Risks of Piercing "Cauliflower Ear"

I was asked a question recently that I hadn't heard before:

At one of the tattoo shops I work in, one of the apprentice tattoo artists wants me to pierce a helix on both ears. No problemo. However he has "cauliflower ear" in both. I've been doing some research about specifically what causes it, also I've talked with him about it. He told me that he used to be a boxer, which is somewhat common. But he never had them drained.

I have never pierced a cauliflower ear, and honestly I've never been presented with this question. So I'm curious to know if its something that I should or should not do ? I'm also curious to know what your experience is, and what you think. :) Thanks.

My reply:

That's an awesome question! It is one I have never been asked before. And in all my years of experience, I've never had a request to pierce an ear that has been injured in this way.

Cauliflower earFrom my understanding of the situation, I'd be very wary about piercing such anatomy. As I imagine you know, the condition itself results from the surface tissue being separated from the cartilage, and is a problem that is caused by a lack of vascularity. To me that would indicate that the healing capacity of the area is even worse than usual (and we all know cartilage is rather finicky when it comes to healing).

If he can bring you a doctor's note that says piercing is not medically contraindicated in his case, I'd consider it. Short of that, I'd personally stay away from an area that is highly likely to be problematic healing.

Is There a Reason Repiercing Heals Quicker than Initial Piercing?

I received an interesting question from a piercee who wondered if there was a reason his piercings healed more quickly the second time around:

Hey Elayne,

This might be a dumb question but I was curious as to why piercings heal faster the 2nd time. I had my nipples pierced twice cause I took them out for some dumb reason and then a few years later wanted them done again and I had 10 frenum piercings and did the same thing with those. Both healed alot faster the 2nd time... is there a reason for this? Im just curious... thank you for all your time with my questions and btw im back to work and just got paid so ur book is definitely on the agenda! Thanks. W.

My reply:

Questions about Stretching a Prince Albert Piercing (with photos)

 I received a message and some photos from a man who had received a Prince Albert piercing:

Basically my PA piercing is right in the middle of the strip of skin  in the middle of the underside of my penis. I find it very hard to stretch and very sensitive with like a donut of raised skin around the hole.

 It's something I can live with at present but I currently wear a 4 mm ring, I would like to reach 8mm within a 1/2 year, and I am wondering it its better to have it re pierced to the side after I let it heal or I  should just carry on.Prince Albert Question (with photos)

 All the prictures I have seen of PA's close up are to the side of  that stip of flesh, and none have the raised donut around the hole.
When I try and stretch it, the donut goes a very pale white, which to
 me indicates no blood circulation at all. So if I stretch to a 5mm and it is tight, will that white skin just die off and peel away or do I run a serious risk of infection and necrosis. Thank you for offering your opinion.

Prince Albert Question (with photos)

From what I can see the piercing appears properly placed for your anatomy. The piercing should only go off to the side when the center is too webbed to pierce--but yours is not. There is no reason to repierce.  properly placed for your anatomy. The piercing should only go off to the side when the center is too webbed to pierce--but yours is not. There is no reason to repierce. 

Numbness After Lower Lip Piercing

I received a message from someone who got a lip piercing and was concerned about experiencing numbness in the area:

(Photos below show a normal range of sizes and placements for a side lip placement with ring--with initial jewelry that allows for swelling.)

Lip piercing with ring

I got a lower side lip piercing yesterday (captive bead ring) and it now feels like there is numbness around the piercing canal (the lip itself and skin around the piercing are not numb). There is a little redness around the outside opening and a little pain, though I haven't spotted any pus, and movement is in no way impaired.

My cleaning regimen is standard.

My question is: is numbness normal? If so, will it go away eventually? If not, what should I do?

Thank you for your help (your book is an invaluable resource).

My reply:

Vertical Clitoral Hood (VCH) with Inappropriate Jewelry (Long Post, Small Balls)

I received a photo from a woman who found my website after getting her Vertical Clitoral Hood (VCH) piercing done. She thought something didn't seem right with it. This is my response:

VCH with Overly Long Bar with Tiny BallsIt might be in the right spot. I'd need to see it from underneath to be sure. See attachment that shows a shallow VCH piercing with the optimal placement marked.

Also, your bar is far longer than it needs to be. This can cause discomfort and also excess trauma, which can delay healing and cause complications such as scarring.

Further, the bar looks like it may be thiner than the safe minimum size (14 gauge), and the balls are very small, which could result in embedding. I would suggest you get a shorter bar in, and one that has larger balls than what you're wearing now.

Even if the jewelry is thinner than it should be, I would advise you to wait until the piercing has fully healed and settled (at least 3 months) before getting a thicker piece of jewelry put in. It would not need to be repierced to do that. This tissue is quite malleable and stretchy and can go up in size quite easily. A piercer can do it with a device called an insertion taper. It might feel somewhat tight or pinchy, but if you stretch it slowly enough, it will not cause damage or need to reheal.

Are you following the aftercare as suggested here?

Underside of VCH Piercing with arrow marked for optimal placement

Pierced Cock Ring --Better in Fantasy than Reality?

I received an inquiry from a man interested in some genital piercings:

Dear Elayne,

I wondered if I might trouble you for some advice please? I have been thinking about the possibility of running a circular ring around the base of my penis through two frenums on each side, and a lorum. I havn't had these piercings done yet, but I wondered if you thought this might be possible and if so, how the best way to do this might be (i.e. get the three piercings first? How much skin they should span etc.)? Hope you might be able to advise me on this, and thank you for offering to be contacted; you're website is invaluable!

Best wishes,


My reply:

You would get the piercings separately, have them heal with individual jewelry, and then insert a ring through all three.

However, the only way that's going to work is if you don't have much of a change in the dimensions of that area when you're fully erect. The ring will need to be large enough to encompass your maximum size during erection. Would the jewelry required to fit you at that size distort the tissue when you are flaccid? Most likely so, in which case, this is not going to be a safe or comfortable arrangement.

If you think you could comfortably wear the same size ring when erect and flaccid, then you may be able to wear this combination (assuming the placement of the piercings is lined up properly--as that can also be fairly different between those two normal states.

Good luck! Let me know if you give it a try and how it works out for you.

Nipple Piercing Angles--Changes Between Erect and Non-erect States

I just got an email from a woman who was concerned about the angle of her nipple piercings:

I had a few questions with regards to nipple piercings. I have gotten my nipples pierced before, but they came out crooked. She marked and pierced them when they were erect. But the crookedness really bothered me so I took them out, and got one of them repierced about a month later.

The second time, I got a different piercer, who marked when they were flat. Now, they are even when they are flat, but when the nipple gets erect, they get crooked, which still bothers me.

I am going to get my other nipple repierced, but I was wondering, is it standard to mark and pierce when the nipples are flat or erect? Are some nipples just naturally prone to crooked piercings? Is it not possible in some cases to have the piercing sit straight at both times (when they're flat and erect) so you have to chose? In which case, if I prefer the barbell to sit straight when they're erect, should I redo the first one?

Thanks, and sorry for the multiple questions! I really love the piercings, but when they are crooked, it really also bothers me! Thanks, J.

My reply:

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