The conch piercing, pronounced “konk”, is called so because it takes place in the area of a cartilage which resembles a conch shell. It’s important to note that when it comes to a conch piercing, you can either choose the inner conch piercing or the outer conch piercing. The inner conch is located in the “lower cartilage” and can be decorated with a cartilage stud. The outer conch, on the other hand, is in the upper cartilage and what better way to accessorize it than with a large hoop?
As it is located in the middle portion of the ear canal, guess what, you can customize this shiz!
You can pierce it to customize with studs, rings, or even cute decals — honestly, you have to check out these amazing looks.
In terms of cartilage piercings, the location of the conch means that there’s a lot of room when it comes to piercing placement, so you’ll want to consider a few things before you get this piercing.
Conch piercing pain
The conch piercing hurts more than an earlobe piercing but it doesn’t hurt any more than any other cartilage piercings. In general, cartilage piercings fall about halfway on the pain scale, and the conch is the same. It will hurt more than a lobe piercing, but it shouldn’t be anything that most people can’t handle.
Typically, the conch is pierced with a 14G needle. You can go larger than that, but if you do, you might want to consider a dermal punch rather than a needle. The dermal punch will give you the larger gauge, but it actually removes a portion of cartilage rather than just piercing the skin, so it’s a more invasive procedure. Additionally, a dermal punch piercing won’t heal on its own, and many states have laws against using dermal punches for piercing purposes, so it’s not recommended.
If you want a larger gauge but find the dermal punch intimidating, it is possible to stretch the cartilage, but it can be difficult. Also, keep in mind that with small-gauge dermal punch, you can expect considerably more pain, and they are difficult to heal.
But a larger gauge will require surgery if you someday choose to get rid of your conch piercing.
So, with a surgery involved during removal, think about this piercing for a long time before visiting your piercer, since it will be more permanent than other piercing options.
What is the conch piercing healing time?
The conch piercing will heal about the same as any other cartilage piercing. Cartilage takes longer to heal than other fleshier areas, and it varies greatly from person to person. The conch will take anywhere from 3 months to one year to fully heal, so be sure to consult a piercer before stopping aftercare practices.
Any conch piercing benefits?
Some ear piercings have benefits such as relieving body pain. The daith is roughly the same pressure point on your ear that acupuncturists target to treat migraine headaches. They will place needles in ear cartilages to relieve migraine symptoms. The story is that acupuncture activates channels in your brain that turn pain off.
Thus, the daith piercing is popular with patients who don’t want to take daily pain medication. This is a simple and inexpensive procedure, so for patients who enjoy piercings and body art, there’s little reason not to try it.
“ I have suffered from intractable migraines that last a minimum of one week each, occurring 3-4 times/ month for the last 20 yrs. They are non responsive to medication, leave me bedridden because of the symptoms and my neurologist has had me try them all. On 4/8/2016 I had Daith piercings done in both my ears even though my headaches have always been limited to the right side of my head. Since having the piercings my migraines have virtually disappeared. Since April8, I have only had 2 migraines, each lasting a couple of hours and they resolved themselves with rest and use of the Cephaly device. Daith piercings have given me my life back.. I would recommend that migraineurs definitely give this treatment modality some serious consideration”
However, there may not be a connection between acupuncture treatments and conch piercings. Some have researched “battlefield acupuncture” as a way of quickly relieving soldiers’ pain (for either combat or after returning home from deployment). However, battlefield acupuncture typically follows a pain relief protocol targeting five different acupuncture points in both ears. Most of these points are nowhere near the conch; only one comes close.
Conch piercing earrings
As mentioned previously, the conch consists of two styles: the inner conch and outer conch. While a conch location will depend on your cartilage’s anatomy, you also need to decide your preferred jewelry style before choosing conch location.
Large hoops are incredibly popular in the outer conch. The location of the outer conch, located in the upper conch cartilage, is close enough to the rim of the ear to wrap a hoop around the ear. You can choose seamless hoop styles for a slick look, or try segment or clicker hoops. The latter are super easy to use, and the hinged style works well with larger hoop types. It is possible to wear a stud in the outer conch, but the hoop style seems to be the most popular.
In the inner conch, you’ll want to opt for a cartilage stud. You can choose a stud with a flat disc back or ball backing, whichever style you prefer. The cartilage stud looks great with a solo conch piercing or as an addition to your cartilage cluster.
Lastly, a variant of a conch piercing is the conch orbital piercing. It runs perpendicular to the standard conch piercing and actually requires two holes to be pierced instead of just one. That’s why the ring literally “orbits” the ear’s cartilage. Recommended jewelry is usually a CBR. Again, rely on your piercer to determine the gauge and size that are best for you.
Conch piercings are performed quite easily with an experienced piercer, but keep in mind that the proper tools are also important. Before you make an appointment, ask around and read reviews for piercers you’re considering. When you’ve narrowed your choice down, call the piercer to ask about his experience and the precautions he takes to maintain good hygiene. Book an appointment only when you feel confident that he knows what he’s doing because it’s your ear after all.
Evaluation of the ear: Your piercer should confirm what you want and should look over your ear to make sure it’s possible. He must double-check the size of the opening you want and choose the appropriate tools. The needle piercings should be no larger than 14 gauge – as this is the safest If you want a larger hole, your piercer can use a dermal punch.
