It takes at least six weeks for an earlobe piercing to heal and soreness to disappear. An ear cartilage piercing may take anywhere from several months up to a year to heal completely.
During the healing period, it is important to only wear jewelry made from non-toxic metals, such as gold or stainless steel, to avoid skin irritation. Base metal jewelry may increase the chances for an allergic reaction and should be avoided, especially for people who have never had an ear piercing before and may not know whether they are sensitive to these metals. If the piercing becomes very painful, has green discharge, has red streaks or is accompanied by a fever, consult a doctor.