Ear piercings have been popular for centuries, but in recent times the sheer number of ear piercing possibilities has exceeded all expectations. While standard lobe piercings are still popular, there are now countless other options, many of which have increasingly bizarre and confusing names.
Therefore, it couldn’t be more important to do plenty of research before turning up at the piercing studio so you can be well-prepared. After all, piercings are permanent, so you’re going to need to know precisely what you want, how much it’ll hurt, and exactly where you want it to be located. With this in mind, we’ve brought you this ear piercings guide so you’re in the right position to make a well-informed choice.
- How Painful Will an Ear Piercing Be?
- Which Ear Piercing Is the Most Painful?
- How Much Will It Cost to Have an Ear Piercing?
- Should I Just Get the Cheapest Option?
- Which Piercing Should I Get?
- Styling Multiple Piercings
- What Do I Need to Know About Ear Piercing?
- Finding the Perfect Piercing
How Painful Will an Ear Piercing Be?
The most commonly asked question about piercing is how much it’ll hurt. Of course, there’s no single answer to this. Everyone has their own sensitivity level to pain, so you may find something excruciating that your friend barely feels at all. There are, however, some piercings that are more painful than others, so if you’re keen to minimize your discomfort, you should avoid those that are known to be more uncomfortable.
Typically, you should only feel a pinch at the moment that the needle is put through your ear when you have a lobe piercing when you opt for a cartilage piercing the experience can be fairly painful. Initially, you’ll experience a sharp shock sensation, then the pain will become duller and will start to throb. It might be some consolation, though, that being pierced with a needle is widely believed to be significantly less painful than being pierced with a piercing gun.
Everyone has their own way of getting through the pain of piercing. One of the best ways is to avoid thinking about it. You could talk to a friend or the piercer, or even listen to your favorite tunes. You’ll soon have a beautiful new piercing and you’ll barely have noticed!
Which Ear Piercing Is the Most Painful?
Although the traditional piercings such as those in the ear lobes are widely believed to be least painful, the tragus and snug are said to be most painful. Nevertheless, not every cartilage piercing causes the same amount of pain. Upper cartilage piercings like the helix are said to cause less pain than inner ear piercings or the anti-tragus, since they have harder tissue.
Another factor that contributes to the amount of pain you’ll experience is how experienced your piercer is. When you select an experienced professional to carry out your piercing you’re more likely to have a smoother and less painful experience. Also, a skilled piercer will have developed a better piercing needle technique so you can be confident everything will go well.
Cartilage piercings usually hurt for around a week following the initial piercing since it takes some time for the inflammation to calm down. This is because this part of your ear has lower blood flow and so takes much longer to heal. Also, bear in mind that cartilage piercings are creating a wound in the ear that takes about 3 months to fully heal. This means the chances of infection are higher and this can result in pain during the healing process.
How Much Will It Cost to Have an Ear Piercing?
Having multiple ear piercings has become a popular trend in recent years. Between 4 and 6 piercings in a single ear has become average. However, if you’re keen to invest in several piercings, remember that it won’t come cheap if you choose a reliable salon and an experienced piercer (which is, of course, the only safe way to get your ears pierced).
You can expect to pay between $40 and $60 for a standard lobe piercing or basic cartilage piercing, including the earrings themselves, but the price can be as much as $75 for a more complex option such as an orbital or an industrial piercing.
There are a number of factors at play when it comes to pricing a piercing. These include:
- The type of piercing you choose. While piercing the lobes of your ears are relatively inexpensive, some more complex options will cost you more. If you gauge (stretch) your piercings, this will have ongoing costs since you will need to pay every time you attend the studio to have the piercing stretched.
- The piercing technique used. Many people think that piercing the ears is quite simple so you can use any method. This isn’t true! There are two techniques used to pierce ears – using a piercing needle or a piercing gun. The lobes of your ears and some cartilage piercings may be done using a gun, and often piercings done in this way are cheaper than those done with a needle. However, bear in mind that you’ll be getting what you’ve paid for. Using piercing guns is known to lead to some unpleasant complications, so it may not be worthwhile to save the money. Severe scarring can occur from gun piercings, and the chances of infection are also higher.
- The experience of the piercer. Anyone who hasn’t been to a piercing studio before might be worried about having their ears pierced with a needle. However, you can rest assured that well-trained professionals are highly skilled at using a needle, so the pain will be less than using a gun. An inexperienced piercer, though, may make the experience a more unpleasant one. Find out how much experience your chosen piercer has, since it’s often a better idea to pay extra for a piercer who is more accomplished and who can assure you a safe and more comfortable experience.
