Whether you’re considering your first piercing or contemplating adding another to your collection, this comprehensive guide is here to provide you with the essential knowledge you need to make informed decisions and ensure a positive piercing experience. Body piercings have been a form of self-expression for centuries, and with a wide variety of piercing types and combinations available today, it’s crucial to understand the most important aspects before taking the plunge.
If you’ve never had a body piercing before (or at least not since you can remember getting your ears done as a youngster), it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of the piercing process and the responsibilities that come with it. Firstly, selecting a reputable and professional piercing studio is of utmost importance. Thoroughly research and choose a piercing establishment with experienced and trained piercers who prioritize safety and hygiene. A skilled piercer will guide you through the process, provide aftercare instructions, and ensure that the piercing is performed using sterile techniques, reducing the risk of complications and infections.
Another crucial consideration when contemplating a body piercing is understanding the potential pain and healing process associated with it. While pain thresholds vary from person to person, it’s essential to be mentally prepared for the discomfort that may accompany the piercing procedure. Additionally, different piercings have varying healing times, ranging from a few weeks to several months, and even up to or beyond a year to heal fully (and healed doesn’t just mean “it looks healed”). Understanding the proper aftercare routines and commitments, including cleaning, avoiding certain activities, and jewelry maintenance, will contribute to a smooth and successful healing process.
Lastly, it’s important to consider the long-term implications of body piercings. While piercings can be a stunning form of self-expression, it’s essential to think about the impact they may have on various aspects of your life, such as career choices, personal relationships, scarring, and potential allergic reactions to certain metals. Some professional environments may have strict policies regarding visible piercings, which could affect your job prospects. Additionally, researching and understanding the potential risks, such as infection, allergic reactions, and migration/rejection, is crucial for making an informed decision about the type and placement of your piercing.
In this guide, we will delve into the different types of body piercings, appropriate aftercare practices, potential risks and complications, and much more. By equipping yourself with this knowledge, you can approach body piercings with confidence and make choices that align with your personal style and preferences while prioritizing your health and safety.
Continue reading to find out all about the different types and combinations of piercings out there. Our in-depth body piercing guides to learn more about all the different types of body piercings and combinations to inspire you to get your next one, and the next one, and the one after that!
Types of body piercings
Here’s a list of all the most popular types of body piercings out there, split by body part:
Your ears might be tiny, but the possibilities for creativity for piercings on your ears are virtually endless. The great thing about ear piercings is that they’re completely versatile and it’s super-easy to mix and match loads of combinations of all the piercings below. What’s even better is that you have two ears, which means double the real estate to let your creativity run wild. Most of your ear apart from your lobe (the flappy bit at the bottom) is made up of cartilage which is harder, and cartilage piercings normally heal slower than regular skin or surface piercings. Here’s a list of the most popular ear piercings:
- Anti-tragus: Goes through hard bit at the top of your ear lobe and comes out near your ear canal.
- Conch (Inner & Outer): In the front and out the back in the deepest channel of your ear. Inner placement is actually the upper portion and outer positioning is the lower portion closer to your ear canal.
- Daith: Near the conch but instead of going front to back, it passes through and under where it looks like the top rim of your ear connects back into the inside.
- Ear lobe: The soft, flappy bit of skin at the bottom of your ear.
- Ear lobe (Stretched/Plug): The same as above, but you stretch the hole over time to become bigger.
- Flat: A front-to-back piercing anywhere on the flat part of the upper part of your ear.
- Forward helix: Through the top rim of your ear between 9-and-12 o’clock closest to where it connects to your head.
- Helix: Through the top rim of your ear but between 12-and-4 o’clock.
- Industrial: Two piercings, usually through your helix and forward helix, that connect using a single long bar.
- Midway: Similar to the helix or flat piercing, but about halfway down your ear. Comes out the back.
- Orbital: Used to describe any ring-style piercing that either crosses a large area (most commonly an outer conch around the outside of your ear), or is a hoop that passes through two different holes.
- Rook: Goes through the little ledge that connects the top portion of your ear with the deeper conch area.
- Snug (or Anti-helix): Similar to the rook, but farther around at about the 3 o’clock position.
- Surface tragus: A surface piercing that goest through the flag skin just in front of the tragus but more forward on the face.
- Tragus: Through the small protruding flap connected to your head that covers your ear canal.
