It has almost been a full year since I got my daith piercing, a piercing through the cartilage of your inner ear. I got it last summer, at the Modern Ritual piercing studio in Canton, Ohio. The studio was sterile and elegant, situated in the Arts district, and the artists were helpful and professional. I had wanted the daith piercing since I had seen it on Instagram, but the choice to actually get it was a spontaneous one. I thought it better to go in without knowing the typical pain scale of this particular piercing, and stood by with a mixture of anxiety and excitement as my friend got her doubles done. When it was my turn I laid down and took a deep breath to the count of three, then the artist pierced my ear.

It hurt. Bad. I heard the crunch of the cartilage and my left arm twitched in an almost-attempted effort to bat the piercer's hand away. Since then I've read some other articles on the piercing, and some people have had similar experiences to mine while others didn't bat an eye. The piercer put in the titanium hoop barbell hoop and my friend and I left for the mall, my ear slightly throbbing and bleeding.

The pain commonly known with the daith piercing is the healing process. While it did hurt to get it done, it was quick. The healing process is slow and cumbersome. The piercing is nestled in the ear where bacteria can collect easier. The stream of the saline solution failed to reach and cleanse the area, and when I attempted a salt soak which had helped my other cartilage piercing (although it is advised against for the daith) it made things worse. I developed the notorious piercing bumps on both sides of the piercing and crust formed around the opening. I was desperate for alternatives and was willing to try tea tree oil from an essential oil pack a friend had gotten me for my birthday. The results were amazing. The bumps were gone within days, and the swelling and pus stopped too. Having the barbell helped in the healing process overall — while I had wanted a continuous hoop, the barbell prevented the hoop from constantly spinning and irritating the piercing.

Now the piercing has not troubled me in months and is far less painful than the upper cartilage piercing I got years ago that still flares up from time to time. The daith piercing is now comfortable to sleep on, nestled in the ear and out of the way of hair and possible things to get caught on. Once while I was at work I saw a middle-aged woman with the piercing, and was surprised — she didn't seem the type to have piercings. I tentatively pointed out we had the same piercing and she went, "Oh did you get it for headaches too?" Apparently, it's accepted by many to cure migraines, but this seems to be a pseudoscience. I've never had serious migraines, but the piercing does nothing to prevent headaches. In order to strike an affecting nerve, the piercer would have to be an acupuncturist, and even with that, the results are not guaranteed.

I recommend the piercing, as the initial pain was worth it and once you figure out which healing method works for you, its a fun and fashionable look.