The Ultimate Ear Piercing Guide

Ear Piercings

Getting that awesome new ear piercing often comes with a lot of questions. Here at Piercing Mania we know a thing or two about piercings, and we want to share our knowledge and research about all things ear piercing related.

If you have any questions about ear piercings, here you can read information ranging from how much pain to expect or how much does it cost to get pierced, to how long will it take for your new cartilage earring to heal.

Then, when you have already taken the plunge and gotten your ear pierced, we have the best information about proper piercing aftercare and how to buy the right piercings or earrings for you.

Types of Ear Piercings

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HELIX

Helix

The helix piercing goes through the outer cartilage rim on the upper part of the ear, including the auricle.

TRAGUS

Tragus

The tragus piercing goes through the inner cartilage above the ear canal.

DAITH

Daith

The daith piercing is one of the more difficult piercings to access, going through the innermost fold of cartilage in the ear.

CONCH

Conch

The conch piercing goes through the ‘shell’ of the ear, where the cartilage is thickest. This can include the inner or outer conch.

INDUSTRIAL

Industrial

Industrial piercings go through two different piercing sites, usually the helix and anti-helix, using one piece of jewellery which is usually a barbell.

ANTI-HELIX/SNUG

Snug

The unique anti-helix piercing is situated in the shallow inner cartilage, just above the anti-tragus.

ORBITAL

Orbital

An orbital piercing is a combination of two piercings using one piece of jewellery, not unlike an industrial piercing.

However, the location on the anti-helix and helix means that there is more variation in jewellery design.

The double twister piercing is an exciting and unique look to go with an orbital piercing. Hoops and bars can also be used for an impressive look.

50 - 80
4 - 8 Months

Make sure that you take care of both the piercing sites when you get an orbital piercing and don’t neglect one. It is always important to inform yourself about proper aftercare practices.

ANTI-TRAGUS

Anti-Tragus

The anti-tragus earring is located in the little triangular shaped spot just above the ear lobe, and beside the tragus. Your piercing would sit on the spot where cord to your earphones would rest.

It is a fun spot to get pierced but can be quite small and difficult to get into, so make sure the piercing artist knows what they are doing.

Any jewellery that works for the tragus will work for the anti-tragus, and usually curved or hooped piercings are the most popular choice.

25 - 40
3 - 6 Months

As long as you are consistent with your aftercare, the healing should go smoothly.

ROOK

Rook

The rook earring is definitely one of the most unique ear piercings you can get. It is the little cousin of the snug earring, but instead of piercing the antihelix of the ear horizontally, it goes through vertically.

It is named after revered piercing artist Erik Dakota and has been worn by several famous celebrities such as Emma Watson and Scarlett Johansson. Like most cartilage piercings, a 16 gauge hollow needle is used.

Pain levels really depend on the person themselves, as most people claim it is no more painful than other cartilage piercings, while some claim it is the most painful piercing available.

25 - 40
3 - 6 Months

As it is located just above the ear canal, it is important to take proper care of the piercing site to avoid infections.

UPPER LOBE

Upper Lobe

Upper lobe earrings are just lobe piercings which take place further up on the earlobe. These are the oldest and most popular forms of piercing, with many people getting them at a younger age, as it is simpler than cartilage piercings.

The upper lobe is a little bit of a twist on the standard lobe piercing and can be paired well with multiple lobe piercings.

Be sure to be very clear with the piercing artist where exactly you want the piercing to go, as there is a large area of skin to work with.

The sky's the limit with lobe piercings, as its shape and easy access makes it very versatile in terms of what jewellery can be worn. All kinds of labret studs, earrings and more can be used.

10 - 20
6 - 8 Weeks

Be sure to take proper care of the piercing site, like you would with any piercing, so to avoid infection.

TRANSVERSE LOBE

Transverse Lobe

The transverse lobe piercing is perfect if you want a really unique look, but don’t feel like getting your cartilage pierced just yet.

The transverse piercing goes through two piercings on the lobe, using one piece of jewellery. It is positioned in such a way that the piercing runs parallel with the ear lobe.

Its position on the ear makes it very versatile, meaning that all kinds of rings and bars can be used. Generally, a straight or curved barbell can be used, but hoops and rings have also become a popular trend.

