What I Wish I Knew Before I Got My Cartilage Pierced

Thinking of getting your cartilage pierced?

I was once in your shoes, itching for this trendy earring. So I did what anyone would do and got it. Yep, I went to a piercing shop one day, and was in and out in 20 minutes flat.

But there's so much more to this story, many things I slightly regret and wish I'd done differently.

Before you head on out to get a stud in your cartilage, read up on all the things I wish I knew before I got mine pierced.

Don't Let the Horror Stories Get to You

I pride myself on having an exceptionally high pain tolerance, so the thought of a needle piercing my skin doesn't really faze me all that much. What does get to me, however, is hearing stories of people passing out while getting their cartilage pierced or bleeding profusely because it was done wrong. That is why I was a bit terrified when I walked into the piercing shop, though you'd never know it.

But once I sat down, I breathed in, then out—and as the piercer stuck the needle through my cartilage, I realized it wasn't that bad. There was a slight pinch, but no excessive bleeding or dramatic fainting spells took place. So my advice to you is don't listen to people's insane stories about their horrible piercings gone wrong. The odds of that happening to you are slim to none. Sure, it can happen. Just don't go in with that mentality, or you'll never want to get a piercing ever again.

On the flip side, if someone with a high pain tolerance (hello!) tells you it doesn't hurt at all, don't listen to them. They (me) are simply bragging about how tough they are. And though it may not have caused them any discomfort, it might not work out that way for you.

The ear piercing scene from The Parent Trap with Lindsay Lohan

(The Parent Trap via Buena Vista Pictures Distribution)


Also read about: Everything You Should Know About Ear Piercings


Don't Do It on a Whim

When I got my cartilage pierced, I didn't do any research or planning. After spending the night at my friend's house, I woke up the next morning and decided I would get it pierced then and there. She recommended going to a shop that her friend got her cartilage pierced at and I didn't even think to look up their reviews, because I was feeling risky and trusted her judgment. We drove there once it opened, I flashed them my ID, they had me sit in a chair, and just like that, the deed had been done.

Luckily, the shop was amazing and my piercer was rad. I even ended up going back a few months later to get my nose pierced. But it also could've ended badly. I could've ended up at a parlor that did $10 piercings out of the back of a taco truck. I don't think that's actually a thing, but you never know. Anyway, the point is that it's important you know where you're going to get it done, and don't just waltz into some store ready for them to pierce your ear. Ask your besties for their recommendations or read reviews of shops on the internet. Yelp can be used for more than just restaurants, you know.


Make Sure to Get It on the Side You Don't Sleep On

Because I got mine done on a whim, I wasn't really thinking about which side to get it on, so I picked my left ear right before I was asked. I was positive I slept on my right side, so it'd never grace my pillow. Well, I forgot that I actually do sleep on my left side more than I am aware of and even like to toss and turn in my sleep. So trying to rest with this bad boy in my ear for the first few weeks (maybe even months) of having it was not at all enjoyable. It made getting some shut eye more difficult than it should've been. So be choosy about which ear you get it on. And if you're a tosser and turner, maybe this isn't the ear piercing for you.

Leighton Meester piercing her ear in The Roommate

(The Roommate via Screen Gems)


Also read about: A Definitive Ranking of Ear Piercings, From Least to Most Painful


Aftercare Is Crucial

My piercer gave me a thorough rundown of everything I needed to do after getting the piercing. From which products to use, to the precise way to clean it, he gave me a very strict routine to follow. The only problem was I wasn't entirely listening to everything he had to say, nor did I care. I figured I'd be fine, because it's an ear piercing—how hard can it be to take care of? Needless to say, I definitely made a few mistakes. Thankfully, nothing super terrible happened to my piercing, but I'm pretty sure it came close to having to be surgically removed. I did develop a bump on the back of my ear, though it went away a few weeks after I followed the regimen that was given to me. Now, my piercing is totally fine and I haven't had any problems with it.

After you get your cartilage pierced and you're told how to take care of it, please listen. Don't do what I did and shut off because you think you're smart enough to know how to clean an ear piercing. Even record the instructions if you have to. Your piercer is really only looking out for you and doesn't want you to deal with a piercing horror story. Follow their tips and tricks, and you'll be all set.


The Healing Process Is a Long One

A cartilage piercing takes a long time to heal—up to nine months, to be exact. So even if you think it's completely healed after a month's time, it's not. That was one of my biggest aftercare mistakes—believing it was all fine after washing it with soap and water for maybe a month and a half. I started to get lazy, which caused a small bump to develop and added more time to the healing process.

If you really do want this piercing, know that you're going to have to take good care of it for a long time. You can't slack, otherwise you run the risk of it getting infected and needing to be taken out. But if you're willing to protect it at all costs, this just might be the piercing for you.

Frenchie piercing Sandy's ear in Grease

(Grease via Paramount Pictures)


Not so sure you want your cartilage pierced anymore? There are plenty of other ear piercings to get. THIS is the one you should get, based on your zodiac sign.