Ear and Nose Cartilage Piercings: Pain and Care

So, You're Thinking about Getting Your Cartilage Pierced?

As with any body modification procedure, there is a lot of thought that needs to go into your decision. Will it hurt? How long will it take to heal? Where do I get it done? These are just a few of the many questions you might have.

In the following paragraphs I will answer some of these most frequently asked questions, go over the pros and cons, and offer some helpful hints on caring for cartilage piercings.

What Is a Cartilage Piercing?

The cartilage (which is harder than flesh but softer than bone) in your ears or nose can be pierced. Each spot has its own name.

Ear Piercings

There's a lot of cartilage in the ear. The soft fleshy lobes at the lowest part of your ear are pretty much the only parts of the ear that don't have it. It isn't uncommon to see someone with many piercings in the same ear.

The helix is located on the outer rim of your ear. The helix extends from just over the lobe and curves up and around to meet the temple. You can get a piercing high or low on your ear's helix, depending on your personal preference, and you can get as many piercings as you like. This is the most popular spot for this kind of piercing—so much so that some people use the term "cartilage piercing" to refer to a helix piercing. The daith or forward helix is where the helix ends, closest to the ear canal. An industrial piercing is two helix piercings connected with hardware (usually a bar).

The anti-helix is the curve of raised cartilage just inside the helix. The top part, where the anti-helix curves under the helix, is called the rook. Halfway down the anti-helix, usually where the helix and anti-helix are closest together, is called the snug.

The conch (or conque) is the inner part of the outer ear, used for capturing sound, a cupped part where a finger fits nicely (without blocking the ear canal).

The tragus is the little raised flap of cartilage separating the ear canal from the side of the face. It is often quite thick. The anti-tragus is the raised bit opposite the tragus (if you pinch the tragus and anti-tragus together, a bowl is formed under the ear canal).

Various types of ear cartilage piercings. People have been piercing their ears since before recorded history, and the oldest mummified human ever discovered was wearing earrings.
Various types of ear cartilage piercings. People have been piercing their ears since before recorded history, and the oldest mummified human ever discovered was wearing earrings.

Nose Cartilage Piercings

There's a lot of cartilage in your nose, too. If you examine your own nose and feel which parts are flexible, then imagine a skeleton's nose and how the nose bone stops quite high up the ridge, you realize how much of your nose is made of the stuff.

The septum is the flap of skin-covered flesh and cartilage that separates the nostrils. Some septum piercings pierce through the cartilage, but some don't.

Nose tip piercings pierce the bottom of the septum between the nostrils and go up through the tip up to the top of the nose. This is sometimes known as a rhino piercing.

A couple nose cartilage piercings. Nose piercing has been documented since 1500 BC.
A couple nose cartilage piercings. Nose piercing has been documented since 1500 BC.

Why Get a Cartilage Piercing?

These piercings can be lovely and interesting. Some are quite dainty and some can be extreme. I suppose it depends on and reflects the life you choose for yourself.

Since the 1990s, piercings have been a part of the mainstream. Some people pierce just because they like how it looks, while others pierce for poetic or spiritual reasons. Some pierce to mark or remember an important event in their life. For some, piercings represent psychic wounds and for some, healing. Piercings can be used for self-expression, to conform to culture, or to rebel against it. Some report that piercings give them sexual pleasure.

I chose the helix for my piercing because this area is easily hidden by hair or hats. You have the freedom to choose when you want to flaunt your piercing and when you prefer to keep it a secret. When I decide I want to show it off, I simply tie my hair up or tuck it behind my ear. If you want a cool piercing, but want to be able to control when you want to show it off, then the helix piercing is the perfect choice.

Why Not Get a Cartilage Piercing?

What are the cons?

The location of a piercing can have drawbacks. First off, if not careful, the jewelry can get snagged on things such as hair, clothing, brushes, combs, or glasses. This isn't always extremely painful, but it can leave your piercing a little sore and red for the rest of the day and can delay healing. My helix piercing gets snagged and bumped every now and then, but it's never anything too bad. I just wash it with some antibacterial soap or ear care solution to prevent infection. As long as you are mindful when you are doing anything that might snag and catch on your jewelry, you should be okay.

Secondly, these kinds of piercings have very long healing periods because this tissue heals itself from the outside in, meaning the outer layers might appear healed but the inner layers might still be raw and sore. Because the piercing looks fine, many people assume after a few weeks that the piercing is fully healed, but it isn't. This can lead to difficulties healing and even infections.

Other things to consider are infections, which are rarely serious, but the Mayo Clinic estimates that 30% of piercings result in a treatable bacterial infection. Because cartilage doesn't have its own blood supply, it is more prone to infection than other kinds of piercings, and antibiotics won't help you because there's no blood to transport the medication. In addition, some people experience allergic reactions to the metal in jewelry. Although the jewelry can eventually be removed, a piercing may leave a hole or scar that never heals completely. You may even experience excess scar tissue.

Helix piercing.
Helix piercing.

How to Care for a Piercing

Don't touch! As with all piercings, cartilage piercings should be touched as little as possible since your hands carry bacteria and may cause infection. Contact with any substances (body fluids, moisture, makeup, body sprays, etc.) should be avoided.

Don't twist the jewelry either, since it can tear the fistula (the healing skin) and cause scarring, make it harder to heal, and sometimes even cause a rejection of the piercing.

Keep it clean, but don't pick! You'll just get bacteria into the wound. The crust that forms is a normal part of the healing process.

To clean: When you're in the shower, let the warm water wash over the piercing. You can also douse the area with a sterile saline solution (the same stuff you use to clean contacts: You can make your own saline by adding 1/4 teaspoon of non-iodized salt to a cup of warm water). If your piercing is painful or irritated, you might soak it in the saline as well. Only use an antibacterial soap if you worry that your piercing has come into contact with something dirty.