- The popularity of the piercing studio. Some piercing studios charge more than others. Those that are very popular will usually charge more than those that are less popular. However, usually, this goes hand-in-hand with the level of experience the piercers have, so you can expect a better quality of service for your money.
- The location of the studio. You’ll probably find an inexpensive piercing stand in a mall, but you’re not necessarily going to get the best or safest experience there. A dedicated salon will charge you more, but you can be more confident that you’ll be taking minimal risks.
- The piercing materials. Different piercing shops will have their own procedures. Piercing studs and guns come at a different price point to sterile piercing needles and high-quality piercing jewelry will cost more too. There are different options when choosing the type of metal your new piece of piercing jewelry will be made from. This will have an impact on the price. Most piercings studios suggest you have surgical steel, titanium, or gold ear jewelry for your initial piece, and a flat fee may be charged for the piercing together with the jewelry. Others will price the piercing separately, with a fee for the piercing process and a separate price for the piece of jewelry you’ve chosen.
- Extra purchases. You won’t necessarily just be paying for your piercing when you visit the piercing studio. You may also make other purchases too. Extra jewelry is a common additional purchase, while aftercare products are also often recommended to ensure your piercing heals properly with no infections or complications. You need to care for your piercing, so it’s important not to overlook this step.
Should I Just Get the Cheapest Option?
Even though you’ll need to pay more for a higher quality piercing experience, it makes sense to spend more to get the piercing done properly and safely by someone who knows what they’re doing and who knows how to advise you as to aftercare. Therefore, you should seriously think about choosing a more expensive place to have your piercing done rather than opting for the lowest-priced option you can find.
You may be able to get your ears pierced “for free” with a gun when you buy a pair of earrings at a stall in your local mall, but you’ll find that the person doing the piercing won’t be a well-trained professional, and a gun is more likely to cause scarring and infections. You are more likely to experience crooked ear piercings or poorly placed piercings if you have your piercing done with a gun. Also, you’re risking unsanitary conditions. Go to a proper studio and you’ll find that strict disease control and hygiene procedures are being adhered to.
Don’t go for the cheapest jewelry either. Cheap metals will often end up causing an allergic reaction and can cause an infection. Once you have an infected piercing, you’ll have to handle pus and discharge, as well as an unattractive bump that will spoil the appearance of your new stud. Pay a little more for high-quality jewelry and it’ll be worth your while.
Which Piercing Should I Get?
There are so many different options for ear piercing that everyone has different opinions about which ones look best. In this ear piercings guide, we’ll look at some of the most common so you can make the right choice for you.
Everyone is aware of the classic lobe piercing. This is the ear-piercing that most of us start out with, and it’s the most basic option available. If you would like more piercings but don’t want to be too quirky, you could consider getting a second lobe stud above the first one. This will be quite an affordable option and will be minimally painful.
Transverse Lobe Piercings
Rather than piercing your earlobe from the front to the back in the same way as a regular lobe piercing, a transverse lobe piercing will go through your ear’s skin horizontally with a barbell. No cartilage is pierced here, so it won’t be as painful as a helix or other cartilage piercing. You can expect the amount of pain to be a little more than a standard lobe piercing, but nothing unbearable.
Your tragus is the piece of cartilage that is on your outer ear, sitting over your ear canal and right above the lobe of your ear. This is a popular piercing these days and it looks great with a hoop or stud, and works perfectly with other types of ear jewelry. The amount of pain you’ll experience is about the same as you’d expect from a transverse lobe piercing.
A snug piercing is on your anti-helix, the cartilage rim that lies inside the ear between your helix and above the anti-tragus. Snug piercings are a little more painful since cartilage is being pierced here, but they look great.
The Forward Helix
Forward helix piercings are in the ear’s outer rim, right at the top of your ear above your tragus. This type of piercing is moderately painful since it will be through the cartilage but it isn’t as painful as the snug piercing. You may opt for a triple or double forward helix piercing, too, for an even more unique look.
Instead of having a single piercing, the industrial piercing is two or more piercings that are made through the cartilage of your ear. The most commonly seen and requested is through the helix and anti-helix, with a long barbell or arrow connected the two piercings together. This is one of the more painful piercings, but it shouldn’t be unbearably uncomfortable.
An auricle piercing is done on the outer ear, around halfway up the ear between the helix and lobe. This cartilage piercing will have a longer healing time and will be more painful to do when compared with lobe piercings.
Your anti-tragus is a small piece of cartilage that lies opposite the tragus and next to the ear lobe. This is quite a painful piercing, especially if you have a low pain threshold, and the recovery time can be quite long.
