Need some help identifying types of body piercings, piercing materials, and types of body jewelry? No problem! We created this body piercing glossary so you can have all the important info about body piercings at your fingertips. From types of ear piercings to types of face piercings and more, we’ve got you covered. Get ready to learn about all the holes you can put through your body and embrace body modification.
Body Piercing Glossary
Though an earlobe piercing may be the most well-known type of ear piercing, 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. An antitragus piercing can take anywhere from 8-16 months to fully heal. The jewelry should not be changed until it’s fully healed.
- Auricle Piercing – A piercing through the auricle part of your ear. The auricle section of your ear lies between the helix and the earlobe. This piercing can take between three to nine months to fully heal and should be cleaned daily.
- Conch Piercing – This part of your ear resembles a conch shell, and is located directly in the center between your lobe and the top of your ear. There are two types of conch piercings: inner and outer. An outer conch piercing is located in the flat portion of the ear between the helix and the antihelix, while the inner conch piercing is located at the center of the ear by the cup-shaped area adjacent to the ear canal.
- Constellation Piercing – A cluster of ear piercings that resemble a galaxy constellation.
- Daith Piercing – A piercing that passes through the innermost cartilage fold of the ear. A daith piercing is usually a 14 gauge and has been claimed to help migraines. Sometimes this piercing is called a “migraine piercing.”
- Earlobe Piercing – A piercing on the lobe of the ear(s). Earlobe piercings typically heal in 6-12 weeks and are normally performed with a spring-loaded piercing gun, making the process extremely quick.
- Forward Helix Piercing – Located on the outer rim of your ear just above the tragus.
- Helix Piercing – Placed through the upper ear cartilage with a hollow piercing needle. This is also called a cartilage piercing. Add two holes for a double helix piercing.
- Industrial Piercing – Also known as a scaffold piercing, a bar piercing, or a construction piercing, the industrial piercing consists of two pierced holes connected with one single piece of jewelry. This piercing is usually located on the upper ear cartilage and sits diagonally on the ear.
- Orbital Piercing – A combination of two ear piercings connected by one piece of jewelry. Orbital piercings can be located on the helix, the forward-helix, the earlobe and more.
- Rook Piercing – A piercing through the top portion or antihelix of the ear. The antihelix is located above the tragus on the ridge between the inner and outer conch.
- Snug Piercing – A horizontal piercing that is placed at the inner ridge of the ear cartilage, above the anti-tragus. This piercing goes through the antihelix as well, but it’s a little further toward the middle of the cartilage.
- Tragus Piercing – A piercing through the tragus, which is a section of cartilage located directly in front of the ear canal opening.
- Transverse Lobe Piercing – This piercing is much like an earlobe piercing, except the piercing is done horizontally through the earlobe instead of front to back.
Ear Piercing Chart
Just like ear piercings, there are so many options when it comes to face piercings. Though eyebrow piercings and lip piercings seem to be two of the most well-known in society, the list of options is much larger. We’ve outlined every face piercing option so you can know exactly what you want before visiting a piercer.
- Anti-Eyebrow Piercing (Cheekbone Piercing)– Placed above the cheekbone or below the eyebrow. This piercing is considered a surface piercing and can be vertical or horizontal depending on the individual’s preference.
- Ashley Piercing – A lower lip piercing that goes through the lip rather than the skin below it. These piercings are usually gauged to a 16 or a 14.
- Bridge Piercing – A piercing placed through the skin on the bridge of the nose, directly between the eyes. A bridge piercing is also considered a surface piercing and has a higher risk of rejection and scarring.
- Cheek Piercing – A piercing that is placed through the cheek and into the oral cavity. Cheek piercings, or dimple piercings, are usually done in pairs for symmetrical placement.
- Eyebrow Piercing – A vertical surface piercing inserted through the bottom of the eyebrow and exiting through the top of the eyebrow. This surface piercing usually takes about six-eight weeks to heal.
- Horizontal Tongue Piercing (Snake Eyes Piercing, Venom Piercing) – This is a horizontal piercing through the tongue. A horizontal tongue piercing can be located at the tip of the tongue (snake eyes), and make its way toward the center of the tongue (venom) based on the individual’s preference.
