If you're a part of the pierced/modified community, you're probably well aware of the industrial bar, the daith piercing, or a helix earring. Have you ever heard of a flat piercing?
Named for it's location in the ear, a flat piercing is literally positioned in the flat area of cartilage in the upper ear. Whereas the helix or industrial is located in the rim of the ear, a flat earring is located below the rim in what would be considered the flatter portions of the ear anatomy. Combined with other cartilage piercings, a set of stretched ears, or beautiful earrings, a flat or series of flat piercings are an amazing way to customize your ear layout. It's even a stunning look on its own.
What Exactly is a Cartilage Piercing?
Unlike a "fleshy piercing" with lots of blood flow (think belly button rings, tongue rings, or lip rings), a flat piercing goes through cartilage. Cartilage is a tough, flexible connective tissue, unlike the tongue, lip, or belly button which is very vascular.
Cartilage does not receive nearly the amount of blood flow, so these piercings take much longer to heal - think up to a year. Before you get a cartilage piercing, make sure you are ready to commit to a patient healing process, free from snags, extra pressure, and sleeping on it.
How Painful is a Flat Piercing?
Everyone's body is different. Everyone's experience at the piercing shop is different. Speaking in general, getting your flat pierced is typically considered a pretty painful procedure. Although it might seem like it wouldn't hurt as much as a fleshy piercing, cartilage piercings, especially in the thinner part of the ear, tend to sting a bit more than others.
Is your pain tolerance a bit low? Don't let this article scare you! Most piercings are done and over with before you know it. If you can handle a quick pinch and some patient aftercare, you'll have a healed flat in no time!
How Long Does A Flat Piercing Take To Heal?
A cartilage piercing will take at least three months to heal, but will often take six months to show signs of being healed up. Realistically, you should plan for up to a year of healing, as any unwanted complications like a bump, pressure, or snag can add to the healing process.
Aftercare (but not too much aftercare) is very important when it comes to successful healing. Here are a few helpful tips when it comes to healing up your new flat:
Gentle Salt Soak - make up a sterile, sea salt solution and soak your flat once a day. Since these piercings are often tucked into your ear a bit, a clean, damp paper towel should work just fine. Keeping your piercing clean with a very gentle cleansing will go a long way in healing up your new flat.
Avoid Harsh Chemicals - NEVER put tea tree oil, alcohol, peroxide, or any harsh chemicals on your new mod. These chemicals will actually dry out your piercing site, causing irritation, which may prolong the healing process.
Watch Out For Bumps, Snags, or Unnecessary Pressure - one of the best ways to ensure a happy and healthy heal time? Don't fuss with your piercing (besides your daily cleaning sesh). When you're brushing your hair, be careful with combs - they have a tendency to hook onto piercings and pull on them... Ouch! You should also be careful with your clothing - do your best not to snag your flat on any sweaters or t-shirts, and try to avoid any over-the-ear hats or headphones until you know you're healed up. Last but not least, if you're a side sleeper, you should consider getting a flat on the side you don't sleep on. Pressure from a pillow can also complicate your heal time.
What Should I Wear in My Flat Piercing?
A flat piercing is typically adorned with a cartilage stud. Any length stud can work, but a 1/4" (6mm stud) is most likely going to be your best bet.
For a little customization, you could try at 5/16" (8mm) stud, although you might find this a bit too long for your personal liking.
If that's the case, try 1/4" studs with both flat back and ball back ends - you might like the aesthetic look of one more than another. For even more flair, try to find cartilage jewelry with a fancy dangly element - just make sure you're healed up before you try to swap anything out.
Do You Have a Flat Piercing?
Do you have a flat piercing? Do you have a super unique ear layout that you're proud of? What was it like getting your cartilage pierced? Do you think it hurt more than your other piercings? Let us know! We'd love to hear in the comments below.
Check out all of our flat jewelry HERE.