Cartilage Piercing 101
If you’re interested in getting more heavily involved in the piercing and body modification world, there’s no better choice than a cartilage piercing. It can be seen as a step up from more basic piercings – such as ear lobe – in almost every way, and is a more flexible piercing in the sense that there are plenty of places where you can have it.
While an ear lobe piercing only penetrates flesh, a cartilage piercing also involves, obviously, making an incision into the cartilage. As expected this sort of piercing is more painful and takes longer to heal, but the looks you can create with it can be seen as a great reward. The possibilities when it comes to this popular type of piercing are endless.
Types of Cartilage Piercings
There are number of places you can get your cartilage pierced, including the nose and ears. Cartilage piercings on the ears are the most popular type, and there are a wide range locations on them each with their own names. Here are a few of them:
These types of piercings cover every part of the ear from the rim to the very inner part. You definitely won’t be stuck for choice when deciding which bit of cartilage you want pierced.
As expected, the piercing procedure for a cartilage piercing will depend somewhat on what location you choose.
Not everyone is able to have a cartilage piercing, and you must have a well developed cartilage to be considered for having one. Generally, like most piercings, a cartilage piercing will involve the piercer passing a hollow needle through your ear (or nose) and then placing jewellery in the hole before it heals up. While a piercing gun is often used for ear lobe piercings, it is generally seen as less acceptable for cartilage piercings.
Most people rank a cartilage piercing at about 5/10 on the pain scale, and it has been described as a dull, small pinch. It's worth bearing in mind that everyone experiences pain differently, so this 'pain rating' is purely anecdotal.
Some throbbing, swelling and bleeding is to be expected following a cartilage piercing, though if you experience any abnormal levels of pain or discomfort, it's important to seek medical attention immediately.
This piercing typically takes around 3-12 months to fully heal. It's important to maintain good standards of hygiene and a stringent aftercare routine to avoid infection. Cleaning the piercing twice a day using a salt water solution and cotton balls or swabs will help to keep the area clean and free from fluid build up.
When caring for your cartilage piercing, ensure that you:
- Regularly remove any build up of ear wax from the opening of the ear canal
- Exercise caution when wearing ear buds and headphones, as they may press against your piercing and cause irritation
- Protect the piercing from exposure to perfumes, hair products, makeup or skincare products
- Avoid hats, hairstyles or accessories that will cause friction or apply pressure on the piercing
Again, the aftercare routine will vary slightly depending on which specific type of cartilage piercing you choose to have.
A cartilage piercing can accommodate a variety of jewellery types depending on where you choose to have it. Among these are:
Typically, 1.2mm/16 gauge jewellery is used in the piercing process, though smaller or larger jewellery can be worn once the piercing has fully healed. If you plan to wear jewellery of a larger gauge, we recommend discussing this prior to getting the piercing, or paying a visit to your piercer (Once you've fully healed) to ensure your piercing can accommodate some stretching and that your anatomy is suitable prior to changing your jewellery.
The information contained here within is based on our experience as one of the UK’s largest piercing chains. Please note that each individual’s experiences will be subjective and therefore each person will have a different experience of pain, healing and maintenance. For more information, please view our article guides terms and conditions page