Different Ear Piercing Types & Names - The Complete Guide
There are so many types of ear piercings that it can be extremely difficult to choose the one you want the most! Different ear piercings come with varying pain levels, aftercare procedures, and healing times, so it's important to research each one before deciding exactly what you want.
But of course, one of the reasons why piercings can be so addictive is that you really have a lot of choices at your disposal that you can use to stand apart from the crowd. Your ears can become a canvas of sorts that you can use to show off your creativity and style.
Here, we'll take you through some of the most popular ear piercing types and what they entail. Also, we'll talk about what you should expect before getting a piercing done, as well as common healing times for different piercings and helpful care tips.
Different Types Of Ear Piercings
Here is a brief overview of the many different ear piercing types that you can choose to really customize your look. Keep in mind that recovery periods, prices, and even pain levels can depend upon the area that you choose.
Of course, most people who want to get ear piercings are primarily interested in how they'll look, which this section can help you to envision.
Helix piercings are cartilage piercings located along the upper ear. This piercing is performed using a small gauge piercing needle and often doesn't include any pain because there are no nerve endings in this area.
Although studs can be used in helix piercings, you're most likely to see a captive bead ring or barbell.
Forward Helix Piercing
The location for a forward helix piercing is similar to that of a regular helix piercing, but lower, near what is called the root of the helix.
Although forward helix piercings can be used with a variety of jewelry or even incorporated into an industrial piercing, common forward helix jewelry tends to include studs, for the most part.
Industrial piercings are actually a pair of piercings that are connected with a single piece of jewelry. With industrial piercings, one piercing is in the forward-helix area and the other is on the opposite side of the ear.
Generally, a single barbell is used to connect them, although a lot of various styles are used.
The snug piercing is one of the most distinctive ear piercings, as it's located in the inner cartilage area part-way down the ear's outer rim, just above the anti-tragus. It's a very shallow location, which is why you're likely to use micro jewelry when you get a snug piercing.
The rook piercing can be considered as sort of a cousin of the snug piercing. It's vertically oriented, however, and found above the tragus on the ridge separating the inner and outer conch. This piercing looks really cool with either curved barbells or captive bead rings.
This cartilage piercing can either be of the inner or outer variety, though a lot of conch piercings cover both areas and use a captive bead ring for an eye-catching look. The name of the piercing comes from this part of the ear's resemblance to conch shells regularly found on ocean coasts.
Orbital piercings aren't exclusive to the ear, as they are technically any two piercings that are linked together with one piece of jewelry. Orbital piercings are particularly popular in the helix area or anti-helix.
The tragus is the part of your ear right in front of your ear canal. This piercing can be more or less difficult depending on the thickness and size of your tragus. However, it's also versatile and looks good with a number of jewelry styles.
Anti-tragus piercings are cartilage piercings located just above where traditional lobe piercings are done. Despite its name, the anti-tragus is actually really similar to tragus piercings in terms of characteristics and healing time.
The lobe piercing is still perhaps the most common piercing throughout the world. It's quite possibly the first piercing you ever had done and also one of the quickest to heal. Many who love body modifications and piercings start with this one.
Transverse Lobe Piercing
Transverse lobe piercings are a new twist on an old classic. With transverse lobe piercings, a barbell is used to go horizontally through the earlobe instead of from the outside to the inside. This one is highly subject to the shape and size of your earlobe, of course.
Daith piercings are performed through the innermost cartilage fold of the ear and can be difficult to access. For this reason, they should be done by a professional that you trust.
After the piercing is done, most opt for captive bead ring or curved barbell jewelry. One cool thing about this piercing is that it's often credited as a potential remedy for migraines.
Also known as rim piercings, auricle piercings are found on the rim of the cartilage near the outside of the ear. They are usually done in conjunction with one or more lobe piercings but can complement whatever piercings you already have with ease.
Dermal piercings are a catch-all term for piercings that have just one visible point on the surface of the skin, but in terms of ear piercings, they can be located just inward from the tragus.
Is There Anything I Should Do Before Getting An Ear Piercing?
