[Huge Guide] The Many Different Ear Piercings You Can Get

a complete guide to the many different ear piercings header image
Photo by Kimia Zarifi

Introduction to Ear Piercings

Ear piercings are one of the most common place to get pierced on your body. The cool thing is there are many different ways to pierce your ears other than the traditional lobe piercing. You can get super creative with your earring jewelry and create the perfect look for you.

Wether you like to keep it simple with lobe piercings only or are a fan of earring jewelry and want to go all out, the options for piercing are pretty big. We'll cover 19 different ear piercings in this total guide to earpiercings and let you decide which is the right piercing for you!

Just like you can get pierced practically anywhere on the body (even on your fingernails! or in your mouth!), ear piercings are done all over the ear, including through the cartilage parts of the ear (which can be painful - but we'll get to that later).

This huge guide with all the names of ear piercings was designed to answer all your questions like what are the many ear piercing spots on your ear, ear piercing before care, ear piercing aftercare, info on infected ear piercings, and tons of other FAQ's about ear piercings.

We hope you find this guide helpful and please share with your friends!

Total Ear Piercing Guide

Learn all there is to know about ear piercing.

many different ear piercings, womans ear with piercings
Photo by Kimia Zarifi

The Absolute Basics to Ear Piercing

If you don't know already - getting an ear piercing is when someone takes a needle of some sort and pierces your ear with it to create a hole. In this hole you will place some kind of jewelry - earring studs, hoops, barbells, etc. There are lobe piercings that go through the soft lobe part of your ear and then there are cartilage piercings that go right through your ear cartilage.

Ear piercings are a great way to show off your style and love for jewelry in a unique way. People get extra creative with their ear jewelry art and strategically design their ears with piercings. For example constellation piercing involves piercing holes in a specific pattern like a constellation. Not everyone does this, but it is a "thing".

Below I go into a little more detail about each piercing, but I also wanted to break down the list into outer, inner and lobe piercing names.

Outer Ear Piercings: Snug, Tragus, forward helix, auricle, industrial, Spider Bite or Snake Bite

Inner Ear Piercings: Orbital, Rook, Anti-Tragus, Daith, Helix, Conch, Auricle, Flat

Lobe Piercings: Transverse Lobe, Standard Lobe, Stacked Lobes, Upper Lobe, Gauging, Spider Bite or Snake Bite, Trilogy

Names of Different Ear Piercings

Earlobe Piercing

single earlobe piercing
image via bodymattersgold

The lobe (aka earlobe) is the fleshy part of the bottom of your outer ear. It is the most common place for piercings. You can use studs, hoops, or long dangly earrings on your lobes. The lobe piercing is especially popular for most first piercings. Some people got their ears pierced as a young child - I was 5 or 6 - but some people even pierce their infants ears. When it comes to pain, it's definitely a survivable pain if a child can do it! One of the least painful ear piercings.

Lobe piercings are actually very versatile in that you can get creative with what you can do, stack them, zig-zag them, trilogy's, orbitals, etc. We go into more detail about these in our list of different ear piercings below.  

Some people add a 2nd, 3rd, 4th and sometimes 5th or 6th lobe piercing depending on length of your lobes and how close you place the piercings next to each other.

Pain level: 3/10

Healing Time: Could take 6-10 weeks, but everyone is different.

Stacked Earlobes Piercing

Ear showing stacked lobe ear piercing with studs.
image via: pennypiercer

Stacked lobe piercing is placed above and closer to the ear canal, sort of stacking a piercing on top of one another vertically on your ear lobe. Generally on the least painful piercing list.

Pain level: 3/10

Healing Time: 6-10 weeks, but healing times vary from person to person.

Trilogy Piercing

Ear showing trilogy ear piercing and other lobe piercings.
image via nomadbodypiercing

The trilogy ear piercing is getting 3 lobe piercings done in a triangular shape. Using matching mini studs is a great way to accentuate this unique ear piercing pattern.

Pain level: 6/10 on the earlobe, only because it is three piercings done at once, so it might cause more tenderness and pain.

Healing Time: 6-10 weeks, but everyone is different.

Upper-Lobe Piercing or High lobe Piercing

Upper lobe or high lobe piercings are just below your cartilage still on the fleshy part of the ear, but at the very top of it. Because it's not on the cartilage yet, this piercing is on the low end of pain level.

