Cartilage Piercing Aftercare – Your #1 Healing Guide

Cartilage piercings not only allow you to dress your ear up but are also said to relieve pain because it acts similar to acupuncture. Whatever your reasoning, when getting this type of piercing you should perform proper aftercare to make sure it heals correctly.

Getting one of these piercings is low risk and it’s extremely rare for anything to go wrong during the process. After you get the piercing is when things may get slightly more tricky. However, with proper aftercare techniques the piercing will not become problematic.

If you just got a cartilage piecing it is likely you’ve had a piercing before. Like the traditional piercings in your earlobe, cartilage piercings require aftercare so that an infection doesn’t occur.

Since this area of the ear takes longer to heal it requires slightly more attention. The cartilage part of your ear is made up of connective tissue. It is flexible and gives your ear its structure. Unlike the ear lobe which is made of fat and collagen.

How long does it take to heal from a cartilage piercing?

Cartilage piercings take a long time to fully heal. Anywhere from 4 to 12 months depending on the person. This does not mean you will have to constantly treat the piercing for that amount of time but know that it is best to give your piercing attention from time to time.

How long will it be sore?

Your cartilage piercing will hurt right away. Unlike your earlobe there are a lot more pain receptors in your ear’s cartilage. You can expect it to be sore for around two weeks to a month. This may cause you discomfort when sleeping or if your touch the area. When you sleep it’s best to try to sleep on your back. If you only got the piercing in one ear, then sleeping on the other side is recommended. If you sleep on your new piercing it may disrupt the healing process. Making it easier for you to get an infection and make for a longer healing time.

How do you take care of a cartilage piercing?

Taking care of a cartilage piercing should not be too difficult. Most of the time you’ll forget it’s there. You will easily be able to take care of your piercing by following a few important steps and making sure you don’t sleep on the piercing.

Aftercare steps & products needed

Aftercare consists of cleaning the piercing daily. For the first 24 hours you should not touch the area at all. The piercing needs time to settle in. When start to clean the piercing is when you will want to use specific products or solutions. You will need to clean the cartilage area and the piercing. Try to make time to clean your piercing and cartilage area at least once a day. If you feel that you need to clean it again, cleaning it twice a day is perfect too. You don’t need to clean it more than that.

First you should take your piercing out and soak it in either a solution that you can make on your own or buy. The solution you can make on your own consists of a teaspoon of salt and hot water. With that you can soak your piercing every time you take it out to clean.

You can also buy ear care solution. You can find ear care solutions anywhere but a cheap and easy one to get would be the Inverness After Piercing Ear Care Solution. You don’t have to soak your earring in this. Putting some on a paper towel and wiping the piercing will do the trick.

When you are cleaning the cartilage area, you can use the ear care solution and wipe them down gently with that. Another option would be to use antibacterial soap such as Softsoap’s antibacterial soap instead of an solutions.

Should I twist my cartilage piercing?

No. You should not twist your cartilage piercing. In fact, do not touch the piercing at all unless you are cleaning it. Touching it throughout the day or playing with it will put you at a higher risk of getting an infection. Twisting your piercing may hurt as well.

Try to remember that although this is not a traditional wound, that it is one. Since there is something within the wound it needs to be treated extra carefully.

When can I stop cleaning my cartilage piercing?

You can usually stop cleaning your cartilage piercing after about 3 months. However, you should check out the hole in the cartilage to make sure that it appears healed. If it is still raw on the inside or appears to not be fully healed, then you should continue to clean it.

There is also nothing wrong with continuously cleaning it for up to 12 months since it may take that long to fully heal. After about 3 months you won’t have to be as careful around the piercing so cleaning can be less frequent. Using antibacterial soap instead of the solutions is recommended.

Should I clean the crust off my piercing?

Yes, you should clean the crust off of your piercing. If you don’t clean it off it may lead to an infection. If you notice a lot of crust, you should go through the whole process of cleaning your earring and your ear. Try not to wipe it off with your fingers when you are not going through the whole cleaning process. You don’t want the bacterial from your fingers to linger in the open wound.

What color should piercing crust be?

The crust around your piercing should be white or yellowish. Those colors are normal when it comes to crust. Be cautious of the area. If it is swollen, painful, or very red then it could be an infection. If there is white or yellow crust but everything else appears fine, then you should be just fine. Make sure to properly clean it off when you get a chance.

How do I know if my cartilage piercing is healing correctly?

A cartilage piercing heals just as any wound heals. Much like a scab your cartilage piercing may be itchy. It will likely scab and flake off. You’ll know its healing properly because the pain or soreness will decrease, the earring stays in the same place, and there isn’t any redness or swelling.


How can I make my cartilage piercing heal faster?

To help your cartilage piercing heal faster you can do several things. The first is to make sure you do not over clean the area because that will slow the process. You can look into taking supplements that aid in strengthening your immune system. A great vitamin to take or drink would be vitamin C. Zinc is also another vitamin that will help in the healing process. Depending on where your cartilage piercing is in your ear and your own body there is no guarantees that these will make it heal quicker.

Can I take out my cartilage piercing to sleep?

No, you should not take out your cartilage piercings to sleep. At least until the wound is fully healed. This is because the holes may close up after taking them out to sleep. Meaning you would have to restart the whole process again.

How do you shower with a cartilage piercing?

When showering with a cartilage piercing you should work on making sure you don’t get any of the water or hair products on the piercing. You can do this by washing your hair the way that hairdressers wash hair. If you have long hair, you should put it all behind your ear. If you have short hair you won’t need to worry about that. You should then tilt your head back so that only your hair gets under the water and wash carefully.

Another thing to note is that you should avoid getting into any large body of water if your piercing will be underneath the water. Pools, the ocean, and lakes should be avoided for at least 3 months after getting the piercing.  

Will I get a keloid scar?

If your piercing gets infected, it is very possible that a keloid scar may develop. A keloid scar is a scar that is raised above your skin. They are not dangerous, but you may not like the look of a bump next to your piercing. This type of scar may also develop on its own without any infection depending on how your skin reacts to the wound.