If any of the above descriptions made no sense whatsoever, just look at the picture above 🙂
Over the past few years, I’ve found lip piercings have been a little less popular than they once were. That’s not to say they’re still a popular choice though! Similar to your ear, there’s plenty of space for lots of combos and different types, but unlike the ear, the large list below actually comes from the fact that the different combinations of piercings have their own special names. This is also why the above image has been split into individual lips – simply because it’s too hard to put them all on one image. The most popular lip piercings are:
- Angel bite: Two piercings; one offset to each side above your top lip.
- Ashley: Goes through the centre of the bottom lip and out the back into your mouth. This one is pretty rare as it often swells during healing to more than double the size.
- Canine bites: Four piercings; two offset to each side above your top lip and two in the same positions below your bottom lip.
- Cyber bite: Two piercings; a combination of one directly in the centre above your top lip (medusa) and in the same position directly below your bottom lip (labret).
- Dahlia (Joker bite): Two piercings; one on each side of your mouth directly beside the crease where your top and bottom lips join.
- Dolphin bite: Two piercings; two side by side horizontally below the middle of your bottom lip.
- Horizontal lip: A surface piercing that goes through the centre of your bottom lip horizontally.
- Jestrum: A piercing going through the centre of your top lip and out the top through the skin above the lip.
- Labret: In the centre just below your bottom lip.
- Lowbret: In the centre below your bottom lip, but lower down than a standard labret towards the tip of your chin.
- Medusa: A single piercing above the middle of the top lip.
- Monroe (Madonna): Above the lip offset to one side or the other, aptly named to mimic the side of the mole Madonna (on your right side) and Marylin Munroe (on your left). Having both of these is called an angel bite.
- Shark bite: Four piercings; two on each side close together offset to either side below your bottom lip.
- Snake bite: Two piercings; one offset to each side below your bottom lip to look like your snake fangs went through your bottom lips.
- Spider bite (Viper bite): Two piercings; right beside each other horizontally offset to one side only below your bottom lip. Having these on both sides of your lip would make it a shark bite.
- Triangle bite: Three piercings; Two above the top lip forming an angel bite as well as a labret below the centre of your bottom lip.
- Vertical lip (Vertical labret): A piercing that goes through the centre of the bottom lip and out through the skin underneath your bottom lip.
Read more in our comprehensive guide on lip piercings
Because there are so many names and combinations for lip piercings, we decided to split mouth and oral piercings into their own category. Oral piercings refer to any piercing that’s inside your mouth, such as the web and frenulum piercings as well as the tongue. Here are some of the most popular ones:
- Frowny: Goes under the centre strip of skin between your gum and your bottom lip.
- Smiley: Goes under the centre strip of skin called your frenulum between your gum and top lip.
- Tongue: A very popular piercing that goes through your tongue in the centre, top to bottom.
- Snake eyes (Frog eyes): A tongue surface-style piercing that goes through the front tip of the tongue. You don’t see this one very often anymore as there are a few extra risks involved with joining the two muscles on either side of the tongue together.
- Venom: Two piercings; Like a regular tongue piercing from top to bottom, but there’s one offset to each side in line with each other.
- Tongue web: Goes under the centre strip of skin that joins the bottom of your tongue with the bottom of your mouth called the frenulum.
Learn more in our guide to mouth and oral piercings
Face piercings are definitely the head-turner category to rule them all. Most other face piercings that aren’t in the mouth or lip area are surface a.k.a. skin-diving piercings, apart from the cheek/dimple piercing which goes through to the inside of your mouth.
- Anti-eyebrow: A surface piercing below the eye in line with the top of the cheekbone. Usually follows the same angle as the bottom of your eye.
- Bridge (Nose): A surface piercing around where the top of your nose joins your head between the eyes.
- Cheek (Dimple): Often referred to as the dimple piercing, it’s a piercing that goes through the outside of your cheek into the inside of your mouth.
- Eyebrow: An angled vertical piercing with one hole above and one below your eyebrow. They’re normally closer to your ears but an eyebrow piercing can be placed anywhere you like.
- Eyelid: Normally a horizontal piercing that goes through the skin just above where the top of the eyelid meets the skin. Small jewelry is typically worn so the piercing is only visible when you blink or when your eyes are closed.
- Horizontal eyebrow: A horizontal surface piercing typically located above your eyebrow running parallel.
- Third-eye: Either a vertical surface piercing or dermal just above your nose between your eyebrows.
Check our list of all the different types of facial piercings
Nose piercings range from the most discreet tiny nostril studs, all the way through to huge statement piercings. The most popular nose piercings you’ll see are the regular nostril and septum piercings.
