Piercing earlobes has been done for so long in history, but cartilage piercing has become popular in recent times as people look for other ways to adorn their bodies. Being different from the crowd was just as important 1000 years ago as it is apparently now. Cartilage piercing is a form of piercing that the modern crowd has found differently.
The reason it took so long for cartilage piercing to catch on is unknown, but it’s not new and people have been doing this for thousands of years. However, it is more painful and infection is easier to set in than soft tissue piercings, so perhaps that is why it has taken the modern man and woman of today to adopt it.
What is cartilage?
Cartilage is the connective tissue that makes up the structure of your ears, nose, and areas around your ribs and between the bones of your joints. It is tougher than skin and flesh to pierce, and easier to damage when pierced. Therefore, never try it yourself and make sure that any cartilage piercing you have done is done by professionally trained piercers. Damage to cartilage can cause unsightly scars that will be very costly to remove.
In general, the ear cartilage is involved in cartilage piercings, where three areas are popular for piercing: the tragus, the helix and the conch. Each of these makes up most of your outer ear, and if you feel your earlobe, then the rest of your ear, you will understand the difference in structure between them. Here’s each of these areas in more detail:
The tragus cartilage
The tragus is the small triangular cartilage nodule that sits right at the entrance to your ear — right next to your cheekbones. Tragus piercing has now become a common form of cartilage piercing and is a fairly thick area of cartilage that can cause quite a bit of discomfort when pierced.
The helix is the outer rim of your ear and the spiral that runs just below it directs sound waves to the middle ear. The cartilage here is quite thin and much easier to pierce than the tragus. This is where ear piercing other than the lobe began.
This part of the ear is the central part in the helix and is named for the shell it resembles. This is an easier piercing than the tragus because the cartilage is thinner here.
Healing Cartilage Piercings
Cartilage piercings take much longer to heal than lobe piercings. This can take two to 12 months to heal, depending on the area pierced and the type of piercing. Double or industrial piercings, such as those in the helix, take longer to heal and are more painful during the healing process. Orbitals are the same.
To facilitate quick healing, keep the same jewelry in and do not alter or even take it out or else it could close. Cartilage heals differently than an earlobe piercing and can close quickly unless you keep your jewelry in it all the time. The larger the gauge, the longer it will take to heal.
A saline solution can be used to promote healing by dissolving a large teaspoon in a small cup of water. Alternatively, there are many commercial antiseptics available for ear piercings, such as H2Ocean. Finally, be sure to pierce your cartilage with a needle. A gun can do a lot of damage, causing scars and deformities.
If you follow the advice above, you can be proud of your fabulous new cartilage piercing and jewelry that everyone will admire.
Mark continues to promote good practice within the piercing industry on his website.