Which Piercings Hurt Most & Least? (Pain Scale)

Ever wondered how much your most sought-after piercing will hurt when you have it done?

Piercings are now available in a huge variety of areas all around the body, meaning that some will naturally be more painful than others. This will depend on skin thickness, nerve endings, pain tolerance, and many other factors.

This article will walk you through each of the most popular piercings, describing how much (or how little) each one will most-likely hurt when you feel brave enough to take the plunge.

Most Painful Piercings

Bear in mind that pain is relative. Therefore, by having one of the specified body parts listed below pierced, it may or may not be a painful experience for you, and it may hurt more or less than other procedures such as tattoos.

Nevertheless, these piercings have a reputation for being the most painful, so if you take a friend for a shoulder to cry on, nobody is going to think any less of you.

1. Daith

daith piercing is a puncture to the lump of cartilage in your inner ear, above the ear canal. Due to its awkward position and the toughness of the tissue, it can be painful to get this area pierced. This is because it takes longer to perforate the dense cartilage, and care needs to be taken to ensure the hole is positioned correctly.

Although, don’t let that be enough to deter you from achieving your desired look. The daith piercing also has its benefits! If you are a migraine sufferer, the extra discomfort could be worth it.

The area where this piercing is performed is an acupuncture point, which means that it can help people who encounter chronic headaches, by alleviating the pressure felt. 

2. Helix

The helix piercing is placed in the cartilage groove of the upper ear. While some of the other piercings in this list probably have a bit more bite, this one can still pinch fairly badly due to the tough, stiff cartilage that the needle has to pass through. However, it’ll be over in a flash and you’ll have forgotten all about it by the time you leave the shop.

3. Rook

While less common than other piercings on this list, the rook can look amazing if matched with the right jewelry. However, due to the placement of the piercing and the thickness of cartilage that the needle has to pass through, this one can be pretty painful.

4. Conch

With this piercing, the needle has to be pushed through the outer-shell of ear cartilage, meaning that the pain can be pretty sharp and intense. Always remember though – it’s only a few seconds of pain for a lifetime of piercing.

5. Industrial 

The industrial piercing is unique in the way that it goes through two parts of the ear to make up one very unique-looking piercing. Unfortunately, however, this comes at a cost as two piercing holes mean two short and sharp bouts of pain.

Like all other cartilage piercings, the needle has to go through tough tissue, meaning the pressure can feel quite heavy as the needle is pushed through.

6. Dermal Anchor

A dermal anchor is a small piercing that sits on the flat surface of your skin. Seeing as there are no entry and exit spots, the piercer has to remove a small chunk of skin, (usually with a dermal punch rather than a needle) in order to embed the anchor within the body.

Still, if you choose to get this piercing in an area where the skin is taut and doesn’t have a lot of nerve endings the pain is sure to be minimized. 

7. Septum

While nostril piercings are relatively pain-free – you won’t have as much luck with a septum piercing. These piercings can look absolutely spectacular when paired with the right jewelry, but this comes with an unfortunate price; the piercing is painful. This is due to how sensitive the soft and delicate tissue is that lines the septum.

However, it isn’t all doom and gloom. Despite many people finding this piercing particularly painful, there are hundreds of others who say it was relatively painless. So don’t take my word for it. You may have to bite the bullet and see for yourself on this one.

8. Nipple

It goes without saying your nipples are one of the most sensitive parts on your body. They have a lot of nerve endings, hence why getting one or both of them pierced is going to hurt. Many people say that this is one of the most painful piercings that they have gotten.

Least Painful Piercings

If you are the kind of person who doesn’t handle pain too well, don’t be disheartened; you can also personalize your image by opting for one of these piercings without shaking in terror before your appointment!

1. Earlobes

Earlobe piercings are the most common type of piercing. People young and old have their ears pierced every day. Ear lobe piercings are relatively pain-free as they are performed on a fleshy, non-cartilage section of your skin.

