Cartilage Piercing: Facts, Precautions, Aftercare, Pictures

Cartilage piercings are the latest rage among fashion conscious people as they certainly offer a unique and attractive look. Cartilage is located outside the rim of the ear. It can be described as the area that is significantly located at a distance from the ear canal. There are quite a few people who sport multiple piercings within the cartilage of same ear as it can be easily pierced without much of a trouble. These piercings definitely look lovely and amazing without getting too extreme.

How is Cartilage Piercing Done?

The cartilage part of the ear consists of not only flesh and skin, but connective tissues which makes the area a bit hard. It is important to ensure that the piercing is done by an experienced and well reputed piercer to avoid complications in future. Generally, piercing guns are used for piercing different parts of the ear, but that certainly depends on the piercer. The area is clamped and pinched so that the needle can pass through easily. As the needle pierces the cartilage, it leaves behind a plastic shaft through which the jewelry is fed. The plastic shaft is removed once the jewelry has been properly inserted to the pierced area.

Cartilage Piercing Photos
Cartilage Piercing Photos
Cartilage Piercing
Cartilage Piercing

Cartilage Piercing Kit

  • Sterilized Surgical Stainless Steel Jewelry Piece
  • Disposable Latex Gloves
  • Sterilized Catheter Needle (16 gauge)
  • Sterilized Disposable Forceps
  • Elastic Band
  • Alcohol Skin Cleansing Swab
  • Needle Receiving Cork
  • After Guide

Cartilage Piercing Location

Cartilage is referred to as the flexible, tough tissue forming the outside of ears. Ear piercings of this type generally do not limit to one place and can extend to different parts of the ear. There are various types of cartilage piercings which include Helix, Anti-helix, Conch, Daith, Tragus and anti-tragus. The piercing usually takes three to twelve months to heal completely which is based on how much area has been pierced.

Cartilage Piercing Pictures
Cartilage Piercing Pictures

Cartilage Piercing Pain

The pain tolerance of every person is different, but the overall procedure involved with cartilage piercing isn’t that painful. However, it definitely causes a bit of discomfort as a the foreign object is introduced to the body. Initial sensation of the needle getting inserted feels like dull and small pinch. The piercing will obviously hurt a bit after the procedure has been performed, but nothing too extreme. The first two weeks are mostly the days when the discomfort reaches the optimum level and begins to subside gradually. In case, the pain gets unbearable, a doctor should be consulted. Another way to ease of the pain is by applying ice to the pierced area which helps in reducing the soreness and the swelling.

Cartilage Piercing Bleeding

Similar to every other type of body piercing, cartilage piercings also cause some amount of bleeding initially. However, it is important to remember that piercing should be a little larger than that of jewelry gauge to be inserted, so that the skin heals properly between the cartilage and the jewelry. The bleeding generally results from puncture of the blood vessels, but there is nothing to get worried of as it heals naturally. In case, the area gets infected and results in bleeding or puss, a doctor should be consulted to avoid issues in future.

Cartilage Piercing Images
Cartilage Piercing Images

Cartilage Piercing Infection

Among the different types of ear piercings, cartilage piercings come with some risks which require proper care and attention. These piercings are quite susceptible towards infections and lack of blood within the cartilage worsens the infection to a great extent. Symptoms of cartilage piercing include:

  • Redness of the area
  • Swelling
  • Excessive Pain
  • Pierced area gives off heat
  • Pus Discharge

A major reason behind the occurrence of infections in cartilage is wearing jewelry of wrong type or quality. Apart from that, if the pierced area is frequently touched with unclean hands, it can lead to bacterial infection of the cartilage. Sea salt soaks helps with the healing of the pierced area quite fast. However, if the condition gets severe, then it is recommended to visit the doctor. Antibiotics course may be recommended by the doctor depending on the severity.

