- I’ve been pierced over 20 times, so I know which spots are more and less painful to get done.
- My daith and tragus were especially uncomfortable placements on my ear.
- Both the upper and lower naval (or belly button) was relatively painless and pretty easy to heal.
I started getting piercings at age 17 after my parents begrudgingly signed off on my industrial. Since then, I’ve been pierced over 20 times and have only taken one out.
Pain is highly subjective, but I can still remember how some of these were especially painful to sit through — even years later — while others were less intense.
My daith piercing was exceptionally painful
The daith is located in the inner ear, so this piercing is not only painful to sit through but also tricky to heal.
The cartilage is quite dense to go through and there’s a distinct pressure that comes along with this piercing.
Plus, due to its location, it’s also very difficult to see how it’s healing and ensure you’re cleaning it properly. Of all my piercings, this is the only one I had to go back to the piercer and ask for help with.
My spiral piece was very difficult to heal
This one included three helix piercings — commonly referred to as cartilage piercings — bound by one spiral-shaped piece of jewelry that was custom-fitted to my ear.
So I had to sit through all three piercings being done in one shot, and my adrenaline wore off after the second round.
My piercer warned me this would be particularly rough to heal with one piece of jewelry, and he was right. I’d recommend getting three piercings with individual jewelry to give each one ample space to properly heal.
My tragus was an inconvenient spot to heal
The tragus piercing involves the piece of cartilage that covers the ear canal. The thicker cartilage made my tragus piercing particularly unpleasant — but I was most uncomfortable about the small pop noise I heard once the needle went through.
The healing process for my tragus also felt drawn out since the location meant that simple things like my headphones or hair could irritate it.
The first few weeks were rough, but a few sea-salt soaks helped it heal.
Nostril piercings can take a while to feel fully healed
Both sides of my nostril were not very painful, but the process itself led to my sinuses running each time, which made the ordeal feel more dramatic.
The first nostril piercing was relatively easy to heal, but it took a solid six months before I felt comfortable changing out the jewelry.
I got the second one in 2021, and I noticed when I was frequently wearing masks around this time my piercing would sometimes get irritated. I think the irritation made it take longer to heal.
Getting my septum pierced was an uncomfortable process
I hesitated to get my septum pierced, as I had been told by many other people that it hurt, and they were absolutely right.
The process started with the piercer finding the small notch of cartilage in my nose and then placing the clamp over it. As soon as it was set, I knew this was going to hurt.
Thankfully, it was over pretty quickly and the healing process wasn’t too brutal.
On the other hand, my lower navel was much less painful
The lower belly button was a fun piercing to get. It hurt even less than the upper one and has allowed me to have different jewelry on the top and bottom.
Since the piercing rests a little lower on my body, I usually opted for dresses or clothes that didn’t sit on that part of my waist instead of jeans and higher-waisted skirts to avoid irritation.
The upper navel was similarly straightforward
Like many millennials, I wanted my navel pierced since I was in high school. But after I turned 18, I opted to get my ears and nose pierced first.
At some point in my mid-20s, I decided to be nostalgic and get my belly pierced on a whim.
The clamp itself hurt worse than the piercing, and the healing process felt pretty easy. Again, my only major concern was ensuring the jewelry didn’t catch on my clothing.
Getting my lip pierced wasn’t very painful
Much like the navel piercing, the clamp for this hurt more than the needle itself.
But the healing process was a bit awkward. During the first few days, the left half of my lip was visibly more swollen than the right, and it hurt to eat certain foods.
Once the swelling and pain went away, I had to get into the habit of having alcohol-free mouthwash around so I could rinse after meals.
I had this piercing for years but eventually took it out, and I can still see the small dimple underneath my lip.
The forward helix was pretty simple compared to some of my other ear piercings
Sitting at the top of the ear is the forward helix, which I adorned with a small 16-gauge stud. It fits nicely between my tragus and my industrial, and the piercing itself didn’t hurt much at all.
Considering the healing process I had to go through for some of my other ear piercings, this one felt relatively easy in comparison.
Like most other ear piercings, I had to keep an eye out for my hair catching on it — or even hair products irritating it — while it was healing.
The antitragus was a pretty painless way to break up the look of my ear
The antitragus is the arch-shaped cartilage space opposite and behind the tragus on an ear.
Despite the tiny amount of cartilage, I found this spot about as painless as an earlobe piercing. Plus the healing process was very smooth.
Many people opt for multiple earlobe piercings, which I have on my left ear, but I wanted to break up that look a bit.
The barbell adds a slight variation to the typical aesthetic, which I definitely appreciate.