To Snug or Not to Snug

There’s no question one of the most unique, striking and interesting ear piercings is the Snug piercing. A quick bit of anatomical background: a Snug piercing goes somewhere along the ridge created by the antihelix and the antihelical fold.

While usually done in the area of the antihelical fold, snug piercings can also be done on the anithelix

In the picture below you can see a double snug piercing, even less common than a single snug piercing. This piercing was done at the Saint Sabrina’s and ultimately, ended up not working out for the young lady wearing it.

Double snug piercing with curved barbells

The main “problem” with snug piercings is the prolonged healing time. They typically take 6 months, sometimes longer, to heal even when well cared for. They usually stay swollen and sore during much of the healing time also. Snug piercings are so challenging to heal for a number of reasons:

  1. A snug piercing goes through cartilage which is simply a harder type of tissue to heal.
  2. The fold the piecing goes through tends to be fairly thick. This means the piecing goes through a lot of tissue which takes longer to heal.
  3. The shape of the fold the piercing goes through is rounded/curved. This results in a bit of constant pressure on the piercing from the jewelry, which prolongs the healing.
  4. The piercing is on the outer part of the ear, meaning it is more likely to get bumped, snagged and knocked around in the course of daily life.

All of these factors combine to make snug piercings very tough for many people to heal. A large percentage of people who get snug piercings end up abandoning them due to the prolonged and uncomfortable healing.

Because snug piercings are so great-looking, I really wanted to find a way to make them a more viable option for my clients.

While I can’t claim to have invented it, I (and the other piercers at Saint Sabrina’s) have become very big fans of an alternative to the snug. Maybe there is already some whacky, animal-related name for it like Panda Nibbles, Rhino Cuddles or Tadpole Hugs, but we prefer to just call it the Faux Snug.

A faux snug made up of a helix piercing and a conch piercing

A Faux Snug is a helix piercing and a conch piercing placed in such a way that they look just like a snug piercing. While healing two cartilage piercings at the same time isn’t always easy, it tends to be significantly easier than trying to heal a snug piercing. With the faux snug, healing time is typically around 2-4 months and the healing period tends to be much more comfortable than a standard snug.

The one potential “downside” to the a faux snug is that it’s two piercings and two pieces of jewelry, so the cost is a bit more than a standard snug piercing. However, all the piercers at Saint Sabrina’s are such big believers in the faux snug, we have chosen to waive the second piercing fee. You will still have to purchase a second piece of jewelry, but we truly believe the time, effort and pain you will miss out on will more than make up for a little extra money spent on the jewelry.

So if you’re looking for a unique new piercing, definitely keep the faux snug in mind.

This entry was posted in Jewelry, Piercing, Uncategorized by Derek Lowe. Bookmark the permalink.'

About Derek Lowe

Derek is the (very sometimes) senior piercer and General Manager at Saint Sabrina's. He has been piercing for over 19 years, with the past 13 years spent at Saint Sabrina's. Derek is a current member of the Association of Professional Piercers and is former member of the Board of Directors of the organization. In addition, he has been an instructor at the APP annual conference for the past 10 years.

17 thoughts on “To Snug or Not to Snug

  1. I had a snug piercing in March 2010 at St. Sabrina’s and it did take longer than anticipated to heal. I had trouble sleeping for a while as every time I tried to roll over, it would get bumped and hurt alot. It was also hard to soak it to keep from getting infected but I managed.
    Even though it was difficult and painful, I don’t regret the piecing at all and I hope that it continues to work out for me. I’m always getting comments on it and most people I know have never seen this type of piercing before, so that’s kinda cool.
    Now that it’s mostly healed, I hardly notice it any more.

  2. I got a faux snug done at Saint Sabrina’s by Derek in July, and I LOVE it!

    It healed extremly fast, and I haven’t really had any problems with it at all! I went in wanting a snug, but after talking about the faux snug, that’s what we decided to go with.
    I wouldn’t have had it any other way. My piercing healed so quickly, and everyone thinks it’s a snug anyways!
    I get compliments on it almost everyday, and I think it’s a great piercing to get.
    Thanks Derek!

