:: Ear Cartilage ::
Ear cartilage piercings are like exotic plants. There is a vast array of exciting possibilities as far as location, angles, connections, and jewelry options. They look great to own. But the extreme sensitivity and slow regeneration of ear cartilage makes constant care essential to healing. Many people do not have the information and/or patience to heal them successfully. If you are interested in giving it a shot, we can help you with the information. The patience is up to you.
As you can see from the photos, many different types of ear cartilage piercings are possible, depending mainly on the shape of your individual ear. Everyone has slightly different folds and surfaces, so customizing projects to your ear is the best way to go. Unlike the softer tissue of the lobe, cartilage is rather unforgiving, so you really canŐt force it into unnatural positions. If you do, you tend to pay the price in pain and scarring. If you work with the structures you already have, and take care not to put pressure on them, you have a greater chance of a happy piercing.
The main difference between cartilage and lobe piercings is healing time. While an ear lobe will heal in 6 - 8 weeks, cartilage piercings may take 6 months to a year to be fully settled. The piercing may be achy or tender for a good bit of this time. And you must take care not to sleep on that side, hold the phone against it, play with it or otherwise put pressure against the piercing. If you are not gentle with it, cartilage will often build up large lumps of reddish or skin-colored scar tissue around the piercing.
Eliminating the cause of the problem will often help the scar tissue dissipate (e.g. stop sleeping on it), but it can become permanent. (See the Infections and Irritations section of Aftercare for advice on scarring.) So it is definitely in your best interest to treat cartilage piercings well from the start. Along with navels, ear cartilage can be some of the most difficult piercings to heal.
One final note on ear cartilage: Never never never let anyone pierce your cartilage with an ear piercing gun! You are virtually guaranteeing yourself an extended healing time with extra pain and scarring. Guns were not designed for piercing structural tissue, and can cause damage. Furthermore, the studs the guns use are too short to allow for the swelling caused by gun piercing. If the tissue is restricted during swelling, it is prone to more scarring. Using a gun to pierce cartilage opens the door to a whole slew of possible complications. Don't do it.