Archive for Ear Piercings

Follow along as Holly gets a three part piercing on her outer ear cartilage. (Watch for the needle insertions at about 0:30, 0:55, and 1:13).

Our piercing professional, James from American Skin Art, first cleans the ear and marks three small dots where the piercings will go.  He then has our piercing enthusiast double check in the mirror that the markings are aligned how and where she would like.  He instructs her to take a deep breath, and pushes the hollow piercing needle through, corking the free end.  Next, the jewelry is slid into place and secured, and the other two piercings are performed in the same fashion.  Once all three are finished, there’s a final cleanup, and our newly modified friend is ready to go.

 triple outer cartilage piercing

There are a variety of perforations that can be made in the cartilage of the human ear, and not all of them have a specific or distinct name.  This type of triple piercing is often referred to as an “ear flat piercing,” “triple scapha piercing,” or “fossa piercing,” and can be performed in a variety of orientations.  Multiple piercings of the ear cartilage in general are becoming more common amongst the modified generations.

 Holly's Triple Cartilage Piercing

For some, the ear’s features won’t allow for certain piercings, and that’s where your piercing professional comes into play.  With a thorough knowledge of the ear’s anatomy, they can often recommend alternate placements or styles, and angle such piercings correctly to allow for optimal healing.

For more up close videos of real piercings being performed, don’t forget to follow us on YouTube.

anti-tragus piercings

The tragus piercing is a piercing of that small nub of cartilage that extends out from the side of the face in front of the ear canal’s opening.  An anti-tragus piercing is a piercing of the cartilaginous outcropping directly across from it, at the ear’s inner rim.  A little bit rebellious, but it’s actually named “anti-tragus” after the portion of the ear anatomy that holds it.

 parts of the human ear

Aside from a fun name though, the anti-tragus actually has a lot of other things going for it.  This piercing heals well, can accommodate a variety of jewelry styles, and matches perfectly with its less feisty counterpart.  It’s also pierced in much the same fashion as its cartilage-decorating cousins.  Some piercers will pierce entirely freehand, while others will use a receiving tube, or more rarely, a pair of forceps.

As long as it’s cared for properly and avoids any knocks or scrapes, initial healing will occur around the eight to twelve week mark, with full healing taking approximately one year.  During the first weeks it’s often recommended that wearers avoid submersion in pools or lakes, take care when pulling clothing off or on over the head, and limit the use of hair products, which can be potentially irritating.

Depending on individual ear anatomy, piercing the anti-tragus of some persons isn’t feasible, and others may be limited to specific types of jewelry.  For the most part though, a variety of styles can be used including small curved barbells, straight barbells, tragus style studs, BCRs, and other circulars.

 tragus and anti-tragus earrings

For more about ear piercings and anatomy, check out our Ear Piercings category, and don’t forget to hit us up on YouTube to see real piercings being performed close up.

piercings of the upper ear antihelix cartilage

A rook piercing is a piercing of the antihelix of the ear, where it meets the triangular fossa at the inside edge or crus of the helix (the ear’s outer rim).  This is an outcropping of cartilage between the inner and outer conch that sits just above where a daith piercing would rest.  The rook is a contemporary piercing, first appearing in the early 90s, and famous piercing artist Erik Dakota is credited with it’s naming and popularization.

 the popularization of the rook

Like most other ear piercings, the area of the rook is first cleaned and marked for placement.  Some piercers will choose to pierce entirely freehand, while others may prefer to include a needle receiving tube, or even a small pair of forceps, and possibly a cork.  After being pierced, the jewelry will be pushed through and secured, and the ear will then be cleaned again.

Due to its location and the thickness of the cartilage, a rook piercing can take longer than average to fully heal.  Depending upon the aftercare regimen and the individual, initial healing can occur as early as twelve weeks, but may take up to six months, with full healing occurring around the one year mark.

 small curved barbells for rook piercings

Many different types of body jewelry can be worn in a rook, but which will work for the individual ear is often determined by the anatomy.  For some, the cartilaginous ridge will be less defined, and for others it may be pronounced but relatively closed in.  Curved barbells and BCRs are most commonly worn, but straight barbells and star or heart shaped hoops have also been used.

Jun
17

So You Wanna Be a Cheater

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faking it with cheater plugs

Love the look of stretched lobes but don’t have the time or effort to put into the process?  You can still get the look that you’re after, without ever having to size up.  You just have to be willing to cheat a little.

