Snug Piercing Can Be Snug Like A Bug In Your Ear

The snug piercing is a simple piercing that stands out for its unique location. To know what to expect for healing, pain, jewelry rejection, gauze size and infection care, just keep reading to know more. 

What is a snug piercing? 

The snug piercing has been a true trend amongst the piercing community for its uniqueness. 

This piercing is located on the ridge between the inner and outer parts of the ear – known as the antihelix, or anti helical fold. Given that the snug involves going through thick cartilage, it’s up there with one of the more challenging ear piercings to do.

Placement: Since this particular part of the ear that tends to vary a bit in shape from person to person, the exact placement differs too. The snug piercing runs along the antihelix of the ear, adjacent to the ear canal. Both the inner and outer cartilages of the ear are pierced, while of course, YOU have the final say on its exact placement.

Snug piercing healing time

The snug takes around 6-12 months to heal fully, and jewellery can usually be changed after 3 months.

The snug piercing tends to take longer to heal than other cartilage piercings, so be careful to listen to, and follow, the piercer’s aftercare instructions. The cleaning process isn’t too hard to keep up with. You’ll just need to apply a saline spray a few times a day for a while and continue to keep an eye on it while avoiding undue friction from sleeping or other activities.

It does require consistency in terms of care, however. The antihelix is curved, putting extra pressure on the healing process, while the piercing will also be on the outside of the ear. So, there are more chances of bumps and knocks in everyday life, particularly for active people. 

In the end, it’s worth that extra little bit of effort! Here are some healing tips: 

  • A (curved) barbell is recommended for the healing period as it is less likely to be pushed or caught than a ring.
  • Do not touch the piercing during the healing process, unless when cleaning. Your fingers could be carrying harmful bacteria and may cause an infection.
  • Make sure to follow all the proper aftercare instructions explained by your piercing artist. 
  • Use a salt spray solution when cleaning the newly pierced snug, at least once a day.
  • When applying the solution, use a thick tissue or non-alcoholic swabstick to clean around the piercing.
  • Make sure the solution soaks right through the piercing by gently twisting your piercing around.
  • Take up to 5 minutes a day just cleaning any discharge which might come out of the ear. Don’t worry, this is normal in the healing process. Just make sure you don’t clean more than twice a day, as any more may cause irritation.
  • Try to avoid chemicals, oils or ointments in the first four weeks of healing, but after this, they can be extremely helpful.

Is a snug piercing painful?

Given the thicker cartilage in this area, the snug is generally considered to be more painful than other ear piercings; however one’s pain threshold varies from person to person. 

Typically with all piercings, whatever pain you experience will only last a matter of moments.  It starts at a 4 out of 10 and peaks at 6 out of 10 on a pain scale but this is from the experience of someone with high pain tolerance. 

A good piercer is not only skilled at his job, he’s also great at holding an effortless conversation to keep you at ease. Having a conversation during the process can lessen the feeling of any pain in an obvious way. Similar to getting waxed, it’s so nice to have a distracting conversation than focus on the pain.

Expect swelling for the rest of the day but it should go down by the next day. 

Do snug piercings reject?

Many times the body’s immune response sees the jewelry as a foreign object and rejects it.

Body piercing generally carries this risk. Any type of piercing has the potential to be rejected,  which can cause discomfort and scarring. Rejection depends on the person’s immune system and how well the piercing heals. But, the body tends to reject some types of piercings more often than others. Spotting a piercing rejection early can reduce scarring and damage to the skin. Whenever the skin is broken, there is a risk of infection, scarring, allergies, or other skin problems. 

Surface piercings like the eyebrows, neck, hip, and wrist, etc are the most common types of piercing to be rejected by the body. Surface piercings are pierced on an area of skin, rather than going directly through a body part. With this piercing, the  jewelry punctures only a small amount of the skin’s surface, hence the name. Surface piercings frequently go through rejection simply because it is easier for the body to push the jewelry out of a small amount of skin.

Non-surface piercings are piercings done on the earlobe, ear cartilage, lip, or tongue. These types of piercings go all the way through the body tissue, in through one side and out the other.

Non-surface piercings tend to be rejected less frequently as there is more tissue to hold them in place, making it more difficult for the body to push them out.

The snug piercing may be rejected by the ear, or physically pushed out. To avoid this, make sure to use titanium jewellery the first time as it is more readily accepted by the body. You can also avoid rejection by choosing a quality piercer too. The Association of Professional Piercers states that every piercer should use an autoclave for sterilizing equipment. Good hygiene will reduce both the risk of infection and trouble with healing. These are the risks  which can lead to piercing rejection.

If the piercing appears to be migrating or rejecting toward the surface, take the following steps:

  • Remove the jewelry only after 6 months of healing and contact the piercer. Other wise remove the piercing using the piercers help. Leaving the piercing inside can increase the chances of scarring. The scar can prevent a person from having a new piercing in the same location even after healing. 
  • Tell the piercer to use a different piece of jewelry. Thicker-gauge jewelry or a different shape or material may help the piercing heal and settle into place better.
  • Do not try to treat the rejection at home with bandages or coverings. This may slow healing and has not been shown to help keep piercings in place.

When can you change a snug piercing?

The snug takes around 6-12 months to heal fully, and jewellery can usually be changed after 3 months. 

Since it’s an unusual position, it’s a great piece of work to get if you’re looking for something striking. It’s usually secured with a plain, high-quality barbell piece initially. When it comes to changing jewelry and accesorizing things yourself, ball closure rings are the most popular type, but plenty of people like to experiment with small bar pieces depicting an arrow or a key, or other symbols, which can create a really eye-catching look.

What gauge is a snug piercing?

