cartilage piercing

Cartilage Piercing: Types, How To Get One, Side Effects, And Treatments

‘Your body is an empty canvas’

– You can decorate it however you feel like it.

Millennials have found cartilage piercings to be a great way to adorn their ears. But, as a newcomer to this trend, you may be wondering what to expect while getting a cartilage piercing.

You must do research before you choose. Since cartilage piercings are new in the market, it is even more necessary to know all about them before you get one. People who are interested in getting a piercing, mostly start with an earlobe piercing.

However, we have come a long way from that, which is why cartilage piercing is the new gateway to entering the world of piercing.

In this article, we will share everything you need to know about ear cartilage piercings to determine if you admire them or if you are seriously ready to invest in them.

What Is A Cartilage Piercing?

A cartilage piercing denotes any area of cartilage on the body with the perforation made to wear jewelry. There are two types of cartilage piercings: nose and ear cartilage piercings.

Any kind of body piercing has been a popular trend in Western Culture. However, cartilage piercing in particular became popular during World War II.

But, some people also believe that the root of cartilage piercing is traced back to ancient Greece, even before biblical times. Sailors in that era used to believe that piercing their ears would keep them safe at sea and would improve their eyesight.

Types Of Cartilage Piercings

Cartilage is that part of your body that is softer than bones but harder than flesh. People mostly stay interested in piercing cartilage because it enhances their looks and makes them look appealing to a crowd. So, let’s take a look at the different types of cartilage piercings that you can get;

1. Helix Piercing

Helix Piercing

Standard helix piercings are done on the rims of ears, so they are outside your ear. But, antihelix piercings are done at the roots of ears, so those are the closest to heads. Sometimes, when people don’t want to show their ears pierced, they go for their helix pierced. 

2. Industrial Piercing

These types of cartilage piercings are usually the most painful ones because they connect two holes in your ear together. They also look the boldest in the lot. If you do two separate piercings on those holes, it will be helix piercing, but it will be industrial piercing if you use a bar to connect them.

3. Auricle Piercing

These piercings are done on the outside curve of your ear or at the very middle portion of your ear. Auricle piercings look almost like helix piercings but are pierced much lower on your ears.

4. Conch Piercing

Conch piercing is also a type of cartilage piercing that pains a lot, but it is done outside your ear. Outer conch piercings are found much lower on your ear, while inner conch piercings are done much higher.

5. Tragus Piercing

The cartilage that overlaps the entrance of your ear is the place for tragus piercing. Usually, diamond stud earrings or small rings look the best in tragus piercings. However, there are also anti-tragus piercings that are found on the opposite of the tragus.

6. Daith Piercing

Most people who get a Daith piercing feel like a sharp and intense shot through their ears. It is done on the small area inside one’s ears where the root of the helix starts.

7. Rook Piercing

Rook piercings are done at the middle curve of the ear. Erik Dakota, a professional piercing artist, originated these kinds of cartilage piercings and named them after her name.

8. Snug Piercing

Snug piercings are done just below rook piercings. This horizontal piercing sits right above the anti-tragus piercing, and it is also considered one of the most painful piercings.

9. Standard Lobe Piercing

Standard Lobe Piercing

According to professional piercing expert Janeese Brooks, “We all know and love a good lobe piercing. I encourage these constantly. The easiest part of the ear to heal is the lobe. The least painful is the lobe, too—just a one or two out of 10.” 

She further added, “You can change the jewelry after three months of heal time,” says Brooks. She continues, “Generally, people have enough space to do something unique with their piercing placements, too. Design and aesthetics are a huge part of my heart so I’ve been having a good time helping clients get a creative look that suits them and their lifestyle.”

10. Forward Helix Piercing

“A forward helix is also placed on the upper ear above the tragus. These piercings are a bit more tricky than your typical helix piercing as the piercing must be lined up perfectly with your ear and will likely hurt more than a standard lobe piercing. Depending on the experience of your piercer, a needle or machine may be used.”

11. Anti-Tragus Piercing

Anti-Tragus Piercing

“ An anti-tragus piercing sits directly opposite from the traditional tragus hump, above the earlobe. If your tragus is not prominent enough to be pierced, some piercers may decline to perform the task rather than work against the shape of your ear. In terms of jewelry, a curved barbell or ball closure ring are the best options for this piercing.”

12. Inner Conch Piercing

“The inner conch is pierced through the middle shell of the ear, which is the thickest piece of cartilage on the ear. This is closest to the ear canal, so during the healing process, you’ll want to avoid wearing earbuds for quite some time, as they may irritate your new piercing.”

13. Outer Conch Piercing

Outer Conch Piercing

“The outer conch is also pierced through the same area of cartilage of the ear, but the lower part. If you’re a side sleeper, sleep on the opposite side of your new piercing until fully healed.”