How Long Does It Take to Heal?

Give your new piecing 3-6 months of healing time. Some people may need 6-12 months for their cartilage to fully recover. During this period, clean your piercing twice daily with warm water or a saline solution.

They said my helix piercing would probably take 6 to 8 months to heal, 12 months maximum, but that I could change the jewelry after three months if it was healing well. I integrated my cleaning time with my usual morning and evening rituals: I cleaned it in the morning after I showered and brushed my teeth and then again in the evening when I got ready for bed. Doing it this way helped make cleaning my piercing seem like a simple addition to my daily routine, and also helped me remember to do it.

Anti-helix piercing.
Anti-helix piercing.

Will There Be Pain?

A lot of people have asked if getting a cartilage piercing is painful. Although everyone's pain tolerance is different, for the most part it isn't anything too painful. Yes, there is some level of discomfort. Getting a foreign object inserted into your ear isn't going to feel pleasant, but it won't be anything unbearable (or at least it shouldn't!).

Does the piercing procedure hurt? The initial sensation feels like a small, dull pinch; maybe a five or six on the pain scale. A great way to simulate the feeling is to quickly pinch the area you would like pierced. It won't be an exact replica of the feeling you'll experience, but it will give you a pretty good idea of what to expect.

How long does the pain last? It is normal for your ear to hurt immediately after getting a cartilage piercing, pain that commonly lasts for two weeks to a month. Be careful to not sleep on the side that was pierced: Doing so will cause healing complications and unnecessary discomfort.

What can I do for the pain? Fortunately, there are a few simple things that can reduce the pain.

  • First, everyday painkillers such as Tylenol or aspirin can temporarily relieve the tenderness. I recommend taking two Tylenol every four hours for the first few days. Consult a healthcare professional before using these painkillers for longer than a week.
  • Second, icing your piercing for the first few nights will help reduce swelling and soreness. An easy way to fit icing in is to do it when you have some down time. Ice it while reading, watching TV, or relaxing. I always ice my new piercings for the initial week or so, and it drastically reduces soreness and tenderness.
  • Third is taking care. As mentioned previously, be very cautious with your new piercing. Be sure not to fiddle with it, as you may inadvertently cause infection, and do your best to keep it protected from bumps and hits.

Where Can I Get a Cartilage Piercing?

Finding a place to get pierced has never been simpler! Most tattoo shops offer body piercings as well. Just inquire to verify if they will be able to do a piercing. Some retail shops such as Claire's— or others at your local mall—offer cartilage piercings. Of course, there are also parlors that perform only body piercings.

When choosing a place, go with your gut instinct and your personal comfort zone, but also do your research. Instead of choosing the "coolest" or most convenient place, go wherever you feel you will get a safe, sterile, sanitary piercing. Make sure it is a clean shop with no red flags such as dirty equipment, careless staff, and unhappy customers.

Do your homework! Read the reviews online before you choose. If customers walked away with a bad experience, the odds are that you will, too. Don't be afraid to speak up and ask questions. Ask about their sterilization procedures and credentials. If they seem secretive or defensive, it is best to take your business elsewhere. Remember: This is your body! You want a skilled professional doing the piercing, not someone who doesn't know what they're doing.

Rule of thumb: If you wouldn't eat a meal there, don't get pierced there.

Fully healed cartilage piercing.
Fully healed cartilage piercing. | Source

Piercing Gun vs. Needle

I want to address an ongoing question: The piercing gun vs. needle debate. For years it was thought that piercing guns promoted infection, shattered cartilage, and disfigured the ear. Some point to evidence to support the claim that piercing with a piercing gun can shatter the cartilage.

However, recent medical studies have shown that piercing guns may not be as terrible as once assumed. It is now becoming evident that any piercing, by needle or by gun, can have negative consequences if the piercer does not perform the procedure properly and does not use sanitary equipment. So the problem with guns may not be the guns themselves, but the experience and training of people who use them.

Although some people swear by using special piercer's needles or a dermal punch and say that the guns they use at mall places are never properly cleaned, there is no solid evidence to support claims that piercings done by a piercing gun will result in infection (or another complication). But we do know that any piercing that isn't pierced with care and caution will be prone to complications. Every piercing that I have has been pierced by a professional with a piercing gun, and they have all healed wonderfully and lasted many years.

Closing Tips

Here are some tips I have learned over the years for healing and maintaining a cartilage piercing:

Tip #1: Clean, clean, clean! Twice a day! A piercing is essentially an open wound, so treat it as such! Wash your hands before you clean or touch your piercing. Don't let anyone else touch your piercing. It might seem silly to ask a friend or family member to wash their hands before checking out your new piercing but you need to take every precaution necessary in keeping yourself free of infection. Simple things like sanitizing after swimming or showering, washing pillow cases and sheets regularly, and keeping shampoos, hairsprays, and other harsh chemicals away from your piercing should insure a healthy healing process.

Tip #2: Don't rush the process! Your piercing will take 3-6 months to heal fully. Do not try to speed along the healing process. Relax and let your body work its magic. I urge you to not change the jewelry or stop cleaning until it is healed completely. Changing your jewelry before your piercing is healed can result in infection or rejection. Allow your piercing to recover properly so you can enjoy it for years to come!

