Body Piercings: The Complete Guide: (Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Piercing)

Body piercings are becoming increasingly popular. With this guide, you can have a better understanding on the different types of piercings, so you can get the one that really suits you best. This guide will also answer several questions that you might have about body piercings.

EAR PIERCINGS

There are multiple areas of the ear that you can pierce in order to show off your style. Below, is a detailed list of different types of ear piercings so you can find the perfect one for your liking. With so many ear-piercing options to choose from, you’ll be able to turn your ear into your very own piece of body piercing art.
  • Antitragus Piercing – a perforation of the outer ear cartilage (next to the earlobe) opposite the ear canal, can take up to 16 months to heal. Do not change your jewelry until it heals completely.
  • Auricle Piercing – The auricle is part of the ear, between the helix and the earlobe. Piercings through this area take 3 to 9 months to heal completely and should be cleaned daily.
  • Conch Piercing – A conch piercing is performed in the center of the ear between your lobe and the top of your ear. An outer conch piercing is located in the flat portion of the ear between the helix and the antihelix; an inner conch piercing is done at the cup-shaped area adjacent to your ear canal.
  • Constellation Piercing – A cluster of ear piercings resembling a galaxy constellation is a bold and striking look.
  • Daith Piercing – A piercing that passes through the innermost cartilage fold of the ear. A Daith piercing has been claimed to help migraines, but it is usually performed at a gauge of 14 or larger.
  • Earlobe Piercing – Piercings of the earlobe, a popular piercing among teens and young adults, typically heal in 6-12 weeks. Because they are performed with a spring-loaded gun and therefore done quickly, they are considered fairly safe.
  • Forward Helix Piercing – Just above your tragus, on the outer rim of your ear, you will find the antihelix.
  • Helix Piercing – Cartilage piercings are placed through the upper ear cartilage with a hollow piercing needle. Two holes are added for a double helix piercing.
  • Industrial Piercing – Also known as a scaffold piercing or bar piercing, is one of the most popular ear piercings. It consists of two pierced holes connected with a single piece of jewelry, and it is usually located on the upper ear cartilage. The industrial piercing sits diagonally on the ear and is often worn by those with multiple piercings.
  • Orbital Piercing – Create a circular piece of jewelry that is worn in two different ear piercings connected by one piece. This can be located on the helix, forward helix, or the earlobe.
  • Rook Piercing – A piercing through the top portion of the ear, known as the antihelix. This is located above the tragus on the ridge separating the inner and outer conchs.
  • Snug Piercing – A horizontal piercing, placed at the inner ridge of the ear cartilage above the anti-tragus, is a popular choice for people seeking to stretch their earlobes. It runs through the antihelix, too; however, it’s placed a little further toward the middle of the cartilage than other horizontal piercings.
  • Tragus Piercing – A tragus piercing is a body modification that involves piercing the small flap of cartilage that is directly in front of the ear canal opening.
  • Transverse Lobe Piercing – This piercing is like an earlobe piercing, except that it goes horizontally through the earlobe instead of front to back.

Ear Piercing Chart

Ear Piercing Chart

FACE PIERCINGS:

Like ear piercings, there are many different face piercing options available. Eyebrow piercings and lip piercings seem to be two of the most popular in society, but there are many other types of face piercings as well. We’ve outlined every facial piercing option so you can know exactly what you want before visiting a piercer.

