How to Encourage Faster Daith Piercing Healing and Reduce Pain

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How to Encourage Faster Daith Piercing Healing and Reduce Pain
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A daith piercing is a piercing on the inner cartilage of the ear. Over the past few years, daith piercing has become more and more popular for cosmetic reasons. Other people want to get this part of their ear pierced because they think that daith piercings cure migraines.

As with all cartilage piercings, daith piercings can be somewhat painful and take a few months to heal completely. Daith piercing infections can be quite common and it is essential to clean the piercing regularly until the wound heals completely.

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If you have recently had a daith piercing, you may wonder how long the wound takes to heal and how to encourage faster daith piercing healing. Because a daith piercing is difficult to perform and it is in an awkward place in the ear, it can take longer to heal than other cartilage piercing. Also, cleaning and caring for a new daith piercing can be difficult which makes it prone to infections.

There are many home remedies that can help to speed up the healing process and reduce the risk of piercing infection. Some effective natural treatments to encourage daith piercing healing are tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar, and a salt water rinse.

In this article, you will find out if daith piercings are painful and how to care for a new daith piercing to prevent infection. We will also examine what science says about the connection between daith piercings and migraines.

What is Daith Piercing?

The external part of your ear is made up of cartilage which helps to protect the ear and channel sound into the ear canal. A piercing on the innermost cartilage of the ear just above the tragus is called a daith piercing.

To be classed as a true daith piercing, the lower hole shouldn’t be visible and this gives the appearance that the ring is coming out of the ear canal. As this is a very advanced type of piercing, it should only be carried out by a trained professional.

According to doctors from the American Academy of Family Physicians, cartilage piercing in the upper part of the ear is more prone to bacterial infections than earlobe piercing. Bacteria strains like Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa can easily infect cartilage piercing and, if not treated properly, can be cosmetically devastating.1

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Therefore, if you are thinking about a daith piercing, you should visit a reputable piercing salon to reduce the risk of post-piercing infections.

How Painful is it to Get a Daith Piercing?

One of the most common questions before getting a daith piercing is: will the daith piercing hurt? Most piercings cause some pain and discomfort.

The daith piercing goes through the inner most cartilage of the ear, which means that it can be more painful than a lobe piercing, but the pain level is not unbearable. According to many people who have had a daith piercing, the actual piercing can cause moderate pain. Many people say, that the pain level of daith piercing is about a 3-4 out of 10, not pleasant, but not horrible.

However, there are individual differences in pain threshold and some people experience more pain in the few hours after the piercing. Some describe this as a throbbing pain that gradually gets better as the piercing heals.

How Long Do Daith Piercings Take to Heal?

Daith piercings take longer to heal than earlobe, tongue, or belly button piercings. Because there is no blood supply to the cartilage, healing takes longer. Also, if an infection slows up the healing process, blood can’t transport antibiotic medication to the infected part of the ear.

Doctors from the National Health Service (NHS) say that some bleeding is normal in the first few days after a piercing.2 You may also experience some redness and swelling as the piercing heals. However, this should disappear in a few days.

According to Dr. Stephanie S. Gardner on WebMD, cartilage piercings can take anywhere from 4 months up to 1 year to heal completely. To encourage faster daith piercing healing, you should always follow the piercing aftercare instructions that your piercer provides.3

Daith Piercing Aftercare

Usually, you can care properly for your daith piercing at home without any complications. Caring for the piercing site on your upper ear will prevent unnecessary problems and speed up the healing process.

Doctors on WebMD recommend the following homecare treatment for piercings to keep the area germ-free.3, 4

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  • Always wash your hands before touching the daith piercing.
  • Wash the piercing with large amounts of warm water for 5 minutes, 3 or 4 times a day.
  • Soak the piercing in a salt water solution. You can do it by dipping a clean cloth in the solution and holding it to your ear (see more details in the next section).
  • Apply a cold pack to your ear to reduce redness and swelling and prevent bruising.

