Ear Piercing: The Different Types and Amazing Pictures

By Tephanie Stephenson / September 2, 2018
a lot of ear piercings plus tragus
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The most popular types of piercings are definitely ear piercings. There are a few different ones, which we will be discussing one by one today.

If you are interested in getting an ear piercing or two, then make sure to listen as today, we will discuss the different types and how to take care of it, how to clean it, what to expect, and so much more.


What are the Different Types of Ear Piercings?

Tragus Piercing

beautiful jewelry for tragus piercing

The tragus is the area of your ear that is located right above your earlobe and in front of your ear canal. It is completely made out of cartilage and can be difficult to pierce.


Most piercers will agree with everyone coming into their shop asking for a tragus piercing. However, there are some people who are not qualified to get one. There are rare cases wherein the tragus of a person is too thin, which is not safe to put jewelry in.

Make sure to ask your piercer if your tragus is good enough to go before having the piercing done. If he says no, then go ahead and choose another piercing that you think would suit you.


Daith Piercing
fly jewelry for ear piercing

The daith piercing is usually located at the small part of the helix, which is above the tragus (that little flap towards the front of the ear).

This type of piercing is categorized as an ear cartilage piercing. Piercers usually have a hard time when getting this type of piercing done, as it is harder to reach. You have to sit still and relax when getting this piercing to be successful with it.


The lower hole in daith piercings should not be visible to give an impression or illusion that the jewelry is coming out of the ear canal. Only trained professionals can do this, so make sure to do your research before finally getting someone to do it.

The ear has many pressure points. People got the idea that if you try and stimulate these points that migraine pains will go away. It is similar to acupuncture, the only difference is with daith piercings, the piercing or needle stays in place forever (or until you take the piercing off).


Industrial Piercing

female industrial piercing

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when industrial piercings became popular. There are so many variations in designs and sizes, but the initial procedure generally involves the same basic 14g barbell piercing. To the outsider, it can look like a new trend or a very old one.

Throughout history, there were clearly many cultures that embraced body modifications that looked more extreme than the industrial piercings we have today. With that in mind, it wouldn’t be a stretch to assume that this has been going on for thousands of years, similar to tattoos or even way before.


One thing is for sure, although the methods have been refined and the healthcare products improved, industrial piercings still take a very long time to heal and require so much more care, which is why they’re not for everyone.

Also referred to as scaffold piercings, industrial piercings refer to any two holes of cartilage or tissue connected with a barbell. These are generally 1.5” apart and connected by a single straight barbell. While it’s not mandatory to use an industrial barbell from the beginning, it is recommended and common practice for piercers.

There is no special meaning attached to industrial piercings other than the one you give it through your choice of design. A lot of people just go on with the basic industrial barbell while others end up displaying flowers, crosses, tribal patterns, or reptiles like snakes, lizards, and anything else that has a natural elongated shape.

Helix Piercing

arrow helix piercing


The helix piercing is one of the most common ear piercings that you can see in women and men. There are three types of helix piercings: helix piercing, forward helix piercing, and double helix piercing.

A helix piercing is a type of ear cartilage piercing. It is done on the outer upper ear cartilage or the frontal cartilage area of the ear. The first one that we have indicated is a helix or a double helix piercing, while the latter is a forward helix piercing.

The healing period and aftercare instructions are pretty much the same for all three. The main difference is the placing and how many piercings there will be.

Double Helix Piercing

There are two types of double helix piercings: one is the double helix piercing and the other is the double forward helix piercing.

The double helix piercing is done on the cartilage of the outer upper ear. It has a similar placement to the helix piercing, the only thing that is different is that it involves two piercings, hence its name “double helix piercing”.

The double forward helix piercing is done on the inner cartilage of the upper ear. It involves two piercings, which is why it is called the “double forward helix piercing”.

Some people tend to get the same type of earrings or jewelry for both the piercings, while other people opt for getting different jewelry for each one.