Pain level: 3/10

Healing Time: 3-6 months

Snakebite or Spider Bite Ear Piercing

spider bite ear piercing or snake bite ear piercing
image via claires

This piercing is exactly what it sounds like, it is created to look like you were pierced by snake or spider fangs with two piercings very close together as a lobe piercing usually, but could be on the cartilage if you wanted - just a little more painful being two piercings close together.

You could use two identical tiny studs to highlight the piercing.

Pain Level: 5/10 (lobe), 8/10 (cartilage)

Healing time: 6-9+ months

Anti-tragus Piercing

anti-tragus ear piercing
image via pinterest

The Anti-Tragus is located above the lobe on the inner cartilage that is also near your ear canal opening. You could use a hoop or barbell piercing jewelry.

Pain Level:  8/10

Healing time: 6-12+ months

Flat Ear Piercing

flat ear piercing done on the flat part of your inner ear on the cartilage
image via ninemoonspiercing

The Flat Piercing is just like the name says - it's located on the flat surface of your ear between your outer rim and ear canal up top, you’ll see a flat area. Great for flat studs. This area can get infected easily, so be sure to cleanse regularly.

Pain Level:  8/10

Healing time: 6-12+ months

Conch Ear Piercing

Conch piercing with conch jewelry
image via rebelbod

The Conch is one of the different ear piercings in the area of cartilage in middle of ear, near opening of ear canal. The inner part of your ear, can be pierced anywhere on this cup. You could do double conch, if you have the ear space.

Pain Level:  8/10

Healing time: 6-12+ months

Rook Piercing

rook ear piercing spot
image via IshaBodyJewelry

The Rook piercing is located up on the upper folded area of the inside of your ear. It can be a painful area to be pierced.

Pain Level:  8/10

Healing time: 6-12+ months

Snug Ear Piercing

snug ear piercing with barbell
image via wikipedia

The Snug piercing is located in the center of your outer rim of the ear, going through both the inner and outer parts of the ear. The piercing goes through a very thick cartilage in your ear, therefore it will most likely be painful and will take longer to heal. You’ll also most likely feel pressure while getting the piercing.

Pain Level:  9/10

Healing time: 6-12+ months

Daith Piercing

Daith ear piercing
image via healthline

The Daith piercing is on the innermost cartilage fold, closest to your ear canal. It has a high pain level because of the thickness of the cartilage in that location.

This piercing has helped some people to alleviate migraines and even anxiety related migraines according to healthline.com.

Pain Level:  8/10

Healing time: 6-12+ months

Tragus Piercing

tragus ear piercing location
image via LetsEatCake

The Tragus piercing is located on the small, but thick, piece of cartilage that is right outside your ear canal, sort of like the flap that partially covers your ear canal and is connected to your face. It's a good spot for mini studs or hoops. Can take a long time to heal and has higher chance of getting infected.

Although pain is relative, it's been known to be one of the most painful piercing spots for many.

Pain Level:  10/10

Healing time: 6-12+ months

Industrial Piercing

industrial ear piercing barbell shaped like a vintage key
image via amazon

The Industrial is a double piercing (with possible double the pain). It goes through the middle part of your outer cartilage (helix point) and then through the top part of your ear. The piercings are usually connected with a barbell or chain. It's one of the different ear piercings that can be on the higher pain scale for piercings because it's 2 piercings in one.

Pain Level:  9/10

Healing time: 6-12+ months

Auricle Piercing

auricle ear piercing - seahorse ear piercing jewelry
image via pinterest

The Auricle piercing is the small space between helix (outer ridge/fold) and your ear lobe. Pain isn't so bad in this area, not as bad as other cartilage areas of your ear.

Pain Level:  6/10

Healing time: 6-12+ months

Orbital Piercing

orbital piercing on ear up top hoop earring
image via declinko

The Orbital piercing is unique in that it's two piercings going through your ear that are connected by one hoop. Can be anywhere on the ear that has space for side by side piercings. Two holes that connect with one ring. Popular places are the lobe or helix.

Pain Level:  8/10

Healing time: 6-12+ months

Helix Piercing

helix ear piercing, evil eye ear piercing, blue evil eye
image via wish.com

The Helix piercing is located in the upper part of your outer cartilage. Some people get double or triple helix piercings. This location is more painful than lobe because of cartilage, but less painful than other cartilage piercings. That said, if you get multiple helix piercings at one time, then you will experience more pain than if you got just one. In the picture shown you will see evil eye piercing hoop.

