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Your ultimate guide to different ear piercings

Cosmopolitan (UK) logo Cosmopolitan (UK) 14/12/2018 Jess Edwards
From helix, to daith to tragus - we explain what the different types of ear piercings are and how much they hurt © Getty Images From helix, to daith to tragus - we explain what the different types of ear piercings are and how much they hurt

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With so many different kinds of ear piercings out there, it's important to do your research before you get pierced so you know exactly what you want, where you want it and how.

We've put together a guide to all of the main ear and cartilage piercings you can get including the helix, tragus and daith piercings - but if you get confused with all of the 'inner rim', 'outer conch' chat, it might be worth referring to the picture below for a handy quick view.

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Tragus piercing

The tragus is the inner piece of cartilage which sits over the ear canal directly above your lobe. This popular piercing can look great with studs, hoops and in combination with lots of other jewellery.

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Anti tragus piercing

The anti tragus is the little bit of cartilage next to your lobe and opposite your tragus (see above). Depending on your pain threshold this piercing can be pretty painful both during the process and in the recovery time afterwards.

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Helix piercing

Any piercing in the outer cartilage rim of the upper part of the ear is referred to as a 'helix piercing'. Two piercings placed one under the other in this area is called a double helix piercing.

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Snug piercing

The antihelix is the rim of cartilage inside your ear between the helix (outer rim of cartilage) and just above the anti tragus and this is where you find 'snug' piercings.


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Rook piercing

Follow the antihelix round from the snug to the other end of the cartilage rim and this is where you find a rook piercing. You can rock this piercing with a hoop or barbell, whatever you prefer the look of.

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Daith piercing

The Daith piercing is positioned at the end of the helix on the innermost part of the cartilage near to the tragus.


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Standard lobe piercing

YOU KNOW THIS ONE GUYS.

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Outer conch piercing

The outer conch is the dip in the ear in-between the antihelix and the helix (the two rims). The inner conch is the next 'dip' after the antihelix and before the ear canal.

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Orbital piercing

An orbital piercing refers to any piercing where two holes are made in the same part of the ear, generally so that a hoop piece of jewellery can pass through both. While these can be made in lots of places, commonly people have this piercing in the helix or the lobe.

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A post shared by Maria Tash (@maria_tash) on Dec 12, 2016 at 1:29pm PST


Forward helix piercing

A forward helix piercing is made in the outer rim of your ear (the helix) at the top of the rim just above the tragus, it can often be quite painful as it is made through the cartilage in your ear. You can also get a double or a triple forward helix piercing (as below).

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Industrial piercing

Rather than a singular piercing, an industrial piercing is usually two (although sometimes more) piercings through the ear cartilage. The most popular kind of industrial piercing is through the anti helix and helix, connected using a long piece of barbell jewellery (or cute arrow).

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Auricle piercing

An auricle piercing is made on the outer part of the ear, usually half-way up, between the ear lobe and the helix. As it is a cartilage piercing, expect a longer recovery time and more pain than a lobe piercing.

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A post shared by Kate (@sherbertkate) on Jan 22, 2017 at 11:38am PST


Transverse lobe piercing

Instead of piercing through the lobe front to back like a standard lobe piercing, the transverse lobe piercing goes through the skin horizontally using a barbell. This kind of piercing doesn't involve cartilage, so in general more pain-free than other kinds of piercings.

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