Add To Your Cartilage Piercing With These Tips

Latest trends in cartilage piercings have been widely donned by many celebrities carving paths to curated ears being the super trend of the year. But, mixing and matching different types of earrings like conch, daith, or helix can sound confusing. 

Here’s a simple guide to deciding which cartilage piercing to adorn to finally show off your personality and flair. 

What is a Cartilage Piercing?

The image above represents the cartilage of the ear and the scientific terms for where piercings are usually located. Most cartilage piercings are pierced with straight barbells or captive preferably made of 14k gold, 18k gold, or high quality titanium. The metals will prevent allergic reactions and are highly recommended for smooth transitioning between a freshly pierced ear to a fully healed ear. A standard size for a cartilage piercing is 12, 14 16 gauge (16G), but sometimes 18G is used as well. Don’t change out your cartilage jewelry until it has completely healed and it is always important to know the size of your piercing.  Lastly, you must follow a daily cleansing routine for your new cartilage piercing.

Daily Cleaning Routine for Cartilage Piercings: 

The best products to treat your piercing and heal it fast are listed below:

Sea Salt

When caring for your cartilage piercing the only suitable cleaner is sea salt. You want to go to your local grocery store or pharmacy and pick up a gallon of distilled water and Non-Iodized Sea Salt. Make sure that you are buying distilled water and not substituting it with any other type of water. Non-Iodized Sea Salt is easy to find, it is pure organic sea salt. If you look at the ingredient list the only ingredient that should be listed is sea salt.

When you get home pour four teaspoons of the Non-Iodized Sea Salt into the gallon of distilled water and shake the jug well. When you are ready to clean the piercing pour the solution into a coffee cup or a shot glass. Be sure that you are only using glass or porcelain, paper and plastic products will contaminate the sea salt solution. Put the cup into the microwave for a few seconds.

H2Ocean 4oz Piercing Aftercare Spray

Use a saline spray such as H2Ocean 4oz Piercing Aftercare Spray and mist your piercing three times a day. Let it dry so the solution will soak into the skin. Afterward, rinse the piercing area with fresh water. Use a clean paper towel in drying it. When using a saline spray you should also keep on using a sea salt soak once a day.

Recovery Piercing Aftercare Sea Salt And Tea Tree Oil Combo

A combination of sea salt and tea tree can revitalize your skin. For your saline washes, you should avoid using ordinary salt. Instead, use Recovery Aftercare which consists of 100% dead sea salt taken from the Dead Sea in Beer Sheva, Israel. Such saline washes heal the  piercing quickly.

The sea salt soaks mimic the salinity of your body fluids. If you plan to do it yourself, you can mix a teaspoon of non-iodized sea salt with 1 cup of warm distilled or pre-boiled water. Get a piece of cloth or cotton, soak it in the solution, and place it on the pierced area for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Inverness After Piercing Ear Care Solution

Inverness Ear Care Solution is specially created for the care of cartilage piercing or any other type of ear piercing. Be sure to properly clean your new piercing in order to avoid any infections.This solution can kill germs. If you will not properly clean your piercing, then it can result in a painful experience. Use this product at least 2 to 3 times a day so you can have safe healing.

Piercing Care Healing Sea Salts & Botanicals

Making an accurate solution is very important for healing. The correct ratio of mixing Piercing Care is 1/4 teaspoon to 1 cup (8 oz) warm water. After mixing, soak your ear piercing for 5 mins. Do this twice a day, in the morning and in the evening. This will drive out any bacteria found inside your piercing. When used properly you only need one tub in healing your cartilage piercing.

Types of Cartilage Piercing: 

These are the most common types of cartilage piercings: 


The tragus is the portion of cartilage that is located directly in front of the ear canal. The puncture itself, which usually isn’t very painful due to the limited number of nerve endings in the tragus, is usually made with a small gauge hollow piercing needle.

Hardware: When you get a tragus piercing, the tragus (which sits over the ear canal directly above the lob) is penetrated through the ear canal to wear the jewelry. This is done by piercing the small gauge hollow piercing needle in the shape of either captive bead rings, barbells or earrings studs. A cartilage stud with a flat disc backing is typically used in the tragus, but small captive bead rings or hoops are also common. 

Placement: The tragus is generally pierced through its center. Your piercer will use a low-gauge needle that’s either straight or curved, depending on their preferred technique.

Healing: Tragus piercings can take anywhere from 4 weeks to 8 months to heal, depending on care.


An anti-tragus piercing sits opposite the tragus piercing and fits similar types of jewelry.

Hardware: Small gauge studs, barbells, and captive bead rings are the ideal types of jewelry used for the anti-tragus piercing.

Placement: Placed within the portion of cartilage opposite the ear canal, the anti-tragus proves to be a unique alternative to the tragus piercing for those who want something a little more unique or have a tragus that’s too small for piercing. 

Healing: Anti-tragus piercings can take anywhere from 6 to 12 months to heal, depending on care.

