Ear Cartilage Piercing Problems and Solutions

Ear Cartilage PiercingWhen deciding on a cartilage piercing you wish to get, it’s important to take both positive and negative aspects of this piercing type. While ear cartilage piercings are very beautiful and rewarding, it’s important to know how to take a proper care of them.

What to Consider

Ear cartilage is very sensitive and can be damaged easily. For this reason, all cartilage piercings should be performed with caution. Choosing the right piercer is essential. You want someone who is familiar with this type of piercing and someone who will know how to perform the procedure in a correct manner. Needless to say, you will need to choose a good, reliable piercing studio to get your ear cartilage piercing.

Keep in mind that while they don’t seem complex, ear cartilage piercings are trickier than they may look. While they are not among the most complicated piercings, they require someone who is familiar with this exact type of piercing. They are a bit more complex than they seem, so it’s something to keep in mind.

It all comes from the fact ear cartilage is extremely sensitive and can break easily. If done incorrectly, ear cartilage piercing can lead to numerous health problems. The cartilage may break and “melt” – meaning, you can lose part of your ear. In the more extreme cases, reconstructive surgery has to be performed to save the ear.

If this sounds too scary, don’t worry. Ear cartilage piercing is not dangerous if done by a knowledgeable, experienced professional and if you follow all recommended aftercare instructions. In these cases, chances are that your ear cartilage piercing will heal nicely and that you will enjoy it for years to come.

Problems and Solutions

Here are some common ear cartilage piercing problems and how to solve them:

  • Complicated procedure. While the procedure itself is not so complex, it should be done with great consideration. Piercing cartilage is not the same as tissue piercing. All reputable piercers are aware of this. Solution to this problem is easy: always get pierced at a reliable piercing studio and by a knowledgeable professional.
  • Pain. Ear cartilage piercings are surprisingly painful. While they are not as painful as certain types of male and female genital piercings or nipple piercings, they do hurt more than what people expect. The solution? Be informed. While ear cartilage piercings tend to be painful, the pain is not unbearable. Also, the procedure itself is not so painful – it’s that your ear becomes very sensitive afterwards.
  • Infections. Infections are dangerous for all new piercings, but with ear cartilage piercing it gets even trickier, because an infection can spread very quickly and damage your ear. The solution to this problem is to get pierced by a reliable piercer and to follow all the recommended aftercare instructions. Don’t forget to clean your piercing regularly with a saline solution or a specialized piercing cleaning product.
  • Discomfort. Ear cartilage piercings tend to cause discomfort during the initial stages of healing. This is normal. You may use some painkiller if your ear is too sensitive after the procedure. However, if the pain and discomfort persist, you should consult your doctor to make sure there’s no infection underway.
  • Soft bump on the back of the ear. These soft bumps sometimes form around cartilage piercings. They are not so dangerous, provided that they disappear quickly. The bumps usually form when you change your jewelry. To minimize this problem and risks associated with it, always use only well-crafted ear jewelry made from body-friendly materials. Never buy cheap jewelry at a mall – it’s a recipe for a disaster!
  • Long healing time. Ear cartilage piercing takes a long time to heal. There is no way around this. You need to give it that time and to perform cleaning routine every day. While your piercing may look fine after a few weeks, keep in mind that cartilage piercing takes between 3 and 6 months to fully heal. Don’t stop your cleaning routine just because your ear is not sore few weeks after getting the piercing done. Just keep the aftercare routine and your cartilage piercing will heal nicely!

Additional Tips

  • Observe your piercing to notice early signs of infection, migration or rejection.
  • During the healing time don’t wear large headphones and try not to sleep on the side where the new piercing is located.
  • Be careful: ear cartilage jewelry can easily be caught on clothes or hair. Be careful when changing clothes and keep your hair away from your ear during the initial healing time.
  • Since special care has to be made during the healing process, it’s advisable to only get one cartilage piercing at a time.
  • Stay away from cheap jewelry made of unsafe materials. Many cheap gold jewelry pieces are made with nickel, which can cause serious allergies. Always buy your jewelry from a reputable store and made of body-friendly materials.

Conch Piercing

Conch PiercingA conch piercing is a stylish ear piercing made on the specific parts of the ear cartilage. The name of this piercing comes from the fact that this part of the ear resembles a conch shell. Conches are beautiful sea creatures known for their elegant shells.