Pain Level:  7/10

Healing time: 6-12+ months

Forward Helix Piercing

forward helix piercing on the ear
image via ninemoonspiercing

The Forward Helix piercing is across from the helix, the other part of your outer ridge closer to your face. Depending on the size of your ear, you might be able to fit multiple piercings on this area.

Pain Level:  7/10

Healing time: 6-12+ months

Transverse Lobe Piercing

transverse lobe piercing
image via pinterest

The Transverse Lobe piercing goes horizontally through the ear lobe (similar to an industrial piercing) - In one hole and out the other using a barbell. Because this piercing goes through the lobe only and not any cartilage, it is generally a less painful piercing.

Pain Level:  3/10

Healing time: 2-4+ months


ear gauges, 2g and 4g
image via pinterest

Gauging is a little different. Once the ear lobe is pierced, the skin of the lobe is stretched out to form a bigger hole, slowly. You must have a completely healed lobe piercing before you start. You can choose which “gauge” to go to (this is a form of measurement) and keep adding bigger gauges to stretch a bigger hole. It's recommended to wait at least 6 weeks between gauges, don’t go up on the next gauge if you notice swelling, redness or irritation after 6 weeks. As with all piercings, keep area clean, and don’t touch with dirty hands.

ear with all the different piercings diagram
ear photo via: Photo by Franco Antonio Giovanella (edited by likewow.beauty)


How to clean my piercing? What is the aftercare for piercings?

  1. First always seek the advice of your professional piercer. They will know what is best for you.
  2. Next, always wash your hands before this aftercare process.
  3. Take a spray bottle and fill with a sterile saline solution or salt water. Spray the front and back of your piercing 2-3 times a day. If needed, you could apply the saline solution using a clean non-woven gauze. If your piercer says to use soap and water, then use a non-harsh soap that’s unseated and not dyed.
  4. Rinse the pierced site, front and back and all around it to remove any residue. Pat dry the area using a paper towel, toilet paper or Kleenex very well. Try not to leave the area moist. NOTE: Towels can possibly snag on the jewelry and they also might contain bacteria, so avoid them if possible and instead use disposable paper products for drying. And, don’t use cotton swabs or cotton pads because they might get caught on the jewelry and get stuck which might lead to irritation.

What are some do’s and don’ts after getting a piercing?

  • Clean the area daily - maybe even twice a day. Clean with salt water or saline solution.
  • Avoid sleeping directly on the piercing(s). One tip is to use a half donut shaped pillow (like a travel pillow) to place your ear in the center where there is no pillow if you really need to sleep on your side.
  • Dry the area immediately after getting it wet.
  • Avoid swimming in pools, hot tubs or bath tubs for 6-8 weeks after getting your piercing.
  • Avoid harsh chemicals near the piercing: chlorine, harsh soaps with dye or fragrance, rubbing alcohol, peroxide, shampoo, etc.
  • Be careful when removing clothing or necklaces to avoid getting caught on earring jewelry.
  • Change and wash your bedding (especially your pillow case) regularly.
  • Avoid activities that might cause your piercing to get bumped like contact sports.

How will I know if I have an infected ear piercing?

The piercing will become red and swollen if it’s infected. You might also feel like it's sore, warm to the touch, itchy and/or tender.

Keep in mind you might experience a little tenderness and redness in the first week or so automatically, but if it doesn't heal after the initial weeks, then it might be infected.

Another thing to look out for is pus oozing out of the piercing that is green, yellow or white.

What causes an infection? Bacteria that might get into the piercing from you touching it with your hands, or something or someone else touching it. This is why it's recommended to not touch unless your hands are clean.

What do I do if I have an infected ear piercing? First, seek the advice of your piercer if you have an infected ear piercing. If they can't help, talk to your doctor or another healthcare professional.

how will I know if my ear piercing is infected graphic
Photo by Cat Han

What is the normal healing process for piercings?

After getting a piercing you may be wondering what to expect and what is normal.

You may notice a little swelling and tenderness during the first few weeks, maybe even some bleeding at first.

A normal healing process can also include itching, and the secretion of a yellow-white-ish fluid that isn’t pus, but will usually just turn into a crust on the jewelry and around the hole. This is completely normal. You can clean it away using a non-harsh fragrance free soap and water, rinsing thoroughly or use saline solution. Be sure to clean your piercings a couple of times a day.