Tip #3: Listen to your body! You know your body better than anyone else, and if something just doesn't seem right to you, there might be a problem. If you follow the sanitary guidelines mentioned in this article, you shouldn't have any issues. Things like mild discomfort and redness can just be a sign that your body is trying to recover from the trauma of being pierced, but sometimes problems can still arise. Keep an eye out for persistent pain, redness, swelling, or a greenish, milky discharge secreting from the piercing, as these can be your body's way of saying there is something wrong. If these warning signs do present themselves, or you have any concerns, visit your doctor. Usually an infection can be easily treated, but serious issues like tissue damage or disfigurement of the cartilage do occur. To ensure these things don't happen to you, keep following the rules and paying attention.

Most tattoo shops that offer piercings will have a sign displayed such as this.
Most tattoo shops that offer piercings will have a sign displayed such as this. | Source

What About You?

How many piercings do you have?

  • I have piercings, but no cartilage piercings yet—that's why I'm reading this article to find out more!
  • I have from 1-3 piercings (regular and/or cartilage)
  • I have 4-6 piercings (regular and/or cartilage)
  • More than 7 piercings
  • I lost count!
See results without voting

Which method would you prefer?

  • Gun
  • Needle
  • It doesn't matter, as long as the tool is clean and wielded by an expert.
See results without voting

Video: Helix Piercing with Needle

Video: Triple Forward Helix Piercing

Video: Rhino Piercing

What Do You Think?

I hope I was able to assist you in your decision. I currently have two cartilage piercings, and they are my favorite—beautiful, unique, and stylish.

Please chime in with your questions or comments below. As you can see, many nice people have shared their experience there, and I hope you will, too.

Comments 102 comments

Myrna 3 years ago

Hello! I just got 2 cartilage piercings on my left year yesterday and it was with a gun! I'm scared what may happen to it. I heard all about the stories on the Internet about shattered cartilage and don't know weather I should take them out! Please help

celine 3 years ago

How much in average does it cost

Tori 3 years ago

I have multiple questions, but first would like to say that your article helped me to understand and complete the decision if I really wanted the piercing, and I do! My first question is, what would you personally recommend, the gun of the needle? I have heard stories of shattering the cartilage, but I also have a low pain tolerance and am not sure if the needle will hurt worse. Also, my other question is how much would it most likely cost for the piercing? And lastly, is it abnormal to get a cartilage piercing on each ear (one)? I'm scared that doing this would be rather uncomfortable while sleeping and during the healing process but I am not sure. Thank you!

Noa 3 years ago

How does a cartilage piercing look when you got it out? Do you have a picture?

Rita 3 years ago

Hi! like people said above which do you recommend, a needle or a gun?

I would like to go to claires but they use guns. what would you say?

Angelina 3 years ago

I would also like to go to Claire's but is it safe ? Does it leave a scar in that area when the earring is taken out ?

P aul 3 years ago

Got mine pierced at claires 7days ago. Its fine now. People worry too much.

kerry 3 years ago

I got mine done on Friday and it been painful every since its the second time of having it done as the first time it healed up. where I went they did it with a gun

Caitlin 3 years ago

I'm afraid to get it done at Claire's but I have had my first and second hole done there but does that mean it won't get messed up and also I'm scared of needles and piercing shops

Miriam 3 years ago

Hello well I do sports all year round is getting a cartilage pierced going to affect it or like infect it by the sweat and stuff??

~Allison3~ 3 years ago

I had problems with affections with my first hole, so my mom is hesitant to let me get any other peircings. Do cartliges get more affective or less. I took care of the hole good I just have really thick ear lobes that react a lot of times. Sterling silver, 24k gold, and hypoallergenic don't help. I can only where cheap dangle ear rings or I have problems. Should I get my cartilage done?!? PLEASE HELP!:)

Brooke 3 years ago

I do cheer, which is a year round sport, and for practice we have to take out any piercings so they won't get ripped out. The practices are usually 2 hours long.

We have a 2 week break coming up. I really want to get my cartilage (helix) pierced! I would like your advise if I should do it and if I do should I do more to help the healing process. Would a 2 week break be long enough so that when I start practices I can take them out for about 2 hours?

Please help!

Cristina 3 years ago

How much does it cost to get a cartiledge piercing and if there is a way I can bring a stud of my own that means a lot to me and have it put on instead of buying one?

Hannah 3 years ago

I got my cartilage pierced a little over two months ago. I got it done at a tattoo parlor with a needle. I have a low pain tolerance and I'm scared of needles but I hardly even felt it go in. It cost me $50 plus tip. I saw another place advertise $35 piercings but I heard good thing about where I went so I decided a $15 difference wasn't a big deal. I would recommend going to a parlor and getting it done with a needle.

As for the girl who was thinking about getting both done: Start with one. I thought the same thing about getting both done but I've seen a couple people with one on each ear and it looks redicluous.

I got mine pierced at the same time as my friend and it's so convenient that we can compare our healing processes.

To the cheerleader: You should not get it done if you have to take it out after two weeks. You should leave it in for at least 3 months. I've had mine for 2 months and I wouldn't be comfortable taking it out.

To the girl with sensitive ears: If you go to a sanitary parlor and they use a clean needle you will be fine. Just clean it twice a day and be careful.

I don't know about all parlors but the one I went to only puts in a hoop to start. I thought a stud would be cute but I really like the little hoop. You can try to bring a stud but you might have to use what they tell you to. My piercer told me that we can't bring our own jewelry because there's no way to tell that it's as sanitary as theirs is.

Naomi 3 years ago

I swim about three times a week and the first two times I got my lobes pierced I skipped swimming for a week. If I get a helix piercing, do you know how long I should wait before I start swimming again? (I leave the earrings in when I swim)

tia 3 years ago

Hi I really want my cartilige done but scared if it hurts when that pierce it how can I get confident and brave with my decision also I was wondering what's the pain like when that pierce it?

