Every now and then, we see a body piercing that makes us want to run out and get pierced that very same day. The conch piercing is totally one of them.

While we’re big fans of flashy statement pieces, we love body jewelry that forces us to lean in a little closer in order to really appreciate it. Because the conch piercing is somewhat hidden among the folds of the ear, the best way to observe it is to get up close and personal. So get cozy, lean in, and let us tell you all about conch piercings, conch piercing aftercare, the pain associated with conch piercings, and more!

Named for the ear’s resemblance to the folds of a conch shell, the conch piercing is a uniquely customizable cartilage piercing. Just like every shell on the beach is a little bit different, no two ears are identical. For this reason, a professional piercer will help you to determine the best placement for your conch piercing.

Here, we’ll talk about the two main types of conch piercings: the inner conch piercing and the outer conch piercing. The inner conch piercing is more popular than the outer conch piercing, in part because not everyone has the ear anatomy necessary for an outer conch piercing! When you hear the standalone phrase “conch piercing,” it’s likely in reference to the inner conch piercing. We’ll also give you some conch piercing ideas, talk about conch piercing cost, types of jewelry for your cartilage piercing, whether or not conch piercings hurt, conch piercing healing times and more piercing FAQs.

Conch Piercing Types

inner conch

Inner Conch Piercing

Inner Conch Piercing Location

Place your finger on what you believe to be the very middle of your ear, and you’ve probably found the inner conch! It’s the cup-like area next to the opening of the ear canal.

Inner Conch Piercing Process

Generally, the inner conch piercing is performed using a hollow point needle. Most commonly, professional piercers opt to use a 16 gauge needle to pierce the inner conch.

Healing time: About 3-9 months

Recommended jewelry: Flat back studs, barbells

outer conch

Outer Conch Piercing

Outer Conch Piercing Location

The outer conch or “contraconch” piercing is located between the helix and the antihelix. It’s the flat ridge around the cup-like area that we mentioned in describing the inner conch piercing.

Outer Conch Piercing Process

Like the inner conch piercing, the outer conch piercing is generally performed using a 16 gauge hollow point needle.

Healing time: About 6-12 months

Recommended jewelry: Flat back studs, captive rings, circular barbells, curved barbells

Conch Piercing FAQs:

Q. Does a conch piercing hurt?
A. Because everyone experiences pain differently, we recommend that you talk to a professional piercer about pain levels and pain management.  

Some people report that the initial conch piercing creates a “hot” sensation. Others report pain while sleeping on their new conch piercing and throughout the healing process. In general, ear cartilage piercings such as a conch piercing, a daith piercing, or a helix piercing tend to be slightly more painful than a traditional earlobe piercing.

Q. Are inner conch piercings and outer conch piercings the only conch piercing variations?
A. No! The orbital conch piercing is another type of conch piercing that requires two holes, or a double piercing. This unique double piercing allows jewelry to “orbit” the cartilage of the ear. Talk to your professional piercer about the orbital conch piercing and other cool variations on the conch piercing!

Q. How do you clean a conch piercing?
A. Aftercare is possibly the most important part of any piercing and the healing process. We recommend that you ask your professional piercer for specific aftercare instructions, but washing your hands, cleaning your body jewelry with antibacterial soap and warm water, and cleaning your jewelry are musts! This will not only help your piercing heal, but it will also help to prevent any type of infection.

Q. What types of jewelry are best for my conch piercing?
A. Body jewelry is a matter of preference, but we generally recommend non-porous jewelry like surgical stainless steel or surgical titanium in order to limit the collection of bacteria.

Conch piercing jewelry is exactly what you need to show off your jewelry style. Flat back stud earrings and barbells are ideal for inner conch piercings due to their location. Flat back studs, captive rings, circular barbells, hoop earrings, and curved barbells can be used for outer conch piercings due to their proximity to the edge of the ear. Shop the latest jewelry options at Spencer’s!

Q. Can anyone get a conch piercing?
A. Not necessarily. Depending on the shape and size of your ear, you may or may not be able to safely get a conch piercing. This is especially true of the outer conch piercing, which requires a somewhat flat ridge in order to be done correctly. Ask your professional piercer to recommend the best type of piercing for your specific ear anatomy!

Q. How much does a conch piercing cost?
A. The cost of a conch piercing depends on variables like piercing studio, body jewelry type, and your location. For example, barbells tend to cost more than studs, and piercing studios in major cities tend to charge more for their piercing services. Remember to account for both the cost of piercing services and body jewelry when calculating your conch piercing budget!

Q. Will a conch piercing eventually close up?
A. Healing varies from person to person, but most piercings have the ability to close up once jewelry is removed. Cartilage piercings tend to close more quickly than earlobe piercings, but the amount of time it takes to heal completely is different for everyone.

Q. How soon after my initial conch piercing can I change my jewelry?
A. Wait until your conch piercing has healed completely before attempting to change your jewelry. The process of a conch piercing healing is different for everyone, and some people can expect to wait nine months (or longer!) to heal completely. A pierced ear is no different than an injury in that it requires cleaning, care, and patience.

Consider going to your professional piercer to ask for their assistance in changing your jewelry. Not only will they be able to determine if your conch piercing has healed completely, but they’ll offer valuable insight into what jewelry style, gauge size, and material type are best for you!

Q. Why shouldn’t I get a conch piercing?
A. If you’re not sure if you’re ready for a conch piercing, we recommend that you wait! Talk to a professional piercer about the pros and cons of a conch piercing, the differences between an inner and an outer conch piercing, alternative ear piercing options, healing times, pain levels, and more. In the meantime, consider sporting a simple ear cuff or taking our fake body jewelry for a spin. This will help you to adjust to seeing yourself with a new piercing from multiple angles.

Q. How can I get a conch piercing at home?
A. We recommend that you go to a professional piercer for all body piercings. This is important in minimizing pain and preventing infection. Proper healing will help you to get to the fun part (browsing new jewelry options) faster!

Q. What other ear piercings look good with a conch piercing?
A. We love an eye-catching, thoughtfully curated ear! Tragus earrings, rook earrings, and traditional lobe piercings pair exceptionally well with conch earrings. Whether you rock a conch piercing alone or pair it with a nose piercing, remember that your style is your choice! Your piercings are an extension of your personality, and we think it looks amazing when you express yourself with body jewelry.

Q. What gauge size should I wear in my conch piercing?
A. Most conch piercing jewelry falls within the 16 to 14 gauge range, with 14 gauge being the most common size for conch jewelry. Talk to your professional piercer or sales associate about which gauge size you should shop for when looking for new conch jewelry.

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