14. High Lobe Piercing 

“The high-lobe piercing is a fun way to spice up the lobe. They’re especially good for making a feature out of a poorly-placed piercing you may have done earlier. Thanks to the lobe being so fleshy, the level of piercing pain is considerably low.” 

“While healing time is relatively quick that doesn’t mean you should be lackadaisical when it comes to aftercare. You should always be following your piercer’s instructions for post-care and maintenance.”

15. Orbital Piercing

Orbital Piercing

“Orbital piercings have become a bit of a misnomer. To be technically accurate, an orbital uses a ring to connect two piercings, such as the first and second hole lobe piercings or two cartilage—like this. piercings. However, orbital piercings have also come to mean a ring piercing through the conch piercing, which is what is pictured above.” 

“Popular placement is in the lobe or helix. This type of piercing is similar to an industrial piercing, as it connects two different piercings. However, an orbital is pierced with a ring rather than a barbell, which gives the illusion that the piercing is, well, orbiting the ear.”

16. Stacked Lobe

“A stacked lobe piercing is pierced directly above the traditional lobe piercing, creating a vertical “stack.” Because it’s a lobe piercing, the pain and healing time are fairly minimal, so it’s a great way to modernize your earscape without the pain and healing time of a cartilage piercing.”

How To Pierce Your Cartilage?

How bad does a cartilage piercing hurt? We have already told you it hurts a lot more than traditional piercing. Still, if you want to know how to pierce your cartilage, we will tell you the steps;

Step 1: Choose The Piercing Instruments Carefully

Cartilage piercing with a gun involves more risk, so you must choose your piercing instruments very carefully. So, purchase sealed and sterilized piercing needles. Also, make sure your jewelry is not made of any metal that you are allergic to.

Step 2: Ensure Sterilization

You can soak the needle in a dilute bleach or an alcoholic solution to ensure sterilization. If you don’t have these, you can set the pressure cooker at high temperature and put water inside to steam disinfect the needle.

Step 3: Set Up A Sterile Area

Set up a sterile workbench to place your piercing materials there. Make sure you have black nitrile gloves, topical disinfectant, a market to separate the piercing site, and a stopper to prevent the needle from poking your scalp.

Step 4: Clean Your Ear

If you are going for ear cartilage piercings, make sure you clean your ear with hot steamy water. Once you clean your ear, use a marker to designate the pierced area separately.

Step 5: Pierce

Wear your gloves, and use the hollow needle to pierce your cartilage slowly. Piercing cartilage at home is easy, but it’s better to appoint someone else to do it since you can’t see the area you want to be pierced.

Step 6: Use A Stopper 

As soon as you get your cartilage pierced, it will bleed. So, use a cotton ball, and put it in that place to stop the bleeding. 

Step 7: Keep The Jewelry Ready

Make sure your needle is one size bigger than your jewelry so that when the needle is inside, you can also put the jewelry on your ear. Once the earring is inside, you can slowly take the needle out. Congrats!!! You have successfully completed a mid-cartilage piercing now.

Take Care Of Your Cartilage Piercing

Do cartilage piercings hurt? You bet they do. But, since you have decided to go for them, you should also know a few ways to take care of them to avoid an infected cartilage piercing. Let’s take a look;

1: Clean With Sea Salt Oak

A sea salt oak or saline can wash away the harmful bacteria from your cartilage that could lead to infection. If you don’t want to buy your saline, you can make one using sea salt. Just use ¼ teaspoon of sea salt to 8 ounces of warm water, dip a paper towel in it for 5 minutes, and clean your ear with it.

2: Clean With Chamomile Compress

A warm chamomile compress can transfer its antioxidant healing properties to your cartilage and increase the blood flow there to avoid bumps. Just put the chamomile tea bag in warm water for 5 minutes, and apply it to your ear.

3: Clean With Diluted Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic, antifungal agent, so if you want to use it on your bump, first soak it in warm water or saline. Then, use a cotton swab to apply the oil to your bump twice a day. But, before you apply it to your ear, use it on your forearm, and leave it for two days to check if it has an allergic reaction to your skin or not.

Getting A Cartilage Piercing: Things You Should Know

We have already told you the different types of cartilage ear piercings, so you can decide which one to get based on your choice and pain tolerance level. But, there are a few things you should know about before you google ‘cartilage piercing near me.’

1: Never DIY

Cartilage piercing is a complicated process, complicated, so you may hurt yourself if you try to do it yourself. Therefore, going to a professional shop should be your priority. It will reduce the chances of an infected cartilage piercing because a professional shop will use sterilized instruments.

Avoid getting a gunshot because guns can’t be sterilized, and the force of the gun may also damage your cartilage if not done right.

2: How Much Does It Cost?

There is no fixed cost of a cartilage piercing because the price changes depending on where you want to get pierced. For example, helix piercings cost about $40-$80, while industrial piercings can cost approx $30-$70. It also depends upon the shop’s reputation, the quality of the cartilage jewelry, etc.

3: It Really Hurts!!!