While most of the responsibility will lie with your body piercer when you get a new piercing, that doesn't mean that there isn't anything you'll have to do leading up to the day that you get your piercing done.
First and foremost, make sure that you've done your research. Not only does that mean looking at the various types of piercings and figuring out which one is best for you, but also making sure that you've considered all factors before you've moved on.
You'll want to look into things like the typical cost of the piercing you've chosen. You'll want to consider the difficulty of the piercing so that you know what level of piercing professional is needed.
While it's always a good idea to go with someone who is experienced and knowledgeable, it's even more important to do so with a technically difficult piercing, such as daith piercings.
It may be tempting to go with whoever has the cheapest price for simpler piercings, such as lobe piercings. However, even these piercings can be botched, and the results can range from mildly annoying to quite serious.
Consider whether it's worth it to save a few bucks to get your piercing done at the mall instead of paying a professional who knows what he or she is doing.
Once you know that the piercing you've chosen fits your budget and style, select the right professional and get specific quotes for pricing.
You can also learn more about starter jewelry options and get expert information on everything from the level of pain you should expect to how long it's likely to take for your new piercing to heal.
When the day of your piercing appointment comes, you only really have a couple of jobs. First off, you have to avoid activities earlier in the day that will irritate the site of your new piercing.
Second, you need to show up on time and ready for the piercing itself. You don't want to be a nervous wreck or difficult to deal with. You want your piercer to be able to concentrate 100% on what he or she is doing.
If you'd feel better with a friend there, ask the shop ahead of time whether one can come with you. Other options, such as specific music during the piercing procedure, may also be available if you ask.
What Happens During An Ear Piercing Procedure
So you arrive at the shop and you're ready to go through with the piercing. What happens next?
Well, you'll meet with your piercer again and get reacquainted with the shop. You'll likely get to take a minute to get comfortable with your surroundings, especially if you arrive with a few minutes to spare. When it's your turn, you'll make your way to the chair where the piercing will be done.
In most cases, your body piercing professional will mark the area that is going to be pierced. This serves a couple of purposes. For one, it allows the body piercer to know exactly where to puncture your ear with the needle for the piercing.
Also, it gives you a chance to see exactly where the piercing will be done. You'll have the chance to check out the spot in the mirror and say whether or not you're happy with the placement. If you're not – speak up! This is your last chance to make minor changes, after all.
Once the piercing is done, your piercing specialist can no longer move the spot over by a hair.
The piercing expert will get the sterilized equipment and load up your starter jewelry for the piercing. In many cases, you may get to see equipment sterilized before your eyes, in fact. No matter what, a reputable shop will be trustworthy in this area, so don't worry.
When your body piercer is completely ready and you're settled in and ready yourself, the piercing is done. That's the part that makes most people nervous. The universal question that most people ask right before the piercing is done is covered in our next section.
Will My Ear Piercing Hurt?
That is the question that is on most people's minds as they show up for their appointment. Sure, you may have heard opinions from friends or acquaintances that have already gotten the same piercing that you're planning on getting.
Still, you never really know until you go through the experience yourself.
The most honest answer is probably the one that you're not interested in hearing, and that is simply that it depends. Yes, you can't expect a consistent pain level among every type of ear piercing, because pain is highly dependant on the location.
Why? Because of a number of factors, such as the thickness of the area, and the density and sensitivity of the surrounding nerve endings.
In general, earlobe piercings provide a good baseline pain level because they are generally considered to be the least painful type of ear piercing. From there, you've got helix, vertical lobe, and general cartilage piercings, which are a bit more painful but still not unbearable for most.
Rook, tragus, and conch piercings are a little more painful, but the most painful ear piercings are generally considered to be anti-tragus, snug, and industrial piercings.
These piercings are mostly set apart from others not so much because of the intensity of pain at the moment of the piercing itself, but because the discomfort is likely to persist longer than for say, lobe piercings.
Again, there are a few things to remember. One is that pain levels are highly individual. What is really painful to you may not be all that painful for someone else, and vice versa.
Also, pain can vary according to the experience level and ability of your piercer (another reason to opt for a true professional).
