Ear Piercing Types – Curate Your Ears With These Ear Piercing Styles!

5000 years or more, ear piercings will never go out of style. If you have never done it before, the first thing that pops into your mind is how painful the process would be rather than the expense. Well, from basics to advice, it's all covered for you!

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You can never wear too many ear candies seeing that an ear party is never out of fashion. After all, nothing compares to accessory du jour like a beautifully curated and stacked ear, right? The world is always going crazy over simple elegance in the form of minimalistic delicate ear piercings. From hoops to Huggies and studs to ear cuffs of solid gold treasures and sparkling silvers, you can mix and match all that sparkles and style it your way!  

Ear Piercing Types: The More, The Merrier!

Forget one simple piercing in each ear. From standard lobe piercings to tragus piercings, the types of ear piercing have gotten crazy and creative! Elegant and dainty? Or edgy and bold? With more than one piercings, you can pile up multiple ones for a unique ensemble. Scroll down to read about the trending piercings you can curate your ears with!

Ear Piercing Types

 

You must have heard of different names when talking about ear piercings and my best guess is you are confused. Before getting your ears pierced, you should be familiar with the different types of ear piercing, where you want it, how much it hurts, and how much it costs. Let’s start from the beginning. Here’s an ear-piercing chart to get familiar with types of piercing styles. 

ear piercing chart

 

Now, you can choose a location for your ear piercing. But, what are the types of ear piercings you should be aware of?

  • Lobe piercings – standard lobe piercing, upper lobe piercing, vertical piercing, and transverse lobe piercing.
  • Outer ear piercings – tragus piercing, forward helix piercing, daith piercing, industrial piercing, helix piercing, and outer conch piercing. 
  • Inner ear piercings – anti-tragus piercing, rook piercing, inner conch piercing, and snug piercing.

Standard Lobe Piercing

This is the classic lobe piercing we all got when we were kids and it is undeniably the most common area to get pierced. They are created on the lower portion of the ear and are less painful than other piercings as the spot is soft and fleshy. It is the most versatile piercing once it is healed.

ear piercing chart for health

 

Pain factor: 1 or 2 out of 10.

Healing period: 1 month.

You can change the jewelry after three months of healing time. The size and space of the lobe provide a multitude of placement options. And it is your preference. While some women prefer multiple lobe piercings, some prefer a single standard lobe piercing.

Upper Lobe Piercing 

If you are opposed to veer into cartilage piercing, you can always choose multiple piercings on your earlobe(1). Since it is the softest and largest part of the ear, the lobe can accommodate as many as three or four piercings. Upper lobe piercings are ideal for small and intricate piercings and will be positioned above the standard lobe piercing.

ear piercing ideas for females
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Pain factor: 2 or 3 out of 10.

Healing period: 2 months. 

You can adorn your earlobes with this type of piercing in a neat and evenly spaced row. Earlobe piercings are considerably easiest to heal but it is generally advised against getting many piercings at one go. Nevertheless, this is one of the popular ear piercings among women of all ages.

Vertical Lobe Piercing

Everyone’s earlobes are different in shapes and sizes. If your earlobe has enough space for more than one, you can certainly choose vertical lobe piercing where it looks like two studs are stacked on top of each other. This was a popular trend in 2019.

helix piercing
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Pain factor: 4 out of 10.

Healing period: 2 months. 

Transverse Lobe Piercing

This is a modern take on an old classic and is too pretty. As opposed to the standard lobe piercing where your earlobe is pierced through the front to back, the transverse lobe piercing goes through the skin horizontally.

industrial ear piercing
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Pain factor: 5 out of 10.

Healing period: 12 months.

This type of piercing uses a barbell to run horizontally, which also depends on the shape and size of the earlobe. Even though it doesn’t involve the cartilage and is less painful, it takes much longer to heal. Also, it runs a higher risk of infection. 

Warning: Cartilage piercings may get a bubble on the front or back of the piercing. You may try a chamomile tea bag compress for the bubble. It is not a sign of infection. 

Tragus Piercing 

Adorned with a mere pretty stud or a snug hoop, tragus piercings are stellar and can add detail to any curated ear. It will look cool as a single stud as well as with a fully stacked earlobe since it looks good with a number of jewelry. As it is a thicker cartilage piercing, it is considered as a painful ear piercing. If you’re a fidgeter or if your pain tolerance level is low, you may want to steer clear of tragus piercing.

rook ear piercing
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Pain factor: 6 out of 10.

Healing period: 9 to 12 months.

The tragus is the tiny flap partially covering and protecting the outer part of your ear canal and it is quite difficult to pierce. This will take a longer period to heal especially if you use earbuds when you commute. Taking them in and out will certainly irritate the piercing because it will be blocking the way in. However, their popularity is increasing due to its subtlety. It is highly recommended to clean tragus piercing twice a day with saline. 

