Conch piercing is a type of ear piercing that is done on the middle part of the ear cartilage. It gets its name from the resemblance of that part of the ear to the conch shell (pronounced “konk”) found in the ocean. This piercing can actually be placed in a variety of places along the ear, usually either the inner part of the ear cartilage, or through the outer portion of the ear cartilage. The inner piercing is often decorated with a cartilage stud, while the outer piercing is frequently adorned with a ring that encircles the ear cartilage where the piercing is located.
Why get a conch piercing?
A conch piercing provides a way to add additional sparkle to the ears by allowing a person to add different kinds of jewelry. Popular choices include precious metals, such as gold and silver, and gemstones of almost any type imaginable, including diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds. Hoops and studs are among the most popular choices for conch piercings, but other types of decorations add personal style, including dangling strands sure to suit any tastes.
How is conch piercing done?
This type of piercing is done using a large, hollow needle, most commonly 14 gauge, but a slightly larger or smaller needle is sometimes used. In some situations, especially if you want a larger hole, a dermal punch might be used. Discuss this with the person doing the piercing before you proceed, to see which choice is best for what you want. The actual piercing is typically over very quickly and a small stud, barbell, or curved bead ring is inserted while the piercing heals.
Does conch piercing hurt?
Most people say that a conch piercing hurts about the same as any other type of ear cartilage piercing. How much it hurts will depend on several factors, such as the size of the needle, the exact placement in the ear, and how sensitive you are to pain. You can expect it to hurt some, but for most people the gain far outweighs the pain. The piercing will most likely cause some discomfort as it heals, but this will fade over time until it becomes a distant memory.
What about aftercare?
Aftercare is very important with any kind of a piercing. The hole must be kept scrupulously clean so that it doesn’t become infected. The area should be soaked twice daily with salt water to help to remove any lymph, blood, or dirt that might be present. This not only helps to remove any matter that might be present, it also aids in healing by keeping the area soft, plus it encourages blood flow to the area as it helps to reduce soreness and any swelling that might be present.
Don’t Wash Often!
Do not wash the pierced area too frequently, and don’t apply alcohol, peroxide, or antibiotic ointment. Any of these can actually slow or even prevent healing by making the ear too dry or by blocking the air flow that’s needed for complete healing.
Another important rule to follow is to avoid putting pressure on your piercing, since pressure can result in poor healing and you could end up with a rough, bumpy surface around the piercing, spoiling the look. Avoiding pressure applies not only to sleeping, but also to hats, headphones, and anything else that might rest directly on your new jewelry.
Listen to the professional you’ve chosen.
All of this being said, the most important thing is to follow the directions of the person who did the piercing. If you’ve chosen wisely, this person will be able to tell you how to care for your ear as it heals and advise you on the best type of jewelry to wear during the healing process. One your jewelry is in place you should leave it there for about six months, not removing it for any reason. If you have any questions, your piercer should be able to answer them.
Could I have complications?
You can have complications from any kind of procedure, and a piercing is no exception. The most common problem is infection, but you’re unlikely to have to deal with an infection if you follow all of the aftercare instructions carefully. You could also end up with bumps and scarring in the area, as mentioned above, or you could develop keloids, which are areas of extra scar tissue that end up destroying the look of your piercing. Keloids are uncommon, and most people are not prone to them. Discuss your concerns with the piercer before you proceed, so you have a clear idea of what you might or might not be facing. Usually people who get cartilage piercings have no trouble with them and they heal up easily.
How do I find someone to do my piercing?
The best way to find someone to do your conch piercing is to ask friends who’ve had someone who they used and liked. If you don’t know anyone who’s had a piercing, check local shops that do piercings. Look for someone who has plenty of experience. A rule of thumb is that if the person uses a piercing gun they may not have done many cartilage piercings, so you might want to look elsewhere to get yours done. If a license or certificate is required in your town be sure the piercer has one. Ask any questions you might have about getting it done, and don’t be afraid to check around if you don’t like the answers you get.
When do I get to try new jewelry?
A conch piercing takes a long time to heal, much longer than a piercing on your ear lobe or lip takes. This is mainly due to the lack of blood flow to the area, a characteristic of cartilage. Follow the advice of the piercer, but expect that it’s going to take at least six months for your piercing to fully heal. Ask before you try removing the jewelry that was placed in your ear at the time of the piercing, and don’t stop aftercare until your ear is fully healed. It could take up to a year in some cases.
Once your ear is fully healed, it’s time to take advantage of your new piercings by trying all of the many jewelry options you’ve been waiting for. Studs, rings, straight or dangling, plain or fancy – it’s up to you. Try different styles to find your best look and enjoy your piercing.