  • Anti-Eyebrow Piercing (Cheekbone Piercing)– This piercing can be placed either above the cheekbone or below the eyebrow, depending on the wearer's preference.
  • Ashley Piercing – A lower lip piercing that goes through the lip rather than the skin below it can be a painful or pleasurable experience, depending on the person. These piercings are usually gauged to a 16 or a 14.
  • Bridge Piercing – A piercing is placed directly between the eyes, on the bridge of the nose. The bridge is also known as a surface piercing and has a higher risk of rejection and scarring.
  • Cheek Piercing – A cheek piercing creates a dimple on the cheek and through the oral cavity. It is usually done in pairs for symmetrical placement.
  • Eyebrow Piercing – A vertical surface piercing goes through the bottom part of the eyebrow and exits through the top part of the eyebrow. A vertical surface piercing takes about 6-8 weeks to heal.
  • Horizontal Tongue Piercing (Snake Eyes Piercing, Venom Piercing) – A horizontal tongue piercing can be located at the tip of the tongue (snake eyes) and travel toward the center of the tongue (venom) based on your preference.
  • Jestrum Piercing – An upper lip piercing located in the center of the upper lip, just under the septum of the nose. It is also known as a vertical medusa piercing.
  • Labret Piercing – A labret piercing is a type of lip piercing that is placed in the center of the bottom lip and is also known as a “tongue pillar piercing” or a “soul patch piercing.” Multiple labret piercings can give you snake bite piercings, shark bite piercings, and spider bite piercings depending on how many holes you have.
  • Lip Frenulum Piercing (Smiley Piercing)– Upper lip frenulum piercings can be done in a multitude of ways, but are most commonly pierced through the upper lip immediately below the area where your upper teeth come together.
  • Lip Frenulum Piercing (Frowny Piercing) – A lip piercing is a vertical piercing through the lower lip frenulum. This is the piece of skin that connects your bottom lip to your mouth.
  • Madonna Piercing – A Madonna piercing is located on the right side of a person's upper lip, above the gum line. A Madonna piercing resembles the beauty mark of pop singer Madonna.
  • Monroe Piercing – A Monroe piercing is located on the left side of the upper lip, a cosmetic feature often associated with Marilyn Monroe's famous beauty mark.
  • Philtrum Piercing – A philtrum piercing can be placed like a jestrum piercing, but with only one hole through the center of the upper lip. This is also called a Medusa piercing.
  • Tongue Piercing – A vertical piercing through the center of the tongue can be a painful experience.
  • Uvula Piercing – A piercing through the uvula is a rare and unusual procedure.
  • Web Piercing (Gum piercing, Tongue Frenulum Piercing)– Placing a piercing under the tongue can be more aesthetically pleasing than other piercings. The placement of the piercing goes directly through the "webbed" skin flap, which is pierced with a curved barbell.

Face Piercing Chart

NOSE PIERCINGS:

 If you are considering getting a nose piercing, it is important to know the difference between a nostril piercing and a septum piercing. Below, we explain both so that you can make an informed decision about your nose jewelry.

  • Austin Bar – This piercing can be done horizontally through the tip of your nose.
  • High Nostril Piercing – Nearly identical to the nostril piercing, this piercing is located on the higher end of the nasal bridge.
  • Multiple Nostril Piercing – A combination of nostril piercings, including normal and high-pierced, creates multiple holes on the nasal bridge.
  • Nasal Piercing – This piercing runs through both nostrils and the septum, so that it can be seen from either side of the nose.
  • Nostril Piercing – If you want to add a little flair to your face, try getting a nostril piercing. It is normally between an 18 gauge and a 20 gauge, but if you want to add a little something extra, you can get a double nose piercing.
  • Rhino Piercing – A nose ring that pokes through the top of your septum.
  • Septum Piercing – Known as a bull piercing, a septum piercing goes through the skin that divides your nostrils. A septum piercing doesn’t go through your actual cartilage, but more so through the skin between your nostrils.
  • Septril Piercing – This piercing required a stretched septum and is a mixture of a rhino piercing and a septum piercing. The result is a beautiful, appealing piece that is sure to make any onlooker smile.

OTHER BODY PIERCINGS:

In addition to the more traditional earlobe, tongue and nose piercings, there are other body piercings that fall into a category of their own. Belly button piercings, nipple piercings, and sternum piercings are just a few of the body modification options you can learn about below.

