It's always good to have an understanding of the time it could take to heal specific piercings before you make the decision to book an appointment for a procedure. General times listed below may vary based on the gauge used, the material used, and the method of the piercing. Your body might heal more slowly (or more quickly) than the norm, but don't get impatient if your navel piercing is still somewhat raw after six weeks. Ahead is a list of typical healing times for several popular above the waist body piercings.
What Is the Gauge?
The thickness of the barbell going through a body piercing.
Earlobes: This piercing is in the center of your earlobe with a standard healing time between four to eight weeks. Healing times may be longer for upper lobe piercings positioned above the standard earlobe piercing.
Cartilage: Also known as a helix piercing, which is positioned at the outer rim of the ear through the cartilage. Healing times vary between eight to 12 months. This type of piercing was very popular in the 1990s, but stars like Sienna Miller and Miley Cyrus are rocking this look today.
Daith: Located on the folded cartilage just above the ear canal, standard healing time varies between four to eight months, give or take a couple months.
Rook: A rook piercing is located above a daith piercing through the cartilage fold on the upper inner ear. There is a wide range of healing times on this piercing, mostly due to how important aftercare is for this area. Expect the piercing to be fully healed between six to 18 months.
Eyebrows: This surface piercing should heal within two to four months.
Nostril: A nostril piercing using a nostril screw should heal between four to six months.
Lower Lip: A lower lip piercing should heal within two to three months.
Septum: A septum piercing is located in the middle section of the nose. Average healing time using a 16-gauge piercing is two to four months.
Tongue Piercings: Surprisingly, tongue piercings take less time to heal than most ear piercings. It is actually one of the fastest healing body piercings. Expect an average healing time of three to six weeks.
Navel: Don't expect to take your navel piercing out anytime soon after getting it done. Average healing time is 6 months, but may take up to a year.
Nipple Piercings: Female nipple piercings may take longer to heal. Healing times vary between three to six months.
After Piercing Care
You may not be able to speed up the healing process, but there are ways to ensure you don't slow it down. Be sure to keep your piercings clean and use jewelry made from safe metals while they're healing. Ask your piercing pro for their aftercare recommendations and be sure to follow them!
Do not clean your piercing with hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol. Both can cause irritation and prolong the healing process.
If your piercing becomes infected or scar tissue starts to form, your healing time will be delayed. If you notice any redness, itching or irritation beyond what is expected, see a physician right away as your piercing might be infected.
Perry AW, Sosin M. Reconstruction of ear deformity from post-piercing perichondritis. Arch Plast Surg. 2014;41(5):609-612. doi:10.5999/aps.2014.41.5.609
UW Health. Body piercing healing times. Updated June 26, 2019.
Association of Professional Piercers. Aftercare.