Forward Helix Piercing

forward helix piercing


The forward helix piercing is done on the upper cartilage of your ear, which is directly above the tragus area.

Most people opt for using a stud for this type of piercing, but there are others who prefer to get rings and hoops. This may take the piercing to heal longer and should only be used once the wound has completely healed.

Rook Piercing

The rook piercing is a stylish yet minimalist type of ear piercing. It is located at the upper part of the antihelix, which is the obvious curve at the cartilage. The rook is two steps above your tragus and it also has the daith in between. It can be found at the ear’s outer rim.

Just like this piercing, the rook piercing is also said to help treat headaches and even migraines. It does not have approved studies though and the theory is not fully supported by medical professionals. This piercing is just an alternative treatment, so if you are getting it for your migraines and headaches, you should have minimal expectations.

Conch Piercing

conch piercing for female model

The conch piercing is located at the middle part of the ear, exactly where the largest part of the cartilage can be found. It is located near one of the most popular ear piercings.

There are two types of conch piercings: one is the outer conch, wherein the piercer pierces the outer middle cartilage of the ear. The other is the inner conch, wherein you will get the inner middle part of your ear cartilage pierced.

Both of these areas consist of really hard and thick cartilage, which means that it will take longer for the wound to heal completely. Always follow the aftercare instructions given by your piercer to avoid any type of infection.

Snug Piercing


The snug piercing is located on the inner part of the ear cartilage. It is directly above the anti-tragus piercing and has a shallow location.

Since this is on the inner ear, it is best to use a small jewelry for this type of piercing.

Tragus Piercing

This is the more common piercing among the two. The tragus piercing is done by inserting a hollow needle into your tragus. The piercer will first put a mark on your tragus, ask you if you are satisfied with the placement and if you say yes, he will then go ahead and proceed with the piercing.

Once the hollow needle is in, the piercer will then insert your preferred jewelry into the piercing slowly.

Blood and discharge are common right after the needle and jewelry go into your tragus. You will feel a sharp and stinging pain during the piercing, but that’s about it. Make sure to follow your piercer’s aftercare instructions to make sure that your tragus piercing will heal faster and properly.

Anti-Tragus Piercing

Anti tragus piercing


The anti-tragus piercing is done on the inner cartilage of the ear. This faces the tragus, hence its name “anti-tragus”.

This piercer will also use a hollow piercing needle for the anti-tragus instead of a piercing gun. It is not a good idea to use a piercing gun for both the anti-tragus and the tragus, as the flesh on the tragus is extremely thick, which means that the gun can only contribute to the possibility of bacterial infection.

Earlobe Piercing

The earlobe piercing is definitely the most well-known and most-wanted type of ear piercing. It is done exactly on the earlobe, which is one of the quickest ones to heal.

Even kids can take the piercing pain, as the earlobes are just skin and it’s fairly easy to pierce. You can also be quite creative when it comes to the jewelry: you can use hoops, dangling earrings, studs, or basically whatever you prefer.

Transverse Lobe Piercing


The transverse lobe piercing is quite a unique one. With this piecing, a barbell is usually used to pierce through the earlobe itself.

This can be quite painful, considering that the jewelry would have to go through the thick skin. Be sure to ask your piercer if you have the perfect earlobe shape for this piercing, because if you don’t, then chances are you won’t be able to get this one.

Auricle Piercing

auricle piercing


The auricle or rim piercing is located on the rim of the cartilage just outside of the ear. This is usually partnered with an earlobe piercing, although you can also choose to complement it with whatever ear piercing you have in mind.

How Should I Prepare for my Ear Piercing?

There are a few things that you can do to lessen the pain during the piercing as well as after the procedure. Make sure to follow each one to make sure you’ll be all good.

Take Good Care of your Health

Going into the piercing shop when you are feeling unwell is not a good idea. You have to be a hundred percent healthy before you get the piercing, as being sick can affect the healing time and period of your piercing.

Drink your vitamins and medicines regularly and if you are sick, wait until you get better before getting pierced.

