Daith Piercing Healing, Cleaning & Aftercare
The daith piercing, which is a perforation in the innermost cartilage fold in the ear, has become hugely popular in the last several years.
Although it looks simple enough, the daith is one of the most intricate body piercings you can go for, as it typically requires a specially designed, curved needle in order to create the precise perforation required.
It’s also very important to remember that you’ll have to look after your new daith piercing immediately after getting it done because it can be prone to infections and other problems if not cleaned and cared for appropriately.
How Long Will My Daith Piercing Take To Heal?
A daith piercing can take up to 9 months to heal. This is a long time, especially compared to the more common earlobe piercing, which normally takes only 1 to 2 months.
You may notice some redness, tenderness and bruising during the healing period, which is normal, and your daith piercing will hurt less over time. Eventually, when it’s healed, it won’t hurt at all.
Why Does It Take So Long?
Because of its awkward position, a daith piercing will take longer than most to heal completely, for several reasons.
Firstly, the daith goes through a thick, fleshy cartridge area of the ear, which causes a small amount of trauma to the inside of the ear for a variable period of time (depending on your body’s ability to heal). This is completely natural.
Also, like other ear piercings, it’s more prone to dust and germs in the air when compared to, for example, belly button or tongue piercings (as they are better protected from the elements).
Another reason why the healing process will take longer is due to there being a much smaller blood supply feeding that area of the ear. This means less oxygen and nutrients will be reaching the wounded area, which prolongs healing times compared to other piercings.
Although it will inevitably take longer to heal, there are several things to do and to avoid to make sure the aftercare phase goes as smoothly as possible.
Firstly, you should avoid contact between the daith piercing and makeup, perfumes, and other harsh skincare products. These can all potentially agitate the healing tissue, which will in turn prolong the healing process.
Also, pillow sheets should regularly be changed, as the culminating bacteria, dust mites, and skin cells will interfere with the healing of your daith piercing.
You should also gently cleanse your ear with earbuds after wearing earmuffs, headphones or other accessories you wear on your ears, as well as after using the telephone (which can harbor a lot of bacteria). Better yet, put your phone on speaker and avoid putting it anywhere near your ear.
And, of course, an infection will dramatically slow the healing process, which is why a careful and correct cleaning routine is all the more important.
How To Clean A Daith Piercing
Since most soaps generally dry out the skin, it’s advisable to not soap up your piercing too much, despite it maybe sounding like a good idea to clean it this way.
While you should attempt to wash the jewelry with soap and water each day, you should make a conscious effort not to get any soap into the piercing itself as this will irritate the skin, delay healing, and ironically set you up for an infection.
Products like hair gel, skin oils and sprays can also delay healing times if they constantly come in contact with your piercing, so keep these away as much as possible too.
The good news is that cleaning the piercing, even without the use of soap, is very straightforward.
Simply soak the piercing with a salt water solution, or a pre-made saline solution morning and night, and at any other point in the day if the piercing becomes dirty or potentially exposed to bacteria.
Try to follow this routine for at least three months, or until you’re confident that your cartilage piercing is fully healed. Remember; just because the outside of the piercing looks healed, this is not to say that the inside has completely healed too. The outer skin always heals faster than the inner tissue, so be aware of this while your daith is healing.
A good way to ensure your piercing heals as best as possible is to use a specialized piercing aftercare product, as these generally only contain ingredients that are guaranteed to have a positive effect during the healing stages.
The best aftercare product I’ve personally used is the After Inked Piercing Aftercare Spray. Not only is it vegan, but it’s also completely alcohol and additive-free. The solution works well on all skin types including sensitive skin, and it comes in a generously-sized mist-spraying bottle for easy application. When using it from the very start of the healing process, the spray helps to decrease healing times and aims to eliminate any lingering pain or soreness.
What If My Daith Piercing Becomes Infected?
Firstly, it’s important to know how to spot an infection at the site of your new piercing.
You’ll want to look out for inflammation of the ear, and if the ear becomes extremely red, painful, or swollen. Pain should improve and worsening pain is one of the first signs of infection.
The piercing itself may cause swelling, redness or pain in the first few days of healing, so don’t be alarmed as this is normal. Nevertheless, if any of these symptoms get worse instead of getting better, (especially after 7-10 days), you should contact your doctor.
In much rarer cases, a pus buildup may take place inside the cartilage, which could result in the death of cartilage tissue (usually as a result of a loss of blood supply from overcompression and suffocation of the cartilage tissue from the expanding pus or blood buildup).
If this goes untreated, the shape of the ear can be altered, and you may suffer from the ear deformity known as cauliflower ear. You will experience significant pain if this occurs, so listen to your body.
If you’re concerned about any of the symptoms above, consult your doctor. Antibiotics will usually be prescribed to clear any infection that may be present or you may require surgical drainage of the area, and the sooner an infection is treated, the more favorable the outcome will be.
When Can I Stop Cleaning My Daith Piercing?
We’ve established that the healing process for a daith piercing can take many months, so it’s advisable to carry on cleaning the piercing throughout this period to ensure it heals as best as it possibly can.
You may want to consult your piercing professional before you stop cleaning the area so they can give their professional advice as to whether they think the piercing has sufficiently healed or not.
Sometimes it’s worth cleaning the piercing for 2 extra weeks after you feel your piercing has healed, just to give you peace of mind, and to help finish off the final healing stages.
When Can I Remove My Jewelry?
While there are many different opinions as to when you can change your daith piercing jewelry, it’s strongly recommended that you remove it only when your piercer advises it’s okay for you to do so.
While some piercers advise that it’s fine to remove jewelry after 1 month, others can ask that you wait at least three months before the initial removal.
Ideally, you should wait until you’re happy and confident that your piercing has healed and is free of infection before any change is made.
Of course, there may be circumstances where you need to remove the piercing, so in that case, you should remove the jewelry for a very short amount of time only; and it would be in your best interest to consult your piercer for their advice on how to proceed.
Daith Piercings And Keloids
There’s a small chance you can develop keloid scars after getting your daith piercing. A keloid scar is a formation of large, firm tissue that is primarily made up of excess collagen. Keloids more commonly appear on the upper ear after a piercing.
If a keloid scar forms after your piercing, you should consult your doctor. Treatments for these include laser therapy, cortisone injections, and pressure dressings. While these treatments can help to smooth out the skin, there is a chance that permanent scarring could remain around the affected area.
Getting a daith piercing and looking after it is a relatively simple process as long as you stick to the aftercare methods detailed above. However, as with all piercings, there is a slight risk of things going slightly awry. Therefore, you should remain vigilant and be on the lookout for potential setbacks, such as infections.
As long as you take the right precautions with your daith piercing, within 6-12 months, you should have a fully healed and intriguing piece of piercing-art, and it will all have been more than worth it.