It’s simple, quick and usually heals pretty well. In fact, if you follow your piercing professionals aftercare instructions to the tee and clean your new bling twice a day with salt-water solution then you could be fully healed in just 6 weeks. At that point, you can chop and change your jewelry as much as you wish!

2. Lip

Many people are surprised to discover that lip piercings aren’t actually that painful. As with earlobe piercings, the area around your mouth is quite fleshy, leading to a less painful experience.

Not to mention the best part about lip piercings are their increasing diversity of styles, including spider biteslabretmonroe, and many more! Thus you can create your individual look on a rather low pain scale.

3. Navel (Belly Button)

Navel piercings are still very popular, probably the second most common after earlobe piercings. It’s understandable after all, belly button piercings look cute and don’t inflict too much pain, if any. Previous customers have mentioned the procedure felt more like a sting than a puncture wound.

Just think ahead and wear loose, baggy clothing to the piercing parlor. You don’t want to walk in there and immediately regret wearing your favorite outfit, only to accidentally catch your new piercing! Then you will be in for a world and pain… and complications.

4. Nostril

Nostril piercings are very much in demand. A simple outer nose piercing for a stud or a ring is simple to do and heals quickly. You will be looking at a 6-8 week recovery period, much like the earlobe piercing.

Still, if you have recently come down with a cold, it might be worth laying off for a while. Having to keep blowing your nose, while trying to keep your new piercing clean, will be a real nuisance and may enhance your chances of contracting an infection.

5. Eyebrow

Due to how little skin needs to be punctured during the procedure, the eyebrow piercing is pretty painless. However, this area of skin is still entangled with sensitive nerve endings, so you’ll likely feel a short, sharp pinch for a second or two.

6. Tongue

When people imagine their tongues being pierced, they generally picture agony and tears. What’s funny is that while this appears to be the one piercing that has every person wincing at the thought of a needle going through that big fleshy muscle in their mouths, this is actually one of the least painful piercings to get!

Do All Piercings Hurt?

This largely depends on each individual person’s pain threshold. What may be painful for you, may not be for somebody else and vice versa. However, everyone who decides to customize their look by obtaining a piercing will feel a varying amount of pressure.

Not only is your pain tolerance key, but also the location of the piercing considerably impacts the amount of pain that you may experience. For example, an ear lobe piercing will hurt far less than a tragus piercing because the needle needs to pass through cartilage.

Plus it’s important to remember, that the piercing itself is usually completed in a flash before you’ve even had time to feel pain, leaving you sitting there wondering what on earth you were worrying about in the first place!

Generally speaking, you will feel more irritation in the aftermath of the piercing, in the form of achiness, swelling and tenderness.

How Long Do Piercings Hurt For?

The initial piercing won’t hurt for very long at all. You are likely to experience an instant feeling of pressure and maybe a few minutes of pain. Although, of course, this will largely depend on the location of your piercing. For example, a tragus piercing will hurt more than an ear lobe piercing, as it has to pass through thick cartilage, therefore taking longer to pierce and incurring more pressure. 

However,  you can expect there to be some soreness after the piercing. This part can drag on for much longer. Yet, the discomfort you encounter is not completely out of your hands. You play an important part in how quickly you heal. If you take care of your new piercing and follow your aftercare instructions to the tee, you are sure to end any suffering at a much faster rate.

According to most piercing professionals, a good guideline to follow is the soreness should start to deplete after around a week. Unless it’s in a spot where it’s constantly being irritated, like your lip or your nose, or except if you keep knocking it, such as during sports.

If you are concerned about whether or not your piercing should still be painful, or if you are worried about developing an infection, you should go back to the piercing studio and ask the staff for their professional opinion.

If you notice some discharge coming from the piercing site, don’t panic! That doesn’t necessarily mean you have an infection. It is normal for there to be some discharge during the healing stages. On the other hand, if you feel sharp pain or throbbing, and the area is hot to the touch, you might have an infection. If that’s the case, seek medical advice. You may need antibiotics.

