Humans have been piercing their ears for thousands of years. The ancient tradition of decorating your ears with jewelry continues today, and many people are more daring than simply piercing the lobe once and calling it a day. Both men and women pierce their ear cartilage to expand their jewelry horizons.
Parts of the Outer Ear
The outer ear is known as the “pinna,” and your professional ear piercer will help you decide which specific area to pierce. Following are some of the more common piercings:
The tragus piercing: The part of the ear known as the tragus projects from the center of the ear just in front of the ear canal. The tragus area does not contain nerve endings so most people experience little pain from this procedure.
The antitragus piercing: The antitragus is just opposite of the tragus and is considered inner ear cartilage. These piercings take longer to heal but are cared for in the same way as all other piercings.
The daith piercing: The daith area is on the outer pinna just above the tragus, close to the head. These piercings are typically performed with a curved needle to avoid damaging other parts of the pinna.
Inner conch and outer conch piercings: If you imagine that your ear is a shell, these piercings would be through the broad, flat area that leads into the ear canal. Jewelry used for piercing the conch is typically barbell-shaped, although captive bead rings can be worn when the piercing is healed.
The helix piercing: Helix piercings are simply in the upper cartilage of the ear. As you follow the edge of your pinna up from the lobe, the helix begins where the curve begins. These piercings are extremely popular.
The snug or antihelix piercing: A snug piercing is through the antihelix, which is just opposite of the helix of your ear. This is typically the largest curved part of the inner pinna.
The rook piercing: The rook piercing is similar to the snug or antihelix piercing, but is through the thicker cartilage just above that area. This is perhaps the most difficult and painful of all ear piercings due to the large amount of cartilage that must be pierced.
The industrial piercing, sometimes known as a scaffold or construction piercing: This combines a piercing of the upper helix with one slightly further down on the helix. A long barbell is inserted from one hole to the other. Proper alignment of the two holes is important so the barbell is comfortable to wear.
Find a Reputable Professional to Perform These Piercings
If you would like to get the cartilage in your ears pierced, you may need to go to a professional body piercer instead of your local mall or jewelry store. Piercing guns have difficulty driving the starter earring through the tough cartilage of your upper pinna. In addition, if you would like a piercing bigger or smaller than the standard 18-gauge or 20-gauge piercing gun, you will need to locate a professional body piercer.
Professional body piercers typically shun piercing guns in favor of needles that are sterilized between uses. Choose a professional with a clean shop and ask them about their sterilization techniques before you get any body part pierced.