Prep the ear: The piercer should swab your ear well with an alcohol disinfectant solution. This will help to remove bacteria on the surface of the skin that otherwise will get pushed into the wound, as one gets pierced.
Marking: He or she will use a surgical marker (which is a nontoxic pen or sometimes just nontoxic ink on a wooden stick) to mark the spot for the piercing. Please ask and take a look in a mirror so you’re sure that he/she has the placement right, especially if you’re getting conch piercings in both ears. Make sure they look even!
Piercing: As you inhale in, the piercer should line the needle up with the mark and pop it through the tissue. By the time you’ve exhaled out it’s over in seconds, and your anticipation is more than likely worse than the actual pain. But it will hurt.
Placement: Your piercer gently inserts the jewelry you’ve chosen and might give that mirror back to you again so you can admire your new look. Don’t be surprised if you feel a little woozy at this point—both from being nervous and from the shock of the piercing itself.
Instruction: Keeping the site clean and taking good care of your conch piercing is important, so you should get some detailed pointers on aftercare(read below) from your piercer. You’ll probably get a handout, which you should follow to the T. The good thing about a conch piercing is that, its secure location near the center of the outer ear, makes the chance of rejection or migration( jewlery moving around) very slim.
Conch piercing infections to worry about
Cartilage piercings are associated with infections. In one small study of more than 500 women with ear piercings, showed that 32 percent of those with cartilage piercings, got infections.
Different bumps that may affect the conch:
- keloid scars is a painless buildup of collagen that looks like scar tissue
- an abscess is a bump which may be full of pus
- a piercing pimple, which is a small pustule that forms near the hole
- contact dermatitis caused by a metal allergy to your jewelry
If you suspect an infection, check for these symptoms and then contact either a doctor or your piercer:
- red and swollen skin around the piercing
- pain or tenderness
- yellow or green discharge coming from the piercing
- fever, chills, or nausea
- red streaks coming out of the piercing
- symptoms that are getting worse or that last longer than one week
Conch piercing healing tips
Beyond standard aftercare practices, cartilage has less blood flow than other areas of the body, so it will heal differently than your lip or earlobe. A conch piercing is not the same as earlobe piercing which usually has a healing period of four to six weeks due to high blood flow in the area.
The cartilages are thinner than fleshy areas like lobes or tongue which means conch piercings take longer to heal. On an average, it takes about six months to a year for conch piercings to heal. Although it takes longer to heal than your earlobe piercing, the end results are worth the wait. You will look unusually aesthetic if you take good care during this period.
Here are some conch piercing aftercare tips that can speed up the healing process:
Type of ear jewelry
The type of ear jewelry you wear can determine how long it takes to heal. While you may love to sport a ring in the conch, rings take longer to heal. It is normal for hair strands or dresses to get tangled with the ring while bathing or dressing/ undressing, thus slowing down the healing process. So rings can wait until the pricing is completely healed. Wear a nice stud instead.
Avoid blood thinners such as alcohol, aspirin and coffee
This is one of the most important of all conch piercing aftercare tips. New piercings are prone to occasional bleeding during the first few weeks of the healing process. So, it’s important to avoid blood thinners such as alcohol, aspirin, and too much caffeine for the first few weeks.
Prevent bacterial infection
Control the risk of developing a bacterial infection by preventing others from touching your conch piercing. You must also clean your hands or wear gloves while before touching the piercings. Avoid hot tubs, swimming pools, and other sources of communal water for the first few weeks after the piercings.
Avoid changing the jewelry
Obviously you’re excited about trying on different jewelry for your conch, but keep in mind that cartilages are not the same as earlobes. With earlobes, you can change the jewelry after 8-10 weeks, but with conch piercing, you need to wait for at least 6 to 12 months before you change the jewelry.
Use saline spray
To speed up the healing process, Conch piercings should be cleaned a few times a day. You can opt for a saline solution or something like H2Ocean’s Sea Salt Body Piercing Spray. It safely removes the dried lymph secretions and discharges that may clog the piercing.Take a cotton ball, soak it H2Ocean’s Sea Salt Body Piercing Spray and hold it up on the piercing for five minutes. You may also directly spray on the area.
Be careful with the things you put on your ears
Headphones, hats, and even your hair exposes your piercing to harmful bacteria that can cause infection. In the first days after receiving your piercing, make sure that you keep your piercing away from foreign objects. Keep your hair in a ponytail. Opt for headphones that go completely over your ear and don’t put pressure on your new conch piercing. Stay away from hats. Give your piercing a fighting chance and let it heal without disruption.
Keep pressure off the jewelry
Moving the jewelry can cause trauma to the skin around the piercing site, leading to complications like scarring and piercing bumps. Don’t twist or move the jewelry during healing. This rule also applies when you’re sleeping. Try not to sleep on the jewelry. If you sleep on your side, it might be a good idea to get your conch piercing one side at a time so that you don’t disrupt your sleep schedule.
Keep the ear clean and dry
Cartilage piercings, in particular, are susceptible to bumps and other healing complications. Therefore, don’t get lazy with your aftercare practices. Keep your ear clean. Make sure that the piercing area is free from ear wax and dead skin. Use clean sheets and pillowcases every night. The conch piercing is adorable, but it doesn’t look great when surrounded by bumps and scars, does it? Help your piercing heal happily by keeping it clean and dry.
Unusual piercings seem to be taking the reigns when it comes to the body art race, so if you can take care of your ear, go for the conch piercing, it’s so worth it.