Our ear resembles a conch shell and the conch is the inner cup part of our ear. So, the name originated from the same shell. But when it is time to piercing the ear, then there is no doubt that you can pierce outer as well as the inner part of the ear or even both.
Two types of conch are present in the ear that is inner and outer. Inner conch is the area of the ear that is higher up i.e. parallel to daith, the fold of cartilage and above the ear canal; however, the outer conch is at the lower part and very close to the antihelix, the first ridge out of two making the contours at the outer side of the ear.
When you have decided to pierce your conch, then the needle goes via the hard plate of cartilage. You can also feel your ear and move it around. This part of the ear is the thickest as well as harder as compared to other parts of the ear. So, it means that piercing of that area is going to be very difficult in comparison with other areas due to immense pain while passing the needle.
Before you move ahead to the place for piercing to deal with the pain, there are some things that you ought to know about the conch piercing.
Is conch piercing painful?
The level of pain varies from person to person so it is tough to say anything about the pain that one has to tolerate. But it will hurt however it will be less hurtful for some and more for others.
You will also have an idea about the pain of piercing if this will not be your first time of conch piercing. As we all know cartilage piercing is more painful than the earlobe piercing. Apart from the lobes, if you do not have any piercing then conch one is the best swoop into the world of more advanced pierce.
During the entire process, sharp pain and pressure are expected when the needle goes through the ticker area of the ear. As the hours and days go, the pain will become more hot and throbbing as well. The pain gets worse when you clean the piercing or when you are sleeping. In the starting, you will not able to sleep as if you sleep on any side, then the pain is intense.
The time for which you need to stay with the pain is not defined yet as it depends on the number of factors such as the methods used for piercing and the level of your tolerance. But tenderness can be expected for a few weeks.
To heel completely, the needle-piercing takes around three to nine months and even more to overcome from the pain. During these months, it is also obvious that your ear gets infected or at risk of infection as it can increase the level of pain. Thus the pain depends.
If the small-gauge dermal punch is used to piercing the conch, then more pain is expected as the punch is a kind of hole punch for the ear. This device takes around two minutes for piercing but after the pain is immense. The point where the hole is created by dermal punch, a small part of cartilage is removed through the same process.
After doing conch piercing with the help of a dermal punch, you will face trouble sleeping on one side for a couple of months and even more. The pain, as well as tenderness, loiters for a year or more. Apart from the method used for piercing conch you select, the pain will naturally decrease after a few months and weeks.
What methods are used for Conch piercing?
Regardless of what methods you opt for, there are two different conch piercing methods for inner as well as the outer piercing of the ear. A regular needle piercing is a very common method that is widely used. During these methods, the piercer cleans part of the ear properly, mark the area where the piercing will be done on both sides accurately and then push the needle and jewelry. It takes a few minutes only.
On the other side, the method used for piercing is a dermal conch. But the piercer can use this method only if you requested for the same. The plus point of using a dermal punch is that you can get the ability to wear heavy and larger jewelry.
Not similar to that of earlobes, stretching can’t be done in cartilage. If you want to wear larger and bigger pieces of jewelry, then you need a big hole too. This hole does not close up naturally like other piercing holes and ought to be considered permanent.
Chronic pain with a conch piercing
Do you ever hear that some ear piercing can help to minimize the pain? But this is true as Daith piercing is one out of them and it is also good for migraine patients as it provides relief. Both chronic, as well as acute pain, has been attached with the Conch piercing.
There is scientific evidence of this practice as some acupuncture points in the ear leads to reduce the pain. To exemplify, a study in the year 2017 showed that people with spinal cord injuries get relief from the association of ear acupuncture and neuropathic pain relief.
On the contrary, a pain relief protocol is followed by the battlefield acupuncture that targets five different acupuncture points in both the ears but only one comes closer to conch piercing.
Conch piercing takes time and needs care
The thicker avascular tissue of the ear is Cartilage and it does not take it easy to puncture wounds or put a needle or any other devices for holes. The reason is that it does have too much good supply of blood and takes to long to heal. During the healing time, it is necessary to take proper care as it may lead to infection if care is not provided properly.
