A guide to 13 common types of ear piercings you could get

Ear piercings, regardless of the type, are extremely popular.

caption
Ear piercings, regardless of the type, are extremely popular.
source
Kalamurzing/Shutterstock

  • There are a ton of different ways to pierce and accessorize your ears.
  • INSIDER put together a basic guide to some of the most common ear piercings you can get.
  • Piercings on the earlobe, for example, are extremely common.
  • For those feeling a little more daring, industrial and orbital piercings are also options.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

Many people begin to get piercings at a young age, starting with simple earlobe piercings. Eventually, though, they may find themselves interested in more unusual ear piercings.

Since choosing just one can be difficult, INSIDER consulted Cassi Lopez-March, the head piercer at New York Adorned, to help put together a guide to some of the many possible ear piercings you could have.

Lopez-March told us it’s worth bearing in mind that every experience and individual is different, so there isn’t really a definitive way to know how much (or how little) piercings might hurt. “Pain is relative,” Lopez-March, who has been in the business of piercings since 2003, said. “It’s hard to say what will hurt the least and the most.”

The professional also pointed out that some piercings may take slightly longer to heal than others. For example, while lobe piercings generally heal up quickly, areas such as the cartilage may “take quite some time, due to the lack of blood flow in that area.” But, in her experience, she said “infections are actually really uncommon.”

Above all else, Lopez-March suggests that people seek experienced piercers and high-quality jewelry, and she suggests carefully tending to fresh piercings with a sterile saline wound wash to ensure a smooth piercing experience.

According to Lopez-March, the most popular piercings in her shop are the conch, high lobe, and orbital piercings. The guide below details those ear piercings as well as others that can liven up your ears in a matter of minutes.


Most people who get their ears pierced start on the earlobe.

caption
Earlobe piercings are most common.
source
yurakrasil/Shutterstock

The most common type of ear piercing, a lobe piercing sits towards or on the lowest part of the earlobe.


An upper lobe earring can be an elegant addition to a simple earlobe piece.

caption
These two piercings are placed on the upper earlobe.
source
yurakrasil/Shutterstock

Similar to a lobe piercing, an upper lobe piercing sits slightly higher up on the earlobe.


You can go for an edgier look with a tragus piercing…

caption
Tragus piercings are located across the ear.
source
Sasha Turkina/Shuttertock

A tragus piercing is inserted into the small, round piece of cartilage that sits directly above the ear canal.


…Or an anti-tragus.

caption
An anti-tragus piercing would be located across from the ear’s tragus.
source
Syda Productions/Shutterstock

An anti-tragus piercing sits on a small part of the ear opposite the tragus and just above the lobe.


The most common type of cartilage piercing is a helix.

caption
Those who wish to get the top of their ears pierced typically choose the helix location.
source
Alexander_IV/Shutterstock

A helix piercing sits at the uppermost outer rim of the ear.


A forward helix is a variation on the previous look.

caption
For this piercing, you can either use a stud earring, or one that wraps around the ear.
source
IvonneT/Shutterstock

The forward helix pierces through the side of the cartilage closest to the head and just above the tragus.


An industrial piercing connects two piercings.

caption
Industrial piercings are typically filled with bar-shaped earrings.
source
Anetlanda/Shutterstock

An industrial piercing involves two piercings – one on the helix on the outside of the ear and one on the part of the helix closest to the head – that is usually connected by a barbell.


A daith piercing lets you wear earrings in the middle of your ear.

caption
Daith piercings are located on a stretch of cartilage in the middle of the ear.
source
JCDH/Shutterstock

A daith piercing sits on the long, thin piece of cartilage just above the tragus that connects the outer ear to the conch on the inside of the ear.

Read more: 7 myths about piercings that just aren’t true


A rook sits just above the tragus.

caption
Rook piercings are found on the ear’s upper cartilage.
source
Anetlanda/Shutterstock

Rook piercings are placed vertically on the piece of cartilage in the upper inside of the ear.


A faux rook piercing has a more subtle look.

caption
A faux rook piercing would be located above the cartilage in the upper ear.
source
B-D-S Piotr Marcinski/Shutterstock

A faux rook is placed just above where a normal rook would go. It sits towards the top inside of the ear, but is pierced through the large part of cartilage that creates the back of the ear.


A snug is somewhat similar to a rook piercing.

caption
A snug piercing would be located on cartilage near the ear’s outer edge.
source
dean bertoncelj/Shutterstock

Snug piercings are placed on the fold of cartilage in the middle inside of the ear and across from the tragus.


A conch is another piercing option for the middle of your ear.

caption
Conch piercings can be found next to the cartilage where snug piercings sit.
source
Chocotom/Shutterstock

A conch piercing is inserted through the large area of cartilage that makes up the inside and back of the ear.


An orbital commonly wraps around the upper lobe and the conch.

caption
Orbital piercings can actually poke through the ear twice.
source
AJR_photo/Shutterstock

The placement of orbital piercings may vary but always involve a single piece of jewelry that goes through two piercings.

Read more: