Can you go Swimming after Getting your Ears Pierced?

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By Faiq

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of rocking a brand new pair of earrings. But if you’ve recently gotten your ears pierced, that refreshing dip in the pool or ocean might have to wait. 

Here’s the lowdown on why swimming after an ear piercing is a no-no, and how to ensure a smooth healing process for those sparkling new lobes.

Why Swimming is a Risk for Fresh Piercings

Taking a dip with a fresh ear piercing might be tempting, especially on a hot day, but hold your horses! Pool chemicals, bacteria-laden natural waters like lakes, rivers, and even the ocean can wreak havoc on a new piercing. 

These environments harbor a multitude of  microorganisms that can easily infiltrate the sensitive wound, potentially causing irritation, infection, and delaying healing. So, for a smooth and speedy recovery, it’s best to wait for your piercing to fully heal before diving back into your favorite swimming spot.

Increased Risk of Infection: 

While a dip in the pool might be tempting, especially with fresh piercings, it’s important to prioritize healing. Swimming exposes new piercings to bacteria-laden water, increasing the risk of infection

These pathogens can easily enter the wound, causing redness, swelling, pus, and pain. If left untreated, infections can lead to scarring and even force removal of the piercings.

So, for a smooth and successful healing process, it’s best to wait for your piercings to fully close up before making a splash.

Irritation from Chemicals: 

Beyond the risk of infection from bacteria, swimming can irritate a new piercing due to the chemicals present in the water. Chlorine, commonly used in pools, and salt, found naturally in ocean water, can disrupt the delicate healing process at the piercing site. 

This disruption can manifest as discomfort, redness, and increased crusting around the piercing. So, it’s best to wait for your new piercing to fully heal before taking a dip to avoid unnecessary irritation and ensure a smooth recovery.

How Long Should You Wait Before Swimming?

Drawing from my personal journey and expertise, patience truly is the key to ensuring your new ear piercings flourish without complications. It’s generally recommended to wait for at least 6 to 8 weeks after getting your ears pierced before plunging into the pool or ocean.

This timeframe allows the piercing ample time to heal and close properly, warding off any potential infections or complications that could arise from premature exposure to water.

Reflecting on my own experience, adhering to this advice paid off, as it ensured my piercings healed beautifully and remained trouble-free.

First 24 Hours: 

While chlorine in pools and bromine in hot tubs do a fantastic job of keeping the water generally sanitary, the initial moments after exiting the water present an elevated window for bacteria introduction. 

To minimize this risk, especially for open wounds, prioritize showering or taking a bath as soon as possible. This simple step significantly reduces the chance of bacteria exposure and potential infection.

First Week: 

While freshly pierced ears might make you want to dive right into the pool, prioritizing dry healing during the first week is crucial. Swimming exposes new piercings to a vulnerable environment teeming with bacteria, potentially causing a stubborn and unwelcome infection.  

Wait until the piercing forms a complete closure and consult your piercer for the green light before taking the plunge.

Weeks 2-6: 

While the worst of the infection has likely passed by this stage, your little one’s ears might still be sensitive. Cleaning becomes even more crucial during this recovery period. After swimming, gently flush out any debris or leftover saline solution trapped in the ear canal with warm water. 

This helps prevent a build-up that could irritate the tender ear lining and potentially lead to another infection. Avoid using cotton swabs, as they can push crusties further in and damage the eardrum. If you notice any persistent drainage, pus, or pain, consult your pediatrician to ensure a complete recovery before returning to the pool.

illustration of How Long Should You Wait Before Swimming

Can You Ever Swim with New Piercings?

Absolutely! But only after they’ve fully healed. Here are some additional tips for minimizing risks when you finally do take the plunge:

Clean the Piercing After Swimming: 

Even a quick dip can introduce lingering bacteria to your new piercing, potentially causing infection. To minimize this risk, after swimming, thoroughly clean your piercing with a sterile saline solution. 

This gentle yet effective method removes any leftover chlorine, saltwater, or bacteria that could irritate the piercing or hinder healing. Remember, a clean piercing is a happy piercing!

Avoid Harsh Chemicals: 

While the allure of a refreshing dip might be strong, especially during the hot summer months, chlorine commonly found in swimming pools can be detrimental to a new piercing. Chlorine’s disinfection properties, while necessary for pool maintenance, can irritate the delicate healing tissue. 

This irritation can manifest as redness, stinging, and even prolong healing times. So, it’s best to forgo swimming pools until your piercing has reached a point of natural healing, typically several weeks to a few months depending on the piercing location.

Waterproof Bandage (Use with Caution): 

While swimming with new piercings is generally discouraged, some opt for waterproof bandages as a last resort for brief dips. Here’s the catch: these bandages, while creating a moisture barrier, can trap irritants like chlorine or bacteria against the healing wound. 

So, use with caution: opt for breathable options for short durations only, and prioritize thorough cleaning after swimming to minimize infection risk. Remember, a healthy soak trumps a quick swim when it comes to fresh piercings! 

Listen to Your Body: 

While the aftercare routine you follow is crucial for a smooth healing process, your body also has a lot to say about when it’s ready for a dip in the water. Listen to your piercing: Pay close attention to signs like pain, discomfort, redness, or swelling. 

