The ear-piercing trend has recently taken the world by storm. Instead of a mani-pedi girls’ night out, piercing parties are becoming a new trend. More and more people choose to hang out with their friends, swoon over glitzy ear-piercing jewelry, pick the piercing placements, and get their ears pierced. So, let’s get this ear party started!

Things to Know Before Getting Ear Piercings

With so many types of ear piercings, it’s important to do your research before you book your appointment with a piercer. Basically, there are three main types of ear piercings you can get:

  • Lobe piercing means standard and upper lobe piercing.
  • Inner ear piercing covers helix piercing, rook piercing, daith piercing, conch piercing, and anti-tragus piercing.
  • Outer ear piercings include forward helix piercing, industrial piercing, and tragus piercing.
The Piercing Chart

via @byrdie

Visit a reputable piercing studio to talk over the options with your perspective piercer, look at some visual references, and discuss a piercing aftercare routine.

As it happens with all needle-based practices, the most expected question before the needle touches your body is how much is it going to hurt?

Well, it all depends on your individual pain tolerance, of course, but the general principle is that lobe piercings are lower on the pain scale than cartilage piercings. Expect to feel a sharp pinch when the needle touches your skin, followed by the feeling of dull pressure or throbbing sensation. To lessen the discomfort, you should avoid getting ear piercing in the first couple of days of your period.

We can’t stress enough the importance of a consistent post-care routine, as each new piercing is essentially an open wound. The instructions various piercers give slightly differ. Some recommend applying a saline solution to the piercing, some favor rinsing the piercing with a gentle soap. But all of them urge you not to fumble with your piercing or sleep on it, avoid harsh chemicals, like rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide, and maintain the cleanliness of everything that comes in touch with a fresh piercing, be it your hands, a pillowcase, or a hat. Good aftercare practices will prevent complications, reduce the discomfort and speed up the healing process.

A professional piercer will also help you choose the best jewelry for each type of piercing. On a general note, stick with hypoallergenic materials (surgical grade titanium, niobium, gold, platinum) and steer clear of tight-fitting jewelry on a new piercing.

Check out the inspiring examples of all types of ear piercings to make up your mind!

1. Upper Lobe Piercings. An upper lobe piercing is a wildly popular choice. And for a good reason! It offers you enough space for experiments with your ear look, allowing for effortless ear curation.

Located a little higher than a standard lobe piercing, it only involves the fleshy portion of the ear lobe right below the cartilage. Hence, lower pain threshold and shorter healing time.

Although you might be tempted to go for multiple piercings at once, professional piercers caution not to get too many piercings at a time. Build your signature look step by step. Once your piercing is healed, choose from a stunning array of earrings. From studs to huggies, everything works for this type of piercing, but our all-time favorites are climber earrings that edge their way up the ear.

Multiple Upper Lobe Piercings

via @stavros_ptc

Two Piercings on the Upper Lobe

via @bunny_piercing

2. Helix. Helix piercing is probably one of the first piercing placements you think of when you consider cartilage piercings. Located in the upper cartilage area, it makes for a fantastic display of earrings.

Keep in mind that although cartilage tissue is rather thin there, cartilage piercings heal differently than lobe piercings. Because of the fewer blood vessels and poorer circulation, it might take three to six months to heal. And yes, they will be more painful than lobe piercings. Follow your piercer’s post-care instructions to speed up the healing process.

Once you stop aftercare practices, you can change your initial jewelry. You can start with simple stud earrings with either a flat disk back or a ball back to decorate both sides of the helix. Captive bead rings, helix hoops, and curved or circular barbells are awesome options for upper ear decor.

Lobe and Helix Ear Piercing

via @dr.rena_abdullayeva

Larger Earring and Helix Stad Curated Ear

via @stavros_ptc

3. Forward Helix. See that little rim of ear cartilage at the top front of your ear? That’s your forward helix. Forward helix piercing is gaining popularity because of its youthful and edgy vibe.

The healing process is very similar to standard helix piercing and most people claim that the pain level is about the same. However, this cartilage-dense area has more nerve endings, so it might be a little bit more sensitive. Given proper aftercare maintenance, it heals in three to six months.

As it doesn’t offer much clearance, flat back studs with post lengths between 6mm and 8mm are a typical choice. Get a double piercing to spruce up the look of your curated ear.

Ear Jewelry on the Forward Helix

via @kristathepiercer

Lobe and Forward Helix Piercings

via @imanpiercing

4. Industrial. Industrial piercings are bold and eye-catching. No wonder so many people are drawn to them. But before you commit to industrial piercing, make sure it’s right for you. As industrial piercing is not one but two cartilage piercings, you will have to feel that pinch twice (ouch!) and stay on top of your post-care routine.

You might want to consider two smaller pieces of jewelry, like labret studs, while your industrial piercing heals. The most basic piece of jewelry for this type of piercing is an industrial barbell that keeps both holes connected. It can be plain and minimal or adorned with cute charms, colorful gemstones, or detailed metalwork.

