Welcome to our series Piercing 101. Over the coming weeks, we’re going to be bringing you the details of every type of ear piercing you could want. By the end, you’ll know your tragus from your conch, and you may have even been persuaded into taking the plunge. Because look at those jewel-adorned ears—it’s tempting, right?
The conch piercing was high up on my lust list until I got one earlier this year. But what is it? There are two types of conch piercing: The inner conch which is where a hole is punctured right through the middle of the ear to make way for a stud. Then there’s the outer conch, which allows you to have a hoop hug all the way around the outer ridge of the ear, not just through it.
If you’re wondering where the name comes from, conch is the term for a large shell, and since this section of the ear kinda resembles one, the name was repurposed for this type of cartilage piercing. Now, you may be wondering why I, a self-proclaimed fan, haven’t gone for a conch piercing yet. Well, erm, have you actually ever taken a moment to feel that inner section of your ear? It’s solid cartilage, so basically yes, fear is what’s holding me back.
I called on expert piercer Rhianna Jones (@rhiannajonespiercing), who works at The Circle (@thecirclelondon) in London’s Soho, to answer my questions and hopefully allay my worries. Keep scrolling to find out everything you need to know about the conch piercing.
Okay, hit me—how painful is a conch piercing?
Any piercing is painful to a degree. It varies for each person. But on the whole, it is pretty much the same as other ear parts and not that bad!
Is there anyone it wouldn’t suit?
A conch piercing is suitable for many ears and suits all styles. In my many years of piercing, I have not come across one that wasn’t suitable.
Working with the anatomy of each ear, the placement can achieve a subtle look or be a statement piece, depending on the style and desires of the client.
What type of piercing do you pierce with—hoop or bar?
For the initial healing period, I use a bar, but once healed, the piercing can be fitted with jewellery of either a bar or ring style dependant on the placement and anatomy of the client.
Original Illustration by Bianca Gonzalez Marra
How long does it typically take to heal?
The healing process can take from three to nine months. This varies due to how well the aftercare is followed and the client’s general health.
Is it painful to sleep on?
I don’t recommend sleeping on any ear piercing until it is fully healed, due to the possibility of irritating the piercing and delaying the healing process.
What does the aftercare involve?
I recommend my clients to clean the piercing two times a day with sterile saline solution, and don’t fiddle with it!
Anything else our readers need to consider when it comes to getting a conch piercing?
My advice to anyone interested in getting a new piercing is to research your piercer before choosing where to go, and always follow the aftercare advice that they give.
[Ed. note: Depending on where you receive it, a conch piercing will cost around £30 to £50 and may or may not include the cost of the jewellery.]