Ear piercing is a practice where a small hole is made in the earlobe or other parts of the ear to insert jewelry.
It’s one of the oldest known forms of body modification, with artistic and written references from cultures around the world, dating back to early history. The process of ear piercing involves using a sharp object, like a needle or a special piercing gun, to create the hole.
The most common site for ear piercing is the earlobe, but other parts of the ear, such as the cartilage, can also be pierced.
In this article, we will talk about the types of ear piercings, jewelry recommendations, procedures for ear piercing, healing and aftercare. Let’s get started.
What Are The Types of Ear Piercing?
There are a wide range of types of ear piercing. Below are some of them.
1. Lobe Piercing
Lobe piercings are the most common type and are placed directly through the earlobe. They are known for their versatility and ease of healing. You can choose from a wide variety of earrings for lobe piercings, ranging from studs to hoops.
They are often the first choice for those new to ear piercings, as they offer a straightforward and relatively painless experience. The healing time is typically quick, usually around 6-8 weeks.
2. Helix Piercing
The helix piercing is located on the upper cartilage of the ear and offers a stylish and trendy look. This type of piercing can vary in placement, either closer to the head or towards the edge of the ear.
The healing process for a helix piercing can take a bit longer, usually around 6-12 months. It’s important to choose the right jewellery, such as small hoops or barbells, to reduce discomfort during the healing process.
3. Tragus Piercing
Tragus piercings are placed through the small piece of cartilage that juts out near the ear canal. They’ve become increasingly popular due to their unique placement and the variety of jewellery options available.
The tragus can be adorned with small studs or rings. This piercing might cause a bit more discomfort during the procedure due to the thickness of the cartilage.
Healing times are similar to the helix piercing, taking anywhere from 6 months to a year.
4. Daith Piercing
The daith piercing is a distinctive choice, located in the innermost fold of the ear cartilage. It’s not only stylish but is also sometimes sought after for its supposed migraine-relieving properties, although there’s no scientific evidence to support this claim.
Daith piercings require curved barbells due to the area’s shape and can take a significant time to heal, typically around 6-12 months. It’s crucial to maintain good hygiene during the healing process.
5. Conch Piercing
Conch piercings are placed on the large area of cartilage in the middle of the ear. This type of piercing allows for a lot of creativity with jewellery, as both studs and rings can be used.
The conch piercing can be either inner or outer, depending on the exact location within the ear. Healing times can be lengthy, often taking up to a year, and it’s important to follow proper aftercare to avoid complications.
What’s The Procedure for Ear Piercing?
The procedure for ear piercing is relatively straightforward but must be carried out with precision and care to ensure safety and reduce the risk of infection.
Consultation: First off, a consultation occurs where the professional piercer will discuss your options, including the type of piercing and jewellery you prefer. It’s also an opportunity to address any questions or concerns.
Spot selection: Once you’ve decided on the type of piercing, the piercer will clean your ear and use a surgical marker to indicate the exact spot where the piercing will be made. This step is crucial for accuracy and symmetry, especially if you’re getting multiple piercings.
Sterilization: The piercer will sterilize the ear and the piercing equipment. This step is vital to prevent any risk of infection. Most reputable piercing studios use autoclave sterilization for their tools.
Piercing the Ear: The actual piercing is usually quick. The piercer may use a sterilized needle or a piercing gun, depending on the type of piercing. Needles are generally preferred, as they are sharper and provide a cleaner piercing with less trauma to the tissue.
Inserting the Jewellery: After the hole is made, the piercer will insert the jewellery. This should be done smoothly and carefully to minimize discomfort.
All these different ear piercings, however, follow the same procedure:
Possible Side Effects of Ear Piercing
Ear piercing can come with certain side effects. These can range from mild to more serious, depending on various factors including the piercing technique, aftercare, and individual healing processes.
Pain and Swelling: It’s normal to experience some pain and swelling immediately after the piercing. This usually subsides within a few days.
Infection: The most common complication is an infection, characterized by increased redness, swelling, pain, and sometimes pus discharge. Infections can occur due to improper piercing techniques or poor aftercare.
Allergic Reactions: Some people may have allergic reactions to certain types of jewellery, particularly those containing nickel. Symptoms include itching, redness, and rash around the piercing site.
Keloids: In some cases, especially in individuals prone to them, keloid scars can form at the piercing site. These are raised, fibrous tissue scars.
Tearing or Trauma: Accidental tearing or trauma to the piercing can occur, especially in areas like the earlobe where jewelry can catch on clothing or other objects.
