Every piercing is painful since skin is being punctured, but there are some piercings that are more painful than others. Before getting any piercing, it’s important to know what you’re in for.
Your pain level will always depend on your individual pain threshold. However, there is a general consensus on which piercings are the most and least painful.
Painful Piercings from Most to Least
Below are 20 common body piercings and where they rank on the pain scale. Here they are ranked from most to least painful:
- Wrists (surface)
- Vertical labret
- Complex lip piercings (snake/spider/shark bites)
- Ear Lobe
Most Painful Piercings
The first ten piercings on this list are considered to be the most painful.
Nipple Piercing: 8/10
Nipple piercings are ranked as the most painful piercings among piercers and piercees alike. These piercings are the most painful because the nipple is packed with sensitive nerve endings, so puncturing a hole through this tissue is not exactly pleasant. Nipple piercings rank at an 8/10 on the pain scale.
Anti-tragus Piercing: 8/10
The anti-tragus piercing is a perforation on the inner cartilage of the ear, located opposite to the standard tragus piercing. Anti-tragus is regarded by many as the most painful piercing due to its sensitive location and the thick cartilage that must be punctured. This piercing ranks at the same pain level as nipple piercings at an 8/10 on the pain scale.
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Dermal Piercing: 7/10
Dermal piercings are single-entrance surface piercings that only puncture flat skin. The pain level for this piercing depends on the location and whether a dermal punch is used. The pain level of dermal piercings can be very intense depending on the amount of nerves present in the area, so it gets a 7/10 on the pain scale.
Conch Piercing: 5 – 6/10
Conch piercings puncture the large shell-shaped cartilage at the ear’s center. These piercings can be performed outside or inside of the cartilage depending on preference. The increased pain level is a result of the relatively complex piercing procedure and a long recovery time. Prolonged soreness and swelling can add to these issues, so conch piercings get a 5 to 6 out of 10 on the pain scale.
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Wrist Surface Piercing: 6/10
Wrist piercings are located on the underside of the wrist and are prone to frequent rejection and migration because they are surface piercings. This piercing procedure is more complicated than most and the piercing itself is easily irritated with everyday motions. These issues earn wrist piercings a 6/10 on the pain scale.
Septum Piercing: 6/10
Septum piercings require the thin skin towards the top of the nose to be clamped and punctured. While the skin itself is thin, septum piercings will often cause people to tear up because they are in a sensitive location. The area is prone to soreness and swelling immediately after. These sensitivities earn septum piercings a 6/10 on the pain scale.
Daith Piercing: 5 – 6/10
Daith piercings perforate the outer cartilage in the central part of the ear. Thicker cartilage, combined with a small and sensitive area, earns daith piercings a 6/10 on the piercing pain scale.
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Industrial Piercing: 6/10
Industrial piercings puncture two spots on the ear cartilage and link them with a single barbell. Ear cartilage piercings are already ranked at a higher pain level, so two of them raises their rank to 6/10 points on the pain scale.
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Helix Piercing: 6/10
Helix piercings are located on the curve of the ear and can be done as a single or multiple piercings. Multiple helix piercings raise the pain level considerably, so this piercing ranks as a 6/10 even though the curve of the ear is not as sensitive as some other areas.
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Rook Piercings: 6/10
The rook piercing is a puncture of the anti-helix cartilage located above the tragus. This area is quite compact with thicker cartilage, so the associated pain level will definitely be higher during the procedure. Thick cartilage and a difficult location earn rook piercings a 6/10 on the pain scale.
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The final ten piercings are ranked as being the least painful on the list.
Tongue Piercing: 4 – 5/10
This piercing is normally located in the middle of the tongue, but it can be modified for different locations. The tongue is a set of muscles, meaning that thick tissue must be punctured during the procedure. The necessary lifestyle changes after being pierced keep this piercing at a 4 to 5 out of 10 on the pain scale.
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Cartilage Piercing: 4/10
Cartilage piercings usually refer to the perforation of the upper ear cartilage as shown. However, cartilage piercings also include daith, industrial, helix, rook, conch and anti-tragus, which are some of the most painful ear cartilage piercings.
While these piercing types may bring more intense pain due to their unique locations, the single cartilage piercing would not exceed a 5/10 on the pain scale. Standard cartilage piercings can generally be identified as the least painful ear piercing besides earlobe piercings.
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Piercing Stretching: 3/10
Stretching a piercing involves expanding the perforation to wear larger jewelry. The associated pain is caused by the pressure on the tissue and the prolonged time necessary for healing. The exact pain level of stretching depends on where the piercing is located, but some of the most painful areas are located on ear cartilage. This area earns a 3 to 4 out of 10 on the pain scale.