Finally, even the most painful ear piercings pale in comparison to nipple or genital piercings, to list a few examples. Rest assured that no matter what you choose, you'll get through it with the right mindset.
How Should I Care For My Ear Piercing?
Caring for ear piercings is pretty simple, but also extremely important. Your first objective will be simply to keep your piercing clean. This can be a little difficult with ear piercings, since it's easy for shampoo and other stuff to get lodged within the wound.
To deal with this, use a set routine that involves the use of cleaning solution (which is generally obtained at the shop where you get your piercing done). Avoid the use of harsh soaps and again, don't let soap or shampoo get in or collect in or around your piercing.
Getting A New Piercing?
If you're thinking about getting a new piercing of any type, you'll want to ensure you're sufficiently prepared for the hugely important healing stage.
The best piercing aftercare product I've ever had the pleasure of using up to this point is the H2Ocean Piercing Aftercare Spray.
Not only is every single ingredient completely natural, but the spray works brilliantly on all skin types (including sensitive skin) and comes in a very generously sized can.
Many users of the spray advise that when using it from the very start of the healing process, it appears to decrease healing times and helps to reduce any lingering pain/soreness.
Read more about the H2Ocean Piercing Spray here. Have a quick look at some of the customer reviews and you'll see why it's one of the most popular piercing sprays on the market.
A twice daily cleaning routine is often advised. The best suggestion for this aspect is to do your cleaning when you're already doing other things, such as brushing your teeth.
By incorporating your piercing care with other parts of your daily hygiene routine, you can make sure that you don't forget and subject yourself to setbacks through painful infections.
How Long Will Ear Piercings Take To Heal?
If you've had your ear lobes pierced before, you may have the idea that most ear piercings take just six to eight weeks to heal. Well, this is true for lobe piercings, but it's not the standard for every type of piercing, even when it comes to ears.
Upper cartilage & inner cartilage piercings take longer to heal than lobe piercings, generally speaking. How long should you expect? Anywhere from three to six months in the case of many cartilage piercings. From daith to industrial piercings, a lot of different ear piercings fit within this window.
However, you can expect healing to take about six to 12 months for anti-helix piercings, such as snug piercings. Dermal piercings vary, on the other hand, since they can be done in so many different locations.
Rook piercings are on the longer end of the spectrum, with primary healing requiring about six months. However, secondary healing will continue for as long as 12 to 18 months, even though you can change your jewelry well before that point.
The bottom line when it comes to healing is to listen to your piercing specialist. As an expert, your body piercer will be able to give you a solid estimate for your expected healing time and even adjust that estimate according to how well you heal in the meantime.
Most piercers don't mind if you stop in from time to time to show them how you've healed.
What Ear Piercing Jewelry Should I Get For My Ears?
The process of choosing the right jewelry for your piercing is where the fun really begins. This is when most people get excited as they get to select from almost limitless options that can vary from sexy or elegant to playful or fun.
Of course, you'll have to keep in mind that your starter jewelry may be somewhat limited not only when it comes to style, but also in materials used.
Many people opt for stainless or surgical steel piercings to begin with, for instance, since during that time you'll be mostly interested in not just looking good, but also preventing infections from taking hold.
As we discussed earlier, your piercing expert will let you know when it's safe to switch out your starter jewelry for something new. That's when you'll get to have more fun with your piercing and change styles for different occasions or just to suit your mood.
Earrings can be made with a number of materials. Again, there's stainless steel, but also sterling silver, gold, mixed metals, platinum, and more. Unless you have concerns such as allergic reactions, you'll have a lot of choices between materials even if you're locked into a specific style.
With some types of piercings, you will be a little limited, of course. If you get an industrial piercing, you'll use a straight barbell, for instance.
With other types, including lobe piercings, you can connect to other piercings or just go with studs, hoops, and other typical styles. Then there are helix piercings, where you may choose cuff earrings or captive ball rings.
The important thing to remember is that you'll have nearly limitless choices when it comes to expressing your individuality through all of the different types of ear piercings. Learn about the different names, placements, variations, and the jewelry you can choose from, and figure out which works best with your ideal look and personal sense of style.