These indicate the piercing is still vulnerable and submerging it in a pool or ocean, even if clean, can introduce unwanted bacteria and hinder healing. Caution is key! If in doubt, wait it out and prioritize a healthy healing process for worry-free swimming later.

Alternatives to Swimming While Healing

Don’t fret if you have a pool party planned during your healing period. Here are some fun alternatives that allow you to enjoy the summer weather without jeopardizing your piercing’s health:

Relax by the Poolside: 

While taking a dip might be tempting after getting a new piercing, especially during the warmer months, submerging it in  water, even seemingly clean pools, can disrupt the  aftercare routine and hinder healing.

Discomfort, pain, redness, and swelling can all be exacerbated by chlorine, bacteria, and the physical act of swimming itself. But fear not! You can still  relax by the poolside with these alternative activities: curl up with a good book, enjoy a refreshing drink, or simply soak up the sun (with sunscreen, of course!)

Hit the Beach (Out of the Water): 

While swimming may be off-limits during recovery, the beach still beckons!  Embrace the opportunity to soak up the beautiful scenery and fresh ocean air.  

Unfurl your beach towel and build magnificent sandcastles, or take a rejuvenating beach walk, letting the sand massage your feet. Enjoy the simple pleasures the coast offers while your body heals.

Plan Indoor Activities: 

While healing, staying active doesn’t have to mean submerging yourself. Plan Indoor Activities: Channel your inner explorer and get lost in the captivating exhibits of a museum or art gallery. Craving social connection? Organize a game night with friends for an evening filled with laughter and friendly competition. 

If the heat is bothering you, seek refuge in an air-conditioned movie theater and get swept away in a captivating story. Plan these activities around your healing process, and remember, staying active indoors can keep you entertained and engaged while you heal.

Illustration of Alternatives to Swimming While Healing
Alternatives to Swimming While Healing

Remember: Prioritize Healing for Happy Ears

While the excitement of rocking new earrings is real, remember patience is key to happy ears. Fresh piercings need time to heal, and avoiding water sources like pools and oceans is crucial. 

By following a proper aftercare routine provided by your piercer, you minimize the risk of complications. This includes gentle cleaning with a saline solution and keeping the area dry. Prioritizing healing during this initial period paves the way for a smooth journey with your new piercings. 


Ear piercings and refreshing summer swims are both highly alluring, but for a smooth healing process, prioritizing patience is key. While the wait might feel long (think warm months!), avoiding swimming during the initial healing period significantly reduces the risk of infections. 

By following your piercer’s aftercare tips, you’ll be well on your way to fully healed ears. Then, the wait will absolutely pay off in the long run! You’ll be able to confidently enjoy your beautiful new earrings with a dip in the pool or a celebratory swim party. 

So, listen to your ears and wait for the vital healing period to be over before making a splash. There are plenty of other fun summer activities to enjoy in the meantime, and the wait will only make that first post-healing swim even more special!

Check also: Where Can i Get My Ears Professionally Cleaned?

Frequently asked Question

Can I swim right after getting my ears pierced?

Absolutely not! It’s best to wait at least 6-8 weeks for your piercings to heal completely before swimming. Swimming exposes the fresh wound to bacteria and chemicals that can cause infection and irritation.

What’s the worst that could happen if I swim with a new piercing?

Swimming with a new piercing increases the risk of infection. Symptoms like redness, swelling, pus, and pain can arise, potentially leading to scarring or even requiring medical attention.

Is there a difference between swimming in a pool, ocean, or lake?

Yes! All bodies of water harbor bacteria, but chlorine in pools and salt in ocean water can be particularly irritating to fresh piercings, further slowing down healing.

I heard about waterproof bandages for piercings. Can I use them while swimming?

While they might seem like a convenient solution, waterproof bandages can trap moisture and irritate the piercing if not used properly. Use them with caution and only for short durations. They’re not a substitute for proper healing time.

My ears feel a little itchy after swimming with my new piercings. Is this normal?

No. Itchiness can be a sign of irritation or infection. It’s best to remove yourself from the water immediately, clean the piercing, and monitor for any further discomfort. If symptoms worsen, consult your piercer or a doctor.

Can I take a shower with my new piercings?

Short showers are generally okay after the first 24 hours, but avoid submerging the piercings directly. Use lukewarm water and a gentle soap, followed by thorough drying.

How can I clean my piercings while they heal?

Your piercer will provide specific cleaning instructions, but typically, a saline solution is recommended twice a day. Avoid harsh chemicals like alcohol or hydrogen peroxide.

What if I accidentally get my piercings wet before the healing period is over?

Don’t panic! Gently pat the area dry with a clean, lint-free cloth and clean the piercing with saline solution as usual. Monitor for any signs of irritation or infection.

My healing time seems longer than expected. Is this okay?

Healing times can vary depending on your individual body. If you’re concerned, consult your piercer for personalized advice. They can assess the healing progress and address any potential issues.

I can’t wait to swim with my new earrings! What are some fun alternatives for the summer while my piercings heal?

Don’t fret! There are plenty of ways to enjoy the summer. Relax by the pool with a book, explore museums or art galleries for some cool indoor activities, or have a game night with friends. Patience now will reward you with healthy piercings and future swimming fun!

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