used to, your piercing is likely getting close to exiting the healing stage.
How to Tell if a Piercing is Fully Healed from Pain and Soreness
This is likely the trickiest way to tell if your piercing is healed. A fully healed piercing will still occasionally get sore if you sleep on it several days in a row or it may experience pain while changing jewelry or being struck. However, a healed piercing will not be sore day in and day out for no reason like a healing piercing. After the initial stage of healing, your piercing should no longer experience a relentless dull soreness, so this method alone is not enough to determine if a piercing is fully healed.
Redness and the Appearance of the Piercing Holes
When you are first pierced, your piercing holes have the appearance of a wound and the tissue around the piercings will be red. After it is healed, your piercing will no longer be red. The tissue around your piercing will also not be swollen. In short, a fully healed piercing will not have the appearance of an open wound in any way. Just like pain, the appearance of a piercing will come and go throughout the healing process, so this step alone should also not be used to judge if a piercing is fully healed.
If your piercing is no longer producing lymph (“crusties”), it has the appearance of being fully healed, and it is no longer painful or sore, it may be fully healed. It’s important to remember that although your piercing can appear to be healed, if the estimated healing time has not passed, it is very unlikely to be fully healed. It’s a good rule of thumb to treat your piercing as if it is still healing for a month after it begins showing signs of being healed.