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Conch Piercing 101

Lets talk about conch piercings! These piercings are a favorite of piercers everywhere, and with very good reason. They work on virtually every anatomy, they are easy to pierce and easy to heal for most, and the jewelry choices are endless. Big bold studs? Fancy hoops? Simple tiny gems? Everything looks great in a conch, literally everything. That being said there’s a few things to consider when getting this piercing, so lets take a closer look.

Anatomy Matters, but Placement takes Priority

Like any other piercing, you do need to have the correct anatomy for a conch piercing. That said, it’s safe to say the vast majority of people do. It’s only in very rare cases, and usually due to surgery like ear pinning, that I see clients unable to get a conch piercing. That said I’ve seen less then a dozen in my years piercing, in comparison to the few people I see each week who can’t support an industrial. But, anatomy is still very important for conch piercings, and that’s for placement!

Ideal placement for a conch will vary. Is your goal a hoop or a stud? Will you be wearing large statement studs or smaller ends? Are you planning to get more then one conch piercing? If your goal is a hoop, are their helix or lobe piercings we need to be aware of when we plan how the hoop will sit? All these factors, combined with the natural structure and shape of your ear’s anatomy, will determine how we place your conch piercing. A good piercer will look at your ear, discuss your goals, and make sure your piercing is placed to allow you to wear all the fun jewelry you want to once it’s healed.

These piercings can be compatible with many types of hearing aids and auditory processing tools, which make this an awesome piercing for clients who need these devices. Every device is different, so consult with your piercer first to make sure this will work for you! I d suggest bringing your device with you for your appointment so your piercer can see the fit of the device and work around it.

Initial Jewelry

While I know many clients love the look of a hoop in a conch, studs are going to be much easier for healing in the placement. They get caught and snagged less often, are protected by the natural anatomy on the area, and many clients find them easier to heal. Studs can still look super fun, be dressed up and down, and depending on your anatomy, may avoid mask straps. If they don’t, wearing around the head masks or ear savers will be needed for these to heal. For clients who do’t mind a little extra cleaning, you can start big and bold in a conch with large clusters and decorative ends. That’s kind of the bonus of a conch- being able to start with virtually all the choices!

That said, I do occasionally start conch piercing with hoops. When you do, the hoops need to be slightly thicker to allow for stability while healing- I personally have a 12g minimum for conches with hoops.The hoops also need to be larger in diameter to allow for swelling. This is much larger then most people imagine. It’s not going to be the tiny cute snug hoop you see on Pinterest and instagram. This is going to be a chunky, larger ring. It’s going to be easier to catch and snag, far more likely to deal with irritation bumps, and you’ll have to be twice as careful about sleeping and talking on the phone. For the majority of clients, healing with a stud is much easier and more practical.

Healing expectations

Conches, when pierced correctly, are often a fairly easy heal! Protected by the shape of your ear they don’t get caught or snagged as often as helix piercings can. You will want to avoid in ear buds for the first few months, to avoid bumping and knocking this piercing. Taking care when taking your shirt on and off or brushing your hair is also very important. Cleaning the backs of these can be tricky as they are impossible to see, but asking a friend or family member to check for you every now and again is usually enough to keep up with cleaning and doing a good job.

The main issues I see conches have are from accidentally snagging them or accidentally sleeping on them. Obviously accidents happen and we can’t control how we sleep, but getting this piercing on the side you don’t sleep on, and using travel pillows or ear pillows while sleeping can help.

When healing your conch you want to make sure you keep the ear around it clean, as the bowl of your ear where the conch sits can totally collect dirt and debris, crust from the piercing, and even makeup and hair products. So keep your entire ear clean, not just the piercing its self.

Healing usually takes around 6-9 months for conches, as most cartilage piercings do. Things like being pierced with a hoop, or setbacks during the healing process, can make these take as long as a year to fully heal. It’s important to wait for these to be fully healed, especially if your goal jewelry is those tiny snug hoops. Sometimes you need to wait a bit longer then the healing process if your goal is a very snug hoop or large cuff, to give the piercing extra time to stabilize and relax before wearing these styles.

Conch piercings are super cool piercings that work great for most people, allow for a ton of jewelry choices, and often are fairly easy to heal! These are great first cartilage piercings, or additions to existing ear projects. If you’ve been considering getting one, I fully support and suggest doing so. They are one of my personal favorites, and I never get tired of the versatility and choice I have with my conches.

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Is there a more ideal gauge for Conch piercings? For studs but mainly hoops. I've heard hoops shouldn't be 16g or smaller for the cheese wire effect but those tend to be the only hoops you can buy for them


Jonathan Sarol
Jonathan Sarol
Oct 22, 2023

Should I be pushing the labret back and fourth to clean a new conch piercing?

I have mine pierced with a bigger statement piece so it’s a little harder to clean/get behind the jewelry.

Oct 23, 2023
Replying to

If you need to gently adjust the piece to fully clean it thats totally fine! But I wouldnt play with it/pick at it/overly mess with it during cleaning.

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