The Rook Piercing
If you follow your anti-helix around from the snug to the opposite end of your cartilage’s rim, you’ll find your rook piercing. This piercing looks fantastic with either a barbell or hoop and although it can be quite painful to carry out, it’s a versatile option.
The Daith Piercing
Daith piercings are position at the end of your helix right on the inner part of cartilage close to your tragus. This is quite a painful piercing, but not as painful as the snug.
The Outer and Inner Conch
Your outer conch is the dip between the helix and anti-helix. The inner conch is the dip before your ear canal and after your anti-helix. Piercings in both of these areas have a moderately high level of pain.
This is a term used to refer to any type of piercing where there are two holes made in the same area of the ear, allowing a hoop to be passed through both. These can be made in several locations, but most often, they are found in either the lobe or helix. You can expect a similar level of pain to having a conch piercing.
Styling Multiple Piercings
Now you know about the different types of ear piercings you can choose from, how can you make sure that they look their best?
Here are some top tips to help you style your piercings:
- Research well – you should go to a piercing studio armed with the same kind of ideas and research as you would if you were visiting your hairdresser for a new look. Use Pinterest and Instagram to get inspiration.
- Minimize the number of piercings you get at one time – while multiple piercings always look great, you shouldn’t have more than 3 done in a single session. If you want more, you should return for the rest.
- Go big – layered, large earrings are a popular trend. Layered gold shells and dangling earrings along with tiny studs always look great.
- Get crafty – buy some quality hoops and decorate them yourself with small pendants or charms. That way you can customize your own jewelry for a more unique look.
- Don’t be afraid to fake it – if you can’t afford to get as many piercings as you’d like just yet, or if you’re afraid of the needle, use huggers and cuffs instead. These pretend hoops look realistic and will stay put even when you’re showering or sleeping without any pain!
- Keep layering – sometimes, it’s possible to fit small studs into a hole alongside a hoop, and this makes it appear to be a single earring. This helps you achieve an unusual look.
What Do I Need to Know About Ear Piercing?
If you’re considering any of the options that we’ve mentioned in this ear piercings guide, you’ll want to be armed with as much information as possible to make sure you know what you’re getting into and what to expect from the experience. Here are some answers to commonly-asked questions to help you plan and prepare for your piercing.
Should I Have My Ear Pierced With a Needle or a Gun?
Needles are single-use and sterile. They also hurt less compared with piercing with a gun. Essentially, piercing with a gun involves a blunt object being forced through your ear with high-impact, so it’s no wonder that it’s going to hurt!
Can I Make the Process of Piercing Less Painful?
It’s a little known fact that if you’re having your period you’ll be more sensitive to the pain of piercing. You should never take painkillers before having any piercing, since most will thin your blood and could cause excess bleeding. You should also make sure you eat a couple of hours before you go to the piercing studio so you don’t faint. Many people recommend using yoga breathing techniques while being pierced to help them cope with the procedure.
Why Do I Have a Metal Allergy?
Some people are allergic to the nickel or other metals in certain piercings. If you are worried about the possibility of allergies or if you know that you have a metal sensitivity, make sure you’re being pierced with titanium or nickel-free gold. Don’t get pierced with silver jewelry, though, since it will oxidize and increase the chance of an allergic reaction and infection. If you have a nickel sensitivity, you should make sure that you avoid stainless steel, too, since some types have nickel in them.
What Happens If My Piercing Becomes Infection?
If your piercing becomes infected it’s important not to panic. Don’t immediately take the piercing out, as the infection could become trapped in the ear if it then heals up. Make sure to use the best aftercare products to care for your new piercing, such as a sterile saline solution. Avoid touching your piercing, and use fresh pillowcases and towels regularly. Avoid swimming for a while, too, until your piercing begins to heal. If the infection doesn’t improve in a few days, visit your doctor as you may need antibiotics.
What Is a Keloid Scar?
Some people develop keloid scars after piercing. These are raised, enlarged scars that may be skin-colored, red, pink, or darker than the skin that surrounds it. Sometimes they continue growing and require surgical removal. If you’ve got a bump on your new piercing, it’s probably going to be a blood blister in most cases, though, not a keloid scar. Treat it by using hot chamomile tea compresses every day for several weeks. If you’re still worried, you should see your piercer or your doctor.
Finding the Perfect Piercing
Now that you have all the information you need about the different types of ear piercings you can choose from and the level of pain you’re likely to experience, you can make a well-informed choice before you go to your local piercing studio. Follow the advice that we’ve provided in this ear piercings guide and you’ll be able to get your choice of a beautiful, stylish and healthy piercing that will look fantastic for years to come.