Mandy 3 years ago

So I got mine pierced two days ago with a needle, and I regret nothing. It hardly hurts, it's easy to care for, and it looks great. The guy who pierced it also said that I can go swimming in two weeks as long as I put a waterproof bandaid over it and clean it really well afterwards. It's a great piercing to have(:

Kate 3 years ago

I got mine done yesterday in a tattoo studio. The girl was really helpful and answered all my questions I threw at her. They have a very good reputation and is always clean and friendly. It cost £15 and they talked me through the process, they used a needle which felt just like having an injection.

Angela 3 years ago

Thank you so much. This was EXTREMELY helpful. I am looking forward to getting my cartilage pierced on Friday! I also feel much more safe about it. :) Thank you again. God bless. :)

Karsyn 3 years ago


I play sports year round and I got my cartilage done.. In two weeks I had a soccer game and took it out for a few hours. It was fine putting it back in but there will be a little pain putting it back in like on a scale of 1-10 1 it was nothing

Adriana 3 years ago

I would recommend a needle over a gun. Every piercing I have gotten with a gun takes longer to heal. I wouldn't recommend getting both ears done at once. It might make sleeping uncomfortable.

Maddy 3 years ago

I do sports year round so when I got my ears pierced I just brought some rubbing alcohol to the games and a container to put my earrings in. I just took them out right before and put them back in right after and cleaned it right there. If you are careful it shouldn't hurt hardly at all.

Harleah 3 years ago

i got my second holes pierced at claires and they got infected, i cleaned them 2-3 times a day, so im hesatant about getting mine done there

Marisa 3 years ago

I just got mine done with a gun Friday. It started to hurt because the earing is so tight and i took the back off and it feels so much better, is there a different type of back i should put on it? the ring and back are both gold.

Loz 3 years ago

Guns are a no go. I have 10 piercings, 6 of them are cartilage ones. The cartilage ones were all done with a needle, my other 4 in my lobes were done with a gun. Only the ones done with a gun have caused me problems.

For the people worried about pain with the needle, don't be. The needle is just as quick, and much safer. You are always going to have some degree of pain with a piercing, so if it worries you that much, don't get one. Part of the piercing experience is the pain. That adrenaline rush is amazing!

Also if you are going to get a cartilage piercing but will have to take it out for long time periods, I would strongly advise you not to get one at all. Everyone is different, but even I wouldn't keep mine out for a couple of hours and I have had them for years. Cartilage is SO high maintenance, the slightest thing could damage your healing process, so unless you are willing to completely accommodate a cartilage piercing, don't get one.

Hope this helps :)

lizzy 2 years ago

I was wondering, if you have very thick cartilage in your ear, will it hurt more? thanks!

Chloe 2 years ago

I had the top of my ear done today and it didn't hurt but I tried to turn it and it really hurt, do I have to turn it and how long will it hurt for?

Dezera 2 years ago

Umm i just got my cartilage pierced yesterday and i was wondering if i have to turn the earring 2 times a day because its really painful so i don't want to do it

Hannah 2 years ago

Im getting my cartilage pierced in a week and can't decide which ear to pierce. does it matter because i was thinking my right.

Sandra 2 years ago

Don't be afraid to get your ears pierced at claires.. Mines have never been infected and that's where i got mine done. It doesn't hurt to bad just a pich really. As far as cost it could vary depending on what earring you choose. I chose silver star earrings that cost 19.99 and then 3.00 cartiliadge fee.. So not that bad. Be sure not to sleep on your new piercing or you may experience discomfort the next day.

soildiergirl757 2 years ago

my dad will let me get a cartilage piercing but how do i ask my mom and i am 12 years old.

Brenda 2 years ago

I got my upper ear done and cleaned it ,pampered it for a year and a half but it just wouldn't get completely well. I loved it. So cool looking. It stayed sore most of the time. After sleeping one night and it hurting I got up the next morning and took the earring out. Now I have a scar. : ( I would still love to have it back though but after that much time I gave up.

Adriana Ortiz 2 years ago

Thank you all for viewing my article. For the "person" who claims I "don't know what I'm talking about" you really should get a life. If you spend your days arguing with anonymous people online, you need a hobby or a job. I have been a tattoo and piercings enthusiast for almost 10 years know, so I'm pretty sure I know what I'm talking about. In the end it's about your body. Some peoples bodies can heal just fine after getting pierced with a gun, some people cannot. If you need your fulfillment from being a jerk online, go get it somewhere else. Thanks

Rebecca 2 years ago

Well I got my tongue pierced two weeks ago at a parlor with a needle and both cartilages with a gun at Claires today. As far as the pain goes, the tongue honestly hurt worse from the needle with no numbing agent. But, the cartilages did not really hurt either, just a slight sting. Apparently, I am sleeping on my back since I have read here not to sleep on the side with the piercing. I have had a cartilage piercing years ago from Claires and it didn't get infected, but I took it out after a couple months because it was sensitive. I am hoping that this time, it won't be as sensitive, but we'll see. I was told by the piercer that if any pus comes out, I should take it out and see a doctor. I am going to clean it 3 times a day for 6 weeks like she suggested with the solution they gave me and hopefully it will be okay. After that I will use soap and water.

Painful? Not really.

Célin 2 years ago


I was just wondering where to place the piercing on the cartillage... Like should it be on the highest piont on the ear, or a little bit above, right where the ear gets rounder, not so far from the earlobe...?


Beth 2 years ago

I am thinking about getting my cartilage done tomorrow. Is it safe to wear hats? For my job I need to wear a hat or hair net.

Sarah 2 years ago

Beth: I got an industrial piercing and the next afternoon I had to wear safety goggles with very wide arms the next day. I felt a dull ache when they were pressing down on the piercing and discomfort for a couple of hours afterward. So it is doable but I would try my best not to stress it because it can affect healing.

