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 costs, 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

What is an 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

What is an 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 Pain, Healing Times, Piercing Aftercare Tips, and More

How long does a conch piercing take to heal?

Healing time varies. We recommend talking to a piercing professional about pain and healing times, swelling, and cleaning routines before getting your piercing. If you’re experiencing signs of infection, please contact your doctor. If you experience pain and swelling during the healing process, we recommend contacting a professional and monitoring your piercing until it is completely healed.

Does a conch piercing hurt?

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 conch piercings, daith piercings, or helix piercings, tend to be slightly more painful than traditional earlobe piercings.

How much does a cartilage piercing cost?

It depends on where you live and which piercing shop you’ll be attending. There are different types of cartilage earrings, such as conch piercings, daith piercings, tragus piercings, and rook piercings, which could cost more than standard earlobe piercings.

How do you clean a conch piercing?

Aftercare is possibly the most important part of any piercing healing process. We recommend that you ask your professional piercer for specific aftercare instructions. Be sure to wash your hands, clean your body jewelry with antibacterial soap and warm water, and clean the piercings properly to avoid the risk of infection! This will not only help your piercing heal, but it will also help to prevent any type of infection.

How can I get a conch piercing at home?

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!

Are inner conch piercings and outer conch piercings the only conch piercing variations?

No! The orbital conch piercing is another type of conch piercing that requires two holes, or a double piercing. This unique double piercing allows the 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!

Can anyone get a conch piercing?

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!

Will a conch piercing eventually close up?

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.

Why shouldn’t I get a conch piercing?

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.


Conch Piercing Jewelry

How much does conch piercing jewelry cost?

It depends on where you live and which piercing shop you’ll be attending. There are different types of cartilage jewelry, such as barbells, that will cost more than standard stud earrings. Jewelry materials (such as surgical steel and titanium jewelry) can also drive up the price. We recommend calling a professional piercer for more information. Make sure to keep the original piece of jewelry in until your piercing is completely healed.

What types of jewelry are best for my conch piercing?

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 ringscircular barbellshoop earrings, and curved barbells can be used for outer conch piercings due to their proximity to the edge of the ear. Always practice proper jewelry care, and be sure to check out the latest jewelry options at Spencer’s!

How soon after my initial conch piercing can I change my jewelry?

Wait until your conch piercing has healed completely before attempting to change your jewelry. The conch piercing healing process 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. When your piercing is fully healed, it’s time to go shopping!

What gauge size should I wear in my conch piercing?

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.

What other ear piercings look good with a conch piercing?

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.

Learn More About Body Piercings and Body Jewelry

Did you enjoy our guide to conch piercings? Check out the Inspo Spot for more information on cartilage piercings and other body piercing guides. We will teach you everything there is to know about lobe piercings and ear cartilage piercings, including forward helix piercings, rook piercings, tragus piercings, daith piercings, etc. We also have in-depth guides on nose piercings, septum piercings, and so much more.

Now that we’ve gone over all this piercing info, it’s time to go shopping! Spencer’s is the headquarters for all of your body jewelry needs.

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