Forward Helix Piercing

The difference between a standard helix piercing and a forward helix piercing is the placement. A forward helix piercing sits in the outer rim of your ear. To be more precise, it will be at the top of the rim (upper ear curve) just above the tragus.

cartilage piercing
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Pain factor: 5 out of 10.

Healing period: 6 to 10 months.

Many people consider getting multiple (double or triple) forward helix piercings in the same ear, mostly studs, and rarely rings. These are becoming increasingly popular piercings now.

Daith Piercing

A Daith piercing when adorned with a hoop hugs the cartilage inside your ear. You will feel a dull pressure during the procedure and since it is inside of your ear, you need an experienced piercer. It is a minimalistic yet elegant piercing considering how popular it is getting among ear curators. You can choose any jewelry but a hoop is preferred for ease of healing and cleaning.

ear piercing pain chart
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Pain factor: 6 out of 10. 

Healing period: 6 to 9 months. 

Go with a tiny hoop or delicate pair of studs. You also need to make sure that it is not heavy either. It is not encouraged to sleep on it until it’s healed, obviously. But compared to other outer-ear piercings, sleeping on a Daith piercing within a couple of months of piercing is common. What’s more, a Daith piercing is rumored to offer relief from severe migraines or headaches, with no evidence of course. 

Industrial Piercing 

Also known as a scaffold, industrial piercing is the double perforation of the upper ear cartilage with a straight cut arrow or bar connecting one cartilage piercing to the other. Each end is affixed with a tiny ball closure to keep the bar in place. The most popular kind is piercing through the forward helix and helix.

industrial piercing
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Pain factor: 7 out of 10.

Healing period: 9 to 12 months.

One appalling and dreadful negative point of this type of piercing is that it takes 9 to 12 months to heal since it includes two piercings. Not to mention the tedious aftercare, such as being extremely careful of hair and glasses resting on this, and sleeping on it is a big no-no. Although it is the most unique and fancy piercing in the market, industrial piercing is the most irritating one as well. And it is going to stay that way.

Helix Piercing

Helix piercings are often the first choice anyone would prefer when moving from the lobe. They are placed anywhere on the upper outer cartilage rim of the ear, typically landing on the edge or middle of the ear for most and you can experiment with multiple helix piercings on one ear. It may feel like fire for a moment and then it will be gone since they are done using a small needle.

helix piercing
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Pain factor: 4 out of 10.

Healing period: 6 to 9 months.

Double helix piercing is referred to when two piercings are placed one under the other in this area. With spunky helix piercings, you may notice either a barbell or classic hoop. It is versatile and stylish as well, especially with multiple piercings around the rim of the ear. 

Outer Conch Piercing

Taking its name from its resemblance to the spiral shell, the conch is referred to as the middle portion of the ear cartilage. The outer conch is the dip before the ear canal below the inner conch.

 chart for health
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Pain factor: 7 out of 10.

Healing period: 3 to 9 months.

The outer conch piercing sits in the middle area in the cupped area outside of your ear canal. Many women choose to wear a hoop or a cuff that hugs the outer edge of the ear. 

Anti Tragus Piercing 

Unlike the name suggests, anti-tragus piercing is not different from tragus. Except for the location. It is a type of cartilage piercing done slightly above the lobe and opposite of your tragus. Depending on your pain threshold, this is fairly less painful since it is closer to the soft part of your ear. 

pain chart
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Pain factor: 6 or 7 out of 10.

Healing period: 6 to 8 months.

Rook Piercing 

A rook piercing sits near the inner ridge of the ear cartilage, above the daith, and parallel to the outer rim of the ear. It is quite alluring especially with a hoop, although a bar is highly recommended for the initial healing period.

ear piercing ideas for females
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Pain factor: 8 out of 10.

Healing period: anywhere from 3 to 10 months.

Being one of the most unusual yet distinctive inner ear piercing, it does not pierce easily like the lobe. Thus, you may feel a sharp pain and pressure followed by throbbing. After all, it is a fold of cartilage. 

Inner Conch Piercing

The conch or the inner conch piercing could be subtle or apparent depending on the jewelry you choose. Here, the perforation is on the inner portion of the ear. Since it is situated in the center of the dip in your inner ear, don’t go for tiny ones if you want it to be eye-catching. A gemstone, a gold cuff, or hoop will go better than good.

least painful ear piercings
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Pain factor: 7 out of 10.

Healing: 6 to 12 months. 