Rook Piercing

The rook piercing is a cartilage piercing in the upper ear. It is located above the tragus part of the ear in the anti-helix. The “rook” is the ridge that sits between the outer ear and the inner conch. 

Hardware: Piercers will often use a 14G or 16G needle with a CBR or curved barbell as starter jewelry for the rook piercing, though once your piercing is healed, there are tons of great jewelry options. Widely considered one of the more painful piercings, the rook piercing is a relatively difficult procedure.

Placement: The rook is located in the anti-helix of the ear. The exact placement will probably depend upon your ear’s anatomy and whether the piercer can properly reach the area for a clean, healthy piercing.

Healing: Like other cartilage piercings, the rook piercing could take around 12 – 18 months to fully heal.

Transverse Lobe

Consisting of a horizontal piercing of the earlobe, the transverse lobe piercing is truly one of the more unusual piercing styles.

Hardware: Curved or straight barbells and captive bead rings are ideal for this type of piercing. The type of jewelry you can use will depend upon the anatomy of your ear; curved barbells are best for attached earlobes while detached lobes prefer straight barbells.

Placement: A horizontal transverse lobe piercing travels from the edge of the lobe closest to the cheek to the middle-edge of the earlobe. With an attached earlobe, the piercing is placed a little lower. Other variations of the transverse lobe include the vertical and diagonal lobe piercings.

Healing: On average, the healing process for transverse lobe piercings can take anywhere from 2 to 10 months.

Helix Piercing

Helix piercing is a type of jewelry piercing which is pierced on the cartilage of the outer upper ear. Various types of helix piercings exist such as Standard helix piercing, Double helix piercing, Triple helix and Forward Helix Piercing. In most instances, a piercer will puncture the ear using a free-hand method when creating a helix piercing.

Hardware: The most popular jewelry for this type of piercing are hoops such as seamless rings, captive bead rings (CBRs), or cartilage studs. The standard size is 18G, however, some consider 16G to be more ideal. Since cartilage does not stretch easily, many find it better to start off with a larger gauge in case certain cartilage earrings are not offered in a lower gauge.

Placement: Helix earrings are typically found just beyond the highest point of the rim opposite the forward helix, but it can be placed anywhere on the rim of the upper cartilage. 

Healing: Depending on individual aftercare practices, helix piercings usually take anywhere from 6 months to a year to heal.

Forward Helix

A variation of the helix piercing, the forward helix piercing is when the portion of the upper ear cartilage closest to the head is pierced. In most instances, a piercer will puncture the ear using a free-hand method when creating a forward helix piercing. It’s also quite common to pierce the forward helix multiple times for a double- or triple-forward helix.

Hardware: The most common body jewelry types for the forward helix piercing are CBRs, seamless hoops, or small helix studs with flat disc backing. The standard hole size is typically 18G. 

Placement: The forward helix consists of any piercing between the apex of the helix and where the helix joins the head.

Healing: Depending on individual aftercare practices, forward helix piercings may take anywhere from 6 months to a year to heal.

Conch Piercing

The conch piercing has two types: the inner conch piercing and the outer conch piercing. The inner conch is located lower in the ear, while the outer conch is located closer to the helix.

Hardware: A variety of jewelry can be worn here including barbells, large diameter CBRs or other hoops, and studs.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.

Placement: The conch refers to the cartilage at the center of the ear. The inner conch piercing is the cup-shaped portion adjacent to the ear canal, while the outer conch is the flat cartilage portion below the helix. When piercing either conch, a 14G barbell is recommended, but a 16G would still yield a healthy piercing. 

Healing: The healing period can be extensive at up to 12 to 18 months for full healing.

Industrial Piercing 

An industrial piercing (also called a scaffold piercing) is typically found in the upper cartilage of the ear. It is a body modification made up of any two piercings connected with a bar. 

Hardware: A 12 or 14G 1-inch industrial barbell is commonly used as industrial piercing jewelry, however a 16G is sometimes considered. It’s not unusual to use cartilage studs as the starter jewelry, which will be exchanged for a barbell after healing is complete. Cartilage studs used for industrial piercings will often result in faster healing, but it’s more difficult to align the piercings with this technique.

Placement: When getting an industrial done on your ear, there are several things that come into play. First, the piercer must mark where the barbell will go on your ear in the helix and antihelix.  Positioning may vary depending on preference, but the most popular placement spans from the forward-helix, closer to the head, to the lower section of the helix, close to the auricle. A thick barbell is then inserted from behind the ear and goes diagonally towards the front of the upper cartilage and through the second piercing. 

One of the holes will be made at the top of the ear close to the head (what is also known as an anti-helix piercing) and one will be made through the helix as well. The piercer must take care to line these holes up so that your barbell goes straight through. Lastly, the barbell is fastened with a bead directly behind the second hole.

Healing: The industrial piercing typically takes 6 months to 1 year to heal depending on the individual and aftercare practices.

Snug Piercing

The snug piercing is placed in the middle fold of the inner ear cartilage toward the rim of the ear. Placed neatly among the folds of your ear, the snug piercing certainly lives up to its name.

