All Ears

Contraconch Piercings Are Gaining Popularity For Their Unexpected Placement 

Also known as an outer conch piercing, only people with certain ear shapes will be able to heal it correctly. 
Two ears with contraconch piercings
Lynn Loheide

Daith, rook, conch, helix — we've come to know and love the many parts of your ear you can adorn with gilded hoops and sparkly studs. Recently, though, Allure editors noticed piercers on Instagram like Maria Tash have been piercing a part of the ear we've never heard of: the contraconch

The conch, for those unfamiliar, is the deep part of the center of your ear next to your ear canal. The contraconch, also known as the outer conch, is the ridge of cartilage around that area, explains Lynn Loheide, a body piercer at Nashville's Icon Tattoo and Body Piercing

Contraconch piercings are even one of Loheide's favorite placements because it's an adornment that can only be done on certain ear shapes. “Only about half of folks have ear anatomy that allows for this piercing to be done safely and correctly,” she explains. “If you do you are a lucky one.” 

A contraconch flower

Contraconch Piercing Candidates

Ultimately, your piercer will determine if a contraconch piercing will work on your ear, but here are some basic guidelines: If the high curve of your ear is on the flatter side, you have the option to get it. "Your ear has to be flat on that part for it to sit correctly," says Becca Quinn, a piercer at Studs in New York City. This piercing has also become popular among people who don't have enough room inside their each to get a conch piercing, she adds. 

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Those with a solid, harder rim of cartilage should avoid this placement. “It rarely heals well, and jewelry often won't sit flat and will get caught and snagged," Loheide says. 

Picking the Right Jewelry 

Speaking of jewelry, you can definitely expect to only wear a stud in it. At Studs, Quinn notes they usually use ones with a 10-millimeter back. The jewelry typically sits at an angle that's more visible from the front, so it's an unexpected addition to ear curations and a wide range of fun stud styles are available these days, Loheide adds. 

Healing and Aftercare 

Because the cartilage for contraconch piercings is thicker than most parts of your ear, they take longer to heal than your lobes, Quinn notes. Everyone heals at different rates, so the range is anywhere between six months to a year. 

The overall process for aftercare it is about the same as other piercings, though. Clean it twice a day with a saline wash, like the NeilMed Wound Wash Piercing Aftercare Fine Mist, and avoid putting harsh chemicals on the area, like alcohol, peroxide, and ointments, Loheide says. Also, "Don't sleep on it; don't spin or twist it, and definitely have your jewelry downsized by a pro after a month or two," she adds. 

Cost 

Piercing studios often charge based on the service plus the cost of the jewelry. At Studs, the service cost is $35, and its piercing jewelry ranges $30 to $180. Overall, Loheide estimates paying about $60 to $90 without tip

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