How To Make A Piercing Hurt Less

Your first port of call might be to have a couple of shots before you get a piercing done to numb the pain, but that is not a good idea! In fact, most professionals won’t pierce you if you appear to be under the influence. Instead of trying to numb the pain with alcohol or other substances, you can try these methods to make the piercing less painful, both during and after the actual procedure:

Numbing Cream

There are topical sprays and creams that you can use to numb most areas before the piercing begins. If you are very sensitive to pain and you’re worried that you might jump or cause the piercing to go awry, share your concerns with your piercer. They may suggest numbing the area first. After all, safety is paramount and your piercer is not going to want any ‘accidents’ to take place on his chair.

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.

Breathe Deeply

Meditative breathing is a great way to focus your mind and help reduce pain levels. If you don’t really know how to do meditative breathing, you can just take 10 deep, slow breaths. This will encourage you to remain calm.

Listen To Music

Whether the sounds of the ocean relax you, or you prefer to keep the adrenaline flowing by listening to rock music, create yourself a playlist that will enable you to feel at ease and enjoy the experience. Pop in some earbuds and listen while you get pierced. It will help to take your mind off what is about to happen. Your piercer won’t be offended or think you’re rude. They would rather have you do what you need to, in order to remain calm than spend that time chatting with an anxious and unsure customer.

Use A Distraction

Bring a friend or a family member along, to give you somebody to talk to and keep you distracted during the piercing. Although, it might be worth noting that this only works if your companion can stay calm while watching you get pierced. If you bring a buddy that can’t stand the sight of blood or needles, they probably won’t be a good distraction and could end up causing all kinds of trouble!

After The Piercing

You’ve just had your piercing done and think its all over, but you couldn’t be more wrong! Now the real work begins. Aftercare for your piercing is really important. Be sure that you understand all the aftercare directions that your piercer gives you before you leave.

If you have already left and you have more questions, don’t hesitate to call and ask. They are used to it and won’t think you’re bothering them. It’s better to call and ask than do nothing and hope for the best.

Aftercare usually is pretty simple for most piercings. Clean the area twice daily, washing your hands before touching your new bling. Remember the fewer times you touch it, the less chance you have of introducing bacteria into the wound. Ensure you wear loose-fitting clothing if the piercing is in an area where it’s covered by clothing.

The best aftercare product I’ve personally used is the After Inked Piercing Aftercare Spray. Not only is it vegan, 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.

If you begin to experience pain or soreness in the first week or so, there are a couple of easy ways you can manage the discomfort:

Ice It

Ice is an easy, free, and readily available painkiller. Ice is well-known for reducing swelling, which you are likely to encounter in the first few days after having your new piercing done.

Don’t have any ice in your freezer? Not to worry, you can use a frozen bag of vegetables or an ice pack as a substitute. Although it is not recommended to apply the ice directly to the area. Instead, cover whatever ice-based product you are using with a clean rag or paper towels to prevent acquainting your wound with bacteria. Likewise, it is not advisable to apply creams and ointments to the area for the exact same reason.

Chamomile Compress

Another insider trick to lessen the pain after a piercing is to use a chamomile compress. Chamomile is a natural healing and soothing agent. It can help your piercing heal more swiftly with less scarring.

All you need to make a chamomile compress is a few chamomile tea bags, the kind you can get at any grocery store. Make yourself a soothing cup of tea. Next, take the used tea bag and either let it cool or pop it in the fridge.

As soon as it’s cool enough to touch comfortably hold the tea bag against your piercing for a few minutes. It will soothe the pain and promote healing. You can do this a few times each day if necessary.

You can also save the brewed tea and use that with a cotton ball later in the day to soothe the area.  Do not redip the cotton ball into the tea or it will become contaminated – use a fresh cotton ball each time and the tea can last for a few treatments.