It was first made popular in the mid-90’s by famous editor Shannon Larratt and has become a growing trend again in recent years.

20 - 40
6 - 8 Weeks

Aftercare is also very important as your earlobe has less protection from wind, rain and everyday life than other piercings, and both piercing sites should be consistently and equally cared for.

STANDARD LOBE

Standard Lobe

The oldest, most popular and common piercing on the planet. The only possible difference is a Standard lobe piercing versus traditional earring jewellery. The only difference is the bar thickness.

There are very few piercings that can’t be used for the lobe, but the most popular are hooped rings and studs, which come in all varieties and styles.

As it is a much simpler procedure than cartilage piercings, there is more choice for piercing studios, but the same advice applies when finding the right studio.

You can do whatever you want with a lobe piercing, the sky is really the limit.

10 - 20
6 - 8 Weeks

If you want to avoid infections or complications it is very important that you take proper care of your new piercing.

What part of your ear can be pierced?

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Almost any part of your ear can be pierced nowadays, which makes the options when getting your ears pierced so much more exciting.

There are two different ways of being pierced, which are through the lobe or the cartilage of the ear. Of course, as can be seen at the top of this page, there are so many more options within the lobe and cartilage.

The cartilage of the ear is more elastic and softer than bone and protects the circumference of the ear. The earlobe, on the other hand, has no bone or cartilage and is simply soft, fleshy skin hanging below the ear.

There is a big difference between the two in terms of the types of piercing you can get, and the amount of healing time and aftercare that is needed.

All Ear Piercings

How long have ear piercings been around?

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Ear piercings are the most popular form of body modification on earth and have been around for thousands of years. Almost every female celebrity can be seen wearing earrings, whether in magazines, on the red carpet or out shopping; earrings are a trend suited for everyone.

The earliest evidence of ear piercings date back over 5000 years to Ötzi the Iceman, a mummy found in the Alps. Archaeologists have found piercings on mummies and remain in all eras since this time. There are even references to earrings in the Old Testament of the Bible.

Everybody knows somebody with an ear piercing, and they have different meanings and are present in almost every culture on the planet.

Questions you might have before getting your ear pierced

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Does it hurt to get your ear pierced?

The annoying answer is that it depends on the person. Something that your friend might find very painful, might feel like nothing to you. You should always expect a little bit of discomfort or a pinch at least, but it is perfectly normal and is over in a flash.

It also depends on the ear piercing type, as some piercings may be a little bit trickier than others. Overall, ear piercings are not very painful, but this list will show what people have found their piercing experience, from least uncomfortable to most:

1. Earlobe piercings (standard, upper, transverse)

2. Helix piercings (including forward helix and auricle)

3. General cartilage piercings

4. Rook piercings

5. Tragus piercings (and daith)

6. Conch piercings

7. Anti-Tragus piercings

8. Anti-Helix/Snug piercings (and orbital)

9. Industrial piercings

How much does it cost?

The cost of your ear piercing depends on the type of piercing you decide to get. Standard earlobe piercings from a professional piercing studio should cost between £10-£20, while a cartilage piercing can cost a bit more, between £25-£40.

The most important thing is to not simply go for the cheapest option, and make sure you are being pierced by a professional and experienced piercing artist.

4 Questions to ask yourself before getting your ear pierced

1. Is an ear piercing right for you?
If you are under the age of sixteen, you will need parental consent, so maybe you should ask yourself if you think you’re ready for a piercing, or if you can even afford it.

2. Are you ready?
Consider any medical reasons such as allergies to metals, or disorders that prevent the healing process.

You should also consider whether you are allowed to have your ears pierced in work or school, as once you have been pierced, you cannot take it out for several weeks, depending on the piercing type.

3. What type of piercing do you want?
So you are ready, and you feel a piercing is the right decision? Are you looking for a lobe or a cartilage piercing? Perhaps you want to try out multiple piercings?

There are plenty of apps out there that allow you to upload a picture of yourself and see how a piercing would look. Take your time when choosing what you want.

4. Are you prepared to care?
So you are getting your piercing, but once it’s done, there is still a little bit of work to do. You must be prepared to look after your piercing to avoid any infections or rejections.

