The Piercing Dictionary (With Pictures!): Ear Piercings
Ear piercing is an ancient art form that has existed for thousands of years. It has been documented across every continent and has been a popular way for individuals across many cultures to decorate their bodies and express their individuality. Even now, studies show that over 80% of Americans have their earlobes pierced... But did you know there are over a dozen different ways to pierce your ear?
Disclaimer: Everybody's body is different; the diagrams included in this article may not accurately reflect the structure of your ear. Some of these piercings may not be be possible in every individual person's ear. In any situation, the best piercing advice will come from a consultation with a professional piercer - they can provide you with accurate information regarding your comments, questions, or concerns about piercing.
From anti-tragus to vertical industrial piercings, Body Candy is here to help you make smart and informed decisions when it comes to your ear piercings!
Location: An anti-tragus piercing is located in the small bit of cartilage just outside of the opening to the ear canal. The anti-tragus is directly above the fleshy part of the ear lobe and is separated from the tragus by the intertragic notch.
Location: An auricle or outer conch piercing is located along the outer edge of the ear, anywhere between the helix and earlobe. Because of it's location, it is often referred to as a "middle-ear" piercing.
Recommended Jewelry: BCR, Horseshoe Barbell, Segment Ring, Tragus, or labret/monroe studs with disc backs.
Healing Time: Anywhere from three (3) to nine (9) months. Due to the risk of snagging a ring on hair/clothing and prolonging the healing process, it may be best to wear a barbell/labret for up to a year before switching to a BCR or segment ring.
Location: Named after the shell-dwelling sea creature, an inner conch piercing goes through the shell-shaped, concave portion of your ear that surrounds the ear canal. The jewelry is visible beneath the rook and above the anti-tragus/earlobe.
Recommended Jewelry: Circular or straight barbell, BCR, Labret/monroe studs with disc backs
Healing Time: Anywhere from three (3) to nine (9) months
Location: a forward helix piercing is performed on the opposite side of a regular helix piercing (hence the anti-helix name). A forward helix is located in the upper ear directly above the tragus, pierced where the helix meets your head by the skull/ear connection.
Recommended Jewelry: Circular ring, straight barbell,BCR, horseshoe barbells, curved barbells, and labret/monroe studs with disc backs
Healing Time:Anywhere from three (3) to nine (9) months.
Location: a helix piercing is located along the outermost ring of cartilage that runs along the edge the ear from the skull to the lobe. A helix piercing is done on the outermost part of the upper ear, away from the skull/ear connection.
Recommended Jewelry: initially -curved barbell, circular barbell, or circular ring; after healing - BCRs, horseshoe barbells, and septum clickers
Healing Time: anywhere from three (3) to nine (9) months
Location: Generally done between the helix and anti-helix, the industrial piercing is actually two piercings connected by one barbell. 14 gauge, typically. Healing is faster if done with two separate BCRs or short straight barbells. If done with one barbell, standard is 1 1/2".
Recommended Jewelry: a long, straight barbell or flexible bioplast barbell. Length is dependent on the anatomy of the ear.
Healing Time: anywhere from three (3) to nine (9) months. Healing may be faster if two separate BCRs or straight barbells are used
Location: A lobe piercing is located in the fleshy part of the lower ear where the lobe is at its fullest. that hangs beneath the ear structure, pierced back to front. The lobe can sometimes accommodate more than one piercing, creating a layered look.
Earlobes can also be stretched using tapers to accommodate plugs. Plugs come in many different gauges and are made in many different materials.
Recommended Jewelry: initially - earrings or a circular ring or barbell; can also include BCR, horseshoe barbell, straight barbell, labret/monroe stud, or nostril ring/stud
Location: like an industrial piercing, an orbital piercing is a two-hole piercing. In this case, the holes are set closer together so that a hoop can be worn instead of a straight barbell. Orbital piercings are commonly done on the lobe or somewhere along the helix.
Recommended Jewelry: BCR, circular, or curved barbell
Location: a rook piercing is located through the highest fold of the cartilage at the top of the ear; located between the inner and outer conch areas. It is on the same ridge of cartilage as the snug piercing, but at the other end of ear, directly above the tragus. Pierced vertically instead of horizontally.
Recommended Jewelry: BCR, Curved or Circular Barbell
Healing Time: Anywhere from three (3) to nine (9) months. Rook piercings have a reputation as being a slower healer.
Location: The snug piercing is located midway down the outer rim of ear, just inside the rim of the helix. It is done horizontally through the thick wedge of cartilage, between the helix and daith, and rests above the anti-tragus.
Location: a vertical-industrial piercing is still two piercings made to accommodate one barbell, but this piercing is done vertically along the length of the ear (ie: Anti-Helix and Rook or Rook and Daith, etc). Jewelry meant for vertical-industrials is usually the same as horizontal versions, but the barbell may need to be longer depending on each individual ear.