Unusual piercings seem to be taking the reigns when it comes to the body mod race. If you’re considering a new piercing of your own, you might be asking yourself how long a conch piercing takes to heal. The name might sound like a piercing for mermaids, but a conch is actually a type of ear cartilage piercing located in the innermost part of the ear, just before you get to the earhole.
According to tattoo and piercing publication Inked, “The inner conch is the cartilage at the center of the ear. The area is normally cup-shaped and gives room for the jewelry, thus it is ideal for piercing.” Whenever I get a bit confused about the placement of conch piercings, I remember that old wives’ tale: The one that claims you can hear the ocean when you put a conch shell to your ear. The truth is, what you're hearing is just seashell resonance. But the tale is a reminder that the area of the earhole where you would place the shell in order to listen to “the sea" is your cartilage.
IMO, conch piercings are one of the most quirky cartilage piercings out there. At the moment, it seems more common to go for multiple lobe piercings, daith piercings, or helix piercings. Conch piercings, however, add a slightly whimsical appeal to your look, considering they are subtle and endearingly tucked out of the way.
Disco Ball Stud Earrings, $5.90+, etsy.com
So the million dollar question remains: How long will these piercings take to heal? Speaking with jewelry designer and retailer Maria Tash, Huffington Post reported that “ear lobes, tongues, and lips have some of the fastest healing times [...] at four to six weeks, thanks to their high blood flow, or vascularity.”
But what about conch piercings? According to Huffington Post, “Cartilage on the outer ear or nose takes longer to heal.” That makes sense, considering that these body parts are usually much thinner than fleshier areas like the lips and lobes.
Sparkly Heart Barbell, $7.99, etsy.com
I spoke with Ashley of Venus by Maria Tash to learn more about how long conch piercings takes to heal. In a previous conversation with Ashley, during which we discussed how long new cartilage piercings hurt for, she told me, “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, the healing time for a conch piercing might not be as long as you imagined. Ashley says, “Healing time is six months to a year.” So although it takes considerably longer than your regular earlobe piercing, you’ll be left with a much more unusual aesthetic if you take good care of it during the healing process.
Conch Chain, $17.50+, etsy.com
The kind of ear jewelry you opt for at the time of piercing can also make a difference. Ashley tells me, “While everyone loves the look of a ring in a conch (myself included), it should be noted that rings do take longer to heal.” She goes on to explain, “Because it goes around the outside of the ear, it is more interactive when washing hair, getting dressed, undressed, etc. and this movement will slow the healing pretty significantly.”
At the end of the day, you should weigh up what’s more important to you: Healing time or the look of a conch ring. Ashley adds, “This does not mean that it is impossible to heal with a ring, but just a little bit more difficult.”
So don’t fret if you really can’t bear to wear a stud. Your conch piercing will still heal eventually. Now that you know how long conch piercings take to heal, all that's left to do is schedule your appointment at your local piercing salon.
Images: Courtesy Brands