On another note it's really great to make sure the parlor you go to is APA certified. It tells you that all the equipment and staff pass certain quality standards. It is also good to get your piercings done with implant grade metal. It's the same metal used for hip and knee implants. It's free of impurities. Basically, it's designed so your body doesn't try to break down the jewelry and adhere to the metal. This also should eliminate the need to twist your fresh piercing.

Christina 2 years ago

I was going to get a cartilage piercing on both ears, but after reading this article, specifically where it says that if the piecing is slept on it will get irritated, and since I cannot go to sleep if I am not on my side, I am thinking maybe I should only get one ear done, and next year get the other. Any comments or suggestions? maybe there's a trick to sleeping on the side, without irritating the piercing?

I've read and watched a lot on this subject, to prepare for my piercing, and there were a few things that I found very regularly:

- sea salt water is great for cleaning piercings, but never use table salt, that would have a bad effect. Hot Topic sells the salt water serum.

- rubbing alcohol or any alcohol is bad to use with cartilage piercings, it irritates very easily, though it may not infect, it will cause discomfort, as in forming a ball where the piercing is.

- don't play with or touch the earring, as much as we all love to do that, with the cartilage it will irritate, like forming a ball or bump or redness.

- get cartilages pierced with a stud, if you get it with a hoop the piercing will be more easily irritated, because the hoop move back and forth more easily, causing pain, and your piecing could heal in a slightly uncomfortable shape.

- Get your cartilage pierced with a hollow needle; for most people, the hollow need is much less painful than the gun.

- I suggest getting sensitive piercings, like the cartilage, at Pagoda or a professional/quality piecing place, and definitely not at Claire's; think about experience, would you want to get your skin/body pierced by someone who is experienced, or by someone who is not. Someone at Claire's may be used to piercing ear lobes, but that is very different from a cartilage piercing, and I'd say one would probably prefer to go with the safest, less painful method.

This article was very helpful, and the comments too, thank you.

Jessica 2 years ago

I just got a Cartilage piercing today. And was wondering how do I sleep with my hair? Like is their a specific way so hair dosnt get in the piercing?

Allie 2 years ago

Don't get both ears at once! It sucks for sleeping. I suggest getting one at a time so you at least have one side to lay on during the healing process.

Robikan profile image

Robikan 2 years ago from Canada

A couple of things, here:

-It's not called a cartilage piercing - you have cartilage all through your body, not just in your ear. That's a rim/helix piercing.

-Getting pierced with a gun is ALWAYS a terrible idea. Guns cannot be properly sterilized, and cause massive trauma to the pierced area. They open you up to infections, and sometimes worse - hepatitis is a common issue, as they often use the same gun on numerous people. The people that work at Claire's are not trained to be piercers - a piercing apprenticeship can take months, while mall staff watch a video and that's that.

-The solution they give you at Claire's or wherever is not saline. It contains alcohol, which dries out your piercing, and kills the good bacteria you need to heal.

-You should not be swimming with a fresh piercing. Unless, that is, you want everyone else's bacteria in your fresh wound.


A properly trained professional.

Mariah 2 years ago

I don't think that the piercing guns are as unsafe as everyone says they are. Ive gotten 5 piercings done with a gun and have had no infections whatsoever $6. When you're getting your piercing done with a gun they have the gun and they put a cartridge on it, the cartridge is the only thing on the gun actually touching you and after you are done with your piercing they put the cartridge away to be sanatized or thrown away. The guns don't use needles for your piercing its just the jewelry, the jewelry that has not been touched by anyone. Guns don't cause infection, not properly caring for them does.

Gabrielle 2 years ago

Never allow anyone to pierce you with a gun. The cannot be properly sterilized and the can shatter the cartilage in your ears and nose. If you go to somewhere like Clairs or Walmart the people behind the gun have no real training to even do piercings. Going to your closest piercing shop is your safest option

Robikan profile image

Robikan 2 years ago from Canada

Mariah, would you let a doctor give you a needle with something that's never been sterilized? If not, why would you let an untrained clerk do it?

Nene 2 years ago

Hey , I got my Cartilage Pierced Last week It Didn't hurt . I also got my second hole I think my second hurted 2 times more than cartilage . When I got my cartilage done it didn't hurt until after it was pierced I felt throbbing and redness & NOWW its hurting me badddd and its Swole

Robikan profile image

Robikan 2 years ago from Canada

You're free to decide who pierces you, Ben. I feel it my duty to provide accurate information on what is and is not safe in the body modification industry. Getting pierced with an unsterilized and dull piece of equipment is simply not safe. I make no apologies for informing people of this.

Tina 2 years ago

I have a daughter who plays soccer year round. She wants her cartilage pierced this weekend but we have a tournament next weekend. Would it be ok if she took the piercing out for an hour and them put it back? After the tournament we have a 3 week window before our next game. Should she wait until then or wait until Nov when the winter break happens?

Maia 2 years ago

Claire's says it's 12 weeks for the piercing to heal does that mean i can take it out after that to do sport?

Evelin 2 years ago

I have my lobes done (3in each ear), as well as my nose and conch, I also had my eyebrow done but it migrated and now I have a scar. Anyway, I want more lobe piercings and honestly, I feel safer getting them done at Claire's, or anywhere, with a gun. I've never had problems with the holes I've gotten done that way. My other ones though, (nose, conch and eyebrow) have been hell to deal with. I had them done with needles and I've gotten keloids on all of them. The one on my nose disappeared within a year, my eyebrow piercing only lasted 8 months before I had to take it out and let it scar. My conch is my newest one, had it done about 2 months ago and there's a keloid on both sides of it, I hate it! Hopefully it will go away as well. I will keep getting piercings, both with needles and guns, I don't care if it has to look a little nasty at first.

