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All The Super Pretty Ear Piercing Ideas You Can Get On Your Cartilage

Time to level up from your lobe piercings.
cartilage ear piercings
PHOTO: (LEFT TO RIGHT) Instagram/adriancastillo, Instagram/earcuration
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ICYDK, I'm obsessed with ear piercings. After so many years of having the ones I had on my lobes since birth, I decided to get more back in 2018—so much that I ended up with nine in a span of a few months (sorry, mom!). Aside from getting two more on each lobe, I decided to ~explore~ my ears' cartilage area. This was uncharted territory to me at the time, and I was excited about all the possibilities. I decided to go with two helix piercings and an auricle one since they seemed to be the least painful and low-maintenance.

If you're in the same sitch that I was before, I'm sure you're wondering about all the possible ear piercings you can get on your cartilage. Don't worry—I'm here for you. Keep on reading to learn more about the types of piercings you can get on your cartilage:

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What are cartilage ear piercings?

Cartilage ear piercing is an umbrella term for any perforations that are done on any part of your ear that isn't the lobe. These areas are usually located on the outer shell of your ear. (ICYDK, cartilage is a connective type of issue that is sturdier than the skin on your lobes, so a bit more force is needed to pierce it).

cartilage ear piercings: types of piercings
Check out all of the possible ear piercings you can get on your cartilage. Mixi Ignacio
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How do I get my cartilage pierced?

In general, there are two ways to get your ears pierced: Using a piercing gun and a hollow needle. The former can usually be seen in jewelry stores and mall kiosks at a very affordable price, while the latter is only available in professional tattoo shops at a higher price point.

While it may be cheaper to get your cartilage pierced using a gun, it is not advisable at all since it uses blunt force to jam the earring into place. While the earring is pointy, it isn't sharp enough to puncture your flesh safely and effectively. It may cause your cartilage to shatter and prevent it from healing properly.

Are cartilage ear piercings painful?

Okay, I'm not gonna lie to you: The feeling of getting your cartilage pierced is *different* than if it was your lobe. Since it is flexible yet tough tissue, more force is needed to pierce through it. You'll feel some slight pressure and your ear may feel a bit hot right after, but you don't need to worry if you're in the hands of a professional body piercer. They know how to work quickly to ensure you feel less pain as much as possible.

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What are the specific ear piercings I can get on my cartilage?

  1. Helix

    The helix is located on the upper and outer part of the ear. It is a popular first choice for people who want to explore piercing locations that aren't their lobes. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, but it also has a large area for you to ~experiment~ with. You can ask your piercer to add one more or maybe two to create a double or triple helix piercing. Healing takes three to six months, so be sure to follow your piercer's aftercare regimen.

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  2. Forward helix

    This one is a more ~unique~ variation of the helix piercing since it's done much farther up the shell of your ear. Similar to the usual helix piercing, you can also choose to get a double or a triple to make things more interesting.

  3. Auricle

    An auricle ear piercing is placed on the C-shaped part of the ear, mid-way between the upper helix and the lobe. It's a great alternative if you've been toying with the idea of trying out helix piercings but you're too nervous about the pain. If you're more ~experienced~, however, adding an auricle piercing will make your curated ear look more cohesive and complete!

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  4. Industrial

    The industrial piercing may look intimidating, but it's definitely badass once you have it on. It is essentially two holes that are connected by a single piece of jewelry. Unlike other piercing spots, this one calls for a barbell type of earring to cover the expanse of your ear. Healing usually takes six to eight months, and you have to be *extra* careful since it is very prone to tugging due to the placement of the holes.

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  5. Flat

    True to its name, the flat ear piercing is located in the flat area of cartilage below the upper helix. Since it covers a larger area, you can really get creative with the placements and number of piercings you can place there. Plus, it's also easier to show off as compared to the ones on your lobe.

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  6. Daith

    If you're searching for a piercing that's pretty and functional, look no further than the daith. Aside from being aesthetically pleasing, it is also believed to help relieve migraines! Due to its tricky placement, however, it can be quite challenging to pierce, so make sure to go to a professional. After three to five months of healing, you can swap out your stud for a pretty hoop or curved barbell!

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  7. Rook

    Cartilage piercings are a bitch to heal, simply because they are more prone to tugging. If you don't want to experience that, go ahead and choose a rook piercing. It is placed on the inner part of your ear, so you can lie comfortably on your side without any risk of pain. After six to nine months, you can change your stud into a pretty hoop or curved barbell.

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