Snug Piercing

A snug piercing is another inner cartilage piercing type for an edgy look. It is a horizontal inner cartilage piercing near the center of the ear between the helix and right above the anti tragus. Snug piercing is indeed a unique one and since its location is shallow, you can grace your ear with tiny jewelry, such as a small hoop. But it may not be suitable for everyone. 

ear piercing chart for anxiety
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Pain factor: 8 out of 10.

Healing period: 8 to 12 months.

These labeled ear piercings above are your available choices to embellish your ears. Each of these is popular piercings and while some may be suitable for everyone, some are not. Because ear-piercing depends on the size and shape of your ear. So, talking to your piercer is essential to choose the right one for your ears. Before you go to the piercing parlour, you need to know a few answers beforehand. 

Before You Get Your Ears Pierced

To know the ins and outs of ear piercing, read the below answers to the frequently asked questions regarding ear piercings.

  • A piercing needle is better than a piercing gun. A gun works essentially like punching a blunt object through your ear at high impact (you will feel throbbing pain) while needles are single-use and sterile (hurt a lot less comparatively).  
  • To help make the ear-piercing less painful, you can choose not to pierce when you are on your periods. Because you may be more sensitive to pain. Try to eat one or two hours before. Also, some piercers use yoga breathing during the process to channel the inner zen. 
  • To avoid risking metal allergies, do not get pierced with silver as it oxides and increases the risk of infection or allergic reaction. Talk to your piercer to know if they are using metals that are nickel-free or with low nickel content such as implant-grade titanium — used in surgical procedures. 
  • If your piercing gets infected, do not take it out immediately. Because if it heals up, you might trap the infection in your ear. In this regard, don’t touch it, use fresh pillowcases and towels regularly, and don’t swim in public pools for a while. To avoid trapping the infection, use the right aftercare products such as a pre-made saline solution. If the infection doesn’t heal after four days, consult with a GP.

Is Ear Piercing Painful?

This is the dreaded and most asked question before getting the ears pierced. Whoever told you ear piercing is not painful was telling a little white lie. Because yes, it is painful — sharp and short-lived — as earring piercing pain is subjective. Given that, it depends on your pain sensitivity and tolerance level. What may not be painful for your best friend could be painful for you as it can vary significantly. 

However, since different ear piercings types result in different levels of pain, you can choose the spots that are least painful (if your tolerance level is pretty low). If you can’t handle needles or want to minimize pain, or if your body takes a long time to heal, there are certain types of ear piercing you may avoid.

Stick with easy spots and the least painful ear piercings, such as the lobe. Once you have familiarized yourself with your response to the level of pain, assure of no allergy reactions, get other areas pierced. 

Pain Levels Of Ear Piercing Types

The pain chart shown below will help you identify the most and least painful ear piercings and determine which type of ear piercing you want to get.

Granted, traditional piercings on earlobes are the least painful whereas the piercings on cartilage are considered to hurt the most. You shouldn’t feel more than a pinch when the needle goes through with lobe piercings. Meanwhile, with cartilage piercings, you will initially feel a sharp shock before it turns into throbbing and duller pain. 

Ear piercing pain level

 

Then again, not all cartilage piercings cause the same pain level. The upper cartilage piercings such as helix are considered to be less painful than conch and other inner ear piercings. Because they have harder tissue. But any cartilage piercings may hurt for up to a week after the day of the piercing as the inflammation calms down.

It takes longer to heal because this area of the ear doesn’t have much blood flow. Another factor to consider is how you are effectively creating a wound in your ear with a cartilage piercing. Given the fact that an ear wound takes typically three months to heal, it poses a greater risk of infection and pain as well(2).

For the most part, it’s about the spot. But to point out, the level of pain during the process has a lot to do with the experience of the piercer as well. If you choose an experienced professional, it is possible to go much more smoothly. More importantly, consider piercing needles rather than piercing guns, and distract your mind during the procedure — listen to music or talk to your friend.

What Is The Cost Of Ear Piercing?

While it depends on which salon you choose, most places will charge between $10 to $20 for lobe piercings and $20 to $30 for cartilage piercings. Excluding the jewelry, of course. 

General Aftercare Tips for Ear Piercing

In order to avoid risking infection or irritation, or worse extend the healing process, you have to be familiar with how your piercings need to be cared for. You must always follow your piercer’s instructions for post-care(3). Here are a few aftercare tips you do not want to miss:

  • Try not to sleep on your ear piercing.
  • Don’t rotate, twist, or turn any of your ear piercings. 
  • Clean them with pre-made saline solutions one or two times a day.
  • Stay clear of baths, hot tubs, pools, and other bodies of water for six to eight weeks after getting pierced.
  • Avoid soap, bactine, Neosporin, peroxide, or rubbing alcohol.
  • Avoid harsh chemicals coming into contact with new piercings. 
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