Ear Piercing 101: Everything You Need to Know Before Getting Pierced

Thinking about getting a new ear piercing, but don’t know where to start?

Here’s what you need to know – how it works, how much it hurts, and how to take care of your piercing.

Model with multiple lobe and cartilage piercings

How do I choose a piercer?

Do your research to find a piercer who is reputable.  Ask around to see if any of your friends have a good recommendation, check out reviews online, and take a look at the piercer’s portfolio.  Since the piercing industry is mostly self regulated, it’s important to do your research to make sure you have a good experience.

Where should I get my new ear piercing?

Where you get your new piercing matters – not only for the ear parties that you’ll be able to create, but also for what to expect.  If there’s a look that you’re going for, bring pictures in to your piercer so you can discuss what will work best for your personal ear anatomy (and your pain tolerance).  A couple of ideas to start? A chic triple helix piercing could be in order to take your ear party to the next level – added bonus is that the helix is one of the less painful places to pierce. Or go for a versatile tragus or daith piercing to a touch of unexpected sparkle. 

If you need some help sorting out what piercing to choose, I made a handy little guide to explain everything you need to know about each piercing, including pain and healing time.

What jewelry should I wear in my new ear piercing?

Depending on where you’re getting pierced, you’ll be choosing different types of jewelry for proper healing. For example, the daith piercing, the smallest fold of cartilage where the outer ridge of your ear meets your inner ear, is almost always initially pierced with a small hoop. Your piercer can help you select a piece of jewelry that will be suitable for proper healing.  If you have a specific piece of jewelry you’d like to wear, be sure to double check with your piercer to make sure your piercing location supports that shape. 

How does the actual piercing process work? What should I expect when I show up to the studio?

You should arrive for your appointment a little bit early to review your choices of jewelry.  Your piercer will then sterilize the jewelry to make it safe, and you’ll get called into the piercing room.  Your piercer will clean your skin and mark where they think the piercing will look best, given your ear anatomy.  Double check to make sure that you’re good with the piercing location, and then when you’re happy with it, you’ll get your piercing.

Soooo….how much do ear piercings hurt?

TBH, there’s a wide range of pain levels associated with piercings depending on location and your pain tolerance. In general, cartilage piercings do tend to hurt significantly more than lobe piercings. If you’re concerned about pain, you may want to consider a helix piercing – it’s beautiful and versatile, and it’s normally the least painful cartilage piercing. FWIW, conch piercings are the most painful given that the needle needs to pierce a thick flat plane of cartilage. 

If you’ve never had a piercing before, I’d recommend starting with a standard lobe piercing.

How long will it take for my new ear piercing to heal?

When you get a new piercing, make sure you think about healing time and proper aftercare. Taking good care of your new piercing is a top priority to avoid infections, discomfort, and hole closure. Committing to the entire healing period is critical. 

For lobe piercings, the initial healing period can be as short as 6 – 10 weeks, but you want to constantly wear earrings at least for the first 6 months to prevent hole closure.

The initial healing period for cartilage piercings is considerably longer. The minimum healing time for cartilage piercings is about 3 months but can take up to 18 months depending on the location. 

For all piercings, the initial jewelry should be left alone for about 12 weeks.  That said, the longer you can keep it in without changing it, the better for the healing process.

Last thoughts?

Talking to a professional piercer can also give you a lot of insight into healing time, pain, and the best location for your individual ear. Most piercing parlors allow you to book a consultation meeting before your piercing with a professional. Be sure to ask questions!


Any other questions? Message us – we’re happy to help!