Thursday, 23 January 2014

Conch Healing Update - 1 Month

It has now been one month since I had my conch piercing done. I have been monitoring my healing closely in order to give you a full debriefing, in case you are thinking about getting one yourself!

Please Remember: I am by no means an expert on any kind of body modification or adornments. I am merely sharing my experience with you. As such, I take no responsibility for your piercings or their healing times. You should, at all times consult a professional for 100% water-tight advice. 

Piercing: Inner Conch (left ear)
Gague: 1.6mm
Material: Surgical Grade Steel bar, one Surgical steel ball, one hardened plastic ball. 

As you know, after I had my piercing done initially, it was beyond sore. I couldn't even wiggle my ear without wincing, but that initial pain only lasted about 3-5 days. It was red and angry for those few days but when your after having a relatively thick metal bar shoved through your ear, it's bound to be pissed off. 

I couldn't sleep on it for 3 weeks after the initial tenderness passed, even though I was taking Arnica to bring down the swelling and bruising, as recommended by Wildcat. I also took a short course of zinc to aid my immune system in the first stage of healing. 

Now, for the big stuff. 

I think it may have become very mildly infected after about 10 days (It was over Christmas so I couldn't get to Wildcat to ask), but I used Easy Piercing soap, saline and antibacterial spray to clean my ear 2/3 times a day and keep the seeping at bay. This meant that the possibility of a crust forming on the jewelry was minimized. I also used Tea Tree Oil (which is a natural antiseptic) on a cotton bud around the barbell and surface of the ear, and then pushed the barbell back and forth gently to allow the oil to penetrate the piercing and ensure the barbell was left sanitary. This isn't actually recommended and I cant guarantee it will work for you, but it did for me. I used 100% pure Austrailian Tea Tree Oil that I got in my local chemist.

Tea Tree is not usually recommended but Betadine (which is a medical antiseptic ointment) cannot be gotten in any chemist anymore. I used this to make sure that whatever was festering in my ear would not get a chance to spread. Tea Tree is usually only warranted in the event of a hypertrophic scar forming. It dries out your skin like crazy so its really only useful to use it once in every 3 days. I did use it twice a day for 5 days to a week to eliminate any infection that may have been lingering but once it was back to normal I stopped using it.  

I have been cleaning it every day but sometimes leaving it for a day so as to allow the tissue to heal without my interfering with it. I have also been into Wildcat to get a different ball on the top of the post (the ball really has no bearing on the healing according to the girl who put it on for me) and since I got the new larger ball, I have been able to sleep on it because it doesn't move as much. 

The piercing itself did not weep or pus after the 3 week mark which allowed me to stop worrying about it. The barbell has been kept clean and dried after every cleaning. I haven't used the tea tree on it since the infection cleared up, though I intend to pop a bit on once a week from now til the the initial healing time is finished to eliminate the chance of any keloid or hypertophic scarring occurring. 

NOTE: When I had the ball changed after 3ish weeks, I asked the piercer was there any signs of infection or scarring and she said no. She said that the dried skin can be a combination of initial sea salt soaks and tea tree but it was nothing to worry about and the skin has gone back to normal now. I did also get one or two serious bangs in the ear that made me cry like a baby from the pain, but they haven't affected my ear in any way, just hurt like a bitch!

All in all, my conch is healing very well and I am thinking about getting my right ear done to match. 

My Acrylic ball on the stainless steel healing bar
If you are thinking about getting this piercing done: Please remember that it is a very thick piece of cartilage and it will hurt like hell while its healing, to the point where I swore I would never cheat on tattoos again. Getting the piercing was by far the easiest part of the whole operation, the aftercare is the part you need to be aware of. I have also had to go to my optician and have them re-shape the left arm of my frames to avoid bumping on the bar but that was a small job and they actually commented on how unique the piercing was while they did it.

I hope this was of some use to you and if you are thinking of getting your conch pierced, go for it, it's a beautiful piercing.