Cartilage piercings tend to be more painful than other piercings and to go along with the pain comes a longer healing time than the average piercings. Typically other body piercings heal within 3 – 6 months. Cartilage piercings can take up to a year or more to heal depending on the person and the placement of the piercing. So when you consider getting a cartilage piercing you have to consider the extra care it is going to require. All piercings require close attention and care but since the blood flow in cartilage piercings is less than other piercings the healing time is a bit longer. When caring for your cartilage piercings you should always make sure that your hands are clean or if someone is helping you clean your piercing make sure that their hands are washed and cleaned before handling it.
Cleaning your Cartilage piercings:
Saline Solution- can usually be found where you get your piercing done. Saline solutions are good for cleaning your piercings and removing discharge from the piercings during the healing process. If you can’t get any saline solution, you can make your own salt water solution with warm water and sea salt.
The next step after your saline soak or sea salt soak you should wash the piercing with antibacterial soap. You should be using a fragrance free antibacterial liquid soap to wash your piercings. You should wash the piercing at least twice a day.
After washing your piercing make sure that you dry the piercing with a paper towel as cloth can get caught on the jewelry and can be painful and cause additional scarring and can also extend the healing process.
What to expect during the healing process:
At first you may experience some bleeding, swelling, and soreness. There will be mild pain for a few days after the piercing. As the healing process continues you may experience some discoloration around the piercing, itching, and a white/yellowish discharge coming from the piercing site. This discharge usually forms a crust around the jewelry and can be painful if moved that is why the saline solution/ salt water soaks are so important as this helps get rid of the crust that forms around the piercing.
Though your piercings may seem like it is healed completely you should not try and change the jewelry by yourself you should see your piercer and have them change the jewelry for the first time. The cartilage piercing can take up to 18 months to fully heal. With the proper care you should be able to change the jewelry after 3 months.
Make sure items that come in contact with your piercings are clean: headphones, cell phones, telephones, hats, glasses, etc.
Be careful with hair products like hair sprays and gels also be cautious when styling your hair to make sure hair doesn’t get caught in the piercing, this can be pretty painful for a fresh piercing