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Old 11-01-2013, 01:17 AM
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 42
How long does it take for a cartilage piercing to heal?

Crimeny! I got the top of my ear pierced several years ago but it wouldn't heal. I figured it was because I became pregnant shortly after getting it done so I took out the stud and it healed right up. So last February I went and had it redone. That's been eight months ago and the thing still bothers me. Every now and then it even swells and gets crusty. What the heck? Is it ever going to heal? Is this normal? And by the way, my immune system is fine, no other problems.
Old 11-01-2013, 01:58 AM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Chicago, Far Northsider
Posts: 7,810
If it's a Claire's store style stud piercing, it may never heal properly. The gauge is too small (usually 20g or 22g) and often the body starts pushing it out. That happens over the course of years, but in the meantime it never seems quite healed.

If it's a larger gauge (16g or larger), circle style done by a real piercer, it could take up to 6 months. On the ear, though, if you sleep on it, talk on the phone a lot with the phone pressed on it, or otherwise possibly irritate it with pressure or tugging, it may take longer to heal well. If you take steps to keep it protected, rotate it when showering/shampooing to keep it clean and keep skin from adhering to it, it should heal. If you don't shower daily, it may help to at least stick it under the bathroom faucet for a little soap and water wash once a day.

At one point, I had 6 cartilage piercings, all hoops, and that's what worked for me. Even after they were all healed, they would still get sore sometimes if I slept on them just right. I took them out after about a decade. Now, the only cartilage I have is two hoops in my left nostril.
Old 11-01-2013, 05:05 AM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Seattle
Posts: 3,715
I got mine done at a mall place with a gun about 12 years ago, and it took years to heal all the way. It would hurt when I slept on it funny or if my hair got tangled in it and it got pulled, and there was a little bump under the skin right next to one of them for years. I didn't even try taking the earrings out for years and years because I was kind of scared to deal with it.

Weird that they would ever heal at all if it was going to take several years, but it did. They never hurt now and the bump under the skin went away.
Old 11-01-2013, 05:35 AM
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 10,106
I think my immune system is too strong. Is that a thing? I got my nose pierced twice and soaked it in sea salt water every day for months, and neither ever healed fully.
Old 11-01-2013, 07:49 AM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 844
I've heard 6-12 months. I had one done in April and every time I think it's pretty well on its way to healed, it gets sore again. It doesn't help that I sleep on that side and I also can't keep my grubby hands off of it. It just got infected again this past week, so I have decided to let it go.
Old 11-01-2013, 09:15 AM
Charter Member
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 38,721
Moved MPSIMS --> IMHO.
Old 11-01-2013, 11:01 AM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Western Pennsylvania
Posts: 27,234
I have several cartilage piercings and a tragus, all by "real" piercers, all healed in 3 months.
Old 11-01-2013, 04:34 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Ray City, GA
Posts: 573
I highly suggest not using stud earrings, especially on a cartilage piercing. Find yourself a high-gauge (18-20G) captive ball ring, and use it instead. You may need to get some help putting it in, but it should be secure for a long time.

The reason is because with a stud and a backing, there's more metal against your skin, meaning there is more area for bacteria and earring gunk to build up and be stuck there. You want to minimize the contact of metal on skin.

Also make certain your earrings are at least surgical grade steel, if not a precious metal. NICKEL FREE. Often people who are just fine with metals on other parts of their skin have issues with earrings and cartilage piercings because of a simple allergic reaction to the metal, which causes similar reactions as an unhealed piercing. I can't wear anything less pure than sterling silver in a ring or necklace, my skin breaks out into itchy oozing bumps. The same happens in my ears if I use earrings that contain nickel, but since it's a piercing, it's even uckier.

Last edited by Time Like Tears; 11-01-2013 at 04:37 PM. Reason: 9 well healed earrings, tongue bar, eyebrow piercing, roomie is a pro piercer. Jussayin. =D
Old 01-08-2014, 12:00 PM
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 42
Thanks for all the replies. I've been out of pocket and just now getting back on here.

First time pierced it was a stud with a back and I hated it. This time I went to a tattoo place and have the captive ball ring. February will have been a year since I got the piercing and it still goes through cycles of being fine and then getting all infected. I'm trying to convince myself that the infection phases aren't as severe or often. I may be right but even when it's not infected there is still a lump on the back of my ear and it's still sensitive. I always make sure I can move the ring so it doesn't get stuck. I shower everyday and clean it. Anyway I'm giving it until April. I really like the piercing and want another in my nose but I just don't think I can deal with it.
Old 01-08-2014, 01:35 PM
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 31,112
I went to a tattoo place and got a captive bead ring, done with a needle, all proper. I got one done last July and one in august, and they still hurt now and then. I figure I'll just wait. Everyone says they take forever to heal; so be it.
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