WHAT IS A CARTILAGE PIERCING?
Whereas most body piercings go through only the skin, cartilage piercings also go penetrate a piece of hard connective tissue which, as you may have predicted, is known as cartilage. What separates a cartilage piercing from a piercing such as an earlobe or eyebrow piercing is that piercing your cartilage is a bit more involved.
A cartilage piercing is done in two steps:
- Step one is the actual piercing with the needle
- Step two involves the placement of the desired jewelry
TYPES OF CARTILAGE PIERCINGSThere are several types of cartilage piercings that you can get, but let’s go over the three most popular kinds:
- TRAGUS PIERCING
- The tragus piercing is in the part that is above your earlobe on the inside of your ear.
- HELIX PIERCING
- The helix piercing is the most common type of cartilage piercing and is a simple piercing on the outer the upper part of your ear.
- INDUSTRIAL PIERCING
- This is similar to the Helix piercing, except an industrial piercing has two or more holes that go through your cartilage that are connected by the same piece of jewelry.
DOES GETTING A CARTILAGE PIERCING HURT?
If you happen to not be a fan of needles, then you’re actually in luck! Whether or not the initial piercing hurts, and to what extent, depends in large part on how high your pain tolerance is, but the initial piercing isn’t typically what hurts, and when it does it's over in an instant.
The best way to describe what a cartilage piercing feels like to imagine yourself getting unexpectedly pinched in the ear by a younger, annoying sibling. That’s pretty much what it feels like, which in retrospect, isn’t too bad at all.
Having said that, the actual act of getting it pierced isn’t usually the painful part; the pain factor (though mild) is more about the next couple of weeks.
Cartilage piercings take between 4-6 months to heal at a minimum. Initial swelling can subside in 2 weeks, although it's more common to last around 2-6 weeks.
So, if you’re nervous about needles, then the anticipation of the needle will hurt way more than when it’s being used. Other than that, your ear may feel hotter than usual accompanied by a slight discomfort when you clean it.
Cartilage piercings are, at most, slightly uncomfortable until the piercing is fully healed. In other words, they are not as painful as you might think they are!
HOW LONG DOES A CARTILAGE PIERCING TAKE TO HEAL?
As previously stated, the main time frame for healing is between 4-6 months. But, cartilage piercings can be deceiving in that, just because you can’t feel it anymore, doesn’t mean that the piercing is finished it’s healing process.
It takes about nine full months for a cartilage piercing to heal. In that time, after the initial two weeks of discomfort, you may feel crustiness behind your earring as well as a slight wet feeling. These symptoms are typical and nothing out of the ordinary when it comes to cartilage trying to heal. As long as the piercing is kept clean, any possible infection will be easily prevented.
AFTERCARE AND CLEANING
Your original jewelry should stay in until you are ready to downsize, which for a standard helix piercing and most cartilage piercings, is 12 weeks. Removing the earring for even a day puts it at risk for closing up, so be sure that the piece of jewelry you choose is something you can live with for a little less than a year.
You will usually receive an ear cleaning product from the original piercer, but on the off chance that they don’t have any in stock, cleaning the piercing is generally done with a sterile saline soak like Neilmed Neilcleanse.
WHAT TO DO BEFORE GETTING A CARTILAGE PIERCING?
Before walking into a studio, it is best to keep your hair up and away from your ears. It is also recommended that your ears are thoroughly cleaned before the piercing is performed, your piercer will clean your ears until suitable for piercing.
It is also important that you research the piercing studio beforehand. The last thing you want to do is end up with a unhappy piercing or issue. At Pierced.co our team is highly experienced and dedicated to providing the best service and care. We’re here to answer any and all questions you may have beforehand, and to make you feel comfortable at every step of the process.
INFECTIONS AND RISKS
It is important that you stay away from ponds, lakes, oceans, Jacuzzi’s, and pools as these bodies of water have many different types of bacteria that could disrupt healing and cause irritation, infection and other issues.
Furthermore, try not to touch it with your hands as your hands are full of unnecessary germs that will infect your piercing. It is also recommended that you keep your hair away from your ears to prevent it from getting caught on the earring as well as avoiding that side of your face while sleeping.
Your piercer will provide aftercare instructions for cleaning and sanitation. These instructions usually recommend a single clean and a single irrigation per day.
If you notice swelling, oozing, radiating heat or excessive pain, reach out to your piercer or your family physician to check for a piercing infection.
In some cases, your body may actually reject or be allergic to certain types of metals in jewellery. In such cases, your piercer may be able to swap your jewellery out for something less irritating.
HOW MUCH DO CARTILAGE PIERCINGS COST?
The average price of a cartilage piercing is about $40-$50, depending on the type of jewelry you choose. It is typically more expensive to get your piercing done by a professional because they are licensed and excellent at what they do. So although getting it done at a mall may save you money, the $30 you’ll save is not typically worth the risk in the long run.
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WHERE DO I GO TO GET A CARTILAGE PIERCING?
It is important to remember that any cartilage piercing should never be done with a piercing gun. Piercing guns will cause your cartilage to shatter and prevent it from fully healing. Piercing guns are also extremely painful, both during the piercing process as well as the time it takes to heal, if it ever actually heals.
It is best to get your cartilage pierced with a hollow needle and should always be performed by a licensed tattoo or piercing studio, like Pierced in Mississauga or Newmarket.
READY TO GET YOUR OWN CARTILAGE PIERCING?
The right piercing studio can make all the difference in having a pleasant experience and a piercing that will be free from infection, perfectly placed and ready to show off to friends and family.
If you live in the Newmarket, Mississauga or Toronto area and are considering getting your own cartilage piercing don’t hesitate to reach out. Our team of talented piercing professionals would love to learn more about how they can help and will answer any questions you may have.
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Need an Experienced Piercer in Mississauga?
Working with an experienced piercer can make all the difference when it comes to your piercing experience. If you’re in the Mississauga, Ontario area and have any questions about ear piercing, body piercing or jewelry, give us a call or stop by our piercings studio today. We’d love to help walk you through what to expect and help you choose the right option.