Play It By Ear: Your Ultimate Guide To Ear Piercings

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These days, we're curating more than just our wardrobes and Instagram feeds — we've taken to curating our ears, too. Yep, we're talking about piercings.
We've kissed goodbye to more traditional, symmetrical piercings and started experimenting with piercing different parts of the ear like the tragus, helix, daith, rook, conch and more. We're also more open to mixing and matching the piercings on each ear, with some of us even opting for a different number of piercings in each.
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Ahead, we've created the ultimate guide to everything you need to know about curated piercings, from healing time and pain levels to positioning and the earrings to match.

Which ear piercings hurt the most?

This one's tricky because it depends on each individual's pain threshold. Generally, lobe piercings hurt the least, and the cartilage is often considered a little more painful.
It's also worth noting that piercings typically done with needles are less painful and traumatic than those with a piercing gun.

How long does it take for a pierced ear to heal?

The healing time depends on where you get pierced and your body’s healing processes. Healing time can be anywhere from three to 18 months. Generally, lobe piercings heal quicker than the cartilage.

How many piercings can I have in a single session?

While you can get multiple piercings in one sitting, it's often not recommended that you get more than four piercings at once. It's worth noting, though, the more you get in one go, the more pain and swelling will occur, so it might make the healing process slightly more uncomfortable with each piercing.

What are the different types of ear piercings?

Lobe Piercing

Healing time: 3-6 months
Pain level: Low
Lobe piercings are the most common ear piercing and most people's first piercing. They're situated in the soft, lower ear region called the lobule. Depending on the size and shape of your lobes, you can get one or multiple piercings in the lobe.
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Tragus Piercing

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Healing time: 12-18 months
Pain level: Mid
The tragus piercing is located on the tiny bit of cartilage that partially covers your ear canal. It’s an ideal spot for mini studs or hoops.
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Helix Piercing

Healing time: 6-12 months
Pain level: Mid
Helix or “cartilage piercings” is located on the upper outer cartilage of the ear. It can be located anywhere from the side (pictured) to higher up on the top edge of the ear.
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Conch Piercing

Healing time: 6-12 months
Pain level: Mid
Conch piercings have become increasingly popular over the last few years. Named after a conch shell, it's the piercing that sits in the inner cup of your ear. You can pierce any part of the cartilage and opt for multiple studs or a cuff that hugs around the ear.
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Forward Helix Piercing

Healing time: 4-6 months
Pain level: Mid
The forward helix piercing is typically located just above the tragus, on the bit of your helix at the front of your ear. Depending on your ear size, you might even be able to have multiple piercings on this section of the ear.
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Daith Piercing

Healing time: 4-6 months
Pain level: Mid
The daith piercing is located on the ridge of the ear below the rook and hugs the cartilage inside your ear.
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Rook Piercing

Healing time: 6-18 months
Pain level: Mid
The rook piercing goes through the inner edge of the highest ridge on your ear, making it the perfect little spot of a hoop or bar earring.
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Snug Piercing

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Healing time: 4-6 months
Pain level: Mid
A snug piercing is located between the helix and the inner conch in that next ridge of cartilage.
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Industrial Piercing

Healing time: 9-18 months
Pain level: Mid
Industrial piercings are basically a straight bar that connects a cartilage piercing on the top of the ear and another in the helix section of the ear. They usually take a little longer to heal because it's two cartilage piercings.
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Orbital Piercing

Healing time: 3-12 months
Pain level: Mid
An orbital piercing is typically two piercings connected by one hoop, not a hoop going through your conch. Most people opt to get them through the lobe as it's the easiest area to pierce. However, they can be placed just about anywhere on the ear that has space for side-by-side piercings.
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Anti-Tragus Piercing

Healing time: 6-12 months
Pain level: Mid
The Anti-Tragus is located adjacent to the tragus, just opposite the ear canal in the small curved area above your earlobe. It's a delightful little spot for cute studs and micro hoops.
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Transverse Lobe Piercing

Healing time: 6-10 months
Pain level: Low
Similar to the Industrial piercing, a transverse lobe piercing is another threaded piercing that runs from one side of the earlobe to the other, rather than front to back. This means it can be seen on either side of the earlobe once pierced.
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The best earrings for lobe piercings

The best earrings for cartilage piercings (helix, conch, daith, rook, snug, tragus)

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