Outer Conch Piercing Tips

Whether you are dreaming about the outer conch piercing in class or after seeing it on Instagram, you’ll want to know what to expect before turning your ear over to a needle.

All You Need To Know About The Outer Conch

Does outer conch piercing hurt?

The conch piercing hurts almost as much as a tragus or helix piercing, or any other cartilage piercings. Cartilage piercings like the outer conch are smack dab in the middle of the pain scale ranging from very painful to not that painful. They hurt more than an earlobe piercing. 

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.

What is the difference between an inner and outer conch piercing?

When it comes to a conch piercing, you can either choose the inner conch piercing or the outer conch piercing. 

The inner conch is the cup shaped part of the ear used for capturing sound. It sits in front of the ear canal. The inner conch is more favourable and popular of the conch piercings we see on Instagram.

The outer conch, on the other hand, is flat and sits between the rim that forms the helix and the ridge that defines the antihelix.

Another difference lies in the fact that 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. 

When can I change my outer conch piercing?

Here are some thoughts of previous piercees on this subject:  

“ I’d give it a full year, personally. Cartilage is notoriously slow-healing.” 

“I had my conch piercing changed to a ring too early, and it really irritated me and I had to change it to a labret again. I changed it to a hoop again at about the 9-month mark and it feels a lot better than before. I can’t really sleep on it much, but I’m so used to my travel pillow anyway. I believe I’m a pretty fast healer, and my piercer gave me the all-clear on it so I feel good about it.

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.

Types of outer conch jewelry

Outer conch piercing ring

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.

Outer conch piercing stud 

An outer conch stud is totally do-able, but the hoop style (also known as an orbital conch piercing) seems to be the most popular.

Outer conch piercing hoop

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 is
super easy to use, and the hinged style works well with larger hoop types.

What’s the outer conch piercing gauge size? 

The most common size is 16 gauge (but can be up to 14 gauge) for both the inner and outer conch. We strongly advise you to triple check with your piercer as it will depend on the piercings you want to wear.

What’s the outer 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 6 months to one year to fully heal, so be sure to consult a piercer before stopping the aftercare practices listed below: 

Aftercare rules

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: 

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 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.

Outer conch piercing price

Conch piercings cost anywhere between $30 and $90. With any piercing, you want to opt for the best quality of jewelry and a well experienced piercer. 

A healthy piercing is all about the money you invest from the get go. You can see some infected ear piercings on google to see the truth.  Plus, if you don’t invest today, you’ll have to pay to go to a doctor tomorrow. 

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