Rating Piercings from Least Painful to Most Painful

Rating Piercings from Least Painful to Most Painful

Today, there are so many options for piercing placements on the body. From lips to ears and even your navel or genitals, the options can seem limitless. Depending on what area of your body you get pierced, the pain factor may be a little bit more compared to others. Of course, every experience is different, and it may vary based on your pain tolerance. However, some of the common reasons piercings may hurt more in places and less in others is due to anatomical things, such as nerve endings and skin or cartilage thickness.

While this list won’t tell you exactly how a piercing will feel or hurt for you, it can give you a general idea of what to expect.

What Piercings Are the Least Painful?

If you’re afraid you won’t be able to handle the pain factor of a piercing, don’t get too discouraged. These are some of the least painful piercings that might not leave you shaking with anxiety and fear prior to your appointment.

Earlobe Piercings

In addition to them being the most common type of piercings, they are also considered the least painful. This is because your earlobes are fleshy and do not contain cartilage. The piercing experience is often described as a quick sting, less painful than a bee sting, that is over in a few short seconds.

As for healing, you shouldn’t experience too much soreness. Just make sure you follow the piercer’s aftercare instructions and the piercing should be fully healed in around six weeks.

Another way to ensure your earlobe piercing is not that painful is to go to a piercer who pierces with a needle and not a gun. Piercing guns cause more trauma to the area, which will result in more pain than necessary.

Earlobe Piercings

Lip Piercings

These piercings are also extremely popular these days, especially in the alternative and fashion scenes. While many people expect lip piercings to be painful, they’re surprised at how easy the piercing process actually is. Additionally, lip piercings offer a ton of variety because you can decide to get one simple labret, snakebites, a monroe, a medusa or philtrum, and many more.

One of the reasons lip piercings aren’t as painful is because, much like the earlobes, your lip is also soft, fleshy material without any cartilage or harder anatomy that must be punctured.

After the piercing, it’s common to experience some soreness and swelling, but it should dissipate fairly quickly. Lip piercings tend to heal completely within 6 to 8 weeks.

Lip Piercing Guy

Navel (Belly Button) Piercings

These piercings are the second most popular piercings after earlobe piercings, and they’re also relatively low on the pain scale. The piercing experience for the navel is often described as a bee sting and some soreness and discomfort as the piercing heals.

However, you can be in a world of pain if your new belly button piercing gets caught on your clothes or a towel. Be careful when you choose your outfit to get pierced and all other outfits as your piercing is healing. You also want to avoid exercises that include frequent movement of your stomach area, such as crunches, because the movement can cause trauma to the piercing area.

Navel (Belly Button) Piercing

Nostril Piercings

These piercings are slightly more painful than earlobe, lip, and navel piercings. The reason for this is because the needle has to go through cartilage, which is tougher than just flesh. These piercings are often described as a brief sting and many people experience watery eyes or the need to sneeze.

After the piercing is done, it shouldn’t be too sore while it heals. Healing time is anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks.

If you have a cold or are constantly blowing your nose, it’s best to wait to get your nostril pierced so you don’t increase chances of infection.

Nostril (Nose) Piercing

Eyebrow Piercings

These piercings aren’t considered very painful. This is because it doesn’t require the needle to puncture through much skin. The only reason you might feel a bit of a sting is because the area is filled with nerve endings, which makes it more sensitive. People who have gotten their eyebrow pierced have described the sensation as lots of pressure and a sharp pinch.

Eyebrow piercings take around 3 months to heal, so piercers advise that you do not get your eyebrow waxed during the healing process. Additionally, you must be very careful when plucking your eyebrow or getting dressed.

Eyebrow Piercing

Tongue Piercings

Have you ever bitten your tongue and immediately felt your eyes water because of the pain? Many people think that a tongue piercing would be the same exact sensation as biting your tongue. Surprisingly, they couldn’t be more different! Unlike biting your tongue, the needle steadily goes through a precise point of your tongue, which is why it hurts much less.

While the piercing process isn’t entirely painful, the aftermath can be. Tongue piercings are known to swell up, which can make it difficult to speak, eat, and be comfortable. Fortunately, the swelling should go down in a few days as long as you follow the proper aftercare routine.

Tongue Piercing

Daith Piercings

These piercings are becoming increasingly popular. Daith piercings have been linked to a pressure point that can help relieve migraine and headache severity and frequency.

As far as the pain of getting your daith pierced, it can be a bit uncomfortable, but not totally unbearable. This is because the needle must go through the innermost cartilage of your ear, which tends to hurt more than a simple earlobe piercing.

Daith Piercing

Which Piercings Are The Most Painful?

If you’re feeling brave or have a high pain tolerance, these piercings might be for you. The most painful of the bunch is at the bottom of this list.

Helix Piercings

This piercing is where it crosses over into medium pain level. The helix is at the top of your ear, and to pierce it, the needle must cross through cartilage. Your helix cartilage is a bit thicker, and requires a bit more pressure, which is why this piercing may hurt a bit more. However, you can take solace in the fact that it’s over in a few quick seconds.

