A Conch Piercing is one of the more unusual ear piercing types, even though it’s popular with some people. It is one of the cartilage piercings, which makes it a bit trickier to perform than earlobe piercings. Cartilage piercings also tend to be more painful. However, this is not a reason to give up if you really desire to have a Conch Piercing.
There is a certain confusion about Conch Piercings. Namely, there are two distinctive types of Conch Piercings: Inner and Outer Conch. People sometimes confuse the two and are unsure about their similarities and differences. If you wish to get one of those (or both!) you need to know which is which and what their main differences are.
Inner Conch Piercing
Inner Conch is by far the more popular variant. If no closer distinction is mentioned, chances are that “Conch” will refer to Inner Conch piercing. Inner Conch is done on the specific part of the cartilage in the center of the ear, adjacent to the ear canal. There is a small cup-shaped area that is pierced.
This specific placement is characteristic of Inner Conch. All Inner Conch piercings are done on this cup-shaped cartilage area, or else the piercing in question cannot even be considered “Inner Conch”.
If the area is large enough, it is possible to have a large gauge Inner Conch piercing. However, the only way to achieve this is with a dermal punch. Cartilage piercings are almost impossible to stretch properly, so if you want to have a larger Inner Conch piercing it’s best to go with a dermal punch.
Outer Conch Piercing
Outer Conch piercing is a more unusual placement. It is performed on the flat part of the ear cartilage, ideally between the helix and the antihelix of the ear. The placement itself is tricky, because it has to be done on this specific spot to “count” as an Outer Conch piercing, or else it would be a simple Helix or Antihelix piercing.
In fact, these spots on the cartilage are located near each other so there is often some confusion whether the piercing in question is Outer Conch or not. Ideally, an Outer Conch piercing should be done on the cartilage but away from the rim/edge, unless you are going for a Helix piercing.
However, those who do not care about the names and simply want a piercing on this particular spot have nothing to worry about – you can simply tell your chosen piercer the exact spot where you wish to be pierced. You don’t need to know the name of the piercing or stress about getting it right.
Another way to perform an Outer Conch piercing is through dermal punching. This way, it is relatively easy to have a large gauge piercing in the cartilage, which would otherwise be very difficult (or impossible) to achieve.
Inner vs Outer Conch: The Verdict
As you can see, Inner and Outer Conch Piercings are very similar (hence the name), so it’s easy to confuse one for the other. Both are cartilage piercings done on the inner side of the ear, though Inner Conch is more so (as the name implies).
The main difference is the placement: Inner Conch has a very specific placement on the cup-shaped area near the ear canal. Outer Conch doesn’t have a special placement so there is more freedom when performing this piercing type.
Another potential difference is jewelry. Typically, Outer Conch allows for more space and freedom when choosing jewelry (for example, Captive Bead Rings), while the Inner Conch typically uses simple studs. However, this is not set in stone and there is always room for some experimentation.