Get Enough Rest and Sleep

Before the day of the piercing, make sure to get at least eight to ten hours of sleep. There is a high chance that your piercing will hurt more if you are not well-rested, as the body tolerates pain better when it is well-rested. Think of it as recharging or refuelling.

Request for a Numbing Cream

If you are too scared of the pain but you really want to get the piercing, then ask your piercer if they have a good numbing product that you can use.

This will definitely lessen the pain, to the point that you won’t feel anything at all. Ask your piercer to not use a spray that will freeze the area, as this can increase damage to the tissue and can affect the healing time of your piercing.

Instead, you can use a numbing cream which is safer to use for piercings.

Ask Someone to Accompany you

Going alone to the shop can make you feel more anxious and nervous. Bring a friend along so you can have someone to talk to and distract you during the ear piercing.

You can also listen to music and sing along to the lyrics, or talk to your piercer and make new friends!

Keep the Awesomeness in Mind

Hype yourself up and think about the end results of the piercing. This will make you feel more excited than nervous and determined to get that piercing.

Remember that the sting will only last for a few seconds; after that, you will finally have the piercing that you’ve always dreamt of getting!

Wear The Right Type of Clothes

Wearing tight clothing can only add pressure to your body and your nerves. Make sure to wear loose and comfortable clothing so that you can move around and feel more relaxed during the process.

You should also be careful not to tug the clothing on your ear piercing when taking it on or off, as this will irritate the piercing and can prolong the healing process.

Choose a Good Piercer

The piercer’s technique will definitely affect the pain during your ear piercing. Do your research and find a piercer that is reputable and qualified to do the piercing.

Ask for recommendations from your friends and ask them if they’ve had a good experience with the said piercer. It would also be best to look for a piercer that has done several ear piercings in the past before.

Eat Before you Get Pierced

Eating less or nothing at all can contribute to low blood sugar. Having low blood sugar can make your skin and nerves more sensitive, causing you to feel the pain more. This can even cause you to pass out, especially if the pain is too extreme for you. Eat before getting pierced to avoid being nauseated and having low levels of blood sugar.

Research is Key

Read up about the ear piercing that you are about to get and know how much the pain level will be so you would know what to anticipate. Ask your friends that have undergone the same procedure before and have them describe the pain during and after the piercing.

It pays to be knowledgeable about these things, so go ahead and do your research before sitting in the piercer’s chair.

Avoid Drugs and Alcohol

Alcohol is a natural blood thinner, therefore, if you drink the night before or right before your piercing, you will experience an extreme surge of pain and more blood will come out of it than usual.

Most piercing studios also would not allow you to get pierced while you are under the influence of drugs and alcohol, which is why it would be best to stay away from it before you get the piercing.

What Should I Expect when Getting an Ear Piercing?

Once you have finally chosen a reputable piercer that will do your chosen ear piercing, you can set a schedule with them. Choose a time wherein you can rest right after to give your piercing some time to heal.

Once you are in the piercer’s shop, they will ask you to sit right up or lay down – it really depends on where the piercer is comfortable in. They will then put on a pair of sterile gloves and sterilize the needle that they will use to pierce your ear.

If your hair is long, they will ask you to put it up in a bun to get your hair out of the way. Once they are able to see the area clearly, they will proceed to clean the said area with an antiseptic. After this, you can expect them to mark the area with a pen to make sure that they won’t be missing it.

They will ask you if you are ready and if you say yes, they will place a sterile hollow needle to pierce your ear. They might use a pair of clamps to help hold the ear entirely. They will also have some cotton pads, balls, or tissue on hand to help wipe away the pool of blood that will form in your ear.

Once the ear has been properly pierced, they will then proceed to insert the jewelry on the pierced area. The piercer will give you proper aftercare instructions, so make sure to listen and follow what they say.

How Much will an Ear Piercing Hurt?

As we have discussed earlier, there are many different types of ear piercings. Because of this, the pain level will also differ per piercing.