Keep the Area Clean: Clean the infected area twice a day with a saline solution or antiseptic. Avoid using harsh chemicals like alcohol or hydrogen peroxide, as they can irritate the skin.
Don’t Remove the Jewellery: It might seem logical to remove the jewellery if there’s an infection, but doing so can cause the hole to close up, trapping the infection inside.
Apply Warm Compresses: This can help reduce swelling and promote drainage of any pus.
Avoid Touching or Twisting the Jewellery: Minimizing movement and handling of the infected area can help speed up the healing process.
Aftercare Tips for Ear Piercing
Proper aftercare is crucial for the healing of an ear piercing. The healing process and aftercare measures can vary depending on the type of piercing and individual factors. Here are key aspects to consider:
Clean Regularly: Clean the piercing at least twice a day with a saline solution or a gentle, fragrance-free soap.
Use Hypoallergenic Jewellery: Once healed, continue to use hypoallergenic jewellery, particularly if you have sensitive skin or metal allergies. Materials like surgical stainless steel, titanium, or gold are often recommended.
Avoid Pressure on the Piercing: Especially for cartilage piercings, avoid pressure from headphones, telephones, and even certain sleeping positions that can irritate the piercing.
Monitor for Late Infections: Even after healing, piercings can get infected. Keep an eye on any unusual symptoms and maintain good hygiene.
Gentle Rotation: If advised by your piercer, gently rotate the earring a few times a day to prevent it from getting stuck to the skin.
Protect from Hair Products and Cosmetics: Shield your piercing when applying hair products, perfumes, and makeup, as these can irritate.
There are some excellent choices you can make when it comes to jewelry options for ear piercing.
Studs: These are the most common choice for new piercings, especially for earlobes. Studs are comfortable, less likely to get caught on clothing or hair and provide a simple, elegant look.
Hoops or Rings: Hoops are a popular choice for various types of ear piercings, including lobes, helix, and daith piercings. They allow more movement and can be a comfortable option once the piercing has healed.
Barbells: Straight or curved barbells are commonly used for cartilage piercings such as industrial, tragus, and helix piercings. They come in various lengths and can be adorned with different decorative ends.
Huggies: Small hoop earrings that ‘hug’ the earlobe or cartilage. They are a comfortable, snug fit and are ideal for piercings higher up on the ear.
Labret Studs: These have a flat back and are often used for tragus, helix, or lobe piercings. The flat back makes them comfortable, especially for piercings closer to where you might rest your head.
Captive Bead Rings (CBR): These consist of a ring with a small bead that is held in place by the tension of the ring. They are versatile and can be used for various ear piercings.
Spirals and Twists: For a more decorative look, spiral or twist earrings can be a unique choice for earlobe piercings.
Tunnels and Plugs: Used primarily for stretched lobes, these come in a wide range of materials and designs.
Clickers: These are hinged rings that are easy to open and close, making them convenient for piercings that are harder to reach, like the daith.
Types of piercings with pictures
Cost Ideas for Ear Piercing
Although the overall cost varies based on the location of the studio and the experience of the piercer, here’s a general idea about the expenses.
Basic Earlobe Piercing: Typically ranges from $20 to $80 per ear. This often includes the cost of standard studs.
Cartilage Piercing: These piercings (like helix, tragus, daith, etc.) are generally more expensive, ranging from $35 – $50 per piercing, excluding the cost of jewellery.
Basic Studs or Rings: Included in the piercing cost at some studios or can range from $10 to $30 for basic materials.
Higher-End Materials: For hypoallergenic or designer pieces (like gold, titanium, or gemstones), prices can range from $50 to several hundred dollars.
Saline Solution: A bottle of saline solution for cleaning the piercing typically costs around $5 to $15. Additional antiseptic sprays or creams may cost around $5 to $20.
Tip for the Piercer: It’s customary to tip the piercer, usually around 15-20% of the piercing service cost.
Basic Earlobe Piercing: Approximately $40 to $100 per ear, including the piercing, basic jewellery, aftercare products, and tip.
Cartilage Piercing: Around $60 to $200+ per piercing, considering higher jewellery costs and the piercing fee.
By now, you know everything about ear piercing. It is a popular form of body modification with various types, from simple lobe piercings to more intricate cartilage piercings.
The procedure is generally straightforward, but it’s important to choose a professional piercer and follow proper aftercare to avoid complications like infections. Healing times vary, but good hygiene and careful handling are crucial for all piercings.
With a wide range of jewellery options available, you can personalize your piercing to suit your style, but always prioritize comfort and quality, especially for new piercings.