A Piercer has given various aftercare directions to eliminate and protect the ear from infection. Here are some of the protections that are mentioned below:
- Cleaning of the ear is a must for at least twice a day for three months.
- Hands must be wash properly before touching or washing ear piercing.
- Buy a saline solution and mix the same into 1/8 or ¼ teaspoon of non-ionized sea salt into a cup of bottled or distilled water as you preferred.
- With the help of clean gauze or paper towel, gently wipe the area of the ear with a saturated saline solution.
- Avoid rotating your piercing during cleaning or at any other time too.
- A sea salt bath must be provided to the part of the ear once per day by putting the saline solution into a mug or bowl and also moving your head to dip into your ear in the solution for at least three to five minutes.
- Do not remove the jewelry before the piercer said so.
Best-possible precautions and side effects
Whenever you meet with some injuries on your body, then complications are already attached to the same. Similarly happens with a conch piercing. Here are some of them.
- Infected conch piercing: A lot of infections are attached with the conch piercing. In a study of five-hundred women conch piercing, it is observed that thirty-two percent of women got infections due to such piercing. The piercing is painful as well as needs more antibiotics and the infection makes it more complicated and hurtful. If you noticed any kind of infection, then do not remove the jewelry before taking advice from the piercer. Removing the jewelry may also cause infection with an accumulation of pus in it that can grow rapidly.
Here are some signs of infection:
- The skin gets swollen as well as red around the piercing area.
- Extreme pain and tenderness.
- Discharge is a yellow or green color from piercing.
- Fever, chills or nausea.
- Red streaks.
- Symptoms last longer than one week.
- Swelling: The natural response of the body towards trauma is known as swelling or medically known as inflammation. The ear turns to be red and puffy. It takes a few weeks to go down the swelling.
- Piercing Bumps: The conch piercing is also affected by different bumps which are given as below:
- Keloid scars (painless formation of collagen, looks like scar tissue).
- An abscess (infection full of pus).
- A piercing pimple that has a small amount of pus next to the hole.
- Contact dermatitis (a kind of metal allergy infected by jewelry).
When do you need to visit a doctor?
If you have any signs and symptoms of infection, then you have to see your healthcare provider check it out. Here are some of the warning signs of serious infections which are as follows:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Red streaks coming out of the piercing
- Pain gets worse by time
How much does it cost?
The piercer and the choice of jewelry decide the cost of conch piercing. It may lie between $40 to $100 so keep the budget in mind before you are deciding to go for a conch piercing. The idea of the new piercing may ruin your budget too if you will not consider the associated cost.
Can you wear earbuds while healing conch piercing?
What s wonderful question! But not a wonderful answer as you can’t wear earbuds during the healing time with a conch piercing. Instead of using earbuds, you need to replace it with over-the-ear headphones. Give some time to piercing for healing so that you can avoid snags, irritation or pain.
Is conch piercing worth it?
There is no particular reason to avoid conch piercing but if you are passionate about decorating your conch area of the ear with some beautiful studs and hoop earrings, then you should go for it. Once you have done with the healing process, then there is a lot more to do with piercing.
However, you need to clean the conch piercing two to three times a day with the saline solution during the healing time.
Styles of Conch Jewelry
As mentioned earlier, the conch piercing is of two types, the inner conch, and the outer conch. The location of the conch depends on the cartilage anatomy, you are also required to make decisions about the jewelry style before choosing the location of conch.
In the outer conch, the large hoops are widely popular. The location of the outer conch is on the upper conch cartilage and closer to that of the rim of the ear. You can pick up a hoop style or clicker hoops. However, a cartilage stud is a good choice for inner conch when you have decided to go for an inner conch.
Overall, you can go for inner and outer conch piercing as you would like to opt for. Pain, tenderness, and irritation are associated with conch piercing for few months but the main thing is to avoid infections by following the entire procedure of cleanup and care of conch piercing with the help of the saline solution.
Last but not least, follow all the guidelines as provided by the piercer to stay away from unnecessary pain as well as infections too. These are the things that you have to keep in mind while going for any conch piercing (pronounced as “konk”) as it is necessary to know everything before proceeding.