Cartilage piercings are super trendy right now, so you might be contemplating getting one for yourself. However, you may be new to cartilage piercings or you may be totally un-pierced, so you might be pondering, how long will a cartilage piercing hurt?
Long gone are the days when you weren't allowed to pierce your ears as a child – your adult bod is yours to experiment with as you please. If you were a '90s kid, you likely lusted after the cartilage piercings of the cool kids, whose parents seemingly let them do whatever they please. In reality, they probably got pierced without permission and were scolded afterwards, but they wouldn't have told anyone that part of the story for fear it would affect their street cred. Thus, you might have a long love affair with cartilage piercings.
Once you've decided you're going to bite the bullet and get a cartilage piercing, you'll have to decide what type to go for, as there are so many different types of cartilage piercings, not to mention creative cartilage piercing styles and beautiful ear jewelry to choose from. So all that's left to do is discover how long your new cartilage piercing will hurt. I spoke with pro piercer Ashley of Venus by Maria Tash to understand the ins and outs of potential cartilage piercing pain.
According to Ashley, cartilage piercings take six months to a year to fully heal. Ashley explains, “Cartilage is not very vascular tissue and because blood flow is an integral part of the healing process the healing time takes a bit longer.” However, Ashley tells me not to worry too much about the pain, “This does not mean that it hurts for the entirety of that time; usually, if the piercing is bumped or snagged during that period, that will feel uncomfortable but otherwise the piercing typically feels healed around the three month mark.”
For aftercare, Ashley suggests a gentle compress of a sterile saline wound wash applied to either side of the piercing for 5 –10 minutes, twice a day. She discourages rotating or wiggling the jewelry as the only thing that excess movement accomplishes is tearing the fragile tissue. Ashley explains, “This is comparable to picking a scab and will only work against you.” So don’t fiddle with your new piercing, no matter how tempting it is!
Ashley also cautions against sleeping on a healing cartilage piercing, she explains, “The pressure of your head on the jewelry can not only impede the growth of the healing tissue but also shift the angle on which you were originally pierced, making something once straight look angled and off.” Try to sleep on the opposite side, your back, or your tummy to avoid your piercing from looking a little wonky.
So as long as you take heed of Ashley's advice and look after your new cartilage piercing, it should be healed and pain-free in no time!