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My first cartilage piercing

In March of 2008 I decided that it was time for a new piercing. I had recently moved to Little 5 Points, so my boyfriend and I trekked to Kolo one chilly afternoon. My boyfriend wanted to get a second eyebrow piercing, so I figured it would be a perfect time to get something done as well. Sunday is usually a great day to go to Little 5 because it's not too crowded and chaotic... All the hipster kids are still sleeping off their hangovers from partying the night before. :)

My job does not allow facial piercings, so I was trying to figure out how to work around this. I had decided on my conch after a few weeks of looking around at photos of various ear piercings. I was in the process of stretching my lobes so I didn't want anything else to clutter around it, thereby helping me narrow my choices down to cartilage. I had never pierced any cartilage before, so I did not know what to expect. It would be a grand adventure!

Kolo is one of the best places to get pierced in Atlanta. A few friends of mine have described the atmosphere as "intimidating", but I think that is because everyone at the studio is extremely knowledgeable and just damn good at what they do. You're not a child, so they're not going to baby you... if you need someone to hold your hand, bring a friend. It helps if you already have some idea of the piercing you want, so they will be better able to assist you. Personally, I liked the look of larger gauge conchs but I was not sure if I was quite ready to jump into dermal punching just yet. I told Jen that I wanted to get my conch pierced at 10g, since I was pretty sure that I would be stretching it later on.

There was nobody waiting ahead of us, so my boyfriend and I walked around the corner for a snack while the jewelry was being autoclaved. Fortunately, there is plenty to do in Little 5 if you've got some time to kill before a piercing.

Jen had me lay down for the procedure. I started some meditative breathing techniques (focusing on the in-out repetition of the breath), which helped calm me down during my tongue piercing (about which I was MUCH more nervous, since that was my first non-gun piercing). She showed me all the tools and various piercing paraphernalia to assure me that it had all been properly sterilized. The 10g needle didn't seem as big as I thought it would be. After all this, the actual piercing was very anticlimactic. I had read horror stories about conch piercings at much smaller gauges being excruciating. The stabbing, the hurting, the bleeding! All I felt was a brief prick and then a rush of warmth to my ear. I bled a little, but nothing excessive. Jen put in the jewelry (a titanium straight barbell) and I was done!

My ear was tender for a couple of weeks, and I had to remember to sleep on my other side during the initial healing. I generally ascribe to the "LITHA" method for healing a piercing. I don't even do sea salt soaks that often; I usually just blast my ear with very hot water while in the shower, which easily removes crusty bits and just feels good regardless. If you have long hair, try to keep it away from your piercing.

After six months, I changed the barbell to a single-flare glass plug, since I noticed the ends of the barbell like to get knocked around. (A tiny bit of hypertrophic scarring popped up after my boyfriend's dog was playing around and hit my ear... ow.) Also, having a ball sitting inside my ear made it difficult to use earbud headphones, so for a lot of reasons I prefer the plug over the barbell. Based on stories I've heard, I would not really suggest getting this piercing done with a captive bead ring, because of the pressure it puts on the cartilage. My understanding is most cartilage piercings take about a year to be considered fully healed. Mine still gets crusty now and then, but it's fine to touch, move around, and change jewelry. I simply try not to touch it often and just let it do its thing. I figure my body knows what it's doing.

Aesthetically, I love the look of a conch piercing. It's a little different, but still subtle enough to fly under the radar of a corporate office. :D I don't know if I have a high pain tolerance or if Jen's talent and quick hands made this such a good experience, but I definitely recommend Kolo!


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 28 Sept. 2008
in Ear Piercing

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Artist: Jen
Studio: Kolo+Piercing
Location: Atlanta%2C+GA

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