A little know-how about cartilage and other ear piercings
Some information about ear piercings and some answers to FAQ
Which piercings are earpiercings?
- helix piercing (piercing through the helix or your ear)
- tragus piercing (through the tragus of your ear)
- vertical tragus piercing
- anti-tragus piercing
- forward helix
- triple forward helix
- ear lobe piercing
- stretched piercings in your ear
- snug piercing
- vertical industrial piercing
- transverse lobe piercing.
Should I get my earrings shot or pierced?
All piercings, wherever you want them, should be pierced. The piercing guns are originally designed for cattle marking and were later adapted for use on humans. Go figure…
The gun (left) is for use on cattle.
The gun forces a pointy earring through the skin, which causes trauma an discomfort. A needle, used for piercing is built and designed for piercing the skin and is safe and trauma free. the length of the jewellery inserted with a piercing gun or push-though system is one size fits all, except that’s not the case. a piercing’s jewellery is chosen to fit the wearers body part and leave some room for the expected swelling. (examples below left and right are “push-through” systems used in shops, jeweller stores and malls)
Most of times, the jewerly inserted when shot has a closing that prevents good hygiene conditions during healing. Dirt and hares can get caught and they are most of times too tight to leave proper room for the swelling that occurs during healing and leaves not enough room for a proper blood circulation.
Also: never get your earring done in a jewellery store or other warehouse where personnel have no proper training in hygiene and anatomy. This can cause serious infections and complications during and after healing. Bacterial infections can vary from small secretions to serious infections of the brain and/or heart.
Never ignore a suspected infection. If not treated properly this can lead to deadly consequences.
Should my piercing or earring get cut out?
If you still have the feeling that the post or earring of your piercing is too small and feels too tight to the point of being in pain an probably noticing redness, swelling and lymph or even puss, you should consult a professional to have it taken out and replaced with a proper length post or ring. This way the swelling will get more room and your pain will be relieved and the piercing will be able to heal properly and also it will be easier to take better care of it and avoid or heal infection. In very rare cases, the post was so small or the swelling so extensive that the piercing has to be cut out simply because there is no other way to reach the closure of the stud or ring to open it properly. In such a case reach out to both your trusted, experienced piercer and you doctor or physician. Make sure you also read the articles about doctors and physicians to be sure to know what to look out for and what to explain him or her to get the best treatment possible.
Should I get my helix piercing done with a ring or with a stud?
You could chose either, which ever works best for you. I prefer you get jewellery you prefer initially so you can leave it alone during healing and this way it heals faster. Also certain ear piercings heal better with a well fitted ring than with a barbell or labret. That, of course depends on both the piercing and the piercee.
When can I remove my jewellery?
Doctors often recommend having it removed when an infection is suspected. Please do not do this, it can cause the holes to close but the infection to remain inside due to lack or drain exit.
How long does a helix piercing stay open?
A helix piercing will be fully healed mostly after 6 to 9 months or longer. Sometimes yuo can have the jewellery changed after 3 months but only under sterile ciscumstances and done by a professional. When you’ve had it for over a year and it is fully healed when you removed the jewellery it often stays open for a long time. It could shrink a little bit that makes the insertion of jewellery more difficult but you could consult a professional piercer to help you with that. In some cases it of course could also just close back up, this differs from person to person and piercing to piercing. If the piercing was not fully healed when you removed the jewellery it will almost certainly be closed back up now.
What are the risks of cartilage collapsing or cauliflower ear with a cartilage piercing?
The collapsing of cartilage or shattering of cartilage (a.k.a. cauliflower ear) is something that can often occur when you get a helix or other cartilage piercing shot with a gun or push-through system. This is something you often see in sports fights. By sustaining a blow to the ear the skin can loosen from the cartilage and blood comes in the thin tissue that separates the skin from the cartilage. This causes a substantial swelling and dis-formation of the cartilage. This trauma is in most cases permanent.
Can I remove a freshly pierced helix piercing?
If you’re unsatisfied with your piercing you could remove it as long as there is no suspected infection of any kind. To avoid scarring or at least minimize the chances of it developing, take good care of the wound and keep a good daily hygiene during a week or two after that it should be healed and closed back up with little to no visible damage.
My helix piercing is as thick as the stud allows, is that ok? How should I take care of my infected helix piercing?
A couple days to a few weeks after getting your cartilage piercing done, you can expect some swelling. Your piercer normally has taken the swelling into account when choosing the right size jewellery for your piercing. If the jewellery turns out to be too small it can be very painful and complicating the healing process. Have your professional piercer take a look at it an change for a bigger size if necessary, you could also always contact me if needed.
Before taking steps towards an infected piercing, you should make sure that is even the case. It could be irritated or something else instead. Read more on the subject on this website (use the search-engine) and keep a good daily hygiene.
Is rinsing my piercing with water preventing an infection?
Good hygiene is the best defense against infections. If clean running water is the only thing you have right now it’s better than nothing. Saline is even better look up de recipe for this on this website by using the search engine.
Does my industrial piercing cause my ear to swell?
All piercings cause swelling during the first days to first couple weeks. An industrial is really two piercings close together so the swelling could look and feel like much more than you’ve experienced before. If you have any doubts you can always contact me.
After how many days do I have permanent earring holes?
After 6 to 8 weeks your earlobe piercings should be healed, mostly. About a year later your earlobes should be so used to wearing jewellery that they mostly will not close up as fast. But this of course differs from person to person.
I see and feel a lot of filth in my earrings. How come? And what should I do?
Wash them. Mostly it’s just hairs that got caught in the back, maybe with some sebum build-up. This is normal, but a good daily hygiene prevents irritation and other complications, even when you’ve had them forever.
What is a scapha piercing?
A scapha piercing is a piercing through the upper cartilage of your ear, just slightly more on the “inside” of that edge called the helix.
I’ve had my ear piercing for over a year and it’s still not dry, how come?
Sometimes it can take much longer than expected to fully heal. Just make sure it’s not infected. Maybe you work with a lot of dust and dirt or you touch it too much, have you been regular with your saline soaks?
How can I change the jewelry on my tragus piercing?
The tragus can be very tricky to change yourself, even for me. A hemostat with thin edges can help, or have it done by your piercer.
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