In my article about natural ways to care for cartilage piercing, you can also read about why you should change bed linen regularly and the importance of keeping yourself healthy and boost your immune system.

How to Prevent Upper-Ear Piercing Infections

Apart from keeping the daith piercing clean to prevent infections, there are other ways you can do to avoid causing irritation to promote piercing wound healing. To help a piercing wound heal with as few complications as possible, doctors from the Mayo Clinic recommend the following:4

  • Always care for piercings exactly as instructed by a qualified piercer.
  • Don’t go swimming. This means staying away from pools, hot tubs, rivers or lakes until the piercing is fully healed.
  • Don’t play with your piercing. The only time you should touch the area around the piercing is when cleaning it.
  • Avoid pulling the jewelry or cause irritation around the new piercing.
  • Be very careful when putting on scarves and hats to avoid any friction.
  • Avoid wearing headphones to prevent irritation of the new daith piercing.
  • Don’t remove your jewelry until the wound is completely healed.

How to Care for Infected Daith Piercings

Caring properly for your daith piercing will help to reduce the risk of a mild to severe infection in your ear cartilage. However, in case a mild infection develops, there are some easy home remedies that can help to kill off germs and promote faster healing.

These natural treatments are naturally antimicrobial and will help prevent an infection spreading.

Sea salt solution

Salt is an antibacterial agent that will help prevent a new daith piercing becoming infected. The combination of salt and warm water helps to flush away any germs that are causing redness, swelling, and discharge.

The National Health Service in the United Kingdom recommends a saline solution for cleaning and treating mild ear piercing infections. The salt water solution helps to soften and drain any discharge from the wound and helps your piercing heal faster.2

How to use it:

To help keep your daith piercing germ free until it heals completely, this is what you should do:

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  1. Sterilize a glass of water by boiling it for 5 minutes and let it cool down.
  2. Dissolve 1/4 teaspoon of salt in the warm water.
  3. Soak a clean piece of gauze in the salt remedy and apply to the daith piercing as a warm compress.
  4. Repeat 2 to 3 times a day until the piercing is completely healed and you no longer have any signs of infection.

A saline solution can also help prevent a piercing bump forming and becoming infected. You can also use it as one of the aftercare treatments for tragus piercing.

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is an effective home remedy to speed up daith piercing healing and get rid of any infection. Tea tree oil contains powerful antibacterial properties that will provide healing for a skin infection and reduce redness.

The journal Clinical Microbiology Reviews reported that tea tree oil is effective against the strains of bacteria that can cause piercing infections. It was also found that the anti-inflammatory effect of tea tree oil is effective in reducing swelling.5

How to use it:

You can make a healing tea tree oil ointment to help treat a mild daith piercing infections. This healing ointment uses a combination of virgin coconut oil and tea tree oil for their antibacterial effect.

  1. Mix 2-3 drops of tea tree oil with 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil.
  2. Apply the tea tree oil remedy to the area around the daith piercing.
  3. Apply 2-3 times a day after you have cleansed the pierced area.

This natural ointment helps to keep the piercing moisturized until it heals properly and reduces the appearance of redness and swelling.

Alternatively, you can put a drop or two of tea tree oil on the end of a clean cotton swab and apply to the infected site around the piercing.

Apple cider vinegar (ACV)

Raw apple cider vinegar is a natural antiseptic that can help to get rid of infections and reduce swelling around a new piercing. Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid which has an antibacterial effect on wounds.

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The European Journal of General Medicine reported that acetic acid is effective against Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain of bacteria. This is a common strain of bacteria that causes cartilage piercing infections.6

How to use it:

To use apple cider vinegar to clean an infected daith piercing, this is what you should do:

  1. Dilute equal amounts of raw unprocessed apple cider vinegar with water.
  2. Soak a clean piece of gauze in the healing ACV solution and apply as a compress to the infected daith piercing.
  3. Repeat 3-4 times a day to help the wound heal quicker.
  4. Use the apple cider vinegar remedy on your daith piercing until the infection has cleared up completely.

Aloe vera

The antibacterial and soothing properties of aloe vera gel can help to keep your skin soft and free from infection and encourage a faster healing of your daith piercing.

According to a study from the Australasian Medical Journal, aloe vera gel is effective even against multi-drug resistant organisms. Aloe vera gel was shown to have antimicrobial properties that can help prevent bacterial infections in wounds.8

How to use it:

To use aloe vera gel to encourage faster healing of daith piercing, use pure aloe vera gel that doesn’t contain many additives. Here is what you should do:

  1. Apply a little aloe vera gel around the daith piercing.
  2. Repeat 2-3 times a day to help the wound heal faster.

Daith Piercings and the Migraine Connection

Apart from cosmetic reasons, many people get a daith piercing to relieve migraines. Many who have a daith piercing have reported that they have seen a reduction in the severity and frequency of headaches. However, what does science say about migraines and daith piercings?

Researchers from the Cleveland Clinic say that the theory is that daith piercing acts in a similar way to how acupuncture works. It is known that acupuncture can help to relieve migraines naturally and effectively. The logic is that daith piercings are like a kind of permanent acupuncture. The researchers say that there is no medical research to back up these claims.7

However, that doesn’t mean that daith piercings don’t work for many people to relieve headaches and migraines. There are many anecdotal reports from individuals who have their ear cartilage pierced and have seen a reduction in the intensity and frequency of migraines.

So, before getting a daith piercing to relieve migraines, you should weigh up the pros and cons of having this done.

Daith Piercing Infection – When to See a Doctor

A daith piercing infection can quickly become a serious medical condition and even cause a permanent disfigurement. Doctors from the NHS recommend seeing a doctor immediately if you think your piercing has become infected.2

Some signs of a piercing infection are:

  • Redness and swelling around the piercing site.
  • Pain when touching the piercing.
  • Yellow or green discharge from the infected wound.
  • A fever.

Of course, in the first few days after the daith piercing, some redness, bleeding, swelling, and pain is to be expected. However, if these symptoms continue or they develop later on, please seek medical advice promptly.

Read these related articles:

Article Sources

  1. AAFP. Complications of body piercing.
  2. NHS. Body piercing.
  3. WebMD. Piercing.
  4. WebMD. Body piercing problems – home treatment.
  5. Clin Microbiol Rev. 2006 Jan; 19(1): 50–62.
  6. Eur J Gen Med. Vol. 5, No. 2, 2008, pp. 104-106
  7. HealthClevelandClinic. Can an unconventional piercing rid you of migraine pain?
  8. Australas Med J. Efficacy of fresh Aloe vera gel against multi-drug resistant bacteria
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6 Responses to How to Encourage Faster Daith Piercing Healing and Reduce Pain

  1. Christine says:

    So I just got a daith piercing 7 days ago and it was fine all the way up until yesterday and today it’s starting to hurt really bad and is feeling hot can someone please tell me what to do

  2. JackMomCyn4 says:

    I just got the Daith piercing on Sunday May 13th and was ok, now since Tuesday its been red, swollen, and tender. How long should this be?

    • Jenny Hills, Medical Writer and Researcher says:

      Daith piercing may cause swelling, redness or pain in the first few days of healing, and this is normal. However if any of these symptoms gets worse instead of getting better, especially after 7-10 days, you should contact your doctor.

  3. Thalialynn says:

    I’ve had my piercing for around a month now (since April 21st and now it’s May 20th) I am 13 and I got the piercing in both ears my left one is fine my right one though it hurts sometimes. I got my piercing for migraines and I am scared that it is infected.

    • Jenny Hills, Medical Writer and Researcher says:

      Feeling some pain a month after daith piercing can be normal, as cartilage piercing takes longer to heal completely. What you need to look for are signs of an infection, such as: redness, pain and swelling around the piercing site, discharge from the infected wound or a fever. If these symptoms continue or develop at a later stage, go to see your doctor.

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