This is a cheater plug;  an awesome invention that allows its users to fake the look of stretched ears.

cheater plugs/faux plugs

It basically consists of two large ends with a thin post that goes directly through the middle.  One of the ends unscrews for easy insertion, and then screws back on once the post has been pushed through.  You get to keep your regular, small gauge ear lobe piercing, but the post is hidden safely inbetween, so nobody will be able to tell.

 cool faux plug body jewelry

The ends can vary in size and style, but usually fake the look of a 0, 00, or 1/2″ diameter plug.  Cheater tapers are available too, to mimic the look of both straight and spiral taper plugs.  They operate on the same principle as their cylindrical cousins, and also come in a variety of styles.

 faux taper plugs

To use cheater plug jewelry you should have a fully-healed, standard lobe piercing, and follow the same aftercare rules as normal.  A mirror tends to help the first few times putting them on too.  For more about cheater plugs and faking piercings or stretches, check out this video on the BodyCandy YouTube channel.  And don’t worry about the cheating; we won’t tell.

floral plug jewelry fashion

Today may be Water a Flower Day, but we’re about to introduce you to some posies that don’t need sunshine and H2O.  Say hello to the fabulous flowers of stretch mod.

Organic wood is incredibly healthy for stretched ears because it’s naturally more porous than most man-made materials, allowing the fistula (the piercing itself) to breathe.  This is especially good for ears that are still healing from a recent stretch, and it helps to prevent piercing funk, that nasty scent that can sometimes accompany stretched lobes. Along with stretching balm and cleansing sea salt spray, wood plugs of any kind are a great addition to your arsenal.

 natural wood flower plugs

Stone is another good option if you’re interested in a natural look.  Because of the slight natural variances in hue and ribboning, these polished pieces will match eachother well without being perfectly identical from every angle.  Plus, they’re a heavier weight than most wood or acrylic items, which also makes them ideal for use during the stretching process.

 stone flower plugs

Acrylic items have their advantages too though.  They’re lightweight, nice and smooth for easy wear, and able to be created in vibrant colors that you won’t find with natural products.  If you like designs, gems, brights, and flawless finishes, these are definitely the ones for you.

 floral acrylic plugs

So after you water your garden today, why not check out some flowers of a different kind?  These fun summery styles are always in bloom.

what you need to know about tragus jewelry

Piercings of the tragus (that little nub of cartilage that extends in front of the ear canal’s opening) have become extremely popular in the 2010s, but the jewelry that can be worn in them varies considerable depending on a variety of factors.

The first is what you were pierced with.  Depending on where you live, who pierces it, and your own ear’s anatomical characteristics, you may have been pierced with either a stud or a circular.  So why does that matter?  Because the piercing itself will heal relative in shape to the jewelry that’s worn during the healing process.  For those who were pierced with a circular barbell, this means that switching to a straight barbell or stud is likely to either be uncomfortable, or not work at all, and vice versa.  That’s why knowing the type of jewelry that you’d like to wear from the get-go is a good way to avoid disappointment, because your piercer can likely use the style you prefer for the initial piercing, setting you up to continue wearing similar pieces.

 intial tragus jewelry

Next, is the size.  Tragus piercings can be performed in either a 14 or 16 gauge, or more rarely in a teensy 18 gauge.  Knowing your size is essential to getting jewelry that fits, because even though the difference looks pretty miniscule, it doesn’t feel like it, and nobody wants a piece of tiny jewelry sliding around in a larger size piercing.  Other dimensions will of course come into play as well, like the diameter for circulars or BCRs, and the length for barbells or stud type items.

 how to size tragus jewelry

And last, we have preference.  Once you know your correct size and type of jewelry, it’s time to pick out a style.  Do you like gems?  Dangles?  Or would you rather just keep it simple?  This can be a matter of trial and error, but eventually you’re sure to find a specific style of item that’s comfy, pleasant looking, and makes you feel good.  Happy tragus shopping!

