Normal ear lobe piercing has been popular for many decades in various civilizations, if not for centuries. Using pierced earlobes to hold decorations such as earrings and danglers is the most common form of body jewellery after finger rings, although it has lately become fashionable to use other parts of the ear, or even of the body, in order to be different. The tragus was the obvious candidate for this, and tragus piercings have risen in popularity over the past several years.
What is Cartilage Piercing?
Cartilage is constructed, not just of skin and flesh as your earlobes are, but also of a tough connective tissue intended to offer structure to features in your body. Your joints use cartilage to protect the bones from abrasion as they rub together, and your rib cage contains a great deal of cartilage tissue. With respect to your face, your nose is mainly cartilage, as is the main structure of your ear which is becoming increasingly popular for this type of decoration.
Forms of Cartilage Piercing
Cartilage is more difficult to pierce than the soft tissue of an ear lobe, and special care should be taken when it is carried out. There are several forms of cartilage piercing that are commonly used, these being:
Your helix is the outside edge of the ear, which curls back to form a sound channel, directing sound round into the main part of your middle ear. A standard helix will penetrate the ear once while an industrial piercing will penetrate it twice.
The conch gets its name from the seashell it resembles. It is the central cartilaginous area of your ear, and fairly easy to pierce. If you decide to have conch rings, they are fairly difficult to match to each other.
A pierced tragus is another common form of cartilage piercing. The tragus is the triangular nub of cartilage close to your cheekbone and slightly above earlobe. This is quite a thick piece of cartilage, which is perhaps why it has only relatively recent become popular as an alternative to other parts of the ear. It is commonly decorated with rings, barbells and tragus bars.
Pain of Cartilage Piercing
The pain involved in having cartilage pierced depends on the location, the diameter of the jewellery and whether the tissue is pierced once or twice. Orbital and industrial styles are double pierced, and are more painful than single. Even if you don’t feel a lot during the process itself, you will know about it during healing – but it’s worth it.
The time taken to heal again depends on where it is and how large the hole is. To facilitate healing, your jewellery must be sterile or bacterial infection will hold up the healing process. You can expect to wait anything from 2 months to a year for a cartilage piercing to heal completely, and it is important that you keep the jewellery in while it is healing – it can be taken out, for only for a few minutes or so to thoroughly wash and disinfect the wound.
A teaspoon of salt dissolved in a small cup of warm water is good for washing your ears, and you could also use a commercial solution such as H2Ocean.
Cartilage piercing should be carried out with a needle, and by a professionally trained piercer. A gun can cause great damage to cartilage and bad scarring. Never try it yourself, but go to a professional body piercer who should be professionally trained.