Have you been curious about the types of ear piercings available? Or did you spot an eye-catching piercing recently and you’ve been dreaming about it? Getting a new piercing can be exhilarating, but deciding which one to choose can stall the process.
This post will provide trustworthy information on the types of ear piercings possible, which style of earrings best suit each type, how painful each piercing type is, and how you can avoid getting an ear piercing infection.
Let’s start by identifying the various parts of the ear. This diagram shows the different parts of the ear. As you’ll see, some types of ear piercings get their names from the parts of the outer ear.
25 Different Types of Ear Piercings
Let us now explore 25 types of ear piercings in detail.
1. Standard Lobe Piercing
This is the traditional earlobe piercing Most people get this piercing as babies or young children while others get theirs as adults. I got two standard lobe piercings as a baby, thanks to my grandmother, who was a jewelry lover!
Since the lobe is soft, fleshy, and contains no cartilage, the pain level of a standard lobe piercing is low. Studs are a timeless choice for this piercing. They are also ideal for new piercings because they are unlikely to snag or cause discomfort while you sleep. Whatever your style, go for jewelry made from hypoallergenic metals that won’t cause irritation.
2. Upper Ear Lobe Piercing
This ear piercing is done right above the standard lobe piercing. It is also known as high lobe piercing. Like the standard lobe piercing, the pain threshold is low. Stud-style jewelry is excellent for this piercing because it is susceptible to hair and mask snags, especially when it is fresh. Huggies look chic on this piercing as well. You can also pair 2 studs, a stud and a hoop, depending on your mood and style.
3. Triple Lobe Piercing
If you love two piercings on your lobe (we do!) and enjoyed your last piercing experience, maybe a third piercing wouldn’t be bad.
Get creative by arranging three studs of increasing sizes, from the topmost piercing to the lowest piercing. Three rings of the same size are also stylish. You could also pair a stud, a ring, and a hoop together.
4.Stacked Lobe Piercing
This refers to a number of piercings on the lobe made to form a symmetrical row that can be styled with several small studs or a mixture of studs and small hoops. There are no rules here; it’s your party. You can stack and style as you please.
5. Graduate Lobe Piercing
Three to five piercings (or more) on the lobe arranged in increasing size make a graduate lobe piercing. This piercing is done with the goal of making all the piercings appear as a set. It’s a real beauty to behold.
6. Anti-Tragus Piercing
The anti-tragus is a cartilage located above the lobe and opposite the tragus, hence its name. Is the anti-tragus piercing painful? We are afraid, yes. You can expect a pain level of 5 or 6 out of 10 due to the delicate position of this piercing.
Anti-tragus piercings can take between two to twelve months to heal fully. A simple stud would embellish this piercing nicely. You can wear a curved barbell or a ball closure ring when the piercing has healed fully to avoid infection.
7. Tragus Piercing
Like its counterpart – the anti-tragus piercing – the pain level for this piercing is high, and it takes months to heal. You can style it daintily with a stud or make a statement with a hoop. If you tend to touch your ears often, we recommend skipping this piercing as it may increase your risk of getting infected.
8. Outer Conch Piercing
The conch is the smooth, flat area of the outer cartilage. The outer conch is lower and closer to the antihelix in the middle of the ear. You can expect to feel pressure and some sharp pain when you get pierced in your conch and afterward a throbbing pain that may last for hours or even days. Naturally, it also takes several months to heal. Bars and studs made of hypoallergenic metals would make fine choices for conch piercings.
9. Inner Conch Piercing
This is the cup-like area in the middle of your ear next to the opening of your ear canal. This type of ear piercing is at the center of the ear cartilage, at a level parallel to the daith. Flat-back studs and barbells are fine choices for this piercing due to its location. Stylish curved studs would also look amazing on your conch!
10. Standard Helix Piercing
This type of ear piercing is done on the rim of the outer cartilage of the upper ear. The pain level for a standard helix piercing is 4 out of 10. A sparkly stud or a chain and pearls are stylish ways to curate your helix.