Melissa 2 years ago

I have cartlidge missing on my left ear and u plan on getting them pierced with maybe 1-3 piercing do you think it will hurt more or less

Lilly 2 years ago

I'm going to get one today and I'm kinda scared any advice

Savannah 2 years ago

I got mine today it was great cleaning it hurts a lot as much as the pircing at first (I got an upper ear caralige pircing) i say do it cause the pain is defiantly worth it for me I really like it!!! Don't be scared about the needle cause my pain taalernce is really low and it lottery felt like a pinch and I'm 13

Tina 2 years ago

After it's healed..for however long it takes. Are you able to take out the earring? Or will it close?

Hi 2 years ago

Yes Tina they tell you when it's herald only take it out to change the earring but depending on how you get it done

Frankie 2 years ago

The way to think about it is, if this hurts then I wonder what getting shot feels like and then you will realise it hardly hurts at all. No point in stating the obvious but if you're worried about the pain, just think of that. Getting mine done for my birthday

Nicole 24 months ago

I'm fine with just my ear lobes covered

robot 23 months ago

To those considering getting their piercing:

I had my helix piercing about 3 weeks ago. I got it done with a needle. I don't know about the legitimacy of the gun vs needle debate but why not be on the safe side and get it with a needle? If you're afraid of the pain, don't worry! I have low pain tolerence and I get anxiety over getting the flu shot or getting my blood drawn and I was freaking out about getting my helix pierced with a needle too. But believe me, it happens REALLY fast, it's almost like getting it with a gun. The whole thing felt like it mightve lasted maybe 2-5 seconds. I felt a tiny bit of pain and a weird sensation then it was over and my ear felt hot for a bit. That's it. So if cost isn't an issue to you, just go for the needle! Just make sure you go to a nice tattoo/piercing shop and watch for the piercer to open a new pack of needle or what not for you.

Also, if you suspect you might have an infection, don't freak out. I freaked out. Its not worth it. If you suspect it then the best thing you can do is keep cleaning it twice a day like you're supposed to. Sea salt soaks work best, twice a day (remember to wash your ear off with warm water after the soak). Then maybe spray the redness reducing moisturizer if your piercer sold you one. I thought I had an infection after one week into my piercing when it randomly got extra sore and red and painful and I even noticed some darkish green/yellow crusty bit there when I cleaned around the piercing with a wet q-tip - but all it took was sticking strictly to the cleaning ritual and it went away in a day or two.

Enjoy your new piercing!

Jula 22 months ago

I'm 12 and thinking of getting a cartledge piercing. I'm not sure if I should, since I got a piercing in the love before and had many infections and had to get it removed. Any advice?

To Jula 22 months ago

I wouldn't recommend you getting a cartilage piercing if you've had many infections on your lobe before! But do what you really want, it's your body after all.

Hayley 21 months ago

hi! I'm looking to get my cartillage pierced, but I have a nickel allergy. Any metals you would recommend to try to find that won't trigger a reaction or any advice on how to find a metal that works. Thanks!

Aria 21 months ago

Hi, i am just like Hayley, any advice?

Ellie 21 months ago

Hello I'm 14 and thinking of getting my cartilage pierced at the weekend. I would have to tape them up for p.e and I'm wondering whether the tape would irritate the piercing! Any information would be so helpful as I am slightly nervous :) thanks x

maddy 20 months ago

hello, I'm 14 and I play softball. I was thinking of getting a helix piercing but I'm afraid the helmet will irritate the piercing. the season doesn't start up until April-ish May so it will have some time to heal if I get it pierced now but I don't want it ripped out of my ear.. any suggestions? thanks much

marley patterson 20 months ago

would i be able to swim after i get this piercing???

Tjasa Mataj 19 months ago

How long do i have to clean it? Because my piercer said that only for a week with alcohol and only once a day.

Zoey 101 18 months ago

How do they put the earing in

fluffy ;) 18 months ago

hey i got my helix piercing done on both ears i did one last saturday and the other one today with a gun and it doesn't hurt that much. do not pierce on both your ears at the same time because you wont be able to sleep on your sides so maybe you can do what i did and get one done then wait a week, 2 weeks or a month to get another one. i still can't sleep on the side where i got the first helix so i put my arm under my head and try to keep my head away from the pillow without touching it with my arm

and im also 14 :)

have fun getting your piercings

hope you love them cuz i love mine

thanks this website really helped xxx


Shon Ivyan profile image

Shon Ivyan 17 months ago from United States

I read your article and also watching video.Its so horrible to creating cartilage pierced .I hard about cartilage it had many infection in your body so I afraid of this things. I also suggest to look on this page had a lots of collection nose rings , eyes ring etc.

hotfashion profile image

hotfashion 17 months ago

Years ago I was going to pierce my ears.. I am happy I didn't :D

hannah 17 months ago

I just got my 2 piercings in my forward helix 2 days ago with the needle, for me it didn't hurt at all u felt a pinch and then it was gone and I have a very low pain tolerance. It was also fast and there's no kick with the gun and no scary stuff about the shattering. I honestly though it was really easy no pain other then a little after wards when everything's done u feel a little sore so I am not sleeping on that side. If anyone does want to get there cartilage pierced I would say go for it cause the needle didn't hurt at all and almost all the sore pain is gone and I can almost put all my weight frkm my head on that side and only after 2 days! It's not painful at all but I do recommend getting it changed by professional on the first time cauze they can tell you the proper way to change it. My lady said I have to come back in 3 weeks to get it changed and she will teach me all the stuff to do. Also one last important thing, there are flat backings and then u can get one that looks kinds like an eyebrow piercing get the bent eye brow one instead of the flat one. They are a lot easier to clean then the flat one so u don't have to worry about getting under that backing and it getting infected. So ya that's all and so finally with the needle I felt like no pain it hurt less then my love ones, with no scare of shattering. Get the bent backings cause it easier to clean with the ball screwed on at the back. And suggested that u get the first time changed by a professional so they can show u the ropes instead of youtube. So ya that's all k hope I helped some of u out and sorry it's really long!.

streetboy 17 months ago

sometimes piercing is very dangerous!