Ear piercings that are located on the cartilage will definitely hurt more than those located on the earlobe. The cartilage is a thick area and is more sensitive compared to the earlobe and thus, the piercing will take longer to heal and will hurt a whole lot more.


How Long Will the Piercing Hurt?

The pain after the piercing is a whole different story though. This is a different type of pain – a throbbing and tender type. You will most likely feel this after a few days of having your piercing done, so make sure to expect this.

However, if the pain extends for more than a week, then go ahead and seek your doctor’s help, as this most likely means that you have an infection.

How to Clean your Ear Piercing

It is easy to clean an ear piercing and just like any other piercing, all you need is a cotton ball or pad, warm water, and sea salt.

Take one cup of warm water and one-fourth of a teaspoon of sea salt. Mix them together until the sea salt is completely dissolved in the warm water.

Once you’ve completely prepared the solution, take a cotton ball or pad and soak it in the solution. With clean hands, apply the cotton to your piercing, leaving it there for about a minute or two.
This will help clean the piercing and sanitize it, keeping it safe from infections and bacteria.

Ear Piercing Infections, Symptoms, and Risks

Getting an infection can often be a problem with new piercings. To avoid this, you must always remember to clean your ear piercing with the saline solution.

Ear Piercing Symptoms

Here are the symptoms of an infected ear piercing.

Extreme Redness

Same with swelling, redness is normal for a couple of days. However, if it lasts for a week or more, then it might mean that bacteria are present on your piercing. Let your piercer know about this and ask what you should do to bring the redness down.

Bad Swelling

If your ear piercing swells after three days or more, then go ahead and visit your doctor, as this might mean that you have an infection. Swelling is usual for a couple of days after the piercing as a foreign object was inserted into your body.

Discharge and Blood

It is normal for your piercing to bleed a little bit after getting it done. However, if the piercing continuously bleeds and pus is coming out as well, then this might mean that you have an infection. Visit your doctor to know the best course to take.

High or Low Fever

Getting a fever means that you are suffering from a severe infection. Immediately visit your doctor and tell them about the piercing so they’re aware of it and they would know what to do.

Risks of Getting an Ear Piercing

Getting a piercing, no matter what body part you are getting it in, has its own risks and dangers. See the list below to be aware of what you are putting yourself into when getting a body piercing.

daith and ear piercings


The Dreaded Migration

Piercing migration happens when your body rejects the jewelry, just like it would with a splinter. Our body treats the jewelry as a foreign object, which means that it will sometimes fight off the possibility of the jewelry being accustomed to your body.

The possibility of piercing migration is especially high if you are allergic to the metal used in the jewelry. Always have your doctor perform an allergic reaction test before getting pierced so you would know which metals you are allergic to.

Bumps and Keloids

If you are more susceptible to getting a keloid or a bump, then there is a high chance that you will be getting one on your conch piercing as well.

Make sure to be gentle enough when cleaning your piercing so you can minimize your chances of getting a keloid or a bump.

Extreme Tenderness

If you’re still feeling uncomfortable around the area of your piercing after a week or so, then go ahead and head to the emergency room. This might mean that you are suffering from an infection, which the doctor can confirm.

Never self-medicate as this can only make matters worse.

Bad Infection

Just like what we have mentioned earlier, the number one risk of getting a piercing is contracting an infection. You have a high chance of getting an infection if you do not follow the aftercare instructions given by your piercer, so make sure to follow each tip to a T to make sure you stay away from any type of piercing infection.

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About the author

Tephanie Stephenson

Tephanie has extensive knowledge when it comes to body and facial piercings. She has seen it all – from nostril piercings all the way to nipple piercings. She has over 10 piercings including a nostril, medusa, eyebrow, tragus, earlobe, and industrial. She is an expert when it comes to cleaning piercings and keeping it infection-free. If you have got any questions for Tephanie about any type of piercing, comment it down below and she will get back to you in a jiffy!

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