11. Forward Helix Piercing
Like the standard helix piercing, the forward helix piercing is done on the cartilage of the upper ear closest to the face. The pain level is a 6 out of 10. Flat-back studs are chic and safe on this piercing, as cartilage hoops may cause you some irritation.
12. Double Helix Piercing
This refers to two close piercings in the helix. You can have both piercings done on the same day. After the sharp pain of the piercing is gone, you can expect to feel a duller ache for a few weeks. You can go minimalist with a double band cuff earring or go big with elegant drop chain connected earrings.
13. Double Forward Helix Piercing
This refers to two piercings close to each other on the cartilage of the upper ear. You can get a double forward piercing on the same day. It is more painful than the forward helix piercing and may take months to heal fully. Don’t be surprised if you find it painful to smile after getting a helix piercing.
14. Triple Forward Helix Piercing
As the name implies, this is three piercings done on the cartilage of the upper ear. You can line up three jewelry pieces along the same spot closest to your face. Triple helix earrings are designed to grace a triple forward helix piercing. They are available in various designs and sizes like delicate threadless push pins, turquoise, cubic zirconia, titanium sets, and many other gorgeous designs.
15. Flat Helix Piercing
This refers to any piercing done in the flat area of the upper ear. The pain threshold is 7 out of 10, so you’ll need some extra courage if you are considering getting one done. Studs and flat back earrings are your best bet for this piercing. It takes between 6 months to 1 year to fully heal.
16. Ear Weaving Piercing
This refers to several piercings done on the outermost cartilage of the ear called the helix. It is also called helix spiral. One piece of jewelry is used to connect all of the piercings. A spiral barbell is worn on this piercing. If you feel up to it, you can get several piercings done on the helix on the same day. You could also opt to pierce them at intervals.
17. Daith Piercing
This type of ear piercing passes through the innermost cartilage fold of the ear called the crus of the helix. The pain threshold is a 6 out of 10. Daith piercings are often mistaken for rook piercings.
Some believe that the daith piercing is used in the pain management of migraines, although there is currently no scientific evidence to support this.
Daith piercings take between 6 to 9 months to heal fully. They also take about 6 to 9 seconds to complete – a longer duration than most ear piercings. Clicker rings are easiest to manage if you’re new to this piercing. Heart-shaped rings would also look fabulous and different on your daith!
18. Auricle Piercing
This piercing is done in the middle of the outer ear between the earlobe and the helix. It is one of the least painful piercings, ranking a 3 out of 10. However, it may take 3 to 9 months to heal. You may use a labret stud in the first year following your piercing, after which you could try stylish segment rings and ball closure rings.
19. Orbital Piercing
This is achieved when two holes are made in any part of the ear so that a single piece of jewelry can connect both piercings. It is often done on the lobe or the helix. The pain threshold would depend on which part of the ear it is done.
You can grace your new orbital piercing with ball closure rings, smooth segment rings, or even heart-shaped rings.
20. Rook Piercing
This is a vertical piercing done in the ear’s uppermost inner ridge or antihelix. Although pain thresholds are different for individuals, this piercing is generally known to be moderately to intensely painful, say a 7 out of 10. It can also be uncomfortable to lie on your side when you get a rook piercing. Curved barbells and cartilage hoops are excellent choices for a rook piercing.
21. Snug Piercing
This is a piercing done along the ear’s antihelix. It runs from the outer cartilage to the inner cartilage, close to the ear canal. Your ear’s anatomy will determine if you can get a snug piercing.
Consult with your piercer to determine if a snug piercing is for you. It is considered one of the most painful ear piercings. Small curved barbells are safe and look lovely on a snug piercing.
See how snug piercings compare to conch piercings.
22. Industrial Piercing
We will refer to this as the king of all ear piercings. Search no further if you are looking for an exceptionally trendy style to curate your ear! This piercing is done by making two holes across the helix to allow a single straight piece of jewelry. It is considered one of the most painful piercings and can take between 6 months to 1 year to fully heal.
You can pull off the industrial piercing with a standard barbell or a spiral that can be twisted in, to wrap around the ear.
