What is a Conch Piercing?

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  • Written By: Sara Schmidt
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 08 January 2020
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A conch piercing is a form of body modification in which the cartilage of the ear is perforated in order to display jewelry. Also known as a cartilage piercing, this type of ear piercing may involve either the inner or outer conch of the ear. Rings, barbells, and other metallic pieces of jewelry are typically chosen for this body piercing.

The process of conch piercing is usually done with some sort of sterilized needle or gun. Many people opt for the needle, as piercing guns result in more errors than precise needles. Unlike many forms of body modification, a conch piercing has little to no risk of being rejected by the body or of being displaced. Following the initial perforation, the pierced area may be stretched to accommodate large pieces of jewelry.

Inner conch piercing occurs when a person has the innermost shell of his or her ear pierced. This part of the ear is adjacent to the ear canal. Outer conch piercing is the result of piercing the flat outer cartilage of the ear. As the pierced area heals, many people opt to wear simple barbell pieces.

During the piercing process, a clamp is typically used to hold the area in place. The artist marks the area before piercing it with a straight needle. The puncture is performed while the person receiving the piercing exhales.


Healing periods for conch piercings vary depending on the person receiving the body art. If aftercare directions are followed, healing is generally faster. This piercing requires two cleanings with antiseptic solution each day during the first two weeks. Infection can occur if the wound is not given proper care.

Other than the cleaning, the piercing should not be touched. Some pain and soreness is typical. Secretion from the wound can still occur for three to six months following the piercing. If the wound becomes infected, a physician should be consulted.

Conch piercing is considered a simple procedure. Most body modification artists can perform this piercing. No specialized equipment is needed, and no awkward body angling is required. The procedure is generally safe, though a minor loss of hearing can occur from altering the shape of the conch.

Many people become lightheaded after receiving a conch piercing. This feeling can often result from body art. Some people even fall into unconsciousness. In order to prevent this from occurring, it is advisable to eat a small meal prior to engaging in body modification.


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Post 8

I honestly don't think my conch piercing hurt that bad. On a scale 1-10 it was a 2. And I could sleep on it right away. The only problem now is that its taking forever to heal since it is a piercing that can be easily bumped. I have hypotrophic scarring on it and it hurts to touch all the time. It's been eight months since I got it pierced.

Post 7

I had my conch done about three days ago and I am in agony with the pain and swelling. I have been cleaning it properly with salt water, but it is in constant pain. I can't sleep properly and my ear has swollen twice the size. I can't even touch it! Does anyone know how long the pain will last and the swelling?

Post 6

I have three conch piercings! I must say the one on my right side is the most painless one ever. However, I also have two conch piercings on my left ear. It took a year to finally heal them, but in the end, it was worth it!

My family does not like it but they realized it's a part of me. So it depends on how far you want to go to get the look you want to have. I love mine. I enjoy mine. Hope this will help.

Post 5

I have to disagree with some of the other commenters on here -- I think conch ear piercings look horrible! I wouldn't mind going through the pain if I liked the look, but I just don't. I prefer to stick with the more traditional earlobe piercing.

I kind of have a conservative look anyway, so I don't really think that a conch piercing would go well with it.

Post 4

@SZapper - I wouldn't be too scared of getting a keloid if I were you. Some people are more prone to them than others. I don't know if you have any other piercings. But if you do, and you didn't have a reaction like that, you would probably be OK getting a conch piercings. Also, I think keloids can be removed.

I've actually be contemplating a conch piercing. I was looking at some conch piercing jewelry online the other day and thinking about how awesome it would look in my ear! I think I'm going to do it, but I'm having trouble deciding exactly what kind of conch piercing I want. There are so many options!

Post 3

I think conch piercings look awesome. They look so much more unique than just having your earlobe pierced, but not as extreme as a labret piercing or something like that.

However, I don't personally have one! When I was in high school, I knew a girl who got a conch piercing and she had a bad reaction to it. She developed a huge growth on her ear that just looked crazy. I think it's called a keloid, and I'm not sure if it can be removed or what.

But anyway, I'm way too scared of this happening to get a conch piercing!

Post 2

My sister had her inner conch pierced, and she had to have two holes made. The earring has to be able to surround the cartilage, so double holes were necessary.

Sometimes, she forgets the jewelry is there. She goes to scratch her ear, and then she hits the metal. She told me that this hurts as badly as sticking a cotton swab too far down your ear canal.

Since I avoid pain at all costs, I have no body piercings whatsoever. I really don't understand the appeal. If I want to wear jewelry, I will wear the kind that doesn't have to penetrate my body.

Post 1

All of my friends who have undergone outer conch piercing say the pain level they experienced was high. They told me that it hurt much more than when they had their ear lobes pierced.

I have heard that the higher up on the ear you go with piercings, the more it hurts. I have only had my ear lobes pierced twice, so I can't say whether this is true or not.

Two of my friends opted for small silver hoops through the cartilage. The hoops encircle the edge of the ear. I think this looks better than a barbell, and I would imagine it would be less painful, since the hole wouldn't have to be stretched to accommodate it.

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