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Piercing Is Crooked

Help, My New Piercing is Crooked!

So you left the shop with your new piercing looking just right. You can’t wait to show it off to your friends. It’s an exciting time. But over the course of the coming week it starts to look a little off. What should you do? Don’t panic. This is a common problem that usually resolves itself.

Why Does My New Piercing Look Crooked?

A new piercing shouldn’t look crooked when you leave the piercing shop. But over the coming week, swelling can make the piercing look askew. Swelling is a natural response to piercings as your body begins to heal. As the swelling fades, the piercing should return to normal. Swelling usually goes down after 1-2 weeks, but some people heal a little faster or slower. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce the swelling sooner.

Tips to Reduce Swelling

In addition to sometimes causing piercings to appear crooked, a swollen piercing can be painful. Although swelling will go away on its own, there are a few easy tips to reduce swelling faster.
  • Hands Off!
  • Cleaning
  • I.C.E.
  • Aftercare
  • Anti-Inflammatory Medication

Hands Off!

The more you touch your piercing and the surrounding area, the longer healing takes. A new piercing is sensitive and touching will irritate it and may prolong swelling. For ear piercings, you may want to avoid hats and/or wear hair up to avoid unnecessary contact.


Although we just told you to keep your hands off, you still need to keep your piercing clean. In our Is My Ear Piercing Infected? post we suggest a chamomile soak to relieve swelling. For a chamomile soak, you brew a chamomile tea. You then use the tea bag to gently apply the solution to the swollen area. In addition to reducing swelling, this also cleans the piercing and relieves pain. You can do as many chamomile soaks as you want. Just make sure the temperature is warm, but not hot enough to irritate your skin.


R.I.C.E. is one of the best known first-aid acronyms. It means rest, ice, compress, and elevate and is a great strategy to reduce swelling. Rest helps your body recover. While you heal from a piercing, make sure you get enough sleep. During the first few days, it’s usually best to take it easy as well. Ice is the go-to for swelling around the world. You can wrap ice or an ice pack in a clean paper towel and carefully apply it to the swollen area. Ice reduces local blood flow, relieving pain and reversing swelling. You can ice as frequently as you want, but should only leave it on the area for 10-15 minutes at a time. You can skip compression. For injuries, compression is valuable in reducing swelling, but for piercings it’s better to avoid touching. Elevation is another way to reduce blood flow to an area. For piercings on the face and ears, this is pretty easy, as your head is usually elevated already.


Following your piercing aftercare regimen means faster, safer healing. Your piercer will include all the necessary information for recovering from your specific piercing. If you have any questions or concerns with your piercings, give them a call.

Anti-Inflammatory Medication

Painkillers are a lot of peoples’ go-to solution for any injury. With piercings, you can take painkillers to reduce swelling, but we recommend waiting for 24 hours. They are best avoided until inflammation occurs as they can actually inhibit healing.

What if the Piercing is Still Crooked After the Swelling Recedes?

Once the swelling goes down, the piercing should go back to normal. If it still looks crooked, you should consult an experienced piercing artist to discuss your options. This happens most often with at-home piercings, where the initial piercing has a high likelihood of being crooked. Another possible cause is a severe infection or intense pulling on the piercing. If the skin inside the piercing is damaged, it can heal incorrectly. Your piercer can assess the damage and determine what the best steps are. In some cases, you can just continue with aftercare - in others, it may need to be pierced again.

Can You Re-Pierce?

If a piercing is done incorrectly or heals poorly, it sometimes needs to be re-pierced. It’s a simple solution, but it’s a lengthy one. You need to wait until the piercing closes over and heals to get it pierced again. If you pierce it again to soon, you’ll end up with the same problem again. Your piercing artist can give you an estimated timeline, but you’ll likely have to wait at least 2 weeks. In the meantime, continue following aftercare to promote faster healing and prevent infection. If the piercing closes over an infection it will create a host of new problems.

Get Expert Piercings & Advice

When you get pierced by experts, you get more than a high-quality, safe piercing. You get piercing advice and support that you can rely on throughout the healing process. Our piercing shop has Toronto & Vancouver’s first piercers to receive APP memberships. The Association of Professional Piercers (APP) is dedicated to safety-focused training. When you book a piercing at Chronic Ink you get top piercing artists, who put your safety first.
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