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Outer Conch 101

Last weeks article was all about the conch piercing. So to this weeks is the logical follow up, the outer conch! This placement has been referred to by many different names, from high conch to low scapha,contra-conch to snonch (a combination of snug and conch, notably coined by Joeltron out of Opal Heart ). I personally refer to them as an outer conch, and so that’s what I’m calling them here. I personally adore this placement and have a lot of beautiful examples in my portfolio of it. I was actually interview for Allure magazine about this placement, which you can read here. I truly truly adore this placement but there are some considerations before having it pierced, so let’s talk more about them!

Anatomy, Always

Like most piercings, these require proper anatomy to be able to be done. Unlike conches, these are much more anatomy dependent. These rest along the mostly flat spot in the ridge above the conch, usually a ridge that connects from the snug. On some ears this ridge is very thick and hard, and its a pretty bad idea to pierce through it. But on some ears, that spot is thin and flexible, and usually not a full ridge but rather a little flat fold. And those are absolutely perfect for piercing through! I think my love for this piercing comes from the fact that I actually don’t have great anatomy for it, both my my ears have thick solid ridges in those placements that would suck to try to heal. So I live vicariously through all my lovely clients who are suited for this, and love watching them rock all the awesome choices in the placement.

This placement lends itself much better to studs then hoops, and even well healed hoops have to be very large to make it over the ridges near it, and often are not comfortable to live in. I strongly suggest studs for this placement.

This is another placement that can play really well with hearing aids and assistance devices and often sits out of the way of most of them. Everyones ears and aids are different, so get a consult with your piercer to ensure it would work for you!

Initial Jewelry

Studs are much better for this placement then hoops as I mentioned. This placement I exclusively pierce with studs (and usually don’t suggest hoops even when healed). That being said we can do small cute studs or large fun pieces! Curved clusters are particularly popular in this placement as they mirror the natural curvature of the ear there and just sit soooo cute!

That being said, we do need to pierce with room to allow for swelling and healing (you you can read more about why here). This does mean the bar will be longer, and curved clusters and longer pieces can spin like a helicopter blade haha. If this would bother you, perhaps start with something smaller and simpler for healing. If you don’t mind, then start with your big fancy end, and make sure to stay on top of downsizing this placement either way! Downsizing here is very important, as this area can migrate. You can read more about that here!

Healing Expectations

These are slightly more work to heal then a traditional conch piercing, just given the nature of the placement.They can be a bit harder to keep clean, and can be easier to catch and snag. These often aren’t effected by masks, but if with your ear shape they are, wearing tie around the head masks or ear savers really helps. Like I mentioned above downsizing is huge for these while they are healing as once swelling goes down these bars feel very long and love to catch. You need that longer bar however because this placement can swell!

This placement doesn’t go anywhere near ear buds and plays perfectly with them! If you choose to wear them while healing, you need to be very gentle removing and inserting them, and keep your ear buds very clean with regular cleanings. Bacteria loves to collect on earbuds and headphones and they can often be forgotten in clients healing routines.

What makes this different then a conch?

The placement, visually, is clearly different. These often face more down then out like conches do, and they go through an entirely different location on the ear. But more importantly the tissue there is very different. While traditional conches are very straight forward and almost universally suited, these are much more anatomy dependent, far fewer clients have good anatomy for it, and the tissue we pierce through is very different then the tissue of the conch. All of those factors make the outer conch placement its own unique thing!

Outer conches are so fun and different, and if you have the anatomy that allows you to have one I totally think you should get one! They have fewer jewelry choices then a conch, and can be more work to heal and clean, but they are so cute, they wear such a selection of studs well, and I just really love the way this unique placement can compliment any ear setup. I mean cmon, the gems look like they are magically floating in the middle of your ear! It doesn’t get much cooler then that.

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