When it comes to ear piercings, you probably know about the basic earlobe piercing nearly everyone has (which could include you). It’s the harmless piercing that you got when you were born or had done at Claire’s.
While the traditional lobe piercing is always admirable, stepping up your ear jewelry game means stepping out of your comfort zone. One of the easiest ways to do that is with a cartilage piercing, aka the helix piercing located on the outer rim of your ear.
If you’re thinking about getting a single or even a double cartilage piercing, you probably have a lot of questions: how much will it cost? Will it hurt? How long does it take for a cartilage piercing to heal? And what type of jewelry will go well with it?
Here’s everything you need to know about this piercing.
What are Cartilage Piercings?
This type of ear piercing involves piercing a hole in one of the cartilage-filed parts of your body (e.g. your nose or ears). In terms of your ears, a cartilage piercing sits in an area where there is rigid ear tissue. There are also different types of cartilage piercing styles, which include the following:
- – Rook. This piercing is located in the antihelix, which is also known as the fold beneath the rim (or helix) of your upper ear.
- – Helix. The most popular style of cartilage piercing, a helix piercing sits on the upper and outer rim of your ear.
- – Earhead. Otherwise known as the ‘forward helix,’ this piercing is done on the outer rim of the ear.
- – Tragus. This piercing goes through a small piece of cartilage that sits in front of your ear canal.
- – Conch. There are two types of conch piercings: outer and inner. The outer conch piercing (aka the “orbital”) is pierced through the ear cartilage’s outer part. On the other hand, the inner conch piercing is pierced through the middle ear. The outer conch piercing often requires two piercings while the inner conch requires a single stud.
- – Daith. This piercing is done through the inner fold of the ear’s cartilage. According to some studies, daith ear piercings can alleviate migraine pain and ease anxiety due to the compression of specific pressure points.
How Much is a Cartilage Piercing?
In general, this ear piercing can cost between $35 and $85. The final price tag depends on which part of the ear cartilage is being pierced. For example, tragus piercings are cheaper compared to the other types of cartilage piercings. If you get a more complex piercing, you’ll be paying a higher price. If you go for an orbital and industrial piercing, expect to pay $45 to $85.
Are Cartilage Piercings Painful?
Pain is subjective; everyone’s got their personal pain scale. When it comes to ear piercings, it depends on how thick the tissue is in the pierced area, as well as how nerve dense it is. So with cartilage piercings, the rook piercing is less painful compared to the conch piercing.
There are also a number of factors that separates your level of pain from others. These factors include the skill of the piercer, quality of the needles, the client’s level of anxiety, and their comfort level with their piercer.
With all of these in consideration, know that cartilage piercings do hurt more than basic earlobe piercings or even constellation piercings. So, if you’re not a big fan of painful piercings, you might want to back out of this one. However, if you’re up for a challenge and want to level up your piercings, a cartilage piercing is worth the sting.
How Long Does It Take for a Cartilage Piercing to Heal?
Cartilage piercings heal longer than soft-tissue piercings through your eyebrows or earlobes. The healing period can last anywhere from four to 12 months. The reason behind the longer healing time is the body’s additional effort to heal the new hole since the stud will go through the cartilage instead of just the soft tissue.
To help your cartilage piercing heal faster, practice the following:
- Clean your piercings. Regularly cleaning your piercing keeps it germ-free, which reduces your risk for infection. Gently clean the area with a warm area and antiseptic soap. Clean the piercing twice a day for the best results.
- Soak your piercing in saline. Dissolve a teaspoon of salt into a cup of water then soak your piercing in the solution several times a day. This cleans the area and softens crusted material.
- Refrain from touching your jewelry. If you keep touching your new piercing with unwashed hands, you increase your risk for an infection. Avoid touching your new piercing unless you’re cleaning it.
When Should You Get Immediate Medical Attention?
Redness and minor swelling are typical with cartilage piercings. However, in some cases, severe symptoms happen. When they do, you could be suffering from an infection.
See a doctor immediately if you are experiencing any of the following:
- Fever and chills
- Gray, green or yellow discharge
- Smelly or thick discharge
- Uncomfortable pain
Although it’s tempting to do so, it’s not advisable to remove your cartilage jewelry until your symptoms subside. If you take the stud out while you still have symptoms, you might experience a painful abscess.
Are Cartilage Piercings Safe?
As long as your piercer uses clean equipment and knows what they’re doing, you should be fine. For your peace of mind, ask if your piercer uses a needle instead of a gun. Needle piercing is safer and healthier compared to gun piercing. Plus, gun piercings are not designed to pierce through the cartilage.
To ensure your safety, always do your research before you get pierced. Ask your piercer plenty of questions: how many years of experience do they have? Do they use sterile equipment and disposable needles? Also, make sure that your piercer is a licensed professional.
Cartilage piercings are fun additions to your piercing collection. While they can be painful, proper care and working with a licensed piercer ensure you’ll have a safe recovery after. So, if you want to add some style to your look, go and get your cartilage pierced.