The Ultimate Guide to Every Type of Ear Piercing
Read this before booking an appointment.
Piercing your ears can be fun — and if you're looking for your next piece of bling, you might be looking for some ideas. If that sounds like you, the universe has led you to the right place: Say hello to the ultimate guide to the many types of ear piercing.
Before booking that appointment, though, keep these general tips in mind. First, be sure to go to a licensed professional who has experience with the type of ear piercing you want. Infections can easily happen if a piercer isn't following the proper sanitary protocols or giving you the right aftercare plan so that all the holes heal properly. Next, you'll also want to be mindful that everyone has a different ear anatomy which might make some piercings harder to get — and going to a professional will help you determine if something is truly a good fit for you.
"It’s very important that you have the proper anatomy in order for these piercings to be able to heal properly, and your piercer will be able to examine your ear and determine if you’re able to get it pierced," adds Jenn Lee, senior manager of content and community at piercing studio Studs. "If you do have the proper ear anatomy, these piercings look super-cool and add the perfect touch of ‘edge’ to any earscape."
Below, Lee and Sarah Lacey, BSN, RN, senior manager of piercing research and innovation at piercing studio Rowan, break down all the different types of ear piercings that you can possibly get. Scroll through to find the right one for you.
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The lobe is arguably the most common piercing. Located at the bottom part of your ear, it is usually the first piercing someone ever gets, says Lacey. When you first get a lobe piercing, you should be cleaning the area around it two to three times a day to avoid infection.
It then takes six months to a year to fully heal, says Lee, who recommends keeping in jewelry for at least a year to ensure that the hole doesn't close. That doesn't mean you can't swap out earrings the entire time, but you shouldn't change out your jewelry until after the first six weeks.
You can also get multiple piercings on the lobe for an elevated look to your piercings. Stacked lobes, which are just two lobe piercings stacked directly on top of each other or diagonally across are also extremely popular, says Lee.
The helix is another popular ear piercing; it's found along the outer rim of the cartilage in the upper ear. While it is relatively easy to take care of, a helix piercing is prone to infection if you aren't consistent with your aftercare, says Lacey. You can first change jewelry for your helix piercing after about 12 weeks and wait for about a year for it to fully heal.
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Also found on the cartilage, a flat helix piercing is one that is placed in the flat region in your upper ear, says Lacey. It lies on the inside of the outer rim and has the same upkeep as a regular helix piercing. You'll want to wait at least 12 weeks before changing out your jewelry and follow the aftercare regimen that your piercer has laid out for you. You can also expect this piercing to heal after about a year.
The forward helix is found on the forward part of the upper ear. It's the area closest to the face, where your ear starts to curl upwards.
The tragus is the small, triangular piece of cartilage that slightly covers the ear canal. Even though Lacey says that it's not as popular as other ear piercings, it still makes for one of the most beautiful ways to adorn your ear.
But those who use Airpods, earbuds, or any other pieces of equipment that need to be placed within the ear (like a stethoscope) about getting this particular piercing. "You may want to consider whether this piercing is a good option for you, as it will be tender and prone to infection from these items being placed in close proximity," she says. Like the helix piercing, this can take at least a year to heal and requires very careful aftercare.
Lacey describes the conch piercing as one that is located in the "bowl" of your ear. It sits right at the inner part of the ear that has that curve for your piercing to sit in. "It’s not as well-known as many other piercings," she says. "However, it is a very cute and easy way to style your ear."
It's considered another cartilage piercing, so you can expect the same type of aftercare and healing time for this piercing as well.
The industrial piercing has that rocker edge for one of the more exciting piercing options. This usually involves a long bar going through the cartilage and connecting two helix piercings at two different points.
Lacey says this is a piercing growing in popularity, but there are a lot of things to consider before getting it. "These piercings are prone to developing hypertrophic scars (friction bumps), as the two piercings share the same jewelry, which can cause more friction than normal," she says. "Like any other piercing that involves cartilage, these can take more than a year to heal."
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Located close to the conch, the daith involves a hoop pierced on the inner side of the cartilage. This is another piercing growing in popularity, says Lacey, though its origin has roots in Jewish culture and it has been said that it can help with migraines. There is no medical evidence to prove the latter, but it's been an old wives' tale associated with this piercing for years. As another cartilage piercing, expect the same careful aftercare and healing time.
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