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Cartilage Piercings
by Mel September 8th 2010, 01:33 AM

Article featured in Avatar - Volume 4, Issue 2 (August 2010).

Cartilage Piercings
By Mandy (Life.Is.What.It.Is)

Cartilage piercings, piercings on the top part of the ear, are some of the most sought out piercings in today's society. Unfortunately, because of the type of skin and location of the piercing, they can also get easily infected if they're not taken care of.

Most medical professionals suggest getting this type of piercing done by a professional rather than attempting to do it at home, but it's possible to go either way. Mandy (Life.Is.What.It.Is) shares her own experiences with cartilage piercings below:

"My first piercings were my ear lobes when I was younger. I got my ear lobes pierced nine times in the same place due to infection or healing without my studs in. The last time, I did it myself using studs and ice. It wasn't too difficult, but it was tremendously painful.

My first set of cartilage piercings was on my left ear. I got these two in November 2009. I got them done at a local accessory shop with a spring loaded gun. Later I learned that using that type of piercing gun can cause your cartilage to shatter or get bubbling in the back. I ended up with some bubbling and one of the piercings got embedded. My sister helped me clean it up but it had an infection so I let it heal up without the stud. The top one I still have and it is fully healed.

A few weeks ago I got four more cartilage piercings, two on each ear. This makes it hard to sleep because it is painful to sleep on either side. This time I got them done again with a gun, but it was not spring loaded. I found out that spray cleaner is a more effective cleaner because it gets in and around the piercings better.

When you are getting a piercing done with the gun, it is best to pick a spot in the room and focus on it when they are piercing. This will help with the pain and keep you from getting too worked up. Contrary to popular belief, getting something pierced hurts little more than a pinch, so if you're planning on going through with it, don't be scared!

The first day of getting any ear piercing, it may throb. Take a light pain killer and get some sleep. After that first day it only hurts when you get it caught on something (clothing, blanket, etc.) If it is still swollen after the second day they recommend you go to the clinic. Do NOT touch it without washing your hands! This will lead to infection!"

According to "Tattoo and Piercing Care," cartilage piercings especially can take a bit of time to heal: "most piercings take six to eight weeks to heal, but some types may take several months or a year to heal. During this time, you must leave the jewelry in place to prevent the hole from closing. Once scar tissue has created a "tunnel," you can change the jewelry or remove the jewelry for a short time."

Regardless of where and when your cartilage was pierced, always be smart about preventing infection and keeping it clean!
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