Hardware: Because of the location of the snug piercing, only small earrings like curved barbells or small hoops can be used for this piercing style.

Placement: Nestled near the lower-mid portion of the ear’s outer rim, snug ear piercings pass through the cartilage above your anti-tragus, producing a snug fit.

Healing: The healing process for this procedure ranges from 2 – 4 weeks, but full healing can take up to one year.

Daith Piercing

A daith piercing is in the inner cartilage section of the ear, which runs through a pressure point. 

Hardware: More often than not, jewelry such as captive bead rings or seamless rings are used. Clickers rings are also an excellent choice for daith piercing jewelry for their ease of use.

Placement: The daith piercing involves the perforation of the crus of the helix (the flap of cartilage right above your ear canal) using a curved needle so as not to puncture or damage the surrounding cartilage. A receiving tube may be used to assist in the procedure to ensure that the needle is caught on the other side.

Healing: Estimated healing time is 4 months to 1 year.

Dermal Punch

A dermal punch uses an extremely sharp blade to make a perfectly cylindrical piercing within the ear’s cartilage. A portion of the skin is completely removed in order to create a larger gauge in areas, like the cartilage, where stretching the skin is either difficult or impossible.

Hardware: When performing a dermal punch, a 14G up to a 0G plug can be fitted once the procedure is complete.

Placement: Dermal punches can be performed in various areas of the ears’ cartilage, but should NEVER be used on earlobes since it will remove tissue and hamper future stretching with lobe plugs.    

Healing: Although a large chunk of tissue will be removed, dermal punches will often take less time to heal than their pierced counterparts. Healing times will depend on the location and size of the punch.


What are the different types of cartilage piercings?

  • Helix. 
  • Industrial Piercing or Scaffold
  • Anti-Helix 
  • Snug
  • Flat
  • Conch
  • Tragus
  • Anti-Tragus
  • Daith
  • Rook
  • Transverse Lobe
  • Forward Helix
  • Dermal Punch

What type of earring is best for cartilage?

The most popular jewelry for this type of piercing are hoops such as seamless rings, captive bead rings (CBRs), or cartilage studs. 

Which cartilage piercing heals fastest?

Earlobe piercings are the quickest to heal (takes 4 to 8 weeks to heal). They typically take about one to two months to fully heal. Cartilage piercings elsewhere on your ear will take longer to heal. For example, it can take anywhere from six months or even a year before a helix or tragus piercing is fully healed.

What is cartilage piercing called?

Any piercing in the outer cartilage rim of the ear is referred to as a cartilage piercing. They can be called a Helix, Industrial Piercing / Scaffold, Anti-Helix, Snug, Flat, Transverse Lobe, Forward Helix, Dermal Punch, Conch, Tragus, Anti-Tragus, Daith or Rook.

When can I change my cartilage piercing?

You can change it as early as six months to change jewelry but it really depends on where in the ear you got pierced. This is because the connective tissue in the body has the slowest healing time due to a lack of blood flow directly into it. For example,  a helix is a type of cartilage piercing that heals from the outside to the inside, so even if it, after only 4 weeks, looks perfectly fine, it isn’t fully healed. It will take a lot of time.

To prevent any inflammation, I would wait at least 2 months. That’s what my piercer recommended to me, and that’s what I did, and both of my helix piercings are doing perfect.

Your initial jewelry can sometimes not be the most attractive, but it’s very important to not cause undue trauma to this healing piercing. If you’re wearing high quality jewelry like titanium, silver or gold in an appropriate style and fit, then it should be left in until you’re healed, which can take many months. 

When you do want to change it out, for the first time go see your piercer. And changes for the first year or two shouldn’t be constant UNLESS your piercer used extra-long jewelry in case of swelling and advised you to come back to get it changed for a smaller bar.

Is cartilage piercing safe?

Cartilage piercing is not safe because it really doesn’t take much at all to cause an infection. In many cases the trends don’t justify getting the cartilage pierced. Of course when you are old enough you can go to a hygienic and well reputed piercer who won’t pierce you with a gun (I was a victim to a mall piercer who pierced me with a gun). 

What should I know before getting a cartilage piercing?

  • You May Experience Anxiety Beforehand. Breathe. 
  • It Takes A While To Heal. 
  • You Shouldn’t Change The Jewelry Initially.
  • You Won’t Hear A Crunch (Unless You’re Get Pierced Using The Gun) 
  • You’re Surprised By The Lack Of Initial Pain. (Depends on Where) 
  • Sleeping Is Gonna Suck For A While. 
  • You Have To Keep It Clean. 
  • Your Body May Reject Your New Piercing.

Can I put regular earrings in my cartilage?

In some cases, you can use any type of earring for the cartilage piercing, such as hoops and posts. But the earrings made for cartilage are generally more comfortable.

When it comes to cartilage piercings, the options are limitless with every inch of tissue that goes above the earlobe – so just go for it!

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