Bow and Arrow Industrial Ear Piercing Idea

via @icybellys

Classy Lobe and Industrial Piercing with Gemstones

via @artemisa.bodypiercing

Type of Piercing that Keeps Two Holes Connected

via @the_tat_cat_

5. Rook. A rook piercing goes through the uppermost cartilage fold right beneath your top ear rim. Since the piercing goes through a double layer of cartilage, you may feel a sharp pain. This means rook piercing might take a little longer to heal too – on average, 6-9 months to heal and settle.

Experts also suggest using jewelry with extra room on each side of the rook (think a hoop or a curved barbell) to give your ear space to swell while healing for the initial healing period. Dangly or snug-fitting jewelry is best after a full year of healing.

Lobe and Rook Ear Piercing with Silver Jewelry

via @laura_bond_jewellery

Gold Double Lobe Rook and Helix Piercings on One Ear

via @giselle_bodyart

6. Daith. Daith piercings are loved for their daring unconventional style. A daith is a little flap of inner cartilage located in the fold of your ear above the entrance to the ear canal. While it’s not the most sensitive part of your ear, its awkward location calls for special curved piercing needles and the daith piercing process is slow and careful. It is usually fully healed within six to twelve months.

Although you might be itching to change your jewelry, give your daith piercing time to settle before you go for lovely silver hoop earrings or curved barbells.

Daith Piering on Innermost Cartilage Fold

via @stavros_ptc

Type of Piercing in the Inner Cup of Ear

via @piercingbydr.merna

Heart Shaped Daith Piercing Jewelry and Curved Barbell on Helix

via @barbaruiva_bodypiercer

7. Inner Conch. As beautiful as the shell it gets its name from, the conch is the inner cup of the ear. The inner conch piercing is located in the inner ear, parallel to the daith. Because conch piercings go through thicker cartilage, they might hurt more than other cartilage piercings, with possible bleeding, swelling, and tenderness.

You should wait at least six months before you can upgrade your jewelry. To prevent irritation, opt for small and lightweight studs for an inner conch piercing.

Classy Golden Jewelry Ideas for Ear with Many Piercings

via @igniitepiercings

Upper Lobe and Inner Conch Piercing

via @nourpiercing

Edgy Triple Inner Conch Piercing

via @weswildvang.piercer

8. Outer Conch. The outer conch is closer to the ridge that forms the outer rim of the ear. The conch piercings are performed with a special hollow needle or a dermal punch. The latter is used when a person wants a bigger piece of jewelry placed, thus the piercer needs to remove a circle of cartilage.

The outer conch piercing takes about the same period of time to heal as the inner one. Barbells and hoops are classic jewelry options for this type of cartilage piercing.

Classy Hoop Cartilage Piercing Jewelry Ideas

via @ca_piercingg

Curated Ear with Rook and Outer Conch Piercings

via @katia.santos_bodypiercing

Outer Conch Piercing with Hoop Chain Earrings

via @studio_seven_piercing Jewelry by pupil.hall

9. Tragus. Tragus is a flap of cartilage located right in front of the ear canal, where the ear meets the face. Tragus piercings are carried out with a needle, as piercing guns are too loud for the eardrums. Actually, you might hear a pop when the needle goes through, which can be unnerving and add to the discomfort. The healing process typically takes three to six months.

Avoid touching your tragus piercing or twisting the earring to prevent infecting the piercing. You might want to stay clear of earbuds as well as the tragus piercing would be in their way.

Tragus Piercing in Front of an Ear

via @igniitepiercings

Curated Ear with Two Lobe and One Tragus Piercing

via @rose.piercingg

Three Small Piercings on Lobe and Tragus

via @nourpiercing

10. Anti Tragus. The anti-tragus is a rather small flap of the outer cartilage area above the earlobe and across from the tragus. The anti-tragus piercing hurts no more than any other cartilage piercing and takes about the same time to fully heal.

As for the jewelry, indulge yourself on a cartilage hoop, circular or curved barbells, or flat back studs. Just make sure your cartilage is large enough to support the chosen jewelry design.

Many Small Piercings on the Outer and Inner Ear Cartilage

via @hotrodpiercing Jewelry by buddhajewelryofficial

Lobe and Anti Tragus Hook Piercings

via @karmajewellerydundee

Curved Barbell Earing on Ear Anti Tragus

via @piercingsbyelin Jewelry by qualitibodyjewellery

What piercings are in style 2023?

One of the most pronounced ear-piercing trends is multiple piercings, from triple forward helix piercing to stacked lobe piercing.

What is the most painful ear piercing?

As said before, cartilage piercings tend to be more hurtful. The more tissue gets punctured, the more discomfort you can expect. In this respect, rook or snug piercings would be the most painful, closely followed by industrial piercing, which has a fairly high pain level.

Which ear piercings are easiest to heal?

A lobe piercing heals the fastest due to the soft tissue with good blood circulation that ensures white cell flow to heal the piercing. Normally, healing can take 6-8 weeks.

Ready to give it a try? Start by saving some of the preferred piercing ideas to your Pinterest board. Consider the size of the jewelry and the placement before you make your pick. Finally, remember that a piercing is a form of body modification and it should be taken seriously. Understand the risks involved in getting pierced and practice proper aftercare to avoid infection or irritation. Good luck!

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