Snug Piercing: Pain, Healing, Cost, Jewelry, Risks, Aftercare, Cleaning

Snug Piercing: Pain, Healing, Cost, Jewelry, Risks, Aftercare, Cleaning

If you are looking for a more rarely seen body modification, the snug ear piercing might be worth considering. Many consider these piercings one of the most painful cartilage mods for the ears, which could explain why they are rare. Let's look at this piercing to see if it is for you.

What Is a Snug Piercing?

A snug ear piercing is a two-hole cartilage piercing that rests horizontally above your ear's inner ridge (anti-tragus location). Both holes are visible on the front ear surface, parallel with the ear hole.

Snug vs Conch Piercing

While a snug ear piercing sits along the ridge of the cartilage, a conch piercing rests below the ridge nearer to the ear canal. A conch piercing has one visible hole on the outer ear surface, while a snug piercing has both holes visible.

Snug Piercing Pain

Does a snug piercing hurt? Be prepared; the snug ear piercing is considered one of the most painful body piercings. Many people rate the pain level at a 9 out of 10.

Even experienced piercing enthusiasts should prepare for a higher level of discomfort. For some, the pain subsides quickly, while others feel the discomfort for several days after the piercing.

Snug Piercing Healing Time

How long does a snug piercing take to heal? Your snug ear piercing will take at least 4 to 6 months to heal. The cartilage in this area is thick, so you shouldn't be surprised if it takes longer. Full maturation might not occur until the 12-month mark.

The skin and tissue of the piercing hole will be strong and flexible, with no signs of swelling or discharge at this stage.

How Much Does a Snug Piercing Cost?

Expect to pay between $40 and $100 for a snug ear piercing. Higher costs can reflect the shop's location and the experience of the piercing technician.

While shopping for a deal is nice, you should seek out a clean facility with experienced technicians. The shop should ideally have separate areas for body piercings, and a higher price can be expected.

Snug Piercing Benefits

The top benefit for many is that this is a rare piercing that stands out regarding its uniqueness. Another advantage is the two holes of this piercing allow you to display jewelry that can look like separate jewelry pieces.

Snug Piercing Jewelry

What Jewelry Do You Use for a Snug Piercing?

Common types of snug piercing jewelry include curved barbells, horseshoe barbells, and rings. However, the latter two types can snag easily on clothing.

1. Curved Barbells

Curved barbell piercing ASTM F136 implant-grade titanium internally threaded $16.9, SHOP NOW.

Curved barbells are the most common type of snug piercing jewelry. They are a popular swap-out or initial jewelry piece. They will sit more off your skin, making them less aggravating to your skin than a straight barbell.

They can be short, meaning the balls on the end are on the skin at your piercing holes, giving the illusion of two separate jewelry pieces. The longer the barbell, the more prone to snagging curved barbells become.

2. Horseshoe Barbells

Titanium ring horseshoe barbell $17.9, SHOP NOW.

Horseshoe barbells can create an edgier look than curved barbells and rings and may have spikes that protrude sharply at both ends. 

3. Snug Piercing Rings

Snug piercing hoop with chains 16G titanium gold silver hinged segment clicker $22.9, SHOP NOW.

Rings are not a popular choice for this type of cartilage piercing. The hoops will stand out and can snag easily on clothing or other materials they come into contact with. That said, they can focus attention on the piercing site as well.

4. Studs

The stud uses a straight rod that does not place undue pressure on the edges of the piercing hole walls. It has plenty of lengths to accommodate swelling during the inflammation stage.

The downside of piercing studs is that they are often rather plain in appearance, and the ends sit high off the piercing holes.

Snug Piercing Jewelry Size

1. Gauge

Your snug ear-piercing jewelry will likely be 16 gauge (1.2mm). Getting 14-gauge jewelry is less common. Smaller sizes like 18 or 20 gauge are unheard of due to this being a thick cartilage piercing.

2. Length

Your initial jewelry piece will be in the 8mm to 10mm range to accommodate inflammation post-piercing. You can later step down for a tighter fit, going with something in the 6mm to 8mm range, depending on the thickness of the cartilage in that part of your ear.

3. Diameter

Rings will tend to be 6mm to 8mm in diameter, depending on the amount of cartilage in the area. Larger diameters will provide more room for rings to hang.