Cartilage Piercing Jewelry

When it comes to cartilage piercing jewelry, heavier or 18 gauge jewelry is always preferable as smaller gauges have chances of migrating through skin. The material of the jewelry needs to be made of eighteen carat gold or surgical stainless steel or titanium or PTFE. Nine carat silver and gold should always be avoided as tissues of the cartilage are strained permanently by these materials, especially in case of new piercings. The highly popular jewelry types include:

Cartilage Barbells Piercing
Cartilage Barbells Piercing
Cartilage Stud Piercing
Cartilage Stud Piercing
Cartilage Hoop Piercing
Cartilage Hoop Piercing
  • Barbells: It is better to opt for barbells that are internally threaded. In case of external threads, it should be ensured that threads are not exposed.
  • Bead Rings: Unlike barbells, rings are a lot cheaper. Sleepers should be avoided as the piercing might get damaged by sharp edges present at joints.
  • Studs: Studs are perfect for cartilage piercings provided that sufficient room is available to expose piercing during cleaning of the piercing.

Cartilage Piercing Migration

The process of movement of a piercing from the original place towards the skin surface is known as migration. Migration often results in rejection of the jewelry from the body. If the pierced area has adequate tissue to provide support to the piercing, then chances of migration are lessened by a great extent. Moreover, jewelries that are perpendicular to skin tissue put less strain on it and reduce chances of migration. The design and size of jewelry also plays a crucial role towards the piercing migration. Jewelries with thin gauge have greater chances of getting rejected. Curved bars are often preferred by most piercers as they act against the process of migration. Cartilage piercing like every type of piercing faces the same risks of migration. Periodic checking and following the advices from the piercer definitely reduces risks of migration.

Cartilage Piercing Rejection

It is the natural tendency of the body to get rid of foreign objects introduced to the skin. Unlike, eye-brow or belly button piercings, cartilage piercings have lesser risk of getting rejected. Poor quality of jewelry, thin gauge, insufficient tissue, etc. are some of the biggest factors behind migration and rejection of piercings. Rejection can also result from emotional stress, physical trauma as well as harsh product for after care. At times, it may happen that despite everything being done in a proper manner, the jewelry still gets rejected. After-care recommendations are required to be followed carefully along with minimal handling or movement of the jewelry to ensure proper healing of the piercing.

Ear Cartilage Piercing
Ear Cartilage Piercing

Cartilage Piercing Precautions/How to Stop It from Rejecting

These types of ear piercings usually take around three to 12 months to get completely healed. It is crucial for a person to routinely follow all the aftercare precautions so as to quicken the healing process as well as minimize chances of rejection.

  • The pierced area should be cleaned at least three times of the day. Additional cleaning should be avoided as it can lead to irritation of the wound.
  • Application of sea salts soaks with the help of cotton balls should be carried out at least three times a week. This helps to get rid of bumps in and around the pierced area.
  • Movement of jewelry should be minimized and hands should be washed thoroughly before handling the piercing.
  • Jewelries made of gold, sterling silver, glass and titanium have less chances of getting rejected. Another important point to keep in mind is that, jewelries with small gauges should be avoided especially during the initial stages of healing.
  • In case of any signs of infection, a visit to the healthcare practitioner is must to get proper attention and care.
  • Substances like alcohol, methylated spirits, betadine and hydrogen peroxide should be avoided for cleaning the piercing.

How Long Does Cartilage Piercing Last?

The closing up of the cartilage piercing primarily depends on the time it has been at the pierced area. In case of new piercings, it only takes a matter of few days to close up. Cartilage piercing unlike, other types of piercings usually take a lot more time to close up even if the pierced area has been kept without jewelry for quite a period of time.

Cartilage Piercing Prices

The pricing of cartilage piercing generally varies from one shop to the other. However, several factors come into count regarding the price of the cartilage piercing like the reputation of the shop, experience of the piercer, type of jewelry used and more. In most cases, the price of getting the cartilage pierced usually varies from $30 to $50. There are also a few shops that offer the piercing service for free provided that the jewelry is bought from them.

Cartilage piercing variations

Double cartilage piercing

Here, two perforations are made on any part of the cartilage.

Double Cartilage Piercing
Double Cartilage Piercing

Triple cartilage piercing

As the name suggests, it refers to three piercings of the cartilage.

Triple Cartilage Piercing
Triple Cartilage Piercing

Middle cartilage piercing (Mid cartilage piercing)

The middle region of the cartilage is perforated and adorned with stylish jewelry.

Middle Cartilage Ear Piercing
Middle Cartilage Ear Piercing
Mid Cartilage Ear Piercing
Mid Cartilage Ear Piercing



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