Pierce or repierce?
July 13, 2011 9:39 PM   Subscribe

My ears were pierced about 20 years ago. I stopped wearing earrings about 4 years ago. My left ear is still fine but the hole in the right has partially closed up. Best way to proceed?

The right ear has closed at the back - there's a perfectly good hole at the front and the earring goes almost all the way through but is stopped by what appears to be a thin layer of skin. I would prefer that the original hole is reopened.

Is this something that a regular beautician/salon place can do or do I have to go to a specialist piercer to get this sorted? I don't want a fresh piercing because I can imagine the fun trying to find the correct hole when there's two to choose from. I'd prefer not to have to resort to a DIY solution.

What does the hive mind think?
posted by ninazer0 to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (13 answers total)
My previous similar question.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:45 PM on July 13, 2011

Go to an actual piercing shop. A salon will just try to re-pierce it with a gun again. Piercing shops have needles and tapers and much more experience poking holes in people's flesh.
posted by mollymayhem at 9:54 PM on July 13, 2011 [5 favorites]

If it's really thin, I'd go with DIY, with a needle. If you've been poking at it and it's sore or swollen, wait for that to go down. I've done this several times, and for me, it actually hurts less than merely mucking around with an earring trying to get it to go through. That is stretching and bruising tissue, whereas a needle is just making a tiny hole through the thin scar tissue that has formed.

Go into anywhere that does piercings really. But a piercing gun may hurt more than you or a friend using a needle honestly (tissue bruising). And if the hole is still partially there, there is absolutely no reason for them to pierce anywhere else, so if they suggest that, go elsewhere.
posted by Elysum at 9:55 PM on July 13, 2011

When I"ve had that issue (with *very* slight resistance at the back), I've had luck trying to poke the earring through from the back, once, and then putting the earring in the normal way. I've never actually felt like I was piercing skin, though - maybe just clearing out gunk or something.
posted by needs more cowbell at 10:02 PM on July 13, 2011

if you're worried about messing it up, go to a piercing studio. but honestly, you can probably just re-pierce it yourself with a needle.
posted by woodvine at 10:38 PM on July 13, 2011

I would not go to someone who pierces using a gun... those things cannot be aimed with any precision and you're just as likely to end up with a new hole.

Are you sure the hole has totally closed up in the back? I stopped wearing earrings for a few years and was sure the hole had closed in the back when I couldn't get any earrings in. Thanks to a friend's suggestion, I lubed up an earring's post and gently pushed it through, and lo and behold, the hole was found.
posted by keep it under cover at 11:18 PM on July 13, 2011

anecdotally, i had to repierce my ear to wear fancy bridesmaid earrings to a friend's wedding a couple of years ago, and so i did it with a needle and stuck the earrings in. the piercing itself wasn't bad, but my ear was tender for about 2 weeks after that just from the swelling, and they hurt so bad that i had to actually take the earrings out post-photographs and drink copious amounts of alcohol to help dull the pain. (ok, not really for the pain but it helped)

moral of the story - if you're going to repierce for a special event, and you have delicate ears, be prepared!
posted by kerning at 11:24 PM on July 13, 2011

I personally would DIY it with a clean needle (and I have done this multiple times), but if you don't want to, go to a piercing shop.
posted by cmgonzalez at 11:40 PM on July 13, 2011

One of the problems with DIY is that you can end up with the hole not being one neat straight hole anymore. I--and I was like thirteen when I did this--attempted to reopen mine by just putting my earrings back in and pushing harder. (I hadn't at that point worn anything since elementary school.) On one side that worked fine. On the other side, well, afterwards there was one way the hole went that basically dead-ended, and another way that the earring would actually go through, but it took so much fiddling that I totally gave up on earrings at that point. You can't see what you're doing when you're working on your own ear.

Just go to somebody who actually knows piercings. None of that gun business.
posted by gracedissolved at 4:35 AM on July 14, 2011

I just did this same thing a few months ago. Ears pierced at 13, hadn't worn earrings in almost ten years, thought for sure they had closed up. I went to a piercing/tattoo studio and the guy ran a taper (a long needle that was very thin at one end) through them. Barely even felt it. For ten bucks, it was pain-free, sterile, and done by a professional.

I wouldn't DIY it. Just go to a good piercing studio and they'll take care of you.
posted by phunniemee at 6:24 AM on July 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

A professional piercer is going to be way more likely to gently stretch/reopen the hole. If not, they'll be able to get it repierced with little trauma.

Stay AWAY from piercing guns. They are the devil.
posted by pixiecrinkle at 7:19 AM on July 14, 2011

I repierced mine with a needle not long ago. I know it's not technically the correct way to go, but there was no way I was paying £10-£20 for them to do what I could at home. It hurt a little, but nowhere near as bad as kerning's hurt (thank god!). Anyway, a little ice, a sterilized needle, and a lot of wincing and ta-da! A re-pierced ear.
posted by good day merlock at 8:27 AM on July 14, 2011

If you're going to reopen it yourself, either by shoving an earring through (and hoping it's simply shrunk and full of dead skin cells as opposed to actually sealed shut) or poking the last bit with a needle and then putting an earring through, make sure the earring you choose to wear for the next 4-6 weeks is made of hypoallergenic metal (like titanium or high quality surgical stainless steel). Dirty[1] needle plus good quality jewellery is likely to lead to a better outcome than a sterile needle and poor-quality metal jewellery.

A friend who can actually see the back of your earlobe (and the exit hole or what's left of it) will have an easier time of it that your trying it yourself.

[1] Dirty meaning straight out of the sewing box, not biologically contaminated.
posted by K.P. at 11:55 AM on July 14, 2011

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