Proper aftercare is as important as the piercing itself, and you can find all the help you need in our aftercare section.

5 Tips For Finding the Right Piercing Studio For You

Finding the right piercing studio to get your helix pierced is very important, so here are five tips to help find the right place for you.

1. Give yourself options by learning about a few different places.

2. Get to know the store you want to use, and how they perform the piercing procedure. Familiarise yourself with their hygiene protocols and practices.

3. Don’t be afraid to voice any concerns or ask any questions you might have.

4. Always make sure the procedure does not involve a piercing gun, but a hollow point needle. If a gun is involved, find another studio.

5. Get to know your piercing artist, ask questions, chat to them. A professional piercer will always be able to put your mind at ease.

Risks when getting your ear pierced

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Risks

Like all piercings, ear piercings have risks such as irritation, infection and rejection. Luckily it is not as likely to happen with an ear piercing as it would be with other piercing types. To avoid these complications follow the steps outlined in our 5 Tips column.

Infection may be present if your piercing site is still irritated and red after 3 or more weeks, and a doctor should treat it accordingly. Rejection can happen when your body tries to push out your piercing, and can lead to discomfort. Allergic reactions to certain materials such as nickel can occur, so be careful when buying surgical steel earrings.

Top 5 common mistakes people making when getting their ear pierced

1. Getting pierced with a gun
Just don’t do it! They have a much higher risk of infection, and are much more painful than a needle.

2. Touching
Do not fiddle around with your new piercing. It might feel uncomfortable or strange at first, but if you leave it alone it will soon feel like you’ve always had an ear piercing.

3. Not taking proper aftercare
Just regularly clean the pierced area with a saline or salt solution to avoid infections or irritations. It only takes a minute out of your day, but still people forget.

4. Not being patient
Piercings need a few weeks to heal, so don’t go changing your piercing straight away. Just have a little patience and make sure it has healed properly.

5. Cotton buds
An extremely common mistake, the wool from the cotton can actually get caught in the piercing and cause more problems, so stick to the thicker kitchen towels.

Aftercare

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How long does it take for an ear piercing to heal?

This completely depends on the type of ear piercing you get:

Lobe piercings can take between 4-6 weeks to heal.

Upper and inner cartilage piercings take between 3-6 months to heal.

Anti-helix piercings can take up to a year to heal.

Be sure to listen to your piercing artist as they will know what is best for you,
and do not begin changing your jewellery before healing is complete.

7 Tips for cleaning your new ear piercing

1. Keep your hands clean, as well as the skin around your piercing. Use non-perfumed soap to avoid irritation.

2. Use a salt and water mixture or one of our salt spray solution to clean around the piercing area.

3. Dab a thick tissue or swab in the salt solution and apply twice a day.

4. To allow the salt solution to completely soak through the piercing, gently wiggle the piercing back and forth.

5. Do not wash your piercing more than twice a day, as it will become irritated.

6. Do not use alcohol or hydrogen peroxide as they can slow the healing process.

7. Avoid oils or ointments in the first two to three weeks, as they can lead to problems with infection and bacteria.

Your ear has finally healed, what next?

So your ear piercing has finally healed, and you’re just dying to get out there and try out some new earrings.

When you start shopping for cartilage earrings, there are so many to choose from. You might want to get a few different designs, such as a few basics, chained earrings, hoops, studs and so much more, depending on what kind of piercing you got.

Keep in mind that the fanciest ear piercings can also be the most fragile. Furthermore, gold and rose gold earrings might look nice and won’t cost much; however, as they are not made of solid gold, they will discolour after a while.

Make sure to keep them dry after coming into contact with water and sweat.

The ultimate question: Hoops or Studs?

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The ear stud is a look that hasn’t gone out of fashion over time. They are a classic, and come in so much variety. When looking for that ‘you can’t go wrong’ kind of gift, an ear stud is the way to go.

However, many of the same traits can be applied to the hoop earring. Smaller hooped rings can give out a very classy vibe and are very flattering to most people. Earring hoops, like studs, aren’t going away any time soon.

Don’t Forget!

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Whether it is healed or still healing, your brand new ear piercing is going to look awesome. So make the most of it and show it off to all your family and friends. Take care of it using our tips, show off, and just have fun with your new look.