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We Asked A Professional Body Piercer All Your Questions About Multiple Ear Piercings

Your ultimate guide to multiple ear piercings is here.
PHOTO: (left) instagram/55tinta, (right) Mixi ignacio

Remember when we said piercings are officially the coolest accessory you can get this year? Well, it's showing no signs of dying down any time soon. It seems like all your favorite influencers and celebs are getting not just one, but *multiple* piercings all at the same time. 

We spoke with Kenneth Abad, a professional body piercer and tattoo artist at 55 Tinta, to help us know more about getting multiple ear piercings. Keep on scrolling to read his answers:

What is the maximum amount of ear piercings you can get in one sitting?

Kenneth: It doesn't really matter how many piercings you get in one sitting. It just comes down on how you take care of your piercings. Whether you get multiple piercings or just one, the risk of infection is still there if you don't take good care of the holes afterward. But I would suggest just getting one on one ear, not both, so you can still sleep comfortably on the one side.

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How long will they take to heal?

Kenneth: It depends on the part where you got pierced. If you have multiple piercings, the healing period will still depend on the spot getting pierced. For example, lobe piercings take about two to three months. Cartilage piercings such as rook, daith, and tragus take about four to six months. A helix piercing will take about eight to 10 months or maybe even a year, depending on how you take care of it.

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What are the popular cluster piercings?

Kenneth: It just really comes down to preference. Here at the shop, we do a lot of triple lobe and helix combinations. Some clients would get rook and tragus piercings. Some choose to combine daith and industrial piercings. Another option of theirs are conch to flat piercings. You can mix and match whatever you want. Although, rook and daith piercings don't work well because they're too close to each other.

What is the recommended thickness or gauge of earrings per piercing?

Kenneth: A gauge of 18 to 16 is standard in-ear piercings are fine. This gauge makes enough room for new piercings to heal properly.

What specific earring types are recommended for each piercing?

Kenneth: I would highly recommend studs on lobe, helix, conch, and tragus piercing. Plus, making less movement on the jewelry makes faster healing. Captive bead, hoop, horseshoe type (for daith), and a curved barbell are what I usually use for rook piercings.

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What is the pain level for each piercing type?

Kenneth: In my own experience as a professional piercer, it's not fully accurate. Not all individuals have the same pain threshold. I have pierced conch and helix, and some would say that a lobe piercing hurts more than a cartilage piercing.

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When can you change your jewelry?

Kenneth: I often tell my clients not to change jewelry until its fully healed. I would say to wait two to three months for lobe piercings, four to 12 months for cartilage piercings, depending on the placements. Inner cartilage piercings such as rook, daith, conch, tragus take about four to six months to heal. You have to be patient with helix piercings—it heals from eight to 10 months to a year. It's placed on the top side of the ear which is more prone to getting more physical contact thus prolonging its healing.

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The healing period *can* be shortened, though. It really comes down to how good you take care of the piercings.

Can you get the same area pierced again if it already closed or has a bump?

Kenneth: Yes, you can get the same area re-pierced as long as it's fully healed already and there are no hypertrophic scars or "bumps."

What are the activities you should avoid when you have freshly-pierced ears?

Kenneth: Avoid any physical contact. Touching the newly pierced ear—twisting, pulling, or any sort of movement to the newly pierced part prolongs the healing, The less movement the piercing gets the faster, it heals. No excessive sweating, strenuous activities, and no direct sunlight exposure.

You must also avoid swimming pools, lakes, and other bodies of water. Although some piercers are okay with beach water, including me. Sea salt is actually best for healing piercings. Some piercers don't recommend it because you'll never know if the beach water is actually clean. But, in many cases, and as I have tried myself before, saltwater really works well with healing.

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Don't put alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, antibacterial creams. It's usually too harsh for the piercings and won't do any good. A saltwater or saline solution is a much better option.

Are there any specific products you can apply in the healing process?

Kenneth: A sea salt soak is still hands-down the best aftercare procedure for piercing. Put 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt (not the iodized kind, okay?) in a cup of distilled water. The cup should be made of glass or porcelain, not paper or plastic. Dissolve the sea salt and then heat it in a microwave until it becomes lukewarm or body temperature. Tilt your head and soak the entire ear in the cup for eight to 10 minutes. Let the ear air dry. Do this once a day until the piercing is healed. 

A lot of people may find the above time-consuming, so for my clients who are always on the go, I recommend the Niel Med piercing aftercare product. It's basically sea salt and water in an aerosol can which makes it really handy to use. One must spray it on the piercing at least three times a day to aid healing.

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Next would be a saline solution or nasal spray. It's basically the same thing: Sodium chloride and water. Although some products have additives and preservatives, which is why it's not my first choice for aftercare. 

Fucidin, Fuskina,  and Cutasep can also be used, but I only recommend this stuff when needed—like if the piercing has a slight to moderate infections.

You may book an appointment with Kenneth at 55 Tinta, located at Building 2, 2nd Floor, Luisa, 107 Maginhawa, Diliman, Quezon City, Metro Manila.

*Answers have been edited for clarity.

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