If you’re keen to up your ear piercings game, cartilage piercings are unique and quite common outside of the usual lobe piercings. Doing research in advance is critical to find which type of piercing suits you and to find a reputable and experienced piercer who will do a good job for you. After all, no body wants to land in the hospital emergency room from a nasty infection!
Don’t let your piercer use a gun! A gun doesn’t actually do the piercing for you. All it does is use blunt force, to force a pointed shaped piece of jewellery to create a hole so it can cause a lot of unnecessary damage to your tissue. Why would you want this, especially when there’s a chance that the gun can jam? Guns can also be hard to completely sterilise – especially with all the plastic parts involved. Reputable salons would only use a needle for piercings! Needles are more accurate, can be 100% sterile, working like a scalpel to leave only minimal damage to tissue.
Don’t base your choice on price only! It’s natural that some places will charge more and others charge less, but the places that charge more will generally use higher quality equipment, provide better service and give you a better piercing. The piercer will walk you through the process, put on sterile gloves, sterilise the jewellery and prepare the already sterile piercing equipment. They’ll clean and wipe around the area where you’ll be pierced and asked to sit or lie down if you feel more comfortable this way. They’ll mark the spot on your ear, so you can check you’re happy with the position before they pierce you and complete the piercing as quickly and gently as they can.
Piercings will generally be made from titanium, niobium or surgical steel, as they’re stable and unreactive metals.
Once the piercing is completed, they’ll talk you through the steps for how to care for your new piercing so it can heal as quickly as possible.
As for pain levels, as everyone’s threshold differs slightly – it’s hard to give a ballpark pain level for each type of cartilage piercing. In any case, it shouldn’t be anymore painful than an earlobe piercing especially if professional and reputable piercers are using needles instead of a piercing gun.
It’s commonly known as the ‘top ear’ piercing or the ‘ear cartilage’.
The forward helix is the small piece of skin at the very front of the helix.
Approximately 3 – 6 months.
A type of cartilage piercing that’s located on the inner most part before the actual ear hole or the flat part of the outer ear.
Approximately 6 months – a year.
This piercing is in the inner part of the cartilage fold and is great for hoops. As it’s tucked in a little further into your ear, it’s less likely to get bumped when brushing your hair, putting on/off clothes etc – so many find that it heals better.
Approximately 3 – 6 months.
This piercing is the little oval bit of cartilage that sticks out from your face and is outside of the ear canal. Tragus piercings looks really cool with all kinds of earrings in it. It’s in an unobstructive place and isn’t easily irritated from daily activities such as brushing your hair, wearing headphones or changing your clothes.
Approximately 4 – 6 months.
The rook cartilage piercing is an upper ear cartilage piercing, just next to the forward helix, above the tragus. The cartilage here is slightly thicker than on other parts of your ear, hence there’s a slightly longer healing time.
Approximately 12 – 18 months.
Cartilage piercings care tips
Your piercer may recommend a particular solution you can use to care for your new piercing. After washing your hands, use the solution, soap and water or saline to clean the piercing twice daily. It’s often the simple things that are most effective and using ice may help to relieve any redness and swelling. Using alcohol may irritate your new piercing, so it’s best to steer clear of this, as it can dry it out and cause the piercing wound to bleed.
Don’t remove the jewellery until the piercing heals – not even temporarily, as the hole may close up or get infected. You may however, turn your new piercing, but only when wet!
Keep free from immersing your new piercing into bodies of water that may contain irritants or germs. Otherwise, keep clear from cosmetics, care when changing clothes, so that the piercing doesn’t catch on the fabric and care when talking on the phone or your mobile – as germs can transfer from it into your piercing. Change your pillowcase and sheets periodically to minimise the chance of infection.
Cartilage piercings will take longer than regular lobe piercings to heal. The key is to be patient and accept that you’ll need to be careful to nurse it back to health.
Have fun with your new piercings!