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An Introduction To: Cartilage Piercings

Cartilage piercings are a versatile piercing, and are most people’s first forays into piercing! Besides lobes, cartilage piercings of various types are our most common appointment, and we can see why. 

A lot of people will walk into Rogue and ask for a cartilage piercing. This is not super helpful because the whole ear is made of cartilage! There are many placements that are available to be pierced, and we will be discussing them today. 

Cartilage piercings come in all different places. From the traditional helix piercing, to conches, to faux rooks and flat piercings, there is a lot you can do with cartilage!

Here are a few options of simple cartilage locations. Most cartilage piercings (even the ones with silly names like snonch!) will boil down to these shown above.

Getting Your Cartilage Piercing

After booking your appointment, the first thing to do is fill in your consent form on the morning of your appointment. This frees up time in your slot for extra time choosing jewellery! We stock a huge range of jewellery for cartilage piercings. Choosing your jewellery can be a bit of a long process as we stock over 500 different options. We think it’s totally worth it though as everyone’s personal style and taste is catered for!

A stunning faux-rook, pierced with a singular Neometal Prong.

For cartilage piercings, we strongly advise you to start with a flat-back labret as opposed to a ring. Labrets are comfortable, do not move about during the day and are generally less irritating for your piercing. Initial rings have to be large in order to avoid issues with swelling, and the large diameter introduces its own issues in regards to movement, snagging and the rotation of bacteria into your piercing. Labrets are a much better choice! You can swap to a ring after roughly 6-8 months. 

Once you have picked your jewellery and received your aftercare speech, it’s time to head to the piercing room! As with all our piercings, we first sit you down and discuss placement. Your anatomy and personal preferences will dictate the piercing’s final location, but there is a lot of wiggle room with this so we like to ask what you want from the piercing! Then, we draw some precise marks on the ear where you would like the piercing to go. Once we double and triple-check the position with you, we are happy to pierce! From there, you lie down for the piercing. We find that a comfortable reclined position helps to stop you from moving about, and prevents that funny lightheadedness that can sometimes occur after you get pierced. Win-win! 

The piercing itself takes literally seconds from beginning to end. We pierce with a super-sharp, high-quality tri bevel needle that makes the process a smooth and pain-minimised experience. Then it’s another quick moment and the jewellery is installed for you. The piercing itself is not overly uncomfortable. It feels like a quick pinch, then you may feel some spreading warmth as your ear has already begun the healing process! You can read all about the stages of healing in my blog post here. Then ta-dah, you have a new piercing! 

Healing a Cartilage Piercing

There are lots of articles on the internet that say that healing cartilage piercings is so hard, so difficult, and really quite fraught with danger. The simple fact is that when you follow the basic rules of aftercare, it is a straightforward process! Healing a cartilage piercing takes anywhere from 6-12 months, depending on the location and how well your body deals with a new piercing. The general rules of healing are to keep it clean, dry and secure. The less you do, the better really! 

Cartilage piercings are a little more sensitive than lobe piercings when it comes to snags, knocks and pressure. Cartilage has little direct blood-flow, so any irritation naturally takes longer to dissipate. The main issue with cartilage piercings and irritation is that people want to feel like they are ‘doing something’ to help themselves heal. This has led to quite a lot of internet cure-alls being touted as ‘magic cures!’ In fact, the best thing you can do is be gentle and let your body do what it does best without the irritation of harsh lotions and potions. You can read more about the causes and cures of lumps and bumps here. 

General Piercing Maintenance 

So you have passed the 6 month mark and your cartilage piercing is healed – Congratulations! You now have a happy and healed piercing that, with good care, will last you the rest of your life. So, now what?

My well-healed conch piercing is currently holding a BVLA Marquise Fan. I remove the end to clean once every two weeks to keep myself a sparkling example to our clients!

Caring for a healed piercing is a lot like caring for the rest of your body. Piercings tend to collect a mixture of oils, skin cells and shampoo residue over time. If you never wash your piercings, things can get pretty gross! Keep it clean by simply rinsing in the shower, occasionally with the aid of a very gentle soap. I like using a gentle fragrance-free face wash because it is much less harsh than body wash. Simply massage a little bit of soapy foam around your piercing, and rinse well. Once you have finished your shower, gently pat dry. And that’s it! 

Every so often you may want to clean the jewellery itself. This can be done either while the jewellery is in your ear, or by removing just the end. We recommend cleaning your healed piercings like this roughly once a month. Simply remove the end (leaving the labret in place) and use a very soft toothbrush and mild soap to polish any residue from the crevices in your jewellery. Rinse well (do not drop it down your sink!) and then return to its home in your ear!

So there you are, a simple overview of cartilage piercings. I adore cartilage piercings because you can go as big or small as you want, and have as many as you can fit!

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you again next week for another blog. In the meantime, check out our social media for more awesome piercings!

Kat x

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