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Eyebrow Piercing: 3/10
Eyebrow piercings are located anywhere along the eyebrow, and there are many different variations. These piercings are not usually as painful since they only puncture thin skin. However, proximity to the eye and heightened sensitivity earn eyebrow piercings a 3/10 on the pain scale.
Vertical Labret Piercing: 3/10
Vertical labret piercings are punctured straight down through the lip and require curved jewelry. Despite its complexity, this piercing procedure is relatively easy to endure and take care of. These features earn the vertical labret a 3/10 on the pain scale.
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Navel Piercing: 2/10
Navel piercings puncture the thin skin at the top of the navel. Because of the ease of access and thin skin, these piercings rank at a 2/10 on the pain scale.
Complex lip piercings (snake/spider/shark bites): 2/10
Lip piercing “bites” are located in different arrangements around the mouth, usually on the lower lip. However, oral piercings are known for healing quickly and the skin below the lip is quite thin. Simplicity and healing time earn these piercings a 2/10 on the pain scale.
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Monroe/Madonna Piercing: 2/10
Monroe or Madonna piercings are located on the side of the upper lip and require an easy single perforation. Due to the simplicity, thin skin and quick healing time, this piercing ranks at a 2/10 on the pain scale.
Nostril Piercing: 2/10
Nostril piercings are a puncture on the side of the nose, and can be done in singles or multiples. This piercing goes through slightly thicker skin, but is relatively easy to heal. The procedure ease combined with the location earn this piercing a 2/10 on the pain scale.
Ear Lobe 1/10 – Least Painful Piercing
Earlobe piercings are the most common piercing type for all genders. If you prefer to keep things simple or you’ve never been pierced, earlobe piercings are a safe bet!
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Reducing Piercing Pain Level
Below are some simple tips for anyone wanting to decrease the pain level of their piercing procedure:
- Choose an experienced piercer no matter what piercing you are having done.
- Stay relaxed and patient during the procedure. Make sure to keep breathing and follow the instructions your piercer gives you.
- Concentrate on something else during the procedure so you’re not distracted by the pain.
- Thoroughly follow the aftercare guidelines that your piercer provides you after the procedure.
Keep in mind that every piercing requires a unique and individualized approach. For example, oral piercings heal better when not exposed to smoke or spicy foods.
After cartilage perforation (helix, daith, anti-tragus, rook, conch) avoid touching your piercing to clothes or other objects like phones. Pain relievers like ibuprofen may be taken to reduce pain during or after the procedure to reduce discomfort.
Proper piercing aftercare will reduce the chances of pain and infection afterward. Always be sure to choose the best piercing care product that suits your specific piercing.
Be sure to discuss any use of numbing agents with your piercer beforehand since these products are not usually recommended.
Some experienced piercers may have a procedure for keeping you calm beforehand. They may tell you when to breathe in or out, or distract you when they’re about to puncture your skin. Talk to your piercer beforehand if you have any worries about the procedure.
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Remember that no piercer should ever offer you an alcoholic drink in their studio.
Which piercings hurt the most?
Anti-tragus, nipple, dermal and conch piercings are considered as the most painful piercings. The pain is caused by puncturing skin and triggering nerve endings in sensitive locations.
Which piercing hurts the least?
The least painful piercing is traditionally the earlobe piercing, as this area does not contain many nerve endings.
How long does a new piercing hurt?
The pain duration depends on the type of piercing. For example, nipple and anti-tragus piercings may be quite painful the first day because of their sensitivity, while cartilage piercings can ache for up to a week because of soreness and swelling. However, earlobe or navel piercings typically only hurt for about an hour after the procedure.
What is the most painful ear cartilage piercing?
The most painful piercings on the ear are the tragus and daith since they are located in the middle of the ear and contain thick cartilage.
Can piercing procedure pain be reduced?
Distracting yourself or asking your piercer for help will help you to not focus on the pain at hand.
What jewelry materials do you recommend?
Stainless steel, titanium or 14k gold are all excellent materials for initial piercing jewelry.
Can I pierce myself?
Many issues can arise from at-home piercings, so it is recommended that you find a professional piercer you can trust.
Where to shop best jewelry online?
