Ear piercings can encounter complications if earrings are too tight or too loose for the thickness of the earlobe. Earrings that are too tight can promote swelling, uncomfortable pinching and a buildup of fluids inside a piercing. Wearing jewelry that is too loose can result in the site of a piercing becoming raw and irritated from the earring frequently moving back and forth. Adjusting earring backs is a simple process that can eliminate these problems.
Hold the earring post up to the side of the earlobe. Line up the front of the earring with the front edge of the earlobe and hold it parallel with the piercing. Note how far the post clears out the back of the earlobe.
Count the notches on the post. The notch closest to the front of the earring is the tightest setting and the furthest one is the loosest. Some earrings also have a middle notch.
Place the earring in the earlobe piercing. Push the back of the earring onto the post until you hear the back click into the tightest setting, while holding the front of the earring.
Move the earring back and forth to see how much room is between the piercing and the earring back. Check to see if the post is visible between the back of the earring and the earlobe. If the post cannot be seen at all, move the earring back to a more loose setting by pulling the back of the earring toward the end of the post while firmly gripping the front of the earring.
If the earlobe skin is being pinched in the tightest setting, move the earring back to a more loose setting.
Never share earrings with another person—bacteria could be transferred and result in irritation or infection.
Maude Coffey retired after 10 years working as a professional body modification artist in the tattoo industry. She is certified in principles of infection control and blood-borne pathogens. Coffey received additional training and classes, such as anatomy, jewelry standards and aftercare, from the Association of Professional Piercers. Coffey aims to educate about safe tattooing and piercing practices while writing for various websites.