There are two main types of conch piercings: inner and outer conch. Both are very popular among many piercing enthusiasts and are among the most common ear piercings, even though they are not as popular as earlobe piercings or the Industrial piercings.

The Inner and Outer Conch Piercings

The Inner conch piercing is positioned at the cup-shaped area of the ear cartilage in the center of the ear. This area is located adjacent to the ear canal.

The outer conch piercing is positioned on the flat part between the helix and the antihelix.

Both inner and outer conch piercings are considered cartilage piercings and are often worn in pairs, though many people opt to have them only on one ear.

Important Things to Remember

It’s important to note that conch piercings tend to be tricky because they can lead to infections. However, they don’t pose any problem for an experienced pierced. The most important is to take a good care of your new piercing and listen to your body. Proper aftercare is important and you must prevent infection and inflammation at all costs.

Typically, the piercing is done with a 14 gauge needle. In case you want a larger gauge to be pierced with and to have a larger conch piercing, you need to have it done with a dermal punch. Dermal punches are less damaging. Keep in mind that cartilage can’t be stretched, so in order to be able to wear plugs and other large gauge jewelry pieces, the hole has to be cut out with a dermal punch.

Conch piercings are located near the center of the ear, which makes them relatively secure against migration and rejection.

Matching of the conch piercings is not always easy. They are relatively tricky to position to align properly, so it’s another thing to keep in mind if you decide to have conch piercings on both of your ears.

Conch piercings take about 6 months to fully heal.

Jewelry

There are many beautiful jewelry pieces you can wear in your conch piercing. The most common jewelry types are studs and rings. The studs are usually small and discreet. They are made to rest inside the ear.

Thee rings are typically Captive Bead Rings made to encircle the outer rim of the ear. Some people also opt to wear barbells.

There is also another option: conch orbital. Those are actually two piercings (two holes need to be made) connected by the ring. This way, the ring “orbits” around the ear cartilage, giving it a very unique, striking looks.

Different Ear Piercings

 

Ears, July 2011

 

Most people that are into body modifications started with getting their ears pierced. Ear piercings are the oldest, most common, less extreme and more accepted of all body modifications. Piercing the ears can be found in all different kinds of cultures all over the world throughout history. Both men and women have been known to pierce their ears. Depending on the size and shape of one’s ear, there are many different parts of the ear that can be pierced.

 When your Ear is your Piercing Ground:

The ear lobe is the easiest, most common part of the ear that is pierced. This part of the ear can be stretched and gauged because of the type of tissue located in this area. A piercing gun is used to pierce the ear lobe. The ear piercing gun is designed in such a way, so that the ear can be pierced with the jewelry and the earring back be put on the end of the post of the earring, all in one shot. The cartilage of the ear, at the top part of the helix, is another popular area to have pierced. This piercing can be pierced with a piercing gun, however, it is not recommended because the force of the gun can cause cartilage to shatter and take the area longer to heal. The other areas of the ear are usually pierced with a hollow body piercing needle.

The helix is the upper rim part of the ear that goes down the outside about half way and meets the lobe. Many people have their helix pierced multiple times and put captive bead rings in them.  The conch is the portion of the ear that looks like a “shell” adjacent to the ear canal.  A barbell or captive bead ring is mostly worn in this area. The anti-helix is a ridge located under the helix and it contains the snug and rook. These piercings are very painful and harder to heal then most of the other ear piercings. The snug, located on the lower part of the anti-helix, is pierced with curved or straight barbells. The rook, the upper part of the anti-helix close to the head, can be pierced with a curved barbell or a captive bead ring. The folds of cartilage located closest to the ear canal is call a daith piercing. This can have a different variety of small gauge body jewelry put into the piercing.  The tragus piercing is the “little nub” over top of the ear canal.  The body jewelry used for this piercing are usually a captive bead ring, curved barbell or even labret studs.  The ridge located above the ear lobe has been labeled the anti-tragus. This is another painful piercing in the ear. And this piercing usually needs a curved barbell.

Another piercing that is often done is called the industrial. The industrial is when two separate piercings are connected with one barbell. Usually piercings within the helix are used to create an industrial piercing but some use other piercings in the ear and connect them. An orbital piercing is much like an industrial piercing in the sense that it connects two or more piercings, but instead of a barbell a ring is used.