9 Types of Ear Piercings, From Lobes to Cartilage

The varied spacing allows for playful jewelry, as with the silver hoop and stud combo above, and adds a bit of personality to otherwise uniform lobe piercings. Though snake bite piercings are often done on the lobes, Bubbers points out that they’ve seen a rise in customers asking for the double piercing on the midi, forward helix, and conch. 

3. Forward Helix Piercing

A forward helix is on the upper, inner part of your ear cartilage, facing forward. “The forward-helix is literally a forward-facing piercing,” says Kelly. “If you’re looking at someone straight-on, you’ll see it.” Like most cartilage piercings, it’ll take between three and six months to heal, he says.

According to Lopez, the lengthier aftercare timeline is worth it: “A forward helix is one of my favorite piercings,” Lopez says. “They are so beautiful, especially when someone has a nice amount of space and there’s a really decorative piece there.”

4. Flat Helix Piercing

Unlike a forward helix, a flat helix isn’t meant to be seen from the front. Instead, this piercing, housed on the “flat” inner part of the upper ear, will be visible from the side. “Ear cartilage piercings, in general, are more painful than a lobe piercing,” says Kelly. “But when it comes to cartilage piercings, helixes are pretty mild.”

5. Conch Piercing

The piercing in the inner ear is the conch, Lopez’s all-time favorite ear piercing. “They’re just really beautiful. We don’t start those with rings, because the area that it’s in has a high chance of getting super irritated,” she says. “So start them with studs and then swap them to a ring, usually after six months or so.”

Also pictured: Three helix piercings. Lopez notes that the higher the part of the ear getting pierced, the longer the healing time is, as there is less blood flow the farther up the ear you go.

6. Tragus Piercing

“The tragus is one of those piercings that has never really died down,” Lopez says. “In all of the years that I’ve been piercing, they are very consistent.” It sits in that cute little tab of cartilage that’s closest to your face, sticking out from the ear. According to Kelly, a tragus piercing lands towards the higher end of the three- to six-month healing range for cartilage piercings.

7. Daith Piercing

A daith piercing passes through the ear’s inner cartilage fold. Lopez says that the daith is “super popular” right now, and he especially loves ones that include decorative rings, as seen above.

Its name may be familiar thanks to a few viral stories over the years extolling the supposed headache-fighting power in getting this part of your ear pierced, but it‘s worth noting that while it is certainly a cute piercing, the actual science is by no means concrete. In short: If you want to make this your next new piercing, go for it, but don’t expect it to spontaneously free your mind from migraines.

8. Rook Piercing

“A rook piercing is the little flap of cartilage at the top of your ear but below your helix,” Lopez says. But Lopez also adds that not every single person’s ear can handle this type of piercing. That’s why it’s important to go into your piercing studio with an open mind. And it’s yet another reason to go with a licensed pro: experienced piercers will recognize when that’s the case.

9. Industrial Piercing

According to Kelly, industrial piercings — or what clients sometimes refer to as “the bar” — are one of the most popular requests at Banter right now. Though the bar connects a helix piercing to a forward helix piercing, the industrial is pierced slightly differently from its individual components, so be sure to fill your piercer in on your ideal result.

Unlike other piercings, where you typically need to begin with a stud, you’ll leave your appointment with a bar in place. “This one hurts a little more, because it’s a slightly bigger gauge,” Kelly says. Maybe that’s one reason industrial piercings have earned their punk-rock reputation.