Why is my Piercing Itchy?: Is Your Piercing Aftercare up to Scratch?

Why is my Piercing Itchy?: Is Your Piercing Aftercare up to Scratch?

Have an itchy piercing? You’re not alone. Even if you follow your piercing aftercare plan to a T. Often, itchiness starts a week or more into the healing process. We answer whether it’s a concern, what causes it, and how to prevent itchy piercings.

Is It Normal for Piercings to Itch?

Fear not, an itchy cartilage piercing is perfectly normal. In fact, it’s actually a good sign. An itchy piercing is a sign that your healing is progressing properly. Remember, even though itchiness is normal, scratching is still a bad idea. 

What Causes Itchy Piercings?

When you get a piercing, your body perceives it as a wound. Swelling and scabbing are common in the first few days as your body attempts to defend itself. As the swelling fades your body may attempt to remove the jewellery.

To do so, the connective tissue around the piercing jewellery slowly moves towards the surface of the skin. This results in an itchy feeling that is essentially the body’s attempt to get you to scratch the piercing and remove the jewellery.

It’s important for your body to go through this process to heal around your new piercing, but resist the urge to scratch. Severe itchiness or a rash, however, is not normal. If you have a severe itch or rash it could be a result of: 

Improper Piercing Aftercare

When you get a piercing any qualified piercer will provide detailed piercing aftercare instructions to clean and care for your piercing. If these instructions are not followed, it’s possible to get an infection that can cause an itch. If you believe you have an infection visit a doctor or your piercing artist.

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Soaps are also a likely culprit. If you clean the piercing with a soap containing harsh chemicals or triclosan (a common ingredient in household soaps) it can cause an itch. Replace with antimicrobial clear, fragrance-free glycerol soaps or PurSan

As well, if you’re using too high of a concentration of salt in your sea salt soaks you may irritate or itch the piercings. Harsh chemicals like hydrogen peroxide are another potential risk. 

Jewellery Selection

Jewellery is a likely candidate for your itchy piercing, especially if you don’t get it from a professional piercing shop. Nickel allergies are common causes of an itch or rash, and nickel is found in many cheap piercing jewellery products. 

Our Favourite Ear Piercing Jewelry


When purchasing jewellery for a new piercing look for implant grade titanium or 14k-18k gold. These materials are lightweight and are free of nickel contamination.

We advise to keep using these materials as long as you have the piercing, but once the piercing fully heals you can replace with other materials. Just keep an eye out for signs of an allergic reaction. If you start developing a rash or an itch switch back to nickel-free jewellery.

What Can You Do to Stop or Prevent Itching?

As addressed above, the first thing to do is to make sure you are following the right aftercare and using the correct products. Then consider the jewellery. Low-quality jewellery is a potential cause. If these aren’t the source of the issue, there’s more you can do.

Try airing out the piercing. Piercings covered by clothing, such as a belly button piercing, need to breathe. Wearing light, breathable clothing can help as well as removing obstructing clothing when at home. 

Salt soaks can also help reduce itchy piercings. Keep the ratio of salt no greater than ¼ teaspoon of non-iodized sea salt to 1 cup of warm distilled water. You can perform as many salt soaks as you need throughout the day.

If you have dry skin causing the itch there are suitable ointments available. Use only small amounts of ointment. You want to have just enough to moisturize the skin without blocking oxygen from getting to the piercing. If there is any additional redness following the use of ointment stop using the product. 

Don’t scratch. The worst thing you can do for an itchy cartilage piercing is to scratch it. It makes the itching worse, aggravates the piercing, and may even cause damage.

Make Sure Your Piercing Aftercare is Up to Scratch With Expert Piercers

When it comes to your health and safety it always pays to put your care in the hands of experts. At Pierced, our professionally trained piercers always put your safety first. We will advise on suitable jewellery as well as providing personalized piercing aftercare programs.

Schedule a piercing appointment today or walk-in at our Mississauga Square One Shopping Centre

Piercing Studios Near You


Square One Shopping Centre
100 City Centre Drive, Mississauga, ON L5B 2C9

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Need an Experienced Piercer in Mississauga?

Working with an experienced piercer can make all the difference when it comes to your piercing experience. If you’re in the Mississauga, Ontario area and have any questions about ear piercing, body piercing or jewelry, give us a call or stop by our piercings studio today. We’d love to help walk you through what to expect and help you choose the right option.

Rethink piercings, rethink piercings, rethink piercings.

Rethink piercings, rethink piercings, rethink piercings.