23. Vertical Industrial Piercing
This type of ear piercing is done by piercing both the inner and outer conch vertically rather than a horizontal piercing of 2 parts of the upper cartilage as in the industrial piercing. Industrial barbells look cute on this piercing.
24. Transverse Lobe Piercing
This is done by piercing horizontally through the skin of the ear lobe rather than from front to back as in a standard lobe piercing. The pain threshold is very low, similar to other lobe piercings, but it takes longer to heal than other lobe piercings.
We recommend avoiding swimming until your transverse lobe piercing is fully healed, as it is slightly more susceptible to infection. Curved barbells support attached ears while straight barbells support stretched ears.
25. Constellation Piercings
This refers to a cluster of piercings based on an individual’s ear shape to make them resemble a constellation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Ear Piercings
Now that we’ve explored several types of ear piercings, you may be wondering:
What is the most painful ear piercing?
Based on personal experiences, the conch seems to be the most painful. However, industrial piercing seems the most painful to heal. It can be tender and hurt for several months.
Still, since no two individuals are the same, we all experience and tolerate pain differently. Generally, though, cartilage piercings are more painful than earlobe piercings. In the following order, the forward helix, helix, daith, tragus, rook, and anti-tragus piercings are also notorious for being especially painful.
What is the most uncommon type of ear piercing?
The rook piercing seems to be the most uncommon.
Should I get pierced with a needle or piercing gun?
Piercing needles are single-use, more accurate, and the process is less distressing. On the other hand, piercing guns are re-usable, so the risk of transferring body fluids is high. They are also more likely to cause tissue damage. The Association of Professional Piercers (APP) warns against the use of piercing guns.
What ear piercing heals fastest?
Lobe piercings heal the fastest. It takes about 1 to 3 months for piercings on the lobe to heal completely.
💡 Regardless of piercing type: Make sure to perform your piercing aftercare regimen diligently and ensure that the hooks of the earrings are not too tightly secured. Do not take your earlobe piercings for granted!
What ear piercings look good together?
Several! Here are some of our favorite combinations:
- The double forward helix complements the double lobe piercing nicely.
- Another great combination is the conspicuous industrial piercing and the subdued transverse lobe piercing.
- The industrial and the standard lobe piercing also pair well.
- You could also try a helix and a standard lobe. It’s really fun to connect these two piercings with a chain earring.
- A tragus and triple lobe piercing are also great together.
- A daith, standard helix, and triple lobe piercing make a lovely combination.
One combo we do not recommend? The rook and daith together. They do not complement each other because they are so closely located.
How do I avoid getting my piercing infected?
Piercing infections are totally preventable. Follow these 6 tips to avoid an infection:
- Always wash your hands before touching your piercing.
- Clean the piercing with saline solution and cotton wool or a fragrance-free antimicrobial soap twice a day.
- Dry the piercing with a clean disposable tissue or paper towel. Do not use a cloth to dry your piercing after cleaning because it is likely to carry germs.
- Avoid touching the piercing unnecessarily and tell your super-excited friends to avoid touching it too.
- Make a careful effort to avoid hair or masks snagging at your piercing.
- Since bathrooms carry lots of bacteria, avoid cleaning your piercing in public bathrooms.
How do I know if my piercing is infected?
If you notice any of the following signs, your piercing may be infected:
- Redness, heat, or swelling that extends beyond the piercing
- White, green, or yellow pus from the piercing site
- A new fever
- Your earring is getting stuck in your piercing
Remove the earring and see your doctor immediately. Infections can be serious, so it’s important to treat them quickly.
Accessorize Your Ears
We know how hard it can be to have several options to choose from. We hope this information we’ve provided will help you find one or more types of ear piercings that you’ll love. Be sure to choose one with a pain level you can tolerate and that suits your personal style.
Regardless of what you decide, care for your piercing carefully to minimize the risk of infection. Go on! Sparkle and shine! If you’re also curious about tongue piercings, read about the 7 most common types and what to expect from them.
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