Recommended Materials

1. Titanium Piercing Jewelry

Implant-grade titanium snug piercing jewelry is strongly recommended. It is lightweight, nickel-free, and won’t tarnish. It’s often recommended for those who are allergic to brass, nickel, and other metals common for jewelry.

2. Precious Metals

Platinum and 14-karat gold ear piercing jewelry can offer an elevated look. However, they may be more pricey and could tarnish over time. Also consider if you have allergies, such as an allergy to gold.

3. Surgical-Grade Stainless Steel

If you opt for stainless steel, you should opt for surgical-grade steel. It often contributes to a smooth healing process and is extremely durable.

However, it does contain small amounts of nickel that could cause allergic reactions in those with skin sensitivities. Talk through all material options with your piercer to figure out what’s best for you and your skin.

4. Sterling Silver

A metal that is durable, affordable, and appealing to the eye with its shiny appearance. However, sterling silver is often not recommended for new piercings because it can complicate the healing process.

5. Bioflex Plastic

Flexible jewelry made from renewable materials that are metal-free and can come in different colors.


1. Snug Piercing Swelling

Swelling is a natural part of the healing process. With this being a thick cartilage piercing, the healing phase known as inflammation could last for a week or more.

The swelling on your snug ear piercing should peak within two days, but if it worsens or lasts two or more weeks, it may be a sign of something more serious.

Following your aftercare instructions, including compresses and cleaning, will help reduce swelling.

2. Snug Piercing Infection

The thick cartilage in a snug ear piercing takes longer to heal, making it more prone to infections. Bacteria is the culprit, and over 30% of cartilage piercings become infected.

You will use warm compresses, saline washes, and antibiotic ointments or orals to help clear the infection.

3. Snug Piercing Rejection

Because of the longer healing time, your body may reject your snug ear piercing if it's not cared for. The jewelry material might be an issue if you are allergic to it. Finally, your genetics may fight against the piercing.

To reduce the chances of rejection, follow aftercare instructions, use implant-grade titanium or solid gold, or remove the piercing stud as a last resort.

What Type of Ear Anatomy Is Right for a Snug Piercing?

Another reason a snug ear piercing is rare is some people do not have the ear structure to support it. Your anti-helix ridge must stand out enough to hold a piece of jewelry.

Everyone's ear is different, so you will want to speak with a piercing technician before you set your sights on this type of cartilage piercing.

Snug Piercing for Protruding Ears? 

You can get snug piericngs for protruding ears. If you have protruding ears, the snug ear piercing will make an ideal addition to your ear modifications.

Snug Piercing Aftercare

  • Use a homemade saline solution or an antibacterial cleanser approved by your piercer each day.
  • Use safe metals like 14K gold and implant-grade titanium that you aren’t allergic to.
  • Avoid touching and playing with your piercing jewelry.
  • Allow it to fully heal before changing the jewelry.
  • Avoid sleeping on the ear you had pierced.
  • Avoid contact with scented soaps, perfumes, chemicals, and other chemicals.
  • Wash your hands with antibacterial soap when you do clean or touch the piercing and jewelry.

You should ensure you get pierced by someone experienced and reliable who utilizes the right cleaning and sterilization procedures. You’ll also need to choose high-quality jewelry that you aren’t allergic to. After you get your piercing, be sure to follow all instructions from your piercer.

Snug Piercing Cleaning

The best way to prevent complications is to perform the right aftercare. This involves cleaning your piercing at least twice a day.

Your piercer may give you a saline solution, or, you can make your own at home by dissolving ¼ teaspoon of sea salt into 1 cup of warm water.

  1. To clean the piercing, you’ll soak something like a cotton ball in the saltwater solution.
  2. Then, you’ll apply it to the front and the back of the piercing to saturate the area. If needed, you can use a dampened cotton swab to gently brush away any crust.
  3. Pat the area dry using a paper towel or low-ply cloth that won’t snag.

To help your piercing heal more quickly, soak the area at least twice daily with your solution. Depending on the location of your piercing, this may be difficult, but you can use a large bowl or soak a cotton swab in the saline solution and place it on the piercing site. If you have any questions about this process, your piercer can help.

How Many Weeks Should You Salt Soak a Snug Piercing?

You will want to soak your snug ear piercing in a salt soak for at least 6 weeks. Perform the procedure two or three times daily for the first two weeks after you get your piercing.

After this, do a salt soak once daily for at least four weeks. Since the cartilage is so thick in this area of the ear, you may need to extend these times if healing is slow.

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