Can I Downsize My Piercing Myself?

When you get a new piercing, the correct aftercare is essential to healing your piercing. Whether you’ve just gotten a helix piercing, a tragus piercing, or a standard lobe piercing downsizing your piercing comes after your piercing has healed and is crucial to keep your piercing healthy. Downsizing your piercing seems easy, but is it possible to downsize your piercing yourself?

Downsizing your piercing yourself is not recommended because your piercing can become infected. Instead, professional piercing studios use special tools to downsize your piercing and insert a smaller piece of jewelry without leaving the piercing without jewelry and not affecting the healing process.

Although it’s not the best decision to downsize your piercing yourself, it is still possible to do it on your own. However, there is a higher risk that your piercing may not heal properly and get infected if you downsize your piercing yourself, and most professional piercers advise against doing so.

Can You Downsize Your Piercing Yourself?

You can downsize your piercing yourself, but it is not recommended. Downsizing is changing your original pierced jewelry to a smaller size. Typically this happens between 2-8 weeks after getting pierced, but it can be longer depending on how your body heals and what type of piercing you have.

It’s not recommended to change your piercing before this because your piercing is still healing and can be very sensitive. When pierced for the first time, the piercing site swells, and longer jewelry is required when you first get pierced. Once your piercing heals, the longer jewelry is swapped out for a shorter piece.

You may have overlooked the risks when considering downsizing your piercing yourself. Infection is one of the biggest reasons you shouldn’t downsize your piercing. Besides this, most stores do not sell the right size jewelry to downsize; this can leave you with a piercing that does not heal properly and is too tight or too loosely fitted.

Some piercings only need to be downsized once, while others require a few downsizes, especially if that type of piercing is prone to more swelling than other piercings. When downsizing your piercing yourself, this is an essential factor to consider.

How To Downsize Your Piercing Yourself

It’s not the best approach to downsize jewelry yourself, but if you need to downsize your piercing, there are a few essential things you should consider when downsizing your piercing.

This is just a simple guide on how to downsize your piercing yourself, but it’s best to return to your piercing store to downsize your piercing.

  1. Make sure your piercing is healed. Your piercing should be fully healed before you consider downsizing your piercing. A good indication that your piercing is healed is that it isn’t tender or painful. You will also need to ensure there is no discharge and that your piercing has completed the appropriate recommended healing time.
  2. Find the right size jewelry. You can generally downsize to smaller earrings sold in-store with a standard ear lobe piercing. However, with other cartilage and tongue and belly piercings, it can be more challenging to determine the correct size. This being said, with anything smaller, your piercing hole will shrink over time, but in some instances, if the jewelry is too small, you will not be able to downsize your piercing.
  3. Prepare a saline solution. Once you have determined that the piercing is healed and you have the correct jewelry size, you can prepare a saline solution to clean the new jewelry and the piercing site. To make the saline solution, you can use 8 cups of filtered, boiled water with ½ a teaspoon of non-iodized salt. Add the water and salt together and wait until it cools. Then, place the saline solution in sterilized containers to use for cleaning your piercing and the new jewelry.  
  4. Remove original jewelry. Once you have cleaned the piercing site, remove the original jewelry and add the new jewelry. Make sure you clean the piercing site before inserting the new jewelry to limit the risk of infection.
  5. Clean the piercing. Once the new jewelry is in, clean the piercing site again with some cotton wool and saline solution. Make sure the jewelry is secure and a good fit.

Signs That You Should Downsize Your Piercing

It can be hard to determine whether it’s the right time to downsize your piercing or not. If your piercing has healed earlier than the recommended healing time, or you feel like it has healed because it is no longer tender and swollen, it may be time to downsize. There are a few crucial signs which let you know your piercing has healed and it’s time to downsize. These include:

  • Your jewelry is moving around a lot
  • You’ve completed the healing time
  • There are no signs of swelling, tenderness, or infection
  • Your jewelry does not fit snugly anymore
  • Your jewelry looks long

It’s best to check with your professional piercer before downsizing. They will be able to evaluate the piercing and determine if it’s the right time to downsize or if your piercing needs more time to heal.

What Happens If You Don’t Downsize Your Piercing?

In some instances, if you don’t downsize your piercing, you’ll be completely fine. However, in other cases, if you don’t downsize your piercing, you can end up with keloids, bumps, irritation, migrating of your piercing, and a skew piercing.

Downsizing is always recommended, and the initial jewelry used for your piercing is not meant for long-term use. After your piercing is healed, the original jewelry becomes too big, and it’s important to downsize your piercing to keep it healthy and avoid infection.

Not all piercings need to be downsized. For example, microdermal piercings and surface piercings never need to be downsized. Some piercings can go either way, including industrial piercings and navel piercings. One of the most important piercings to downsize is oral piercings; if never downsized, they can damage your teeth and gums.


You can downsize your piercing yourself, but there are risks involved. Going to a professional piercing studio is always recommended to downsize your piercing and avoid the risk of infection. Healing time can vary for different piercings, and some piercings may need to be downsized a few times.

Some of my favorite designs, tattoo books, and aftercare products, selected for you

working on tattoo at my studio
Working at the studio on one of my projects

Thank you for reading my article, I hope that you have found it helpful. If you would have trouble finding ideas for your tattoo, wonder what is meaning of design that you have found or what to buy for aftercare, to make sure that your tattoo will be healing quickly and easily, here are some of my favorite products in one place, hope that this will also help.

Design and tattoo ideas

For some ideas you can have a look at those 3 books with hundreds of designs that I use with my clients, they are available on Amazon for Kindle or in classic, paper version (links below):

Tattoo meaning

If you would like to read more about the meaning of different tattoo styles and designs before you will decide what you would like to have, I can recommend a book that was really useful for me when I was starting my tattoo adventure – it’s “Conscious Ink: The Hidden Meaning of Tattoos” by Lisa Barretta (through the link you can find it on Amazon for around $10).

Tattoo aftercare

The skin at the tattoo site often dries out. To prevent it and speed up healing for my clients, I usually recommend one of those tattoo aftercare balms (you can find them on Amazon):


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