Rook piercings can be an awesome way to express your individuality and show your true nature. Such tiny pieces of jewelry can help you to feel better about yourself, and you’d be surprised at how much it enables you to connect with others!
But, as with any body modifications, rook piercings aren’t without their risks. In fact, the rook is one of the places you may want to AVOID, due to the shape and delicate design of your ears…
What is a Rook Piercing?
The «rook» refers to the anti-helix of your ear, located just above the tragus on the ridge between the outer and inner conch of your ear.
Some people have a large rook with a prominent ridge, so the cartilage can be easily pierced. However, not everyone has an ear-shaped for a rook piercing. If you don’t have prominent cartilage ridges in your ear, you may not be able to get this piercing.
Fun Fact: Some people use rook piercings to reduce headaches and migraines. It’s an «alternative medicine» remedy that has not been scientifically confirmed, but there is anecdotal evidence that it may work.
How is a Rook Piercing Done?
Unlike other ear piercings, rook piercings don’t go through the entire ear from front to back. Instead, they simply poke through the cartilage of the rook.
Most of the time, they are done freehand (with a needle), though some piercing parlors use clamps. Due to its location, it’s often hard for you to see exactly where the holes will be, so the piercer will make a recommendation of the best place for it. Once you agree, all that’s left to do is put the needle through your cartilage to make the holes for the earrings.
Quick and easy, right? The question is: what’s the pain like?
Rook Piercing Pain
The amount of pain differs from person to person, though most people rate rook piercings as slightly more painful than an earlobe piercing. It’s usually more painful to pierce cartilage than the fleshy earlobe, and some people find that there is a lot of pain. Others, however, feel little more than the sharp pinching sensation.
Caring & Healing
Once the piercing is in, it’s vital that you care for it the same way you’d care for any other piercing: using salt water soaks two times a day for the first couple of months. Warn salt water will sterilize the wound, soften any scabs, and encourage better blood flow.
Note: Some piercers recommend an antimicrobial soap, but NEVER use antimicrobial ointments or alcohol. They can seal off the wound and stop it from receiving air, which is critical for healthy healing.
The healing time is about as long as any other cartilage piercing, so it will take 3-6 months for the wound to be mostly healed (total healing time can be up to 18 months).
The good news is that the rook piercing is in a recessed location (tucked into your outer ear), so the risk of it being tugged or bumped is much lower than with other ear piercings.
However, you should be careful when changing shirts so you don’t pull the collar of the shirt against the piercing. Also, keep your cell phone away from the piercing—cell phones are loaded with millions of germs and bacteria, and can cause a bad infection.
What Type of Rook Jewelry Should I Wear?
Most rook jewelry is one of two types:
- Captive bead ring
- Curved barbell
Many piercers recommend starting with a curved barbell, as the lesser curvature reduces the strain on the healing wound. This leads to a healthier piercing and shorter recovery times.
It might be a good idea to start off with a thinner ring or shorter barbell at first, as the piercing is in a pretty confined space within the curves of your outer ear.
If you need help to insert/remove the piercing, don’t hesitate to ask. Always make sure your hands are washed and clean before removing the earring’s ball—it will help you avoid infections!
Should I Expect Complications?
The rook piercing comes with the same risk of complications as any other cartilage ear piercings. If you don’t have a well-defined rook (ridge), the piercing may not hold properly.
Other side effects include:
- Persistent soreness in the area (caused by infections and/or the longer healing time)
- Migration (the earring pushing through the cartilage)
- Rejection (the body rejecting the metal or repairing the puncture wound completely)
Very curved barbells can place strain on the healing wound, and that can lead to higher risk of pain, slowed healing, and even rejection.
Poor hygiene can lead to a higher risk of infection, and extreme trauma to the ear can re-open the wound.
The good news is that, with proper care and protection, your new piercing should heal just fine, and you will be left with a stylish new bling that will make you feel better about yourself!