Most snug piercings are 1.2mm gauge. You should also ensure that you select the correct diameter of ring/spiral, or length of barbell/banana for your snug piercing, as this varies from person to person.

Snug piercing bumps:

Here is a testimony from someone’s real experience with bumps: 

“Maybe 4–6 months into having my snug I started having hypertrophic scarring, or the little bumps people can get with piercings. Mine aren’t huge but it’s there. I’ve tried it all, salt water, salt soaks, salt paste, commercially bought products for piercings, tea tree oil etc. 

I still have to get rid of my bumps. And, after 3 years, I am yet to be able to comfortably sleep on my right side. This is because this piercing STILL has to heal, after three years.

And this isn’t the only piercing I have. A few months before I got my snug pierced, I also got a helix piercing done. I still have it today and that has healed wonderfully. No pain, no bumps, it’s perfect.

Now I’m not trying to scare you out of getting it done. I love my snug and snug piercings look amazing. Rather, I just want to let you know of the struggles that many people experience when they get their snug pierced”.

So in the end, will she remove her snug piercing, after battling with it for nearly three years? Yes.

What is a faux snug piercing?

Some people are turned off by the possibility of pain and the healing time and instead opt for a faux-snug or conch piercing, which have similar appearances.

Snug piercings are so challenging to heal for a number of reasons:

  1. A snug piercing goes through cartilage which is simply a harder type of tissue to heal.
  2. The fold the piecing goes through tends to be fairly thick. This means the piercing goes through a lot of tissue which takes longer to heal.
  3. The shape of the fold the piercing goes through is rounded/curved. This results in a bit of constant pressure on the piercing from the jewelry, which prolongs the healing.
  4. The piercing is on the outer part of the ear, meaning it is more likely to get bumped, snagged and knocked around in the course of daily life.

A faux snug piercing is a helix piercing and a conch piercing placed in such a way that they look just like a snug piercing. While healing two cartilage piercings at the same time isn’t always easy, it tends to be significantly easier than trying to heal a snug piercing. With the faux snug, healing time is typically around 2-4 months and the healing period tends to be much more comfortable than a standard snug.

The one potential “downside” to a faux snug is that it’s two piercings and two pieces of jewelry, so the cost is a bit more than a standard snug piercing. But if you’re looking for a unique new piercing, go ahead and keep the faux snug in mind.

How do you treat an infected snug piercing?

Snug piercings are cartilage piercings. These types of piercings typically take longer to heal and are more prone to infection than earlobe piercings. Even though you  follow the aftercare instructions, infections may still occur.

Minor infections can easily be treated at home if you follow these rules: 

  1. Always wash your hands before touching, cleaning, or handling the earring.
  2. Clean the piercing area with saline solution or distilled water combined with salt three times a day.
  3. All healthcare and piercing professionals caution against using alcohol and antibiotic ointments, or hydrogen peroxide. These chemicals can irritate the skin and slow down the healing.
  4. Avoid removing the earring, as this may allow the hole to close and trap the infection within the body. 
  5. Don’t forget to wash both sides of the earlobe and pat dry with a clean tissue or paper towel.

For ongoing infections, antiseptic solutions and antibiotic ointments can provide near immediate relief. Remove your earrings and sterilize them with rubbing alcohol every four hours. Wash the pierced area with soap and water or an antiseptic solution developed specifically for the ear. Use an antibiotic ointment on your earrings’ posts before reinserting them, and make sure to turn the posts around in your lobes until you find a comfortable position for them.

Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen to manage lingering pain. Complete the course of any oral antibiotics your doctor prescribes for particularly severe infections. Once you follow these steps you can overcome an infection within a few weeks. After your infection clears, plan on inserting your earrings and leaving them in position for six weeks while your piercings’ holes adjusts to their new shape.

Please consult and see a doctor for treatment if:

  • the infection does not go away in a few days
  • there is a fever along with the infection
  • the infection spreads
  • the earring does not move
  • the earring becomes embedded in the skin

How to prevent an ear piercing infection

Wearing only quality jewelry made out of stainless steel or 14-karat gold can significantly reduce the chance of experiencing an infection. Earrings crafted from other hypoallergenic metal, such as titanium and platinum, can provide especially good protection against infection and associated conditions like contact dermatitis. Do not wear inexpensive nickel-based jewelry because it can cause unnecessary allergic reactions.

Choose earrings with posts long enough to be seen on either side of your earlobes after insertion, so that their backings avoid rubbing against piercings. Opting to wear studs instead of dangling earrings can protect against accidental snagging and skin tearing, both of which can also open yourself up to infection. Avoid pressing backings against your ears too tightly, as this can apply additional pressure to an already sensitive area. Take off your earrings at night to expose your piercings to the healing properties of air. Regularly clean other items that touch your ears, such as pillows and phones, to avoid cross-contamination.

When planning to have your ears pierced, visit only studios or hair salons that employ licensed professionals and offer sterile equipment and techniques to perform the service. After the procedure, carefully read and follow any instructions in after-care literature provided to you to prevent an infected ear piercing and until your piercings have completely healed.

Snug piercing jewelry:

The snug piercing is a very versatile area which is suitable for a wide range of jewellery types, including:

– Traditional tragus jewellery or classic barbells.

– Hoops and rings, such as segment rings.

– Curved and circular barbells.

– Double snug piercing. 

An example of a double snug piercing is in the image below. The double snug is even more rare and uncommon than a single snug piercing. 

To have everyone asking you what that unique piercing on your ear is, is going to be fun! A snug piercing is going to look so awesome that you won’t worry about the aftercare. Aftercare is easy and you just have to go with what your body does. Take care of your new piercing, take care of yourself and you can show off your awesome new piercing to friends and family.

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