- Austin: A horizontal bar through the tip of your nose.
- High nose: A stud that goes from the outside edge of the nose to inside your nostril, but a bit higher up towards your eyes. One of these on each side can make it look like you have a nasallang.
- Nasallang: A long bar that goes from the outside of your nose right through the cartilage in the middle and out the other side.
- Nose (Nostril): The most popular nose piercing. Goes from the outside edge of the nose and out inside your nostril.
- Rhino (Vertical nose tip): A vertical bar through the tip of your nose.
- Septum (Bull-ring): A piercing that normally goes through what us piercers call the “sweet spot” of skin in the middle part between your two nostrils. You might be surprised to know this doesn’t actually go through any cartilage. The great thing about this piercing is that it’s easy to flip it up inside your nose and hide it completely if you need to.
Want to learn more? Check out our full guide on nose piercings
Despite being one of the largest body parts we have, there isn’t a huge list of torso piercings. It’s a great place for dermals and surface piercings though, but there’s a separate section on that later. Here are some of the most common types of torso piercings:
- Navel (Belly button): Any piercing that surrounds the belly button.
- Nipple: A piercing that goes through the base of your nipple where it protrudes from the skin, either horizontally or at an angle (this is totally your preference). Placement can differ slightly depending on whether you have male or female anatomy, however, it shouldn’t go through your areola.
- Nipple cross (Double nipple): Two piercings; usually two straight bars – one vertical and one horizontal, through the nipple with one slightly in front of the other.
- Vertical nipple: As the name suggests, a bar going vertically through the base of the nipple where it protrudes from this skin.
Get some more inspiration on torso piercings here
Surface piercings, otherwise known as skin-divers, are a type of piercing that dives underneath the surface of your skin to make it look like you have two floating balls coming from under your skin. Whilst they look awesome, more often than not they usually end up rejecting and you’ll need to take them out after a while, so I tend to recommend getting dermal implants these days. Here are some of the most popular skin-diver piercing placements you’ll come across:
- Collar bone
- Hip: Along/beside your pelvic bone just above your belt line, normally angled parallel with the bone.
- Nape: In the centre on the back of your neck.
- Surface tragus: A vertical piercing in front of your tragus, the small flap of cartilage attached to your head just in front of your ear canal.
- Third-eye: Either a vertical surface piercing or dermal just above your nose between your eyebrows.
- Wrist: On the outside of your wrist, not the inside. Usually placed just up the arm a tiny bit away from the fold to reduce irritation.
Find out more about all the different types of surface piercings
Dermal implants, also known as microdermals, dermal anchors or single-point piercings, are becoming super popular lately! A microdermal uses special jewelry that has a special “anchor” that goes in underneath the skin. As it heals, the skin grows around the anchor which holds it in place. The procedure is done using a medical tool called a biopsy punch, and although that sounds pretty full-on, almost everyone I’ve ever done a dermal for has had the reaction “it’s not even that bad.” I actually believe the more word gets around about how little they hurt to get, the more they’ll continue to grow in popularity. Some of the most popular placements of dermals are:
- Back dimple dermals: In the divots just above your bum on either side of the spine.
- Belly dermals: A great alternative if you don’t have a good anatomy for a standard belly button piercing.
- Chest dermals
- Collarbone dermals
- Eye dermals: No, not IN your eye! Often underneath the eye at the top of the cheekbone.
- Face dermals: Usually the most popular area is towards the top of your cheekbone.
- Finger dermals
- Hand dermals: On the top side of your hands.
- Hip dermals: Usually around the pelvic bones on either side above the belt line.
- Neck dermals: In the centre on the back where the nape is, not usually the front.
- Third eye dermals: Right in between your eyebrows above the nose.
- Wrist dermals: On the outside of your wrist just above the fold, not the inside.
Check out this awesome guide to dermal piercings
Now this list wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t include genital piercings, and rightly so. Back in the day, you’d only see the hardcore piercing fanatics coming in to get their bits done. Now, it’s pretty likely that if you look around you right now, someone’s sporting some below-the-belt secrets you don’t know about. Call it what you want – crazy, mental, a mid-life crisis – but the fact is that genital piercings are a lot more popular, and in many cases, a lot less painful than you think!
If your curiosity got the better of you, head over to our dedicated genital piercings guide which covers the full list of piercings for male and female genitalia.
Ready to get your next piercing? Of course you are!
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