Cartilage is a dense material that’s harder than skin but much softer than bone. It’s a connective tissue found in the nose, ears, joints, the ends of your ribs, and between the vertebrae and spine. Did you know that a shark’s skeleton is made out of this same material? Man-eating fish aside, cartilage piercings are quite popular in the modern era, but is it right for you? Here we’ll discuss the different varieties of cartilage piercings, the care, and whether or not they’ll fit your style. Keep reading to learn more about this unique body modification.
When we say “cartilage piercing” we’re referring to several variations found in the ear. The ear can pretty much be pierced anywhere there’s cartilage or skin, except on the inside of the ear, of course. Here are some variations of cartilage piercings in the ear, so you’ll know which one will best fit your style and needs.
A helix piercing is located on the helix or curve of the ear. This is a popular option for many cartilage piercings, as there are two varieties. The first of the helix piercings is called a “forward helix”, and will be pierced through the root of the helix (the part closest to your head). The second variety, the “standard helix” is pierced through the helix on the outside rim of the ear.
An auricle piercing is much like a helix piercing, only done lower on the ear, on the outside curve in the very middle of the ear. These are usually done in tandem with another variety of cartilage piercing.
An industrial piercing involves piercing two holes on opposite sides of the ear, usually near the top of the ear, and connecting the holes with a solid bar. While the two holes of the industrial piercing are technically considered to be individual helix piercings, the bar connecting them makes it an industrial piercing.
The cartilage overlapping the entrance to your inner-ear can be pierced, and it is called a tragus piercing. Usually, you’ll only want to use a small stud or ring for this type of piercing, as there isn’t much room to work with for larger cartilage earrings.
The small area inside the ear where your helix begins can be pierced in what’s known as a Daith piercing. Daith piercings are unique and are even said to help with migraines (though the facts behind this are minimal at best).
Snug piercings are located at the middle curve of your ear.
Prone to Swelling
Cartilage piercings are prone to swelling, especially after the first few weeks after the initial piercing is done. That being said, you’ll usually keep an 18, 16, or 14 gauge captive ring and barbell in the piercing to account for any swelling that may occur in the first few weeks. After this period, you’ll be able to replace the larger jewelry with smaller versions for a more snug fit, if you so desire.
Many Options Available
Cartilage earrings come in pretty much any shape you can imagine, from crosses to charm flowers and rainbows and everything in between. You can opt for something simple like a standard silver bar for an industrial piercing, or solid gold studs for a helix piercing.
The versatility of the cartilage piercing allows you to freely express your style with any colors, shapes, or designs you like. You can mix and match earrings for several piercings, or go with a single theme such as gold or silver earrings for each piercing. There are endless possibilities, especially with multiple piercings!
Depending on where you pierced your cartilage, the piercing can take anywhere from a few months to over a year to heal. The level of care you put into the upkeep will also determine the length of time of the healing process. Take care of your piercings to ensure they heal quickly and no infections occur!
Does it Match Your Style?
Does a cartilage piercing match your style? Since you can pretty much customize your cartilage piercing with any material and design, you can mold the piercing to fit whatever you like to wear. There are thousands of options available online, not to mention all the choices you’ll get the piercing shop or your local jeweler.
Overall, a cartilage piercing really isn’t that different from your standard ear piercing, except for the various placements you can get in different parts of your ear cartilage.
With so many varieties of piercing and accessories, a cartilage piercing can be a unique way to pierce the ear that’s sure to turn heads. Industrial piercings are especially popular and give your piercings a much different look than the typical helix piercing. Whether you’re dressing for a wedding or a night out, cartilage piercings can be accessorized to match just about any occasion. Are they for you? That simply depends on how much you’re willing to take care of them and how well you can match your earrings to your style.