  • Anal Piercing – The perineum, located between the anus and the scrotum or vulva, is where some people get piercings.
  • Back Piercing – A surface-piercing is often done on the lower back. These piercings are typically done in pairs to obtain symmetry, which is why they are also called “back dimple piercings.”
  • Belly Button Piercing – Belly button piercings run vertically through the top or bottom of the belly button. This can create a very attractive design that draws attention to the navel, creating a focal point for any outfit.
  • Hip Piercing – A surface piercing can be applied near the hip bones.
  • Micro dermal Piercing (Dermal Piercing)– A micro dermal piercing involves the needle being inserted under the skin and held in place by an anchor. It can be placed on any flat surface of the body, such as the hip, chest or wrist. Some piercings of this kind include a corset piercing, collarbone piercing or a sternum piercing.
  • Nape Piercing – A nape piercing is a surface piercing that runs through the back of the neck, extending from ear to ear.
  • Nipple Piercing – is a popular and controversial body modification. Don't heal as quickly as other piercings. The skin around the nipple is very thick and doesn't stretch easily, which means that it will take longer for the piercing to close up than the average piercing would.
  • Sternum Piercing – A sternum piercing is a surface piercing located in the center of your chest. The skin above the sternum is thin, so a needle will pass through it easily.
  • Tooth Piercing – A piercing directly through your tooth.
  • Wrist Piercing – A surface piercing on the inner or outer section of the wrist is a popular choice among teens.

Body Piercing Jewelry Types

Barbells

Barbells—balls connected by a bar—are the most common style of body jewelry. The balls usually unscrew from both ends so that the bar can be passed through a piercing and then secured in place by screwing the balls back on. They are used for a variety of piercings including tongue piercings, ear piercings, nipple piercings, eyebrow piercing and more.

Straight Barbell Piercing

 

Belly Button Barbells

Belly button barbells are curved barbells with a threaded ball on either end, designed to fit around the belly button. The curved shape mimics the angle of the belly button so it fits more comfortably, and the larger bottom ball sits neatly against the skin with one ball just above the navel and the other below it. Most belly button barbells have a bigger bottom ball and a smaller top ball.

Belly Button rings

 

Captive Bead Rings

Captive bead rings are basic circular hoops with a ball (or charm) that is held in place by the pressure of each end of the circle. The balls usually have a slight dimple on each side, allowing them to sit perfectly against the ring. This means you can remove and add the ball whenever you want, so there’s no risk of it falling off or getting lost.

Captive bead Rings

 

Ear Cartilage Jewelry

Ear cartilage jewelry comes in a variety of sizes, styles and lengths depending on the wearer's preference.

Ear Cartilage Jewelry

 

Fake Tapers & Fake Plugs

Illusion earrings, though they look like stretched piercings, are worn by people who want the look of body modification but don't want to stretch their lobes.

 

Hoop Nose Rings

Hoop nose rings are the perfect solution for those who like the look of a rose ring, but don’t want a captive bead ring. These rings are an easy way to add an elegant touch to your nose piercing.

Hoop Nose Rings  

 

Horseshoe Rings (Circular Barbells)

Circular barbells are similar to straight barbells. They are often called “horseshoe rings,” but their form is more like a circle that has been curved and closed at the ends. Just like a straight barbell, ball ends screw on and off for jewelry insertion and removal.

Circular Barbells

 

Industrial Barbells

Industrial barbells are worn in the top of the ear and require two piercings. The barbell is worn diagonally from the top of the ear to the lower part. Industrial barbells often have stylized ends or charms hanging from the middle of it.

Industrial Barbell 

 

Labret Barbells

Labret barbells typically feature a flat disc on the back for comfort. These studs are used to decorate numerous piercings and usually have a decorative ball or charm attached. Labret barbells are usually worn above or below the lip area, but can also be used for cheek and dimple piercings.

Labret Barbell

 

Nipple Rings

There are many styles of body jewelry that can be worn in a nipple piercing, but one of the most common is the barbell. Barbells often have adornments attached for extra glamour. Nipple shields are large, decorative discs that are held in place with a barbell once inserted into the nipple piercing. 

 

 

Pinchers

Pinchers are shaped like horseshoe rings, although they have no balls attached. Some pinchers need to be held in place with O-rings, while others have a small notch in the center that allows them to be secured by the piercing itself.

Pinchers Piercing

 

Plugs

Plugs can be used in pretty much any part of the body as long as the area has been stretched or punched in order to accommodate larger sized jewelry. Typically, stretching happens in the earlobe area, but some people stretch their noses, lips, and more. Plugs are solid with no openings.

 

 

Septum Rings

Septum rings are worn through a piercing hole placed inside of the nose, on the wall dividing the nostrils. Septum jewelry is available in two different styles: horseshoe rings or captive bead rings.

Septum Rings

 

Spiral Tapers

Spiral tapers can be worn to add a decorative touch to an outfit.

