A cartilage piercing infection is never far in the horizon because it is an inherent risk with open wounds. It also tend to heal much slower than and more painful earlobe piercings, so you have to be ready for the eventuality of giving a lot more attention to your cartilage piercings.
Cartilage Piercing Healing Time
It has a longer healing time than ordinary earlobe piercings. The puncture goes through cartilage and not just skin.
It is also far more likely to get irritated than earlobe piercings. When you get a cartilage piercing for the first time, you will likely notice a bump forming where the hollow needle went in.
Swelling, pain, and redness are also common for cartilage piercings, and these may persist longer than what you will typically experience with earlobe piercings. Note that the ears are mostly made of cartilage, and only the lower earlobe or the soft flap underneath is comprised of skin.
The rest of the ear where different kinds of piercings are made is made of skin and cartilage.
How long does cartilage piercing be healed?
The minimum healing time for cartilage piercings is four months. In some cases, the healing period up to the seasoning stage, which is complete healing, can take a full 12 months.
Why does healing time of cartilage piercing so long?
You have to understand with cartilage piercings is that they will begin to heal from the outside, moving inward. The outside part of the piercing looks dry and completely healed, but on the inside, there may be instances of pain and itching.
That’s because the inside portion of the piercing heals the slowest. The body will continue to try to close the puncture wound, and eventually, it has to accept the new form. The acceptance phase is long because cartilages aren’t meant to be intruded upon by metal. So if you are feeling frustrated because of the longer healing time, don’t be, because the longer duration is standard for cartilage piercings.
What are the signs of infected cartilage piercing?
There may also be cases where you will experience mild pain (weeks after the piercing), bruising, bleeding, and some redness or darkening of the pierced area.
The discoloration is also widespread, as well as a feeling of itching that may extend to the adjacent areas beside the piercing. A whitish discharge is not always indicative of infection, but in some instances, if the discharge suddenly turns greenish or brownish, there might be something wrong with your piercing.
Some light crusting is also normal in the first few weeks, and the crusting should be addressed quickly enough with some cotton balls soaked with saline solution.
How to Take Care of a Cartilage Piercing?
One of the most significant downsides of getting any number of cartilage piercings is not being able to sleep on the side where the cartilage piercings are located. This is also the reason why we dissuade people from getting multiple cartilage piercings at once.
While technically it can be done, getting two or more cartilage piercings at the same time will take their toll on your time.
It can take a full 12-month before a single piercing will heal.
Are you ready to care for multiple piercings that may have varying states of healing over the weeks and months, even though they’ve all been done o the same day?
What happens when you sleep on the side of your cartilage piercing?
You probably will fall asleep with no trouble, but the fact that there’s something lodged in the cartilage will mean that you will have a swollen piercing or ear afterward. It’s not going to be so severe as a problem, but it will hurt, and we are sure that you won’t like a throbbing ear while at work.
MUST not touch the post of your cartilage piercing jewelry or play with it in any manner in the first few weeks. The risk of irritation and possible infection in the weeks after the piercing is high, so it would be best to take precautions.
Fresh piercings require utmost attention and frequent cleanings, too. Three times a day is recommended, especially if you spend most of your time outside. Exposure to different outdoor environments can predispose your piercing to irritation and possible infection. The three times a day rule applies for the first six months after the piercing. It is better to have an excess of caution because once infection sets in, the cleaning process is going to be complex, and you may need to medicate to ensure that your piercing will go back to its normal state.
Related article: How to Treat an Infected Ear Piercing at Home?
Use commercial saline solutions to cleanse your cartilage piercings. Since the piercings will be at a steep angle, we recommend using cotton balls to gently remove dirt, debris, and crusting on and around the healing. Many of the piercing cleansers on the market today are simply commercial saline solutions with additional ingredients.
Fortunately for everyone, commercial saline solutions can easily be purchased online or in pharmacies.
Can you DIY the saline solutions?
Yes. If you can’t buy one at the moment, simply combine warm water with about ten tablespoons of regular salt or rock salt.
Can you clean the site with regular soap?
Yes, but do avoid anything triclosan, as triclosan is known to dry skin and cause irritation. Common antiseptic agents such as povidone-iodine, rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, and chlorhexidine are also a no-go in this situation. All these antiseptic agents can irritate your skin and delay the healing.
We recommend soaking your cartilage piercing in addition to cleaning them with a salt solution.
Soaking is inundating the pierced area with saline for at least five minutes at a time. Add this to your current cleaning routine to ensure that the area’s bacterial load is reduced significantly. After soaking the piercing, use a paper towel or a clean piece of cloth to pat dry the soaked area.
Related article: Helpful Tips on Taking Care of Your Ear After Piercing