The cartilage is arguably one of the most popular parts of your body to pierce, besides the earlobes. In today’s ever-growing and constantly changing body modification industry, there are various choices in both piercing location and jewelry type. When it comes to the cartilage, there are a number of different locations to adorn with jewelry, each and every one unique. If you want to learn all about this trendy piercing, keep on reading.
The cartilage is made up of hard connective tissue. The process may be more painful than a standard lobe piercing and will require additional healing time.
There are many types of cartilage piercings, the most common being the helix, which is the area within the curved part of your upper ear. Other options include the conch, daith, tragus, orbital, industrial and the snug. Each has its own distinctive look and varying levels of pain and aftercare, which should always be thoroughly explained by your piercer along with any complications that may occur.
If you’re unsure of which jewelry to pick, your piercer will be more than happy to help you choose a gauge size, style and will even assist you in picking a prime location for your new bling.
When you’re ready, the piercer will mark your ear to give you an idea of there the piercing will go. Once you approve of the designated spot, the piercer will puncture your cartilage with a hollow piercing needle and insert the jewelry you chose immediately after. The whole procedure takes only a few brief moments.
You ear will undoubtedly swell, which is totally normal! It’s important to choose jewelry with enough room for the healing process to begin.
Once the jewelry is in place, don’t touch it! We know how exciting a new body modification can be, but it is in your best interest to keep your fingers away from the piercing site. This will ensure no infection takes hold, causing painful oozing and scarring to occur. It is also important not to twist or touch the jewelry as this can cause a keloid to form. A keloid is scar tissue that grows over and around the original trauma site and can become enormous, if not taken care of properly.
Since there is little blood flow to the cartilage, healing can take quite some time. Healing time can range anywhere from 4-months to 1-year, so it is important you are careful and vigilant with your cleaning routine! Be sure to clean the site twice a day, preferably in the morning when you wake up and then again at night, before going to sleep. You can use the standard salt soak procedure, which requires 1-cup of warm water (distilled, if possible) mixed with ¼ teaspoon of non-iodized salt. Pour some of the mixture into a shot glass and hold the piercing within the water for 5-15 minutes. If dunking the piercing is not possible, soak a cotton pad with the liquid instead and carefully clean your piercing. Make sure to always keep the jewelry in place during healing, as the site can close fairly quickly if it is left bare!
A cartilage piercing is definitely more hands-on and involved than most other piercings but the esthetic once all is said and done is worth the extra work!