Spiral Tapers

Stud Nose Rings (Bones & Screws)

Although bone nose rings and screw nose rings both serve to adorn the side of your nostril with a tiny, little charm or gem, they differ in appearance.

Stud Nose Rings

 

 

Tapers

Functional tapers are used when you want to stretch your gauge size, while decorative tapers are true to your size and are worn as accessories.

Tapers

 

 

Tunnels

Unlike plugs, tunnels feature an opening so you can see through the center of them. The opening also makes it easier to clean your piercing. Tunnels are usually used for larger gauge piercings.

 

Body Jewelry Sizes Cheat Sheet

Since some jewelry can be used interchangeably with different piercings, this cheat sheet will help you make the right jewelry choice.

Barbell Gauge Sizes: 18 Gauge – 10 Gauge

Standard length: 1/2” or 7/16”

Captive Bead Ring Barbell Gauge Sizes: 18 Gauge – 10 Gauge

Standard length: 1/4” or 5/16”

Curved Barbell Gauge Sizes: 18 Gauge – 10 Gauge

Standard length: 1/2”, 3/8”, 7/16”

Horseshoe Ring Barbell Gauge Sizes: 18 Gauge – 10 Gauge

Standard length: 1/4”, 5/16”, 3/8”

Nose Ring Gauge Sizes: 18 – 20 Gauge

Standard length varies

Plug Gauge Sizes: 18 Gauge – 1”

Taper Gauge Sizes: 18 Gauge – 1”

Tunnel Gauge Sizes: 18 Gauge – 1”

 

Body Jewelry Materials

The material you choose for your body jewelry will depend on factors like your skin type and desired level of comfort. Before selecting a certain material, speak with a piercing professional for more information on what to expect from each type of material. 

  • Acrylic Body Jewelry – It's lightweight, versatile, and comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
  • Glass Body Jewelry – It’s easy to clean, cool to the touch and smooth to the skin.
  • Silicone Body Jewelry – Soft, comfortable, and available in a variety of unique colors.
  • Stone Body Jewelry – A natural, lightweight material that can be made in any color.
  • Titanium Body Jewelry – One of the highest quality and purest metals available. It’s scratch-resistant, lightweight, stronger than steel and affordable.

Body Piercing FAQ’s

Q: How do I clean my body piercing?

A: We suggest you clean your new body piercing with saline solution, but please ask your piercer for important hygiene information.

Q: How do I clean my body jewelry?

A: We recommend that you clean your body jewelry with antibacterial soap and warm water, but you should ask your piercing professional after your procedure for important hygiene information.

Q: How painful is a body piercing?

A: All body piercings cause varying degrees of pain. In most cases, pain levels depend on the individual. Talk to your piercing professional about ways to manage pain during and after the procedure.

Q: How do I know if my piercing is infected?

A: Redness, swelling, and tenderness are signs of infection. If you think your piercing is infected, you should contact your healthcare professional or piercing professional immediately for further instruction.

Q: How long does it take for a body piercing to heal?

A: The healing period for piercings depends on their location and the individual. It can take anywhere from four months to one year for parts of the body to heal. Your piercing professional will be able to tell you everything you need to know about your healing timeline.

Q: If I remove my jewelry to change it, will my piercing close?

A: If you switch your jewelry or remove your piercing before the healing timeline provided by your piercer, you could do serious damage to the area. All healing times vary, so if you have any questions about when it's safe to change your jewelry, contact your piercer for more information.

Q: Will body piercings leave a scar?

The location of your piercing and your individual skin type can affect the amount of scarring you will experience after removing a piercing. Your piercer should be able to provide information about how to prevent this.

Q: Can I wear a different gauge size than my current body jewelry?

 Yes, you can change your gauge size but you should seek advice from your piercer about the necessary steps you'll need to take in order to do so safely.

Q: How can I hide my body piercing?

If you want to make your piercing less noticeable, try using a clear retainer. A piercing retainer should be worn every day so that your body can get used to it. In addition, some piercings are easier to hide than others. Talk to your piercer and decide which piercing is best for you.

Q: How old do you have to be to get a piercing?

Most states require an individual to be 18 years of age without a present guardian before they can apply for a driver's license, but this is not always the case.