When Piercing Cartilage; The Pros and Cons
So, to start, I am a self professed piercing junkie. The majority of what I have resides on either my earlobes or the outer shell. As of now, I have one tragus, six cartilage, and 6 stretched piercings on my lobes. Two at 0's, two at 4's, and two at 6's (gauge). However, the one place I've always found to be a pain was my cartilage.
I've pierced (or re-pierced) all six of my cartilage piercings and let me tell you, it never gets easier. The skin can swell, it can go bloody, the cartilage may be pierced through but the skin can close up. Overall, it's a mess. The convenience of guns is that you can just clip on the back and be done with it.
I've had all six of my cartilage piercings done with a gun, in various stores and various people, but with the same outcome. It's always the same stud, with a sharp end and a plain rock. They clip on the butterfly end so tightly that the blood can't escape. My poor piercing begins to grow less and less healthy by the day, until, eventually, I pull off the butterfly clip (and break various nails) only to find that my piercing has gone wonky. Sometimes, puss will leak out. Other times, it'll just be red and swollen, hot to the touch.
I often left my piercings out, thinking that it was a reaction to the metal, only to keep it in a different piercing with no ill effects. After this removal of jewelry, I was always faced with the dilemma of either leaving the piercing be and letting it close or piercing it again and hoping for the best. For every single bad piercing I've had, I followed with the second (except for my first failed tragus, but more on that later) and it has never failed me. My two nose piercings went through their rough time as well, and they were done with a needle.
But this brings me to point deux. Doing the piercings with needles.
Well, let me begin with the plain and simple fact of: it's messy. I do these freehand, whether it's on others or myself, I always do so without clamps. Of course, I ALWAYS do so with gloves and disinfectant, but always freehand. Every time, I've bled profusely. I do not smoke nor drink, but it was a shock compared to the simple gun method.
Is it better?
Loads. I pierced my close friend's cartilage after she got a bad infection on it and let it close. Positioning it upwards from the original piercing (I was NOT willing to pierce scar tissue), I inserted the needle and then a straight barbell. Less than a month later, she could move it with ease and replace the jewelry, as opposed to the gun method, which took her three months to move and replace. (She just has that kind of healing speed).
Not only that, but it's been six months and she has no problems with it, as opposed to her previous one, which gave her grief around four months in. Of course, she's not the best example, as she would clean them with rubbing alcohol and put in plain, costume jewelry into her piercings. But with the advice of using saltwater, stainless steel barbells, and a needle, her ear is happier and healthier.
However, I've had piercings done with both, and I can genuinely say that piercing with needles severely simplifies what would be a crappy experience with a gun.
Now, onto pain. Does a needle hurt more? It depends. I've found them to be the same level of pain. It does, of course, depend on the gauge of the needle and the speed and experience of the piercer, but overall, it's very similar. Sure, there's more blood, but clean up with a cloth soaked in saltwater, take a hot shower, and you're fine. Make sure you use relatively long barbells, because the studs that guns use are too short, and cause a lack of circulation, which often leads to swelling and pain.
Cartilage piercings are not as easy as most would assume. You pop through three levels, as opposed to lobes, which pop through one (flesh). Choose the gauge you'll want to stick to, as stretching cartilage is a nuisance, and keep clean.
And speaking from experience, please don't have them done with a gun.
Let's put it this way, you have a nose and it's made from cartilage. Would you want that pierced with a gun? Of course not. It's your nose, heaven help us if it gets infected.
Well, mine had a relatively terrible time after it was pierced anyway, and it was done with a needle. Perhaps it's my own fault for having two done on the same nostril at once, but it ended for the best. (Note: All nasal jewelry will be a pain in your tookus.)
Often, cartilage experiences reactions at just a simple tug. When hit with a pillow, I found, to my horror, my nasal piercings swelling.
The point? Cartilage is a pain. Don't just get it done if you want it to look cool and expect an easy recovery because you won't get one. Sad, but true. Personally? I adore my piercings, and after having them redone with a needle, they're happy and healthy.
The period that led up to that can place its' lips upon my posterior and kiss it repeatedly.
submitted by: DollParts7
on: 14 May 2012
in Misc. Ear Cartilage Piercing