Piercings are extremely fun to get, but sometimes, we want to know what to expect beforehand. As someone who has gotten about 12 piercings so far, I have a general sense of how painful some piercings are. On the other hand, I really appreciate it when a piercing doesn’t hurt at all.
If you’re looking to get a piercing but have low pain tolerance, consider getting some of the ones below. These are some great piercings for first-timers. If you know for sure that you’re sensitive to piercings and body modifications, this list is for you!
Pain level: 1-2/10
While everyone’s pain tolerance is different, a nose piercing is universally almost painless.
The most you’re going to feel is a pinch, followed by the dreaded tear(s) coming out of your eye. This only happens because the side of your nose and eye share a nerve — the tears are bound to shed, but they quickly stop.
If you’re thinking about getting your nose pierced more than once, I’m letting you know that the second, third, or possibly the fourth time is going to hurt more than the first time.
This was the first piercing I ever got (aside from my earlobes) and I was extremely scared of the pain. Afterward, I realized how fast and painless it was. I made this realization without having previous piercings to compare this one to. I believe this piercing is a great choice for first-timers because it’s a very common piercing, and most piercers will have plenty of experience doing them.
Pain Level: 1-2/10
I know this may be a bit hard to believe. How could a tongue piercing possibly be on this list? Trust me. I was also very scared of getting this piercing because of everything I’ve heard about them.
This was my most recent piercing. I’ve been wanting to get it for months, and a few weeks ago I randomly decided I should just get it. I closed my eyes and couldn’t even tell that the needle was all the way through my tongue.
One thing I will note is that the piercing doesn’t initially hurt. Your tongue swells up and becomes very uncomfortable. This hurts more than actually getting the piercing. This was somewhat awkward while having serious conversations, but most people will understand if you let them know what’s going on.
After about a week, everything went back to normal. My tongue wasn’t swollen anymore, and I could finally speak without having to tell people beforehand that I’m going to speak weirdly because of my tongue piercing.
Tongue piercings are also pretty easy to keep clean — just make sure to use alcohol-free mouthwash after eating. Also, make sure to drink plenty of cool water in order to keep swelling down during the healing process.
Pain level: 1/10
This is a very common piercing. This piercing is also many people’s first piercing. I have two piercings on each earlobe, right next to each other. The second pair of earlobe piercings definitely pinched more than the first, but they were not painful at all when compared to other piercings I’ve gotten.
If you don’t have an earlobe piercing yet, just know that the second one will hurt more than the first one because the pain is expected.
Earlobe piercings heal pretty quickly, as long as you make sure to regularly clean them and not change the jewelry until the time that your piercer recommends. Also, make sure to keep the jewelry in for the first few months or so, or your piercing will close. Earlobe piercings tend to close really easily once the jewelry is taken out.
Pain level: 3/10
I will admit that cartilage piercings definitely hurt a bit more than others. But the upside is that these heal relatively quickly. Flats are in an area where the skin is tougher to pierce.
The cartilage generally hurts more because it’s thicker and tougher than other areas of your body. The pain feels like a quick pinch at first, and then becomes duller after a few hours.
In order for a flat or any cartilage piercing to heal quickly, you need to be careful when doing anything that requires you to touch around the area where the piercing is. For example, if you’re going to sleep, don’t sleep on the side where your piercing is. You probably won’t be able to sleep on that side anyway due to the pain that may be prevalent, but just make sure to be careful when sleeping.
Pain level: 3/10
Helixes mostly depend on how many you get. Just like any other piercing, if you get more than one, you’ll definitely feel more pain. Personally, I got a double helix during the same visit. After the initial piercing, I almost didn’t want to second one.
If you find yourself in that situation, it’s best to just do the second one right there. If you say that you’re going to come back and do it another time, you’re most likely not going to. This is because you now know what to expect in terms of pain.
My helix piercings took a bit longer than usual to fully heal because I slept on the side where I got them after two weeks or so of having them. While I didn’t really feel pain while laying on that side, the jewelry got tangled in my hair. It was a bit difficult to untangle it without bothering the piercings. I would recommend either not laying on that side of your body or just putting your hair up into a bun that won’t undo itself while you’re sleeping.
This is just a general guide from personal experience. Just remember that you can get any piercing you’d like. While some may hurt more than others, it’s all based on your own pain tolerance. In order to avoid any pain related to healing, just make sure to listen to your piercer. They definitely know how piercings heal and the care they require in order to do safely.
First generation Mexican immigrant. Determinada. Journalism student at ASU.