Ear piercings 101: all the different styles, where they are, and how much they hurt

About five seconds of scrolling through Instagram will give you all the proof you need that it’s aaaall about the ear piercings right now. Multiple earrings are having a serious style moment and it’s no wonder – they all look awesome, effortless and there’s a whole lot of different types and combinations to choose from.

While you’re stuck with a tattoo forever, piercings are a great option if you wanna express yourself or try a new look without any permanent decisions. So if you’re thinking of taking the plunge and adding a teeny tiny ear piercing (or seven) to your life, here’s everything you need to know.

What do all the different styles and names actually mean?

Considering your ears are a fairly small part of your body, there are endless options for piercing ’em up – and right now there’s even the huge trend of constellation jewellery, which sees gals and guys rocking arty, starry sky-inspired clusters of multiple piercings all at once.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here; with some dreamy examples from Instagram to inspire and illustrate things clearly for you, let’s make sure you know exactly what you’re after with a quick rundown of all the different ear piercing names, their style, and exactly where they are. Handy, eh?

1. Ear Lobe Ear Lobe piercing, from the article: Ear piercing Names: What are the Different Ear Piercings Called

Image credit: Pinterest

2. Second Ear Lobe

Second Ear Lobe piercing, from the article: Ear piercing Names: What are the Different Ear Piercings Called

Image credit:@kanpantha

3. Third Ear Lobe

 

Third Ear Lobe piercing, from the article: Ear piercing Names: What are the Different Ear Piercings Called

Image credit: Pinterest

4. Helix

Helix piercing, from the article: Ear piercing Names: What are the Different Ear Piercings Called

Image credit: @manokruel

5. Double/Triple Helix 

 

Double / Triple Helix piercing, from the article: Ear piercing Names: What are the Different Ear Piercings Called

Image credit: @tangledmossjewellery

6. Forward Helix 

Forward Helix piercing, from the article: Ear piercing Names: What are the Different Ear Piercings Called

Image credit: @piercinginspiration

7. Double Forward Helix

Double Forward Helix piercing, from the article: Ear piercing Names: What are the Different Ear Piercings Called

Image credit: @eyeoftheneedlepiercing

8. Triple Forward Helix 

Triple Forward Helix piercing, from the article: Ear piercing Names: What are the Different Ear Piercings Called

Image credit: @maverickconnerbate

9. Industrial 

Industrial piercing, from the article: Ear piercing Names: What are the Different Ear Piercings Called

Image credit: Pinterest

10. Tragus 

Tragus piercing, from the article: Ear piercing Names: What are the Different Ear Piercings Called

Image credit: @maria_tash

11. Anti Tragus 

Anti-Tragus piercing, from the article: Ear piercing Names: What are the Different Ear Piercings Called

Image credit: Pinterest

12. Daith 

Daith piercing, from the article: Ear piercing Names: What are the Different Ear Piercings Called

Image credit: Pinterest

13. Outer Conch  

Outer Conch piercing, from the article: Ear piercing Names: What are the Different Ear Piercings Called

Image credit: @dassinhaq

14. Inner Conch

Inner Conch piercing, from the article: Ear piercing Names: What are the Different Ear Piercings Called

Image credit: @thesammersaurus

15. Rook 

Rook piercing, from the article: Ear piercing Names: What are the Different Ear Piercings Called

Image credit: @thesammersaurus

16. Snug 

Snug piercing, from the article: Ear piercing Names: What are the Different Ear Piercings Called

Image credit: Pinterest

17. Transverse Lobe   

Transverse Lobe piercing, from the article: Ear piercing Names: What are the Different Ear Piercings Called

Image credit: @holly.casey

So, is it gonna hurt? 

Let’s be honest, you’re voluntarily sticking your hand in the air to have a whacking great needle and/or gun pop a hole in your flesh, hooraaay. So yep, it probably is going to hurt – at least a little bit.

But everyone has different pain thresholds. A piercing that’s the most painful experience in the world for your BFF might be no biggie for you – and you’ve chosen to have it in the name of fashion, remember, so the knowledge of how great it’s going to look might carry you through. But at the very least, you can expect a little bit of discomfort during the actual piercing, and maybe even afterwards while it heals.

Which ones are the most and least painful? 

It’s a different experience for everybody, but the easiest way to figure out a pain rating is to think about exactly what you’re punching a hole into. Generally, the ear lobe is said to be least painful because it’s fleshy and soft, while something a bit edgier like a helix, forward helix, daith or conch is gonna hurt more because it’s pure, tough cartilage.

Generally speaking, you’re looking at a rough pain-o-meter that goes something like this from least to most ouch-worthy.

LEAST PAINFUL

Lobes
A good one to go for if it’s your first ever piercing. They’re super fleshy, so it’s just like a small pinch or sting.

Helix
This is full-on cartilage so needs some more pressure to pierce – but it’s still over in seconds.

Daith/Tragus
Through your inner cartilage, meaning it’s uncomfortable but not unbearable

Rook/Snug
You’ll feel a sharp pressure that lasts a few moments while the needle pushes through thick cartilage (but on the other hand, it’s tucked inside your ear so it’s less likely to catch on anything afterwards).

Conch
It pierces directly through the shell of your ear which is thicker cartilage, so very little flesh means more pressure and pain.

Industrial
It goes without saying that this one’s two parts of the ear (and they’re both cartilage), so that’s technically two piercings in one go. Ow.

And what about afterwards? 

Once you’re all done and dusted at the (professional and sterile) piercing parlour, it’s all on you to make sure that things don’t take a turn for the gross with your piercing. Healing completely depends on the type of piercing – ear lobes take around four to six weeks, while cartilage piercings can take up to a whole year. We know it’s tempting, but do NOT rush to change your jewellery until it’s properly healed.

Aftercare is also super important to make sure that you’re not left with any infections and that your new piercing heals to Pinterest levels of perfection.

Ask your piercer for specific instructions, but it’s generally agreed that you should be using a clean cotton bud and a sterile saline or antibacterial solution to gently remove any dried blood or discharge. Try not to twist the piercing as this could irritate it. If things get swollen, extra bloody or painful despite all of this, get it checked out.

So here ends your introductory lesson on ear piercing. In conclusion: read reviews online, don’t be afraid to ask literally ANY questions you have before and after the big moment, and be strict with yourself when it comes to sticking to the aftercare.

Happy piercing, pal.

@LucyJaneWood

 

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