Some things that may exacerbate the pain of your helix piercing include:

  • Sleeping on it
  • Getting it caught on a piece of clothing
  • Knocking it with a hair brush
  • Irritating it with shampoo or other types of soaps or rinses
  • Irritating it with oils or products in your hair

Helix piercings typically take 3 to 6 months to heal, so be sure you’re careful with yours during the healing process.

Helix Piercing

Dermal Anchors

These piercings are becoming increasingly popular these days, especially because of how many options there are for their placement. According to those who have had dermal anchors, the pain level is about a 6/10. Much of the pain is because the process for getting a dermal anchor includes punching a hole under the skin and inserting the base of the anchor in the newly punched hole. The process also takes a bit longer than, say, a lip piercing, which also contributes to its higher level on the pain scale.

Dermal Piercing

Rook Piercings

If you’re looking for a unique ear piercing, then getting your rook pierced might be for you. These piercings are a bit more uncommon and go through the bendy, thicker bit of cartilage toward the top of your ear. Because of the thicker cartilage, it takes more pressure to get the needle through, which is why those who have their rooks pierced say they felt more pressure than anything. Fortunately, the actual piercing part is over quickly, so you shouldn’t feel discomfort for too long.

Unlike the helix, which is easier to irritate due to its anatomical location on the ear, the rook is actually much more difficult to irritate, which makes is aftercare a bit easier.

Rook Piercing


This is one of the most painful ear piercings you can get. This piercing goes directly through the center of the ear, with varying placement options (inner or outer). An inner conch piercing is when the needle goes through the cartilage in the middle of your ear and a stud is placed. An outer conch piercing is when the piercing is placed in a way where you can wear a hoop in it and have the piercing displayed on your outer cartilage. Placement options will depend on your ear’s anatomy, though.

One of the reasons this piercing is more painful is due to the fact that the needle must go through cartilage, and your conch is located where the cartilage is thicker and you don’t have as much fleshy skin to cushion it. However, the piercing is over pretty quickly. You might experience some soreness and swelling afterwards, but as long as you follow the recommended aftercare routine, your piercing should heal anywhere from 3 to 9 months.

Conch Piercing

Industrial Piercings

Have you been lusting after the pictures of ears with cool bars through the top of them? That cool bar is actually an industrial piercing. Unlike the other piercings listed above, industrial piercings require the piercer to make two holes in your cartilage for the bar to go through. Because the piercer must push the needle through two parts of your cartilage for the piercing, an industrial can be more painful than the other ear piercings listed above.

Because of their location, it can be easy to irritate the piercing, making it hurt more. Be sure to be careful when you’re brushing your hair, getting dressed, and choosing a position to sleep. The total healing time for an industrial piercing is anywhere from three to nine months.

Industrial Piercing

Septum Piercings

These are some of the most controversial piercings when it comes to the pain factor. Some claim they didn’t feel any pain at all while others reflect how much pain they were in as they got theirs pierced. One of the reasons for such varying pain levels is because of where the septum piercing was placed and if it was the right placement.

In between your nostrils, before you reach any nose cartilage is what piercers refer to as the “sweet spot.” The sweet spot is actually a soft spot of fleshy skin in between the cartilage between your nostrils. This is the most ideal location for a septum piercing because going through the soft flesh will be less painful and it will take less time to heal. You’ll notice that your piercer will feel around your nose for the sweet spot before they pierce you.

Those people who claim their septum piercing was extremely painful were probably not pierced through their sweet spot and instead have their septum piercings going through cartilage. As discussed previously, cartilage is thicker and takes more pressure to get the needle through, which is why there might be more pain involved.

In order to avoid a more painful piercing experience, make sure you go to a piercer who will find your sweet spot and pierce through it rather than cartilage.

Septum Piercing

Nipple Piercings

One of the more sensitive areas of the body, nipples can be more painful to pierce. The pain is attributed to the fact that you are piercing through an area with a high concentration of nerve endings. In fact, the pain level of a nipple piercing will depend on how sensitive your nipples are. Those with less sensitive nipples tend not to feel as much pain as those with more sensitive ones.

The pain should only last for a second or two. According to those who have had their nipples pierced, it feels like a quick pinch or a bite. Afterward, the piercing may be swollen and/or tender for the first few days. The tenderness can be compared to the pain level of a bruise or a sunburn.

Nipple Piercings

Genital Piercings

It’s not uncommon for people to cringe when they think of piercing their genitals. And they have good reason to! Genital piercings are the most painful of the bunch. This is because your genitals are extremely sensitive and contain an incredibly high amount of nerve endings.

In order to reduce the amount of pain you may experience from a genital piercing, it’s recommended that you go to a piercer who has been trained to perform them. According to Elayne Angel, an expert on genital piercings, “each piercee must be evaluated (and even counseled) on an individual basis before deciding on a genital piercing.”

The Bottom Line About Piercing Pain

Remember, each person is different, has unique anatomy, and will have a different pain tolerance. Therefore, a piercing can be extremely painful for one person and feel like nothing at all to someone else. The important thing is that you do your research and prepare yourself. When you’ve decided on a piercing, be sure to check out our broad range of jewelry to choose from. We offer unique pieces for any type of piercing, from navels to nipples and earlobes to septums.


The information in this article is based on research and personal experience. Your own experience may vary. If you have a question about piercings or your piercing pain/aftercare, be sure to call your piercer.