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What Piercing Has the Worst Healing Process

what piercing has the worst healing process

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It’s pretty universally agreed that the snug is the piercing with the worst healing process. Some piercers even refuse to give snug piercings unless you’ve already healed multiple piercings. Many people with snug piercings give up after two years of attempting to heal them. Cartilage in general is pretty difficult to heal. Snugs go through a particularly thick piece of cartilage. To make matters worse, snugs have little to no protection from the ear and are constantly hit on things.

Which Piercings Are the Hardest to Heal?

Aside from snugs, all cartilage piercings are not fun to heal. Industrial piercings are also high on the list of hard to heal piercings. This is because they go through cartilage and are big and easy to hit on things. To make matters worse, with industrials, you need to heal two piercings at the same time. Nipple piercers can also be difficult to heal because they can be constantly hit and snagged if you’re not careful.

Which Piercings Take the Longest to Heal?

Piercings that go through cartilage have a healing period of 6-12 months. The exact length of time a piercing takes to heal is dependent upon your immune system and how well you take care of your piercing. Piercings will take much longer to heal if they are touched at all. This includes pulling crusties off the jewelry, changing the jewelry, twisting it when cleaning, sleeping on it, having hair wrapped around it, and accidentally bumping it. Snugs and industrials take a long time to heal because they go through cartilage and they are in places that are frequently bumped.

What Piercings Hurt the Most

Pain is largely relative. In general though, certain genital piercings for both men and women are generally the most painful to have performed, while the healing stage is relatively painless. Some people find nipple piercings to be very painful while others don’t, but their healing stage is more painful than a lot of other piercings. Cartilage piercings are painful to have done and painful throughout the healing process. The pain tends to increase depending on how thick the cartilage is.

Piercing Healing Stages

Piercings go through stages of healing and understanding them and what to expect for each stage can help you take better care of your piercing.

  1. Hemostasis – This is the stage that stops your piercing from bleeding and forms the scab on the inside of your piercing. This stage is the reason why bumping your jewelry delays the healing process – it disrupts the scab and causes it to need to be formed all over again.
  2. Inflammatory – This is the swelling stage. While your piercing was (hopefully) performed in a sterile environment with sterile tools, your body doesn’t know that and it sends white blood cells to clean out the wound. This causes your piercing to swell and is the reason your piercer pierced you with much longer than necessary jewelry. During this stage you’ll also experience dull pain from the swelling.
  3. Proliferative – The majority of the healing process is in this stage. This is the actual healing of the tissue. Your body will heal from the outside in, so it may appear that your piercing is fully healed while the inside is still not yet healed. If you change your jewelry during this stage it will ruin all of the newly healed tissue and cause this stage to begin again. Your piercing may appear to be healed and can even feel healed during this stage – just give it time.
  4. Maturation – This is when the new tissue matures and fully heals. After this stage you are free to change your jewelry.


Snugs are universally decided as having the worst healing process. This is because it goes through a thick piece of cartilage and is in a spot that is frequently bumped. Cartilage piercings take the longest and are the hardest to heal. They also tend to be one of the more painful piercings both to have done and throughout the healing process.