5 Things No One Told Me About My New Cartilage Piercing

5 Things No One Told Me About My New Cartilage Piercing

I got my first cartilage piercing a week ago, but nothing really prepared me for the experience.
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A week ago, I got my very first cartilage piercing – a double helix.

I've wanted a cartilage piercing since forever, so the prospect of finally getting it made me feel so giddy that I couldn't help but grin from ear to ear when the piercer finally put the gun to my ear (and if you feel weirded out just by reading that, imagine how the piercer must have felt watching close-up).

Prior to the commitment, I had done a ton of research about cartilage piercings, but nothing quite prepared me for what an adjustment the first week would be.

1. Getting pierced feels like being pinched.

Everyone's level of pain tolerance is different, but for me, on a scale of one to 10, a double helix piercing is a three – so like a hard pinch. My ear was pierced at Claire's with a piercing gun.

Of course, like other people who've researched piercings, I was worried that the gun would shatter my ear because of posts like these and pictures like this (viewer direction advised). So while I still think a needle piercing would be the better option for cartilage piercings, that option was not available for me. Thankfully, the piercer at my local Claire's is experienced and has a few of her own, which helped ease my nerves.

If you would like to get a needle cartilage piercing, contact your local tattoo shops and ask if they have it. However, be warned, tattoo shop piercings can be on the pricier end.

At Claire's alone, the cheapest stud is $18.99, and since I had two holes pierced, the price racked up to $37.98 – and this is all before taxes. Luckily, there happened to be a sale that day which helped nudge the total cost down a bit.

2. The after-care routine can get painful.

I wasn't allowed to wash my ear for the first 48 hours unless it was with the given sterile saline solution. My usual cleaning routine is: loosen earrings, wet cotton ball with the solution, gently wipe and clean, then twist earrings and slightly tighten at the end – and repeat, three times a day.

Everything seemed to be going well until two days later when my ear reacted by turning red sending prickles of pain up my cartilage. I suspected an infection, but then my friend advised me to soak my ears with the solution using a puffy cotton ball. This trick somehow worked to bring down swelling entirely and eliminate the pain in the following hours. As it turned out, I hadn't been thorough enough in my routine. The solution is not just meant to help wipe the piercing clean but to soak into the ear holes.

I've gotten used to the new routine but sleep, on the other hand...

3. Sleep is a struggle.

The first day wasn't so bad besides the expected redness, but the first night was when the real struggle began. I couldn't sleep on my left side without squishing my ear, so I propped another pillow next to the left side of my head so that, if I did turn in the middle of the night, it would stop me from landing on my ear.

I woke up was an hour later in pain because I had shoved the pillow aside in my sleep and landed splat on my pierced ear. So for the second try, I propped a bunched up T-shirt under my head and a small pillow on my left, so that if I do turn left while asleep, the side of my head will just barely rest against the small pillow on the side.

I still haven't adjusted to it yet, but it's a much better alternative than if both my ears were pierced. Then I'd have to sleep dead straight like a mummy.

4. Your ear might get itchy, which may lead to infection.

Because your ear is still getting used to the foreign object lodged through it, it's bound to get a bit itchy – mainly by the fourth day. But remember, do not touch your ear, and do not play with your earrings. A cartilage piercing is not only much more likely to get infected but if it does become infected, you'll need very strong antibiotics which may not even take effect in time. Worse case scenario, your cartilage will literally die and be surgically removed.

This is why cartilage piercings should be reserved for adults or mature young adults – not kids. Most places like Claire's have a legal guardian sign for everyone under 18 and restrict cartilage piercings to ages 12 and up, since kids are more likely to give in to the urge to scratch and pull their ears.

5. For the next six months, do everything slowly and carefully when near your ear.

At the end of the day, as long as you're gentle and clean with your piercings, your ear will heal in three to six months. However, just because it looks healed from the outside doesn't mean it's fully healed on the inside, so continue to maintain your original stud piercings until the end of the six-month period. Then, you can swap your studs out for hoops and other jewelry.

Until then, this means keeping your hair to the side opposite of the piercing or tying it up. It also means no more casually running your hands through your long hair lest you want to risk getting it caught in the stud and yanking your ear. Also, put on your shirts slowly and hoodies even slower. As for caps and hats? You might just have to go without them for a month or so because even the slight pressure of a skullcap can irritate your ear.

So to everyone hoping to get their cartilage pierced, my advice is to get it done in the spring or summer so you don't have to face the cold weather with your ears bared. In the meantime, you can sport some gorgeous ear cuffs like this one. And when you do get your ears pierced, smile wide – cause you've earned it!