- Jestrum Piercing – Also known as a vertical medusa piercing, a jestrum piercing is an upper lip piercing located in the center of the upper lip, just under the septum of the nose.
- Labret Piercing – A labret piercing is typically identified as any type of piercing located on the bottom labrum (lip). Usually, a labret piercing is classified as a piercing in the center of the bottom lip, just above the chin, 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)– A piercing through the upper lip frenulum. Your lip frenulum is located on the underside of your upper lip.
- Lip Frenulum Piercing (Frowny Piercing) – A 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 the upper lip. A Madonna piercing resembles the beauty mark of the famous singer, Madonna.
- Monroe Piercing – A Monroe piercing is located on the left side of the upper lip. This piercing resembles Marilyn Monroe’s famous beauty mark.
- Philtrum Piercing (Medusa Piercing) – A philtrum piercing is similar to the jestrum piercing, but features only one hole through the center of the upper lip. This can also be called a Medusa piercing.
- Tongue Piercing – A vertical piercing through the center of the tongue.
- Uvula Piercing – A piercing through the uvula.
- Web Piercing (Gum piercing, Tongue Frenulum Piercing)– This piercing is located under the tongue. The piercing goes directly through the “webbed” skin flap and is usually pierced with a curved barbell.
Face Piercing Chart
Genital piercings, or intimate piercings, are a type of body piercing involving the genitalia of both men and women. Penis piercings and vagina piercings are mostly intended to embellish genitals, but some genital piercings do enhance sexual pleasure. The list below will outline every genital piercing you’ll need to know before making a decision on which genital piercing is best for you.
- PENIS PIERCINGS:
- Ampallang Piercing – A piercing that runs horizontally through the head (tip) of the penis. An ampallang piercing fits snugly when the penis is erect.
- Apadravya Piercing – A piercing that runs vertically through the head (tip) of the penis from top to bottom. An apadravya piercing is almost always placed through the urethra and is normally done on a slight angle.
- Dydoe Piercing – A dydoe piercing passes through the ridged edge on the head of the penis. This piercing is usually done in pairs to obtain symmetry.
- Frenum Piercing – A piercing through the flexible skin of the underside of the shaft behind the head of the penis. Sometimes people get this section of the penis pierced multiple times, creating a “frenum ladder,” also known as a “Jacob’s ladder piercing.”
- Hafada Piercing (Guiche Piercing) – Located on the underside of the scrotum where the penis ends and the testicles begin.
- Prince Albert – Placed through the underside of the penile shaft through the urethra, toward the head of the penis. In order to achieve this look, a piercing needle is passed into the urethra and fed out of the penile opening.
- Reverse Prince Albert – A reverse Prince Albert piercing enters on the top side of the penis head and exits out the urethral opening.
- VAGINA PIERCINGS:
- Christina Piercing – A Christina piercing, also known as a Venus piercing, is placed vertically through the pubic mound and above the clitoral hood. This piercing is obtainable based on your anatomy.
- Clitoral Hood Piercing (VCH piercing) – A piercing through the hood of the clitoris. This piercing can be done vertically or horizontally.
- Clitoris Piercing (Clit Piercing) – A vertical or horizontal piercing through the clitoris.
- Fourchette Piercing – A piercing through the flap of skin at the back of the vulva.
- Isabella Piercing – A piercing through the deep clitoral shaft starting below the clitoris and ending just above the urethra.
- Labia Piercing – A labia piercing can be located on either side of your vaginal “lips.” You can get multiple labia piercings on either side of your vagina.
- Nefertiti Piercing – A piercing that starts at the pubic mound and ends above the clitoris.
- Princess Albertina Piercing – A vertical piercing that runs from the urethra to the vaginal opening.
- Triangle Piercing – This vaginal piercing runs horizontally beneath the base of the clitoral hood tissue, meeting the inner labia underneath the clitoris.
It is important to know the difference between a nostril piercing and a septum piercing. Below, we explain both, so you’ll know exactly which nose piercing you prefer.
- Austin Bar – This piercing runs horizontally through the tip of the nose.
- High Nostril Piercing – Similar to a nostril piercing, this piercing is located on the higher end of the nasal bridge.