Softballbae 17 months ago

I am a full time athlete and don't know if I should get my helix done. I've wanted this for a while but recently just made a full time commitment to softball. I am also a catcher, so when I fling the mask off it might take the earing with it. What should I do?

bluebelleggsy 17 months ago

Go for a piercer that uses a needle - I had my helix done with the gun and it didn't heal ever. So i took it out and just recently got it redone with a needle - my piercer was wonderful. Just don't play with it or touch it - and make sure to wash your hands and your hair frequently. I get it caught on some stuff occasionally, which hurts, and sleeping was a nightmare for the first week as whenever I rolled on it in my sleep there was some bleeding and discomfort but its only a small nuisance :) Same for glasses... they get snagged but it just takes getting used to :P

Totally worth it!

Devyn Herron profile image

Devyn Herron 16 months ago from North Carolina

Your article was right on! I have piercings so I know how it is. You were very accurate. I enjoyed watching the videos. I couldn't get the sound to work, not sure why.

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Motherbynature 16 months ago from Los Angeles, CA

Interesting article. You did a great job with explaining in detail so people will know what they are getting themselves into. I thought I had seen it all, but I don't believe I've ever seen someone with their nose top pierced. I used to know a lady with 14 piercings in her nostrils but not the tip.

I have 10 piercings myself. I used to have 11 but I let my nose piercing go. I do have a helix piercing I don't usually wear because my comb kept getting snagged in it. Yikes! Now that I have dreadlocks I might just put it back in.

Glimmer green 16 months ago

Hi new blogger on this website. If not to much trouble come check out my blog. I just got my first hub published. Follow please

helenagaultier profile image

helenagaultier 15 months ago from New York, NY

Hi! Thanks for this. I was just thinking of getting another set of piercings on my ear. I have my ears pierced in the standard location, I guess, and I'm thinking about getting another set in the conch, or anti-tragus.

Now I know those names, too, so I can tell the jeweler! Your article is very informative. And I think I'm going to do it once I have the extra cash :)

Chin 15 months ago

I had a "bar" piercing (with needle) a few years ago but took it out because the top cartilage took forever to heal even after 4months it still hurts so I remove it and the holes heal back. I just did a helix piercing (with gun) a few weeks ago, I removed the earrings becuz the gun put the back too far on my ears and drop then in saline and insert them back in right after I clean my ears, it still hurts like hell but I really like the piercings. I clean it once a day and twist it now and then

Susie 15 months ago

I have a question. I honestly don't know what kind of piercing I have, if it's sterling silver or what, but it's silver and has a diamond, looks almost exact to one of your own pictures (the picture right after the 'Where Can I Get A Cartilage Piercing'). And I don't know what to do. Towards the end of August, I will be having the piercing for two years. It's cool and awesome to have, and I've changed it a couple of times after the first year and all. But, its been two years and it still hurts. I take it out and clean it with solution and sometimes Hydrogen Peroxide. I turn the piercing all of the time but it still hurts. What can I do? People tell me to change piercings, but to what? Can I put regular earrings in, or does it have to be a cartilage piercing? (I really don't know if there is a difference or not... I haven't taken the time to learn) I'm tired of my piercing hurting. I'm tempted to just take it out and let it close up, but I wanted to try something else before I turn to that.

Please help!

Ama 14 months ago

I had my nose and cartilage pierced 5days ago with a needle and really feels great didn't experience and redness or discomfort. I suggest everyone uses a needle it's safer

so many piercing and tattoos 13 months ago

Cartilage should never ever be pierced with a gun.

I wouldn't get any Piercing in Claire's, at least not in the UK.

I'm aware it's still common practice to pierce through nasal cartilage but it's also bad practice and shouldn't be done. septum piercing shouldn go through the fleshy 'soft spot' just in fron of the cartilage and a nose tip piercing (they're vile, never get one) should also go between the two plates of cartilage.

It's going to hurt. You are getting stabbed. Everyone will experience it differently. Personally, my septum was a painful process but after the initial procedure it was okay. Touching it hurt a lot but it was alright. My ear cartilage (I have/had various) was a different kind of pain, less painful but they're usually a bit sensitive and uncomfortable for a week afterwards.

Don't get cartilage on both ears at the same time. unless you always, without fail sleep on your back or front.

Most cartilage piercings have a healing time between 8 - 12 weeks. Only touch them to clean them. Only touch them with clean hands. I'd avoid nasal piercings in winter, a runny nose and a fresh septum piercing is an awful combination!

Hannah 13 months ago

Hello,I'm Hannah.i only have my 3rds on both sides piered and want more piercings as they are amazing !!when I turn 12 I'm going to get my helix pierced and maybe my belly button but I think I'm to young to or my mum just needs to fill in papers .If you really want piercing as bad as me then you would want to pay for ,look after it carefully,don't touch it(only when clean it and find a really good shop to get pieried at . Oh I almost forgot ,do not I rept do not get your top of your ear pieried with a gun .It will hurt more and 50% get infected !!!!!!