Cover Image Credit: Pinterest

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20 Small Tattoos With Big Meanings

Tattoos with meaning you can't deny.
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It's tough to find perfect tattoos with meaning.

You probably want something permanent on your body to mean something deeply, but how do you choose a tattoo that will still be significant in 5, 10, 15, or 50 years? Over time, tattoos have lost much of their stigma and many people consider them a form of art, but it's still possible to get a tattoo you regret.

So here are 20 tattoos you can't go wrong with. Each tattoo has its own unique meaning, but don't blame me if you still have to deal with questions that everyone with a tattoo is tired of hearing!

SEE RELATED: "Please Stop Asking What My Tattoos Mean"

1. A semi-colon indicates a pause in a sentence but does not end. Sometimes it seems like you may have stopped, but you choose to continue on.


2. "A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor."


3. Top symbol: unclosed delta symbol which represents open to change. Bottom symbol: strategy.


4. "There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls."


5. Viking symbol meaning "create your own reality."


6.Greek symbol of Inguz: where there's a will, there's a way.

7. Psalm 18:33 "He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights."


8. 'Ohm' tattoo that represents 4 different states of consciousness and a world of illusion: waking (jagrat), dreaming (swapna), deep sleep (sushupti), transcendental state (turiya) and world of illusion (maya)


9. Alchemy: symbolizes copper, means love, balance, feminine beauty and artistic creativity.


10. The Greek word “Meraki" means to do something with soul, passion, love and creativity or to put yourself in to whatever you do.


11. Malin (Skövde, Sweden) – you have to face setbacks to be able to go forward.

12. Symbol meaning "thief" from the Hobbit. It was the rune Gandalf etched into Bilbo's door so the dwarves could find his house.


13. “Lux in tenebris" means “light in darkness."

14. Anchor Tattoo: symbolizing strength & stability, something (or someone) who holds you in place, and provides you the strength to hold on no matter how rough things get.

15."Ad Maiora" is translated literally as “Towards greater things." It is a formula of greeting used to wish more success in life, career or love.


16. A glyphs means “explore." It was meant as a reminder for me to never stop exploring.

17. "Aut inveniam viam aut faciam," meaning roughly, "Either I shall find a way, or I will make one."


18. Lotus Flower. It grows in muddy water, and it is this environment that gives forth the flower's first and most literal meaning: rising and blooming above the murk to achieve enlightenment.

19. The zen (or ensō) circle to me represents enlightenment, the universe & the strength we all have inside of us.

20. Two meanings. The moon affirms life. It looks as if it is constantly changing. Can reminds us of the inconsistency of life. It is also symbolizes the continuous circular nature of time and even karma.


SEE ALSO: Sorry That You're Offended, But I Won't Apologize For My Tattoos


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No, I'm Not In A Sorority

At a big university like Syracuse, Greek life is a normalized life style. When you're not involved, it can feel isolating.

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Warning: Do not read if you are easily offended by slight criticism on Social Greek Life.

Upon meeting a new person at school, the conversation-starter-questions go as followed and without fail: "What's your name? What year are you? What house are you in?"

As a non-Greek life affiliated girl, this quick assumption that I have to be in a sorority is, frankly, annoying. The assumptions made about you when you reveal that you don't pay absurd amounts of money to meet others and have scheduled parties figured out for you are even more bothersome.

I am automatically viewed a certain way. When I tell girls I am unassociated with Greek life, a look of pity takes over their face.

A short and shocking statement: Not everyone wants to rush your, or any, sorority! I could if I wanted to, but I simply do not. The notion that my college experience is immediately less fun or valuable is a crude assumption.

I understand the fact that everyone feels a need to find "their people." If your way is paying thousands of dollars and becoming "sisters" with the girls that treated you less than human during your pledge process, by all means, have at it! That being said, do not judge or automatically make assumptions about me because I chose to find my people and passions in a different way.

There is a certain exclusivity many members of Greek life possess. For those uninvolved, it can be isolating. You see your friends go off to planned parties with others that were hand-picked by the members the year above them. They are handed a group of girls and immediately have this set of "sisters" they flock to.

That being said, I'm sure sororities do have their pros. That doesn't mean everyone wants to join one. That doesn't mean I am any less of a Syracuse University student because I am not involved. In my opinion, your identity should not be synonymous with a "house."

Girls: you are more than those letters.

Boys: you are more than the greatness of the parties you throw on Friday nights.

Do not make anyone feel less because they don't feel the desire to give a part of their life to a sorority or fraternity.

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