- Multiple Nostril Piercing – A mixture of nostril piercings, normal and high, that create multiple holes on the nasal bridge.
- Nasallang Piercing – This piercing runs though both nostrils and the septum.
- Nostril Piercing – A piercing through the center of either nostril. Normally a nostril piercing is between an 18 gauge and a 20 gauge. By perforating two holes into your nostril, you can achieve a double nose piercing.
- Rhino Piercing – A vertical piercing that runs through the tip of your nose and exits through the skin above your septum.
- Septum Piercing – Also known as a bull piercing, a septum piercing runs through the cartilaginous wall that divides both nostrils. A septum piercing doesn’t normally go through the actual cartilage inside of your nose, but more so through the skin that divides the cartilage and the nostril openings.
- Septril Piercing – This piercing required a stretched septum and is a mixture of a rhino piercing and a septum piercing.
OTHER BODY PIERCINGS:
From anal piercings to microdermal piercings, there are a handful of piercings that fall into their own body piercing category. Belly button piercings, nipple piercings, and sternum piercings are just a few of the body modification options you can learn about below.
- Anal Piercing – A piercing located around the anus, usually located on the perineum. The perineum is located between the anus and the scrotum or vulva.
- Back Piercing – A surface piercing typically located on the lower back. Usually these piercings are done in pairs to obtain symmetry and are sometimes referred to as “back dimple piercings.”
- Belly Button Piercing – Belly button piercings run vertically through the top or bottom of the belly button.
- Hip Piercing – A surface piercing located near the hip bones.
- Microdermal Piercing (Dermal Piercing)– A surface piercing that lies on any flat surface of the body. A microdermal piercing requires an anchor that is installed under the skin. Some popular dermal piercings include hip piercings, sternum piercings (chest piercing or cleavage piercing), corset piercings, wrist piercings, collarbone piercings and more.
- Nape Piercing – A nape piercing is a surface piercing that runs through the back of the neck.
- Nipple Piercing – A piercing through the nipple(s).
- Sternum Piercing – A surface piercing located in the center of your chest. A sternum piercing is a microdermal piercing.
- Tooth Piercing – A piercing directly through your tooth.
- Wrist Piercing – A surface piercing on the inner or outer section of the wrist.
Body Piercing Jewelry Types
Barbells are the most standard style of body jewelry. The balls (also called beads) usually unscrew from both ends to allow the bar to slide through a piercing and then be secured in place by screwing the balls back on. Barbells are used for a variety of piercings including tongue rings, ear piercings, nipple piercings, eyebrow piercings and more.
Belly Button Barbells
Belly button barbells are curved barbells and are sometimes called “banana barbells.” The barbell features a threaded ball on either end and the curved shape mimics the angle of the belly button so it fits more comfortably. It also allows the balls to sit neatly against the skin, with one ball above the belly button and the other against the navel. Most belly button barbells have a bigger bottom ball and a smaller top ball.
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. When the ball is removed, there’s a small space in the ring for insertion and removal.
Ear Cartilage Jewelry
Ear cartilage jewelry comes in various gauge sizes, styles, and lengths depending on the piercing type.
Fake Tapers & Fake Plugs
Illusion earrings are worn by people who want the look of body modification but without the holes caused by stretching.
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. Hoop nose rings insert very easily into your nose piercing.
Horseshoe Rings (Circular Barbells)
Circular barbells are basically like barbells that have been bent into a circular shape but don’t form a complete circle. The shape is more like a “horseshoe” which is why it’s often referred to as a horseshoe ring. Just like a straight barbell, the ball ends screw on and off for jewelry insertion and removal.
Industrial barbells are used in the upper part of the ear. These require two piercing holes and the barbell is worn slightly diagonally from the top of the ear to the bottom of the ear. Industrial barbells are often adorned with stylized ends or with charms hanging from the middle of the barbell.
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 and other types of lip piercings.
Numerous styles of body jewelry can be worn in a nipple piercing, a barbell being one of them. Nipple rings often have adornments attached for a little extra glam. Nipple shields are large ornate disc-shaped jewelry that are held in place with a barbell once inserted into the nipple piercing.