Does a cartilage piercing hurt? Well, it indeed does. In fact, it hurts a lot more than traditional earlobe piercing. This is because the tissue of your cartilage is more rigid than your earlobe. So, it is a lot tough to pierce your cartilage, and thus it hurts more than earlobe piercings.

4: Healing Takes Time

 If you are already struck by our response to ‘do cartilage piercings hurt?’, then you must be devastated to know that cartilage piercings also take much longer to heal. They recover from the outside in so that they may look healed within a few weeks. But, cartilage piercing healing time is around 4 months to 1 year.

5: Stay Hydrated

Refrain from alcohol, and stay hydrated with water if you plan to get your cartilage pierced the next day. You can also eat snacks rich in Vitamin C to fasten the healing process and ensure you don’t bleed more during the piercing process.

6: Stick With The Jewelry Initially

Until your cartilage piercing is completely healed, don’t think of changing the jewelry. If you change the jewelry before your cartilage is fully healed, you will risk it getting infected. So, if you are not sure when to change your jewelry, consult a piercing professional.

7: Keep It Clean

To avoid infection, you have to clean your cartilage piercing once in the morning and once at night with a saline solution. Don’t use any kind of soap, hydrogen peroxide, or rubbing alcohol to clean the cartilage piercing because that may end up in an infected cartilage piercing.

8: Avoid Public Water Bodies

While your cartilage piercing is healing, don’t go in public water bodies like swimming pools or jacuzzis. Even if you have to touch your piercing, make sure you wash your hands with water and soap first and then touch it; else, it may get infected.

9: Sleeping Can Be Nightmare

If you are a side sleeper, your cartilage piercings will cause you a minor inconvenience for the time being. So, try to sleep straightways if you have recently pierced your cartilage to avoid unnecessary swelling or irritation.

10: Cartilage Piercing Bum Can Be Dreadful

No matter how cautious you are, a pierced helix can quickly cause swelling or redness. You may also experience bruising, bleeding, itching, some discoloration, a crust around your jewelry, or a sudden white-yellowish discharge. If you face these symptoms, you must go to a professional or a doctor.

Why Do People Go For Cartilage Piercings?

Now, you may wonder why someone is interested in piercing cartilage? Well, there are ample reasons behind it. 

It’s A New Fashion Trend

If you have seen Rihanna, Beyonce, or Ashley Graham recently, you may have fallen for their cartilage pierced. So, most people go for cartilage piercings because they look cool and are a new way to up their fashion game. Especially if you have an afro ark hairstyle or those beachy loose waves, a cartilage ear piercing will make you look even more sexy.  

It Looks Good On Others

Since the 1990s, piercings have been part and parcel of mainstream fashion. So, many people don’t think of the consequences of a cartilage piercing. Instead, they just love how good it looks on others and want to get it on their ears too. Some people even go for double cartilage piercing, and we indeed appreciate their endurance. 

Spiritual Reasons

Some tribes prefer piercings on different parts of their bodies due to spiritual reasons. Some also do it for religious reasons. On the other hand, piercing also has a cultural significance to some people, which is another reason some people do cartilage piercings.


Some people do cartilage ear piercing to make a statement of their inner expression. They do it to show that they are bold, and if they can bear the pain of cartilage piercing, they can endure anything life throws at them.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

1: Where To Get Cartilage Piercing?

Ans: There are several famous piercing studios all around the USA where you can get your cartilage pierced. Some of the most famous shops for single or double cartilage piercings are Ancient Adornments, Ink Monkey Tattoo, Velvet Grip, Nine Moons Piercing, Body Manipulations, etc. 

2: What Is The Best Age To Get A Cartilage Piercing?

Ans: There are several famous piercing studios all around the USA where you can get your cartilage pierced. Some of the most famous shops for single or double cartilage piercings are Ancient Adornments, Ink Monkey Tattoo, Velvet Grip, Nine Moons Piercing, Body Manipulations, etc.

3: How Painful In Cartilage Piercing?

Ans: On a scale of 1-10, cartilage piercing pain is easily ranked 9th. If you want to know how much it will hurt, just try pitching the cartilage area, and you will know what we are talking about. You will feel a sharp shock as the needle pierces your cartilage, and it will lead to a duller throbbing pain as the piercing settles in.
4: What Is The Most Painful Ear Piercing?|
Ans: Industrial piercing is the most painful ear piercing because it gives you the pain of double piercing. You pierce the upper part of your helix, and the opposite side of the ear in industrial piercing. Now, you have to wear a single piece of jewelry to connect both these holes.


We have shared ample details on cartilage ear piercings in this article. Starting from the types of piercings to its cleansing routine-we have covered almost everything here. So, if you want to know more about them, let us know in the comment section below. We will surely get back to you with an answer.

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Sofia Kelly is a passionate blogger. She loves to share her thoughts, ideas, and experiences with the world through blogging. Sofia Kelly is associated with PlusLifeStyles & Worthy To Share.

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