Lobe (including Orbital): “The earlobe piercing is the easiest piercing to get in terms of pain and healing,” says Rose. “It is with minimal discomfort, and healing can take four to six weeks.” With that said, Rose does advise against using rubbing alcohol and peroxide, and wearing face masks that go behind your ears.What is the riskiest piercing? ›
“The most dangerous piercings are the ones that involve cartilage, like higher ear piercings,” says Tracy Burton, a pediatric nurse practitioner in Ontario. “These piercings are associated with poor healing because of the limited blood supply to the area.What is the safest piercing? ›
Along with the nostrils and belly button, the earlobes are the safest and most common body part to be pierced. The flesh of the earlobe heals well when the area is cleaned regularly and the piercing is done at the proper angle.
Tongue piercings have the fastest healing duration of all piercings at only two weeks before you can downsize the bar. Lower lip piercings have a minimum of 6-8 weeks, while upper lip piercings (such as madonna or monroe piercings) take around 8 weeks.Which piercings are easiest to heal? ›
“Ear lobe piercings are generally the easiest to heal, but at the same time we advise caution against getting too many piercings at one go,” says Brooks.What piercing takes the longest to heal? ›
A navel piercing has one of the longest healing times – as much as 12 months – because of its position on your body. However, the jewellery can usually be changed to a slightly shorter sterile piece from 6–8 weeks.What are the rarest piercings? ›
Uncommon piercings may be more costly due to the fragile nature of the procedures. A few more uncommon piercings are eyeball piercings, dermal piercings (pictured to the left), corset piercings, some genital piercings, uvula piercings, bridge piercings, and anti-eyebrow piercings (the latter two are pictured above).What is a angel piercing? ›
An angel bite piercing is a double piercing with each one sitting symmetrically just above your upper lip on either side of your philtrum —the grooved space between your nose and lips.What is a Cardi B piercing? ›
By the time Cardi got to her labret piercing in her face, she made a loud pitch scream for most of the time as her piercer put the needle through her upper chin.What is a Marilyn piercing? ›
A Monroe piercing is a lip piercing placed off-center, above the upper lip on the left-hand side and is meant to resemble Marilyn Monroe's beauty spot, although Monroe's beauty spot was on her cheek, not her lip. The Madonna piercing is similar but worn on the right-hand side.
We recommend not getting more than four piercings in one session, especially if you're getting them on the same ear. Getting multiple piercings can also cause increased swelling during healing and can prolong healing time.What piercings are the easiest to get infected? ›
Of all the body sites commonly pierced, the navel is the most likely to become infected because of its shape. Infections can often be treated with good skin hygiene and antibiotic medications. With this type of infection, jewelry generally does not have to be taken out.When should you not get a piercing? ›
2. DO: Be aware of any medical issues or previous reactions. If you have a health problem, uncontrolled diabetes, bleeding or clotting disorders or a bloodborne virus, your chances of infection are higher. Talk to your doctor to consider your risks.What piercings help with pain? ›
Conch piercings can be painful, but some people actually get them in order to relieve acute or chronic pain. This practice is based on the same underlying idea of acupuncture and acupressure. It's thought that stimulating certain points on the body — many of them on the ears — can provide relief.Which ear piercing is most attractive? ›
Conch piercings are one of the most attractive types of ear piercings. Named after a shell or a 'conch', these types of piercings are done in the center part of your ear. Since this is the ear area with the most space, conch earrings are one of the most customizable styles that open room for experimentation.Are piercings addictive? ›
Piercings can be psychologically "addictive," in the sense that many people will continue to see how far they can push their limits once they start getting them, says Stephanie Hutter-Thomas, a professional body piercer and PhD candidate studying the psychology of body art.What piercing takes a year to heal? ›
However, piercings on the side of your ear (cartilage) can take anywhere from 4 months to 1 year to heal.Which piercings are not permanent? ›
No matter what it looks like, though, a dermal piercing isn't permanent; your skin will eventually grow in such a way that pushes the anchor up to the surface and out.What is the most popular piercings for a girl? ›
#1: Nostril Piercings
Nose piercings are overall the most popular piercings for women. Around 19% of pierced women have at least one nose piercing. Nostril piercings are the most popular of these and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion.
Ear piercings are by far the most popular, and with good reason! There's so many places to put lovely jewelry.