Hannah 13 months ago

Hello,I'm Hannah.i only have my 3rds on both sides pieried and want more piercings as they are amazing !!when I turn 12 I'm going to get my helix pierced and maybe my belly button but I think I'm to young to or my mum just needs to fill in papers .If you really want piercing as bad as me then you would want to pay for ,look after it carefully,don't touch it(only when clean it and find a really good shop to get pieried at . Oh I almost forgot ,do not I rept do not get your top of your ear pieried with a gun .It will hurt more and 50% get infected !!!!!!

PirsingBevana profile image

PirsingBevana 12 months ago from Tauron

Nice posting abouth body piercing :)

J.B 12 months ago

Hi, i pierced my nose and i had to take it out because i didnt have another salution as in an acrylic ring and then it healed perfectly no scaring and i did it myself. I just tried piercing my nose again on the otherside and for some reason with the professional needle i had baughten it hurt like h*** for a min. I couldnt proceed after the needle was in because the earing wouldnt gobin for some reason and it was a smaller stud than the needle so my boyfriend said no nose piercings so last night once again i went needle piercing as i have high tolerance for pain but this hurt i thought in the lower cartilage part but i pierced my belly button and it was less pain. Alot less. I did both in one night. My ear is sore to the touch but it does twist nicely so im assuming i did well. The belly helix ring is fine i just cleaned it it bled a sec barely and clear liquid came out so i think i did everything right. I am so scared to have anyone do my piercings for some reason i getvto the point of passing out so i back out. Id rather do my own and ok ts only when im in a bad mood so its worth it almost painless. I have 13 tattoos ive gotten while in really bad moods and never once hurt at all not that they would anyways. So now i just have to do the cleaning healing process. It took me a while to get the needle through for some reason, its either i have tough skin, or needle wasnt as sharp as it shouldve been or i maybe was afraid to push lol not sure but not one regret at all. Love them. Im aftaid to go to a salon to have it done just thinking about it makes me nauseas but its weird i fee comfortable doing it myself. Can someone tell me why that is? Im ready to do my inner labias next. :)

jtrader profile image

jtrader 12 months ago

You're right about the healing.

Seth Rogen 11 months ago

I really like apples sauce

montsora 9 months ago

Are these ear studs jenner inspired?

Ann-19 profile image

Ann-19 9 months ago

Hello, I have my nose and my belly button pierced along with multiple ear piercings. For anyone that wants to get a body pricing I encourage it. Except don't try to do it at home. I got both my body piercings professionally done and have had no problem with them. A friend of mine pierced her own nose and it got infected as well as a bubble began to form around her nose stud. So just be careful and make sure you take care of it properly. Also, if you get your belly button pierced and are out buying belly rings be careful wear you get them and what material they are. It is really easy to get the wrong metal and have allergic reactions or have it get infected.

tennis7 9 months ago

I got my helix pierced with a needle about a week and a half ago. It still really hurts but cleaning it with unscented soap in the shower and salt water really helps to clean it out. It is still very swollen but I guess that is normal. I have a ring on it right now and I am very careful to not get it caught on anything but it hurts when I sleep. I am very happy with the way it looks and hopefully it'll be painless sooner rather than later!

Beth 6 months ago

I got my upper ear done yesterday and it's not that swollen but it's still really sore is that normal how long will it take to stop hurting?

Juls 6 months ago

When cleaning my new helix piercing, should I use cotton wool? And in this cleaning, should I be moving and turning the piercing?

Or is it better to just soak the ear in the saline solution?

To beth 6 months ago

It will be sore but it will stop just don't touch it and clean it 2X

Julia 5 months ago

I got a helix piercing about 6 months ago but it isn't fully healed. I had to take it out because I had to get x-rays. I tried putting it back in but it started bleeding. What should I do?

Hailey 5 months ago

Do you typically get it on one ear or both?

Do they charge you the same amount if you only get one done?

lola 5 months ago

Omg Chin & Sussie please don't twist your piercing.

You have to leave it alone. Twisting rips the healing skin on the inside this way it wil never heal properly. Piercings heal from outside in what looks fine on the outside can stil be a semi fresh woud on the inside so

please people do NOT twist it around like you would with earlobe piercings.

Becky 4 months ago

You are asking questions that are adressed in the article. The writer clearly said don't twist the earing and also said that there is no evidence supporting the claim that guns cause more infections. It just depends on the person that is performing the piercing. If they do not know what they are doing then there is a greater risk to get an infection. They said they got it done with a gun and it's fine. Do your research on the place! Why post a question on an article before even reading it?

Tiffany 3 months ago

I got my cartilage pierced with a gun about 2.5 years, it might even be 3, but it still hurts and gets swollen...should i take it out and let it heal?

Destinie 2 months ago

So I've wanted a helix piercing since I was 16 (I'm 24) and I have been considering it again lately. Thing is I have a 21 month old son and I'm afraid of him touching it and causing infection or him pulling it out. Any suggestions on if I should get it or if I should wait? I just need some advice. Thanks a bunch!

Art 2 months ago

I'm getting done the scoffolding piercing and my right ear is slight painfull and getting otherside of my scoffolding piercing done shortly can any one helo me please

Sara 2 weeks ago

Well, my friend pierced my helix and it was sore and really red the first 3 days but after i put ice on it, and hydroxide and alcohol it all went better ☺

Michelle 13 days ago

I got my helix piercing 3 days ago. I am 15. I got it done at the pharmacy. The lady applied anesthesic cream to my helix and did the piercing using a gun 30 mins or so later. I didnt feel anything at all due to the fact that my ear was under anesthesia. I slept on my ear and didnt feel any pain and still do. It doesnt hurt as long as i dont touch it or tug at the earring.

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