Which Body Piercing Hurts the Most?

by Jodie O

Your first piercing can be scary. It's totally okay to be nervous! There's a needle getting shoved through your skin, so it's probably going to hurt, right? There's so many questions that go through our heads the first time we get pierced.

How bad is it going to hurt?
What if it doesn’t heal?
Will it look good on me?

Cartilage Piercings

These are all questions that can absolutely detour someone from going through with a piercing. Let's clear up the questions about pain!

How bad is it going to hurt?

Well, it's going to hurt. Will it be the worst pain of your life? No way, but it's better to go into your piercing knowing that a tiny bit of pain is a part of it. If you're not very tolerant of physical pain, you might want to bring a friend along to calm your nerves, you'll totally want to plan out some rest and relaxation time after your piercing, and above all else - talk to your piercer! Let them know how you're feeling throughout the process so that they can be sure you're as comfortable as possible.

Nose Piercing

You can’t always trust the opinion of a friend on this. As a teenager, I went into my navel piercing thinking I "wouldn’t feel a thing," because that’s what my girl friends told me. I felt a lot of things, but I was completely fine afterwards. Every body has a different tolerance for pain.

Belly Button Piercing

As a general rule of thumb:

  • Earlobe, navel, tongue and eyebrow piercings are the least painful.
  • Septum, labret, dermal (surface) piercings, cartilage piercings, nostril and male intimate piercings are typically a medium level of pain for most.
  • The most painful piercings are in sensitive areas, ie. nipple and intimate piercings (for females.)

I think it goes without saying, piercing an area of your body that's already sensitive is going to be the most painful. Don't let that scare you off, though. Your body will naturally react to stimulation, and if you're someone who is very in-touch with your body, you'll probably feel a bit startled. None of this means you're going to feel like you're literally dying just because you got your nipples pierced.

Just for good measure, I thought I'd share this totally awesome piercing video that demonstrates all of what I just said. Check out BodyCandy's own Snapchat queen, Ann, getting her nipples pierced!

If this is your first time getting pierced, there's a few things you can expect to happen, and ways to prepare yourself your induction into the pierced and proud crowd. 

  • Paperwork. You're going to need to show ID and sign some forms.
  • The piercer will explain exactly what they're going to do.
  • Sizing, positioning and a bit of waiting before the actual piercing happens.
  • Picking out your jewelry! This part is fun, but listen to recommendations your piercer makes before you get stuck on a piece you really want. Some jewelry can't be worn in fresh piercings, so you may have to wait.

For more information on what to expect, visit our guide to first time piercings:
First Time Piercing: What to Expect, How to Prepare

by Jodie O

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  • S

    Shahnaz Begum-Uddin

    I got my septum done twice, and I can honestly say the pain level was 2 out of 10, the only thing that scared me was the sneezing fit that came straight after but it was actually funny. It’s not medium level of pain it’s actually next to nothing. My tragus hurt like a bitch though

  • J

    Jan Griffiths

    None of my piercings really hurt that bad. All of my piercings are at least 25 years old, and have been healed nicely for years. The most painful one I can recall was my conch. But even that was like a 4 out of 10 for pain. Aftercare was more painful than the piercing itself. My navel, done in 1978 at Gauntlet in LA was nothing but a pinch. Septum wasn’t really too bad either, maybe a 3 out of 10. My nostrils, orbitals, tragus(es), cartilage, maybe 3-4 out of 10. All of my piercing experiences were really good, and I never had infections or rejections. I did have my tongue pierced at one time, but is retired now. I just got tired of it. That one didn’t hurt too bad either; 3 out of 10. I stll love all of the rest of my piercings to this day, and am happy and proud to have them. Everyone has different tolerances to pain, and different areas of the body are more sensitive than others. Never was interested in nipple or girly bit piercings.

  • L


    Hello Ambar,

    I have to agree with Alley, everyone has a different tolerance to pain. When I got my nipples pierced I had a great guy that did them. The pain was not really that bad but the rush that I got was awesome. I do have a very high tolerance for pain. I can’t really explain the rush but it felt like heat waves racing all over my flesh. I think you also have faith in the person that is going to do your piercing. The guy that did mine was Jessie and he did an awesome job. After it was done, he showed me how to take care of them and how to change the rings/barbells. I love it when I change them with all the new stuff.

  • A


    Hey Ambar,

    Everyone’s body is different… But typically a belly piercing is pretty manageable as far as pain goes. Fleshy piercings like that are a breeze as long as you can handle a little pinch.

    Just make sure you practice good aftercare :).

  • T


    I would disagree with Elliot, my septum piercing was a breeze! One of the easiest piercings I’ve had done. Although the initial piercing didn’t hurt, the after care, and healing hurt way worse!! Now, when it comes my medusa that was such a painful piercing my nipples didn’t even hurt as bad as my medusa. This just shows how everyone’s body and pain tolerance is different

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