The anti-eyebrow piercing, also known as the butterfly piercing, is a surface piercing. This means that the piercer will use clamps to pinch the skin that you want to be pierced and push the needle straight through. They will then insert a curved barbell into the piercing.What's a venom piercing? ›
A venom piercing is a double tongue piercing — one on each side of the tongue. Though not quite as tough-sounding, it's sometimes called a frog eye piercing because the balls on the jewelry resemble frog eyes when you open your mouth.What is lizzo's freakiest piercing? ›
Lizzo Hints She Has a 'Coochie' Piercing: 'Never Thought I'd Be This Girl'What is the anxiety piercing? ›
A daith piercing is located in the innermost fold of your ear. Some people believe that this piercing can help ease anxiety-related migraines and other symptoms. Although the evidence is primarily anecdotal, there's some research around the piercing's proposed mechanism of action.What are Butterfly Kiss piercings? ›
Also known as 'teardrop piercings' or 'butterfly's kiss', the anti-eyebrow is a surface piercing that sits along the cheekbone, just below the eye socket.What are vampire piercings? ›
Vampire bite piercing, sometimes known as a neck piercing when it is done on the neck, or shoulder piercing, is done to create the look of a vampire bite.What's the Ashley piercing? ›
“An Ashley piercing is a single piercing that goes directly through the center of the bottom lip, exiting through the back of the lip,” says Kynzi Gamble, a professional piercer at Ink'd Up Tattoo Parlor in Boaz, AL. An Ashley piercing is a bit more involved, as they're pierced according to your anatomy.What piercing does Zendaya have? ›
Zendaya doesn't always wear her septum rings, but when she does, it's gorgeous. She's been committing to her piercing for a few years and showed it off during the 2014 American Music Awards.What is lizzo's new piercing? ›
Lizzo reveals she has a 'coochie' piercing, would love to do Playboy.What is an Eskimo piercing? ›
An Eskimo or an Ashley piercing is a vertical lip piercing or a vertical labret which, unlike a normal labret, runs vertically through the lip. This piercing is executed like the centered labret, the difference being that the needle comes back out on the other side of the lower lip.
The Third Eye Piercing is also known as Bindi Piercing, Unicorn Piercing, Vertical Bridge Piercing or Forehead Piercing. The piercing is a perforation made between the eyebrows vertically at the bridge of the nose.What is a shark piercing? ›
Shark bites are a type of piercing popular with body jewelry enthusiasts, consisting of four holes on either side under the lower lip. Like most piercings, this style is generally safe, but it requires slightly different aftercare than other piercings.What piercings have a high rejection rate? ›
Surface piercings have the highest rejection rate. Surface piercings such as microdermals as well as eyebrow piercings and navel piercings reject the most because they are closest to the surface of the skin.What piercings reject easily? ›
Surface piercings such as eyebrows, neck, nipple and wrist tend to be rejected more easily than other piercings. That's because they do not travel directly through the body, but rather along an area of skin because the jewellery is puncturing only a small amount of the skin's surface.Which piercing method is best? ›
Needles result in less tissue trauma, shorter healing time, and an overall more hygienic piercing procedure than piercing with a piercing gun. Needles also allow for your piercers to get a more precise piercing angle for the perfect piercing.Can you have 5 piercings healing at once? ›
We recommend not getting more than four piercings in one session, especially if you're getting them on the same ear. Getting multiple piercings can also cause increased swelling during healing and can prolong healing time.Do piercings make you less attractive? ›
Results indicated that, controlling for participants' own piercings, stimuli with piercings were rated as less physically attractive and intelligent than those without piercings, with multiple piercings being accorded the most negative ratings.Is piercing rejection rare? ›
Piercing rejection is not very common, but it does happen. Rejection most common in the first few weeks to months after getting a piercing. So it's important to keep an eye on new piercings.What does a rejecting piercing look like? ›
You may notice one or all of the following start to happen: the distance between the entry and exit holes begins to shrink – e.g you can see more of the bar or ring than before – this is the most significant sign. your piercing feels sore, irritated or itchy. it looks dry.How long till I can sleep on my piercing? ›
The general rule of thumb is to avoid sleeping in earrings, with one exception: when you get a new piercing. You'll need to keep these small studs in for 6 weeks or longer, or until your piercer gives you the OK.
What is a medusa piercing? A medusa or philtrum piercing positions a stud in the center groove above the cupid's-bow of the lip. A piercer usually fits the piercing with a long labret stud. Once the piercing heals, a person can exchange the stud for a shorter stud to avoid causing damage to their teeth and gums.Do all piercings eventually reject? ›
Any piercing has the potential to be rejected. Rejection depends on the person's immune system and how well the piercing heals. But, the body tends to reject some types of piercings more often than others. Surface piercings are the most common types of piercing to be rejected by the body.What is a floating belly button piercing? ›
A Floating Navel Piercing sits the position of the barbell deeper into the inside of the navel while still coming out the top in the traditional placement. It's there where you can get creative with lots of cute options in jewelry from sparkling stones, or cascading dangles! (