Ear Piercing Pain: Does Getting Your Ears Pierced Hurt?

  • Written By Dan Hunter on July 15, 2018
    Last Updated: November 27, 2020

Trends may change, but ear piercings have always been very popular. While a lot of people are understandably concerned about the pain of getting piercings, almost everyone who has gotten their ears pierced would agree that the result is surely worth a little discomfort.

Let’s talk about what kind of pain you can expect when you get your ears pierced for the first time.

Will My Ear Piercing Definitely Hurt?

Let’s be honest here; getting your ears pierced is going to temporarily hurt. There are no two ways about it. Getting a needle pierced through your earlobes hurts. While some people say it only hurts a little and a few might even say it hurts a lot, nobody would say that getting your ears pierced doesn’t hurt at all.

However, depending on a lot of factors, the pain may not be as bad for you as it is for others, or as bad as you might expect.

How Bad Will The Pain Be?

Ear piercing pain comes in two forms: the initial sharp pain of the piercing, which only lasts for an instant, and the duller, throbbing pain afterward, which is more of an annoyance than something to really worry about.

Check the list below for a quick overview to see which ear piercings will likely hurt the most (from least to most painful).

  1. Ear lobe piercing
  2. Daith piercing
  3. Helix piercing
  4. Tragus piercing
  5. Rook piercing
  6. Snug piercing
  7. Conch piercing
  8. Industrial piercing
Earn Lobe Piercing

What To Expect At The Shop

Although every shop is different, when you get to the shop for your piercing you’ll first get to meet your piercer and pick out the earrings you want to start with, which is definitely the best part of the process.

After you do that, you’ll sit down, get comfortable and have the piercer mark the places where your piercings will be performed.

You’ll get to see the spots with a mirror so that you can make sure that you’re happy with the placement.

Then, it’s time for the piercing to happen! This is the most nerve-wracking time, but you can rest assured that millions of people (probably billions) have gone through what you’re going through and you’ll be just fine.

Once you’re finished with the procedure, you’ll get a brief overview of how to care for your ear piercing, and you’ll have the chance to ask any questions that you might have, too.

You’ll probably feel relieved and excited that the scary part is over and all you’ll have to worry about is caring for your new piercings.

How Long Will An Ear Piercing Hurt For?

As mentioned before, the sharp pain that accompanies the actual piercing is over very quickly – we’re talking just a couple of seconds. That pain quickly subsides and is replaced by a duller pain.

The dull pain is often described as a throbbing sensation. That will last for a few hours and generally be gone before you know it. In any case, you’ll stop thinking about it after a while.

After the piercing is completed, the pain may go away, but could also be replaced by general tenderness in the pierced areas. You’ll only really notice this if something bumps into your ears or grazes up against them, though. Further intentional modification, such as gauging your ears, can also cause further pain (although this won’t apply for the vast majority.

You must try your best to look after your new piercing, however, because if you’re not careful, ​it is relatively easy to contract an infection around the wound.

​With an infection, often comes pain. Depending on how quickly you’re able to treat the infection, you could be looking at an extended week or two with a tender ear if the infection lingers around for a while.

Clean your piercing regularly and try not to touch the area with dirty fingers to ensure it remains completely free from nasty germs and bacteria.

Tragus Piercing

What Factors Can Affect Ear Piercing Pain?

Your ear piercing experience will be more or less painful based on a variety of factors.

Some of these factors have to do with you. What’s your personal pain tolerance like? What are your expectations for the experience? Are you expecting a lot of pain or are you confident that it won’t be that bad?

Other factors that can affect how much pain you feel have to do with your piercer. If you choose a more experienced professional to handle the piercing, it’s likely to go much more smoothly. They will also have a better technique with the piercing needle to ensure that everything goes right.

Piercings also hurt more or less based upon what area you get them in. For example, an upper ear piercing may hurt a lot more for some people when compared to an inner ear piercing, or vice-versa.

The condition of your skin, your level of rest, and even alcohol or drug consumption can also affect how much pain you feel during your piercing.

Finally, numbing cream can be used before a procedure to help numb the pain (although you will still likely feel at least some sensation during the piercing).

One of the most effective piercing numbing products currently on the market is Zensa Numbing Cream, which contains the highest level of Lidocaine allowed by the FDA for over-the-counter use. The feedback left by thousands of customers for this product is nothing short of exceptional.

Just follow the instructions on the packaging, apply shortly before your piercing procedure is due to begin, and look forward to a less painful and more comfortable piercing experience.

Ways To Deal With Ear Piercing Pain

Here’s some good news for you: there are a lot of ways to prepare for and deal with the pain of getting your ears pierced.

For instance, putting your mind in a different place and focusing on something besides the pain is a great tactic for minimizing how much pain you feel. For this, anything from listening to music to talking to a friend or family member can help you more than you might expect.

Try to think positively! Remember millions of people have gotten the same piercings you’re getting. Furthermore, you should remind yourself that the pain of a piercing is over very quickly and tends to become lesser and lesser with each passing moment afterward.

Being afraid can make the pain seem even worse. To avoid being scared, learn about the piercing process ahead of time and remember what you should expect. Try to picture the process and get used to the idea of what’s going to happen when you arrive for your appointment.

Control your breathing during your appointment and make sure that you’ve had something to eat before you go. This will keep you from feeling light-headed.

Daith Piercing


While all piercings hurt, ear piercings are generally among the least painful types of body piercings. In particular, ear lobe piercings are one of the most popular and least painful piercings, with millions of people of all ages having had this done.

Although you’ll certainly feel some pain when your earlobes are pierced, there’s truly nothing to be scared of and you can go into the experience with confidence that the worst of the pain is over within seconds.

If you want to ensure your piercing heals the best it possibly can, it’s imperative that you follow your piercer’s aftercare advice closely, and be sure to invest in a high-quality aftercare solution to aid recovery.

The best piercing aftercare product I’ve ever had the pleasure of using up to this point is the After Inked Piercing Aftercare Spray. Not only is it vegan-friendly, but it’s also completely alcohol and additive-free. The solution works well on all skin types including sensitive skin, and it comes in a generously-sized mist-spraying bottle for easy application.

When using it from the very start of the healing process, the spray helps to decrease healing times and aims to eliminate any lingering pain or soreness.​ Click here to buy from Amazon.

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