  3. I just got mine done two days ago and it’s not too bad. The actual piercing hurt pretty badly but it was over quick. I also got my conch redone at the same time and surprisingly my conch is the one that hurts. I had gotten it done before but had to take it out because it over swelled but I got it and the snug done together. The area around the piercing is only a little swollen but it is tolerable and sleeping on it isn’t too bad either. I had more problems with my helix than I do with my snug! I love it and it looks great! Im a little weary on the healing time but all in all it just feels bruised more than anything. If someone is going to get the piercing, be prepared for pain but if your piercer is really good it shouldn’t be too bad afterwords!

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  5. Hey I had a snug done an it’s kinda swollen. It looks like the piercing is going to pop threw. Should I be worried

  6. Eddie: Snug piercings are notorious for swelling a fair amount. That is one of the reasons we prefer doing faux snugs. If the piercing was done too shallow, or there isn’t a good ridge to support the piercing to begin with, the extra pressure can cause the tissue to bulge out. In some cases, you may even be able to see the outline of the jewelry beneath the surface. Neither of these is good situations and is something you should have an experienced piercer take a look at. Best of luck.

  7. I got my snug done in early November and it was a little swollen, and within 4 we it was manageable. Suddenly about 2 weeks ago it got horribly painful and swollen, and I just noticed today the inside ball is starting to be enveloped about halfway up by my swollen skin. Should I just keep cleaning like normal or should I take it out to prevent it from being completely taken in by the swollen skin? PLEASE HELP! I also have my triples and forward helix and all of those healed completely fine.

  8. Hi, I got my snug piercing done probably almost two years ago. Over the past few months it has been very swollen and I have had excruciating ear ache pain. I have never had pain like this before, so I am assuming the pain is from my piercing. I don’t think it is infected, but it is red and has that annoying bump on the side. So basically, I was just wondering if the ear pain could be caused by my piercing.

  9. I got a snug piercing in 2010 at St. Sabrina’s. I absolutely loved it and was constantly getting compliments, but unfortunately it was constantly fluxing between “healed” and painful, for two years. I finally ended up taking out my snug last spring 2012. I loved the piercing but it just took too long for it to heal! I still miss it 🙁 maybe the faux snug is an option for me!

  10. Peyton: If you liked the look of a snug piercing, a faux snug is a great option. We have so many clients that have healed them quickly and easily and absolutely love them.

  11. If you got a snug and you didn’t want it any more would it completely close back up if left off for a long period of time?

  12. I got my snug pierced today, a couple of hours ago. I had read online that it hurt a lot and so I worked myself up a fair bit. The piercing didn’t hurt one bit, I didn’t even feel it I only heard it go through, the only part that did hurt a little was getting the jewellery in, but it was bare able.
    I didn’t think it would take 6+ months to heal but everything comes with a price and in the long run it will be worth it. I like the idea of the ‘faux snug’ probably would’ve been a better option but I really so love the way mine looks, so I’m happy! But if you’re going to get your snug pierced and you’re afraid of the pain factor, don’t think about it, it’s over and done with before you know it and after that it’s fine!! (:

  13. I got my snug pierced on Aug 1, 2013. The piercing itself was not painful, though i do have a high tolerance for pain.. After about three months of cleaning and taking care of it i thought it was pretty much healed up. I continued to do the sea salt soaking though, just to make sure. About a month later it became really swollen and the inside part of the jewelry developed a large kelloid. I kept soaking kt, and i refused to take it out. Loved the piercing way to much. The back part of my ear became swollen as well. It was pretty nasty, but i still refused to take the jewelry out. After about two months of just cleaning the piercing, removing crust and picking off the nasty bump, it finally began to cooperate. Its been about six months and my snug is finally healed up pretty nicely. I dont recomend it as a first piercing, because you really need to be experienced before you jump into something that requires that much hassel. I have several other piercings, and now that its healed the sung is by far one of my favorites!:)

  14. About 3 years ago I got a piercing in my ear. I forgot about it and let it close up. That created very massive scar tissue where that piercing was, and around the area. Is it safe to pierce through, or right next to it? It is big enough to see the bump by just looking at the back of my ears. Thanks!

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