Pinchers are shaped like horseshoe rings but they don’t have any balls attached. Some pinchers need to be held in place with o-rings, while others have a small notch in the center that allows the piercing itself to hold it securely in place.
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 are worn through a piercing hole placed inside of the nose, on the wall dividing the nostrils. Septum jewelry can be horseshoe rings or captive bead rings depending on preference.
Spiral tapers are tapers that create a spiral shape, and are normally worn for decorative use.
Stud Nose Rings (Bones & Screws)
Bone nose rings and screw nose rings serve the same purpose by giving you that tiny, little charm or gem on the side of your nostril with no other evidence of additional jewelry.
There are two kinds of tapers: Functional and decorative. Functional tapers are tools that are used when you want to stretch your gauge size. Decorative tapers are true to your size and are worn as accessories.
Unlike plugs, tunnels feature an opening so you can see through the center of them. 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
Body jewelry comes in many different types of material, so you’ll be able to find which material works best for you and your skin. Before choosing a material, be sure to speak with a piercing professional for more information.
Acrylic Body Jewelry – Versatile, lightweight, and comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
Glass Body Jewelry – Its smooth and clean surface is cool to the touch and easy to clean.
Silicone Body Jewelry – Crazy comfortable, flexible, soft, and available in a variety of unique colors.
Stone Body Jewelry – A natural and lightweight material that comes in a variety of colors.
Titanium Body Jewelry – One of the highest quality and purest metals available. It’s scratch-resistant, lightweight,and stronger than steel.
ASTM F-136 Titanium – This body sensitive jewelry line is perfect for every body type. ASTM F-136 titanium jewelry is hypoallergenic and nickel-free, leaving you free from risk of irritation.
Body Piercing FAQ’s
Q: How do I clean my body piercing?
A: We suggest you clean your body piercing with saline solution, but you should speak to your piercing professional after your procedure for important hygiene information.
Q: How are piercings done?
A: All piercings are performed differently. Some piercings are performed with hollow piercing needles, while others are performed with piercing guns. For more information, we recommend speaking with your professional piercer about the process of each piercing.
Q: How do I clean my body jewelry?
A: We suggest you clean your body jewelry with antibacterial soap and warm water, but you should speak to your piercing professional after your procedure for important hygiene information.
Q: How painful is a body piercing?
A: All body piercings vary in pain and in most cases, pain levels depend on the individual. Talk to your piercing professional about pain management during and after the procedure.
Q: How do I know if my piercing is infected?
A: Some typical signs of infection include redness, swelling, and tenderness. If you suspect your piercing is infected, we suggest you contact your healthcare professional or piercing professional immediately for further instruction. To prevent infection, it is essential that you keep up with body piercing aftercare.
Q: How long does it take for a body piercing to heal?
A: Healing times differ depending on the location of the piercing and the individual. Some parts of the body will take less time to heal, while others could have a four month to one year healing process. Your piercing professional will be able to tell you everything you’ll need to know about your healing timeline.
Q: If I remove my jewelry to change it, will my piercing close?
A: You should only switch your jewelry or remove your piercing after the healing timeline provided by your piercing professional. All healing times vary, so if you have any questions, contact your piercer for more information.
Q: Will body piercings leave a scar?
Scarring varies depending on piercing location and the individual. Your piercing professional will be able to give you information about scarring and the prevention of scarring after removing your piercing.
Q: Can I wear a different gauge size than my current body jewelry?
Yes. You can change your gauge size but you should seek professional advice before doing so. Please contact your piercer for information about the necessary steps you’ll need to take in order to change your gauge size safely.
Q: How can I hide my body piercing?
If you want to make your piercing less noticeable, you can use a clear retainer. A piercing retainer will blend into your skin, making your piercing less noticeable than normal. 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 the individual to be 18 years of age without a present guardian, but this may vary. Check here for more information about your state’s law.
Q: How much do body piercings cost?
A: Piercing prices vary. Speak with a professional piercer before you book an appointment to understand the cost of your desired piercing.
See our interview with a body piercer for more information on piercing, jewelry and aftercare.
Need more piercing FAQs? Check back for more body jewelry guides.