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Getting Ears Pierced – FAQs

Earrings are a lovely accessory, but piercings need proper care to avoid a nasty infection or worse. Ear piercing is a very common body modification, and our ear piercing guide can help answer any questions you have.

What are the different types of ear piercings?

There are many options for ear jewelry, and each type refers to a certain spot on your ear or the type of earring that typically goes in it. Determining where to get your ears pierced or how many times can give you a better idea of what to expect as far as pain and aftercare go.

  • Helix piercings are along the upper part of the ear, through the cartilage. They can be painful. These are done with a small-gauge needle and typically use rings or barbells.
  • Forward helix piercings are similar to helix piercings but are located closer to the head at the end of the helix part of the ear. You can expect the same amount of pain as a regular helix piercing. These typically use studs.
  • Industrial piercings are a pair of piercings that are connected with a single piece of jewelry, typically a barbell.
  • Snug piercings typically have micro jewelry — tiny studs — due to their location in the middle of the ear. These are done in the inner cartilage area, partway down the outer rim of the ear. 
  • Rook piercings are similar to snug piercings but are located above the tragus part of the ear, on the ridge that separates the inner and outer part of the conch. They typically use either a barbell or twisted ring.
  • Conch piercings are done in the part of the ear that looks like a conch shell and typically use a ring with a bead for the jewelry.
  • Orbital piercings are a pair of piercings connected by a single piece of jewelry. They’re most common along the helix part of the ear.
  • Tragus piercings go in the part of your ear right before the ear canal, called the tragus. The size of your tragus may determine whether you can wear a stud, hoop, or dangling bead piece.
  • Anti-tragus piercings are completed across from the tragus, right above where a typical lobe piercing is done. These can have studs or hoops and take about the same amount of time to heal as a tragus piercing. Both the tragus and anti-tragus piercings are painful.
  • Lobe piercings are the most common type of piercings. They’re one of the few that aren’t always done in a piercing studio. They can be painful, however, and take about six weeks to heal. Some people choose to stretch their lobe piercings with graduating sizes of gauges.
  • Transverse lobe piercings are a fairly new trend. They’re done along the bottom of the ear lobe, from side to side instead of front to back.
  • Daith piercings are done on the innermost part of the cartilage of the ear and, due to their proximity to the ear canal, should only be done by an experienced professional. The piercing usually uses a barbell or a hoop. 
  • Auricle piercings are done along the rim of the ear and can complement a linked piece of jewelry on the ear lobe.

What you need to know or do before getting your ears pierced

Before you book an ear piercing appointment, it’s important to do your research. Taking the time to select where to get your ears pierced can help prevent health issues down the line. Choose a professional, experienced piercer who has a license from the health department. You can ask others who have piercings you like, or you can read reviews online. You’re trusting this person with the health of your ear, so it’s critical to choose someone who’s been doing this for a while.

Choose a professional, experienced piercer who has a license from the health department. You can ask others who have piercings you like, or you can read reviews online.

You’ll also want to explore your options, such as the location on your ear and how long it takes to heal. Knowing the aftercare for each type of piercing can help you make your decision, too. Even how you sleep may affect your decision. For some piercings, taking the jewelry in and out isn’t always an option, so you may feel pressure and/or soreness if you’re sleeping on the piercing.

What does the ear piercing procedure look like?

Ear piercing involves inserting a needle through your ear then placing a piece of jewelry through the hole. Options for jewelry include a stud, which is a small earring with a post, a hoop, or a barbell, which is a bar with a closure that screws in place.

Ear piercing is done with medically sterile earrings, made without nickel. Many people have an allergic reaction to nickel that causes redness, swelling, and itching.

Where to get your ears pierced

Many tattoo parlors have piercing areas, too. Some piercers have their own studios, as they do different types of body modifications. Professional body piercers will use a slim-gauge needle that’s been sanitized to perform the piercings.

Ear piercing guns can cause damage, including scarring or cysts in the ears. There’s also the risk of exposure to body fluids from other people.

You can also opt to have the piercing done in a dermatologist’s office or a medical piercing clinic. Both of these are staffed by trained professionals with experience in sterile techniques. You’ll also be in a medical setting in case there are any complications.

Choose wisely before going to a mall boutique for an ear piercing. First, the in-mall piercers use a gun instead of a sterile gauge needle. Ear piercing guns can cause damage, including scarring or cysts in the ears. There’s also the risk of exposure to body fluids from other people. The guns are used over and over, and while they’re cleaned in between uses, they can’t be completely sterilized the way a needle can be.

How old do you need to be to get an ear piercing?

Most people under 18 years old need a parent or guardian present to pierce their ears, although the requirement may vary depending on where you live. For instance, many tattoo parlors are forbidden by law to have minors on the premises.

Ear piercings can be done on infants if the parents choose, although care for these piercings can be difficult. For babies, the risk of pulling the earrings out is much higher than it is for older children. Plus, the earrings can create a choking hazard if the baby manages to remove them.

Does getting your ears pierced hurt?

Getting your ears pierced can hurt, but it depends on the individual person. Some people have a higher pain tolerance than others. The first few days after your piercing, you can expect redness and swelling. You may also notice that there’s soreness when you apply pressure to the piercing, so consider sleeping on your back for the first few days afterward.

Getting your ears pierced can hurt, but it depends on the individual person. The first few days after your piercing, you can expect redness and swelling.

The lobes may hurt to pierce. The fleshier parts of the ear have both nerve endings and blood supply, so you may have some pain and bleeding.

If redness and swelling come back after the initial soreness has ended, you may have an infection. Consult with a doctor to determine if you’ll need antibiotics or a topical cream.

How to take care of your ear piercings

Make sure that you follow the aftercare instructions completely. Wash your piercings with saline solution. Many professional piercers will also schedule a follow-up appointment a few weeks after the piercing to check the healing process and make sure there’s no scarring or cysts.

While it can be tempting to twirl or rotate the earrings, try not to. Your hands may have bacteria or germs that can cause infection. Plus, rotating your earrings can delay the healing process, preventing the holes from healing and increasing the likelihood of scarring.

The takeaway

Earrings are a lovely accessory, but they require a bit of special care to prevent scarring or infection. Do your homework and have the procedure done by a reputable piercer. Make sure to practice proper hygiene and care for your piercings, and you’ll be able to wear beautiful jewelry for years to come.

https://teens.webmd.com/teen-girls-body-ear-piercing

https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/news/20040224/cartilage-piercing-riskier-than-earlobes

https://infinitebody.com/pages/ear-piercing-faq

http://www.medicalearpiercing.com/faqs/#toggle-id-17

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