Everything You Need to Know About Snug Piercings

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  • Snug piercings have been predicted by experts to trend heavily in 2022.
  • Also known as an anti-helix piercing, this look requires a specific ear anatomy to accommodate the piercing.
  • Experts are breaking down what to know before getting a snug piercing, from pain level to healing time.

Body modifications are one of the easiest ways to express your individuality and creativity. One of the most popular methods? Piercings. Over the years, piercings have evolved from a rite of passage that can be done at a mall kiosk to a full-blown subculture with enthusiasts finding new and interesting ways to pierce different parts of their bodies. The newest style making waves is one that's similar to what we've seen before but with a twist: the snug piercing.

Also known as an anti-helix piercing, snug piercings actually differ from a normal helix piercing. "Typically, a helix piercing refers to anywhere along the inner ridge of the roundest part of your ear," says Matt Mayfield, piercer at New York Adorned. "The snug, however, connects from point-to-point from the middle of your helix to the inside of your conch (the bowl of your ear)."

Still, there are many questions surrounding the popular piercing, so we spoke with professional piercers about what to consider before getting one of your own. From pain levels to cost to aftercare — here is everything you need to know about snug piercings.

How Much Do Snug Piercings Hurt?

Elayne Angel

While pain is relative and dependent on each person's individual tolerance, there's another thing that will impact how much a snug piercing hurts: whether or not you have the correct ear anatomy necessary to get the piercing in the first place. Since helix piercings typically sit much farther up on the ear and closer to the rim, that area is much easier to pierce than the area required for a snug piercings.

Snug piercings are closer to the inside of the ear, and "the cartilage is relatively thick in this location, so the snug can be more tender than a helix piercing," says Elayne Angel, author of "The Piercing Bible: The Definitive Guide to Safe Piercing." However, if you're going to a professional piercer (which is recommended), the snug piercing should be done "swiftly and smoothly, so the procedure will be tolerable," Angel says.

How Long Do Snug Piercings Take to Heal?

Healing times for a snug piercing are similar to other cartilage piercings. "The snug, and all cartilage piercings, routinely take six to nine months or longer to heal," says Angel. This does not mean that your ear will feel sore for the entirety of that period — it just marks a general time frame that you can use to gauge that the piercing is in fact healing properly.

How Much Do Snug Piercings Cost?

While prices vary based on numerous factors including geographic location and jewelry used, Angel says the lowest you can expect to pay anywhere "between $30 to $60 for the piercing fee, plus jewelry." In New York City, where Mayfield is based, he says to expect to pay between "$80 and up between basic jewelry and the cost of piercing services."

The most common jewelry style for a snug piercing is a curved bar, and those usually start at "around $40 for implant-certified materials," Angel says.

What Aftercare Is Needed For a Snug Piercing?

Both Mayfield and Angel suggest using a sterile saline spray to clean the piercing and Angel particularly likes Briotech Topical Skin Spray ($13), which contains an impressive active ingredient: hypochlorous acid. "This is the same broad-spectrum antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory substance that is naturally produced by the white blood cells as part of the body's immune response," Angel says. "It fosters healing and is far more germicidal than saline but does not kill healthy cells the way soap or strong antiseptics do."

"The most important rule with a new piercing is don't touch it," says Mayfield. Like all other piercings, a snug piercing can become irritated and even infected if it is mishandled, especially during healing. Alongside leaving the initial jewelry used for the piercing inside of the ear for the entire healing period, Angel suggests "upholding hygiene, maintaining good health habits, avoiding trauma [to the ear], and cleaning your piercing."

Whether you've fully decided on getting a snug piercing or are still trying to make up your mind, keep these tips in mind to ensure that the snug piercing is for you.