You may also notice that the jewelry in your ear might not move freely. Be careful with trying to turn the piercing and always only do this with clean hands!

The piercing might seem healed quicker than you think because the outside heals before it does on the inside, so be patient and understand that you should wait the recommended time for healing even if you think it’s already done. And keep up your daily cleanings.

Beware that removing a piercing jewelry might cause the piercing to shrink or close within minutes, so keep the jewelry in until it’s fully healed.

Other Ear Piercing FAQ's

Which are the most painful ear piercings?

Everyone is different in how they feel pain and we all have different pain thresholds, so it really honestly depends from person to person.

For most people, lobe piercings are the least painful ear piercings, and the piercings where there is cartilage are the most painful. It’s been said that Snug and Tragus are most painful ear piercings. But this is definitely not the case for every single person since pain is relative. We mention an average rating next to each piercing description, but it's not guaranteed that you will experience it the same as other people would.

Additionally, it’s been said that if you get pierced with a piercing gun, it will be more painful than if it is done with a needle by hand. Also the needle piercing is safer than a gun piercing and less damaging to your ear tissues.

Can I take painkillers to avoid pain?

Ask your professional piercer or doctor before taking medications.

How can I distract myself from the pain or my fear of getting pierced?

Don’t watch your professional piercer as they prepare the needle and just simply look the other way. Getting it done by a professional is your best bet as they might have tricks to help make it easier on you. Bring a friend along to distract you and hold your hand. Listen to music (in your other ear). It will be over before you know it!

How long does it take for ear piercings to heal?

It varies from piercing to piercing, with lobe piercings healing the quickest. But 3-12 months is the range, generally. Next to each piercing description we listed a time frame, but ask your piercer what they think.

How many piercings can I get in one day?

You can get a few in one sitting, but keep in mind that the more you get, the more painful and tender your ear will be. Keep in mind that sleeping on your side (on your ear) might hurt. Most professional piercers would recommend no more than 3 in one sitting and to wait a few months for doing your next.

What is the average cost of a piercing?

There are 2 costs when it comes to getting a piercing. The piercing process and the jewelry you choose. The jewelry you choose can range widely! So I won’t go into the cost of that. Just keep in mind that you will also have to purchase some jewelry to place in your piercing which is an extra cost. But the piercing process usually can range anywhere between $15-30 for a lobe piercing and $20-$45 for a piercing in the cartilage area of your ear.

Where can I get my ears pierced?

For their first lobe piercing a lot of people just go to a trinket/jewelry shop like Claires or Spencer’s. When I was a kid in the 80's I think my mom took me to JC Penny's or something to get mine done. Not sure if that's even a thing anymore. HA HA!

But you don’t have to go that route. You can go to a piercing/tattoo shop and get it done by a professional piercer.

Do your research. Find the right piercer for you. Most professionals will have social media accounts and profiles online that you can check out and then make an appointment with them.

I've even heard of registered nurses doing ear piercing, check out Rowan for more info.

Once you go to your appointment, be sure to be honest and up front with your piercer about your fears, sensitivity, pain levels, allergies, etc that might be important to share so you'll come out of there with a good experience. A good and professional piercer will want to know these details.

Where can I find ear piercing styling Inspo?

Online and on social media - pinterest, instagram, blogs. We also share lots of piercing Inspo of the different ear piercings in this post!

Anything I should avoid before getting my ears pierced?

Caffeine - coffee, tea or energy drinks.

Piercing guns vs needles?

When using a piercing gun or piercing instrument, the process is contactless because you are being pierced and the jewelry is put in in one step using a “gun”. It’s a very sudden piercing, and might cause damage to your ear tissues because of how rough it can be.

With using a needle, the piercing professional is using their hands to hand-pierce your ear by pushing the needle through. Then they put in the earring jewelry directly afterwards. The needle is hollow and has a sharp tip for inserting easily.


Whether you're looking for a simple lobe piercing or going all the way with multiple cartilage piercings, this guide will help you decide which piercing you want and will help you understand the importance of piercing aftercare and answer all your questions about ear piercings.


1) https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/skin-care-basics/tattoos/caring-for-pierced-ears

2) https://studs.com/blogs/blog/the-complete-studs-guide-to-ear-piercing-aftercare

3) https://www.maisonmiru.com