An Easy Guide To Ear Piercings & Placements

For a lot of people who want to start experimenting with piercings, the ear is often the first place the turn to try out new trends and piercing positions. Standard earlobe piercings are ubiquitous and the norm across cultures world over. But the more adventurous types of ear piercings, such as dath, helix and conch, may have you scratching your head as to where they go.

If you are looking to get a new ear piercing but aren’t sure what to choose from, we outline the basic areas of the ear where you can put a ring (or barbell) on it. So before you head to your local piercing parlor, get familiar with the different looks you can choose from so you can make a sound piercing decision. 

But first thing’s first, let’s address a common question that most people have when they think about getting a new piercing done:

Should You Choose The Gun Or Needle?

When you opt to get your ears pierced, you can choose between a piercing gun or having a wire manually inserted by a professional to create the ear hole through which your jewellery will be put through.  

Professional piercers and jewellers unanimously believe that ear piercings should only be done with a sterilized needle and not the piercing gun. People often opt for piercing guns because they feel the process will be quick and painless. However, most people who have undergone piercing with both attest that piercings done with the needle are less painful.

Sterilized needle piercings also tend to be more hygienic too. Often piercers argue that though the studs comes in sterile packaging, there’s no guarantee that the gun has been effectively cleaned, especially if you have gone to non-specialised stores that offer piercings as a mere add-on service. Always go to a professional piercing parlour or renowned jeweller.

In addition to hygiene concerns, the possibility of tissue trauma is also higher when using a piercing gun as a blunt stud is forced through the skin rather than a thin, sharp needle or wire. The tight nature of the studs can also affect the healing of the skin and lead to a higher risk of infection.

Whatever you do end up choosing, remember to go to an expert in a clean and safe environment.

Types of Ear Piercings

types of ear piercing

Earlobe Piercings

The earlobes are the soft, fleshy area and hang toward the bottom of the ear and are one of the least painful areas for piercings as they do not contain cartilage and heal relatively fast due to ample blood supply.

  • Earlobe Piercing

 

The most common of all piercings, earlobe piercing are self-explanatory: each earlobe is pierced in the center. Earlobe piercing can be done either with a sterilized wire (tarr), needle or gun and is a relatively painless process when done correctly thanks to the lack of of cartilage in that area. You can even get a second or third hole above your first piercing; these are very common for piercing newbies.   

Healing time: 6 to 8 weeks

Gauging Piercing

Gauging Piercing

This type of body modification involves stretching the ear piercing. After initially being pierced with a standard 20- or 18-gauge needle, the earlobe is gently stretched over time to hold a stud of larger and larger circumference, until you reach a size that you prefer. The earlobe, when stretched for a while can hold a 6-gauge, 4-gauge or even a 00 ring (for those who are confused, the higher the gauge number, the smaller the gauge)!  

Healing time: Depends on the size

Cartilage Piercings  

Cartilage Piercings  

Where earlier reserved to goth and punk fans, cartilage piercings have gained a lot of popularity over the past few years and are extremely common today. Cartilage is the flexible tissue found on the upper area of your ear. Piercing cartilage is a bit more painful than earlobe piercings and the healing too is longer. This area can be quite problematic in aftercare and prone to infection due to lower blood supply. Some take years to heal and require dedicated care and patience.

Industrial Piercing

 

Industrial Piercing

This piercing style consists of two piercings toward the top of the ear through which a barbell jewel is threaded. Typically, both piercings are through the cartilage of the ear – one near the space where the upper ear joins the head and the other toward the middle of the outer rim of the ear. You can get more and one set of this kind of piercing in your ear – this style is called an ear cage. As with all cartilage piercings, aftercare is crucial and healing can be a slow, tedious process.

Healing time: 4 months to a year

Tragus Piercing

Tragus Piercing

Right in front of the ear canal lies a thick cartilage that slightly juts out – this is where the ear is pierced for the tragus piercing. The thickness of this cartilage varies from person to person and therefore the jewellery length that is needed also varies depending on your ear structure. Though the tragus piercing takes up to a whole year for complete healing, initial healing usually takes less than four months.  

Healing time: 2 to 4 months

Anti-Tragus

Anti-Tragus piercing

As its title suggests, this piercing involves an ear hole through the thick cartilage area that is directly opposite the tragus, in the outer ear area which lies above the earlobe. Because this area varies in size and is often very small on some people, this is not a very common piercing and tiny jewels often adorn the piercings of those who can get this modification done. Like the tragus, complete healing takes place within a year with initial healing usually taking between two to four months.

Healing time: 2 to 4 months

Conch Piercing

 

Anti-Tragus

Anti-Tragus

The area on which this piercing is done can be best explained as the larger curved cartilage that makes up the back of your ear. This is the concave space on the front of the ear, toward the inner ear, just above the anti-tragus. The piercing through this cartilage is known as the conch piercing. A barbell is generally chosen for a conch piercing, however, if you prefer a ring you need to be certain that its circumference is big enough to incorporate your entire outer ear.   

Healing time: 2 to 4 months

Rook Piercing

Rook Piercing

The cartilage on the upper side of the ear, above the ear canal is where the rook piercing is placed. This area consists of quite a thick fold of cartilage and the actually piercing can be substantially painful for some. Healing time too is quite long, lasting up to a year in some cases.

Healing time: 2 months to one year

Daith Piercing

Daith Piercing

Placed between the rook and the ear canal, here the cartilage is not thick and tough to pierce through and therefore not as painful as some cartilage piercings. Healing can take up to a year, with initial healing complete in two to four months.

Healing time: 2 to 4 months

Snug Piercing

Snug Piercing

With a cartilage thickness similar to the daith piercing, the snug piercing, which involves a hole approximately through the midpoint of the inner cartilage rim, takes about two to four months to settle and around 12 months to completely heal.

Healing time: 2 to 4 months

Helix Piercing

Helix Piercing

Piercings done on the upper outer rim of the ear, through the cartilage, are known as helix piercings. When this sort of piercing is done toward the head it is called forward helix. These piercing can be done as singles or you can have two or three pierced in this region, much like how it is done with the earlobe. Full healing usually occurs within a year’s time.  

Healing time: 2 months to 1 year

Ear piercings can be a fun way to experiment with your style as well as jewellery. Keep in mind that some piercings are quite limited in the kind of jewellery that fits into them so ask your piercer for details on this before you go ahead. Once you are familiar with the names and placements of different types of ear piercings you can decide on which ones will suit your personality best before undergoing the modification. Remember not to be impatient and try to hurry up the healing process, take adequate precautions and care after. Once your piercing has healed, it is time to start experimenting with funky jewellery trends and new looks!

 

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