Thinking of getting a cartilage piercing? For many people who have only ever had their ear pierced, cartilage piercings might seem like a sensible next step, but you may have heard some negative things about them. They look great and can really make you stand out but this is a very different experience from your standard ear piercing. Before you get the piercing it’s worth knowing exactly what you’re getting into. Here are some important facts about cartilage piercings.
You need to choose the right piercer
This type of piercing carries more risk than standard earlobe piercings so choosing the right place to have the initial procedure carried out is important. The most likely time for you to pick up infections is always going to be during the initial piercing process. That means you should minimize your risk by picking a piercing shop that is completely licensed, has a good local reputation and is experienced in performing cartilage piercings.
There is a range of piercings available
Even if you’ve decided this kind of piercing is right for you, there are a number of ear cartilage piercings that you can choose from. One of the most popular is called an industrial, construction or bar piercing and it is actually a double piercing. The two furthest sides of the helix are pierced and a bar is inserted between the two. Given that two pierced holes are created, this is one of the more painful cartilage piercings. Other parts of the ear cartilage that can be pierced include the rook, the tragus, the anti-tragus and all around the helix.
They take longer to heal
If you’ve only ever had your earlobe pierced you might be used to a relatively fast healing process. Earlobes can be completely healed as quickly as within a month of the piercing. A cartilage piercing will take much longer. The standard healing time is anything up to around six months and many people find their piercings take far longer.
Keeping it clean is essential
Once again if you’re used to the easy healing of an ear lobe piercing you might need to prepare yourself for the amount of care and attention you’ll need to give your cartilage piercing. To keep the piercing clean you’ll need to rub it gently using a cotton wool pad or a cotton bud soaked in a saline solution. You’ll need to keep up this routine for months while it heals, so it can be quite a high maintenance piercing.
Antibiotics often won’t work on infections
The reason keeping it clean is so important is that you need to avoid infections at all costs. Cartilage piercings take so long to heal is that there is no blood flow to them. For the same reason, antibiotics are often ineffective because they cannot reach the infection through the bloodstream.
Prepare to change your sleep habits
One of the most difficult things to adapt to with a cartilage piercing is the challenge of sleeping. As mentioned before, the healing time for a piercing of this kind can be six months or more. That means that your ear will be tender and uncomfortable for this time. If you like to sleep on your side you will likely need to change your habits in bed. It will simply be too painful to sleep on your ear for the duration of the healing process.
Your body might reject it
One of the most frustrating aspects of the cartilage piercing is that your body can reject it, no matter how diligently you clean it. Cartilage piercings often develop a bump which can ultimately lead to scarring and damage if you persist with the piercing.
To give yourself the best chance of your body accepting the piercing you should ensure you’re choosing a metal that you are not sensitive to. Many people have allergies and sensitivities to metals that they aren’t even aware of. If you can, choose titanium for your jewellery, as this is free from nickel, which is commonly problematic.
Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer working together with Body Matters Gold, an online superstore for stunning body jewellery.