Ear piercing, especially an ear lobe piercing is perhaps one of the oldest form of body piercings. In fact, an ear lobe piercing for girls is considered a part of tradition in some cultures, and it is often carried out in religious ceremonies. However, an ear cartilage piercing is quite different from the ear lobe piercing. Here, the upper part of the external ear is pierced. This type of piercing is more complex than the simple ear lobe piercing. Compared to an ear lobe piercing, a cartilage piercing can take much longer time to heal.
An ear cartilage piercing can be done in various locations of the external ear, such as the tragus, rook, and across the helix. Apart from this, many people prefer to pierce their nose cartilage. The cartilage piercing is a complex procedure. Like other types of body piercings, it carries the risk of infection and scarring. But with proper piercing aftercare, one can minimize most of the risks associated with this piercing.
Cartilage Piercing Complications
The risks associated with any kind of piercings are, infections, pain, and scarring. The pain associated with this piercing is more than the simple skin piercing. The risk of infection is also greater compared to skin piercing, as cartilage is much thicker than skin, and is also not supplied with the same amount of blood that circulates through the skin.
Another factor that can increase the risk of infection is the long healing time required. While piercing the cartilage, the needle rips through the cartilage, which can further raise the risk of infection and scarring. If not done properly, this piercing can leave a noticeable scar or bump on the pierced area. The risks of developing these complications are more, if the piercing is done with a cartilage gun.
Cartilage Piercing Aftercare
In general, a cartilage piercing can take about 3 months to 1 year to heal completely. During the entire healing period, it is important to not touch the piercing site with unclean or unwashed hands. Always wash your hands with an antibacterial soap before touching or cleaning the piercing site. Never allow others to touch the area.
You can clean the piercing once in a day by using an antibacterial soap. For the first 3 days, you can clean it twice a day. But afterwards, be sure to clean it only once in a day, as overwashing can irritate the piercing. For cleaning the piercing, first wash your hands thoroughly, and wet the piercing with a cotton ball soaked in plain water.
Then apply a few drops of antibacterial soap on the piercing, and work on a lather with the help of a cotton swab. Try to loosen up and remove any crusty discharge with the cotton swab, and rotate the jewelry gently within the hole. This will allow the soap to reach the piercing hole, and clean it thoroughly. Wait for about 2 minutes, before rinsing it off with clean water.
Never use substances like hydrogen peroxide, betadine, methylated spirits, and alcohol for cleaning the piercing. In the case of an ear cartilage piercing, proper care must be taken to ensure that your hair doesn't touch the piercing site and the jewelry. You can tie your hair properly before the piercing is done to make sure that your hair doesn't touch the jewelry. Do not change the jewelry until the piercing has healed completely.
Sometimes, in spite of all possible care and precautions, an infection can develop after a cartilage piercing. If you observe any signs of infection, like increased redness, swelling, or pain, along with a discharge, then consult your health care provider immediately and follow your physician's instructions.