May
16

Tid Bits: Industrials

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industrial style cartilage piercings

The traditional industrial is actually a set of two piercings through the helix or outer rim of the ear, connected by a single piece of barbell body jewelry.  In recent years, other sets of two or even three interconnected piercings in a variety of orientations have popped up, and many of these now also fall under the “industrial” umbrella.  This includes vertical industrials, tragal industrials (usually from tragus to anti-tragus or tragus to conch), and pairs of helix industrials that cross over eachother, sometimes called an “industrial cage piercing.”

 different type sof industrial ear piercings

Other evolutions of the standard industrial find the piercings themselves remaining the same, but new styles of jewelry overhauling the look.  Industrial barbells with all types of bends, spirals, waves, and dangling elements are now readily available, as well as extra long project bars that accommodate longer (usually vertical) combinations.  Many who are pierced will choose to add the industrial to an already complex array of preexisting ear piercings, and as long as the individual’s anatomy allows, working within the parameters of existing body art is generally not a problem.

 fun styles of industrial barbell

To see an industrial ear piercing (and loads of other piercings) being performed up close, be sure to check out our YouTube channel, and subscribe to the BodyCandy Blog to peruse the Industrials category.

Apr
15

Helix Piercings

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piercings of the helix ear cartilage

The term “helix piercing” refers to any piercing of the helix portion of the human ear.  This type of piercing has been called many other names, but the most common is simply “cartilage piercing.” The helix can be pierced in various spots along the ear’s rim, and for most is able to be pierced in multiple locations.  Traditional industrial piercings pass through a portion of helix, but are distinguished from other sets of helix piercings by their connection via a single piece of jewelry.

 different styles of cartilage piercings

Like other cartilage piercings, the helix piercing is performed with a hollow piercing needle, and requires diligent aftercare.  Cleansings with saline or gentle antimicrobial soap are often recommended, along with avoidance of hair products, pool or pond water, and makeup.  Most helix piercings will pass through the initial phases of healing quickly, by around the eight to twelve week mark, but complete healing may take several months.

 caring for piercings

A variety of jewelry styles can be worn in the helix piercing, including BCRs and other circulars, stud style pieces, and barbells which can sometimes include a dangling element.  For those who have multiple piercings of the ear, more decorative jewelry that “connects ” their piercings to each other with chains can also be worn.  Some common combinations include helix to tragus, and helix to earlobe.

chain connector ear cartilage jewelry

Apr
09

Tragus Piercings

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piercings of the tragus ear cartilage

The tragus is the fibrous nub of flesh that protrudes from the side of the head, shielding the opening of the ear canal.  Because this area is primarily cartilaginous, and highly visible when the hair is swept up or brushed behind the ear, it’s a perfect place to pierce. Like many of the other common ear piercings, this one is named after the actual part of the ear anatomy it corresponds to, and is called simply “tragus piercing.”

 piercing names and ear anatomy

The jewelry used for tragus piercings can vary greatly depending upon individual anatomy, the needle size used for the piercing, and personal style.  Both barbells and circulars can be worn, as well as flat-backed stud type items, and occasionally curved or spiral-shaped barbells.

 tragus piercing ear jewelry

As with most cartilage piercings, the tragus tends to heal relatively quickly, but must be kept healthy with proper aftercare.  During the initial healing phases, avoidance of heavy hair products and not sleeping on your newly pierced side are often recommended, as these and other factors can contribute to irritation or lengthen the time it takes to mend.

For more on ear piercings, be sure to check out our Ear Piercings category, and follow us on YouTube to view your favorite piercings being performed up close and personal.

Originally, I had intended on having a set of five piercings in my right ear: three cartilage, and two lobe. A few years back I got a triple forward helix piercing at a random piercing parlor on a whim… all three piercings rejected. This time around I spent much more time choosing my piercer and thinking about a piercing that I would like, which also worked with my anatomy.

James at American Skin Art let me know that the two helix/scapha piercings I was looking to get were, in fact, a good idea and that they would be in a location that wasn’t likely to reject. My experience was really great this time, much different than the first set of cartilage piercings. Those were considerably more painful and ended up not healing at all.

 my new helix piercings being performed

In contrast to the previous session, these two piercings were very quick and pretty painless. The moral of the story is: if you’re under the impression that selecting a piercing professional doesn’t matter or that you might be able to do it yourself, be warned!

After seeing my piercings start to successfully heal, I decided to go back a few weeks later to get a third (and final) lobe piercing. They are all healing up very nicely and now my ear looks just as I intended.

the finish look with multiple lobe and cartilage piercings