Piercing Pain Level Chart
“How much does it hurt” is one of the most common questions about any piercing. While some people consider it a bad thing to ask (we all love piercings and are ready to suffer for them, right?), this is actually a valid and valuable question. It has nothing to do with one’s bravery or readiness to have a specific piercing – it’s all about collecting all the needed information before you get your piercing done. The level of pain is one of the things you will probably want to know before you get your new piercing.
This is a fully legitimate question to ask and one of the steps to prepare for the upcoming piercing procedure.
How Much Does it Hurt?
You need to understand that the degree of pain is, to an extent, individual. A piercing that proved to be painful for your friend might not be particularly uncomfortable for you. There is also some truth to the belief that the more you expect it to hurt, the less it will actually hurt, because no pain can match the one in your imagination.
Another thing you need to remember is that not every pain is the same. Some piercings hurt a lot, but only for a few seconds. Others are not so painful but they get uncomfortable because the procedure is more complex. There are also piercings that do not hurt as much during the procedure, but they hurt later, and they hurt for days. These are some of the things you need to be aware of before you get your chosen piercing.
That being said, there are some piercings known to be painful and the others that cause only a small discomfort (if at all). Before you get your chosen piercing, it would be valuable to inform yourself about said piercing, which includes information about the level of pain you might expect. You may also ask your chosen piercer to walk you through the procedure and what you can expect. Reliable piercers always explain the procedure to the customers, but you might want to collect all the information well before you get your appointment.
Piercing Pain Levels
The Least Painful Piercings
(1-1.5 stars out of 5 on the pain scale)
Piercings in this category are known to be relatively painless and they don’t cause much discomfort:
Lobe. Earlobe piercing is the most basic form of piercing you can get. It is done quickly and is not painful at all, though you will probably experience some discomfort. Some people have very sensitive earlobes so it means that you may experience a burning sensation after the procedure is done. However, this form of piercing is not known to be painful. Please note: it’s important to get professionally pierced with a needle and not a piercing gun. If a gun is used, many people report that the procedure hurt more than expected!
Eyebrow. Eyebrow piercing is the most popular surface piercing. It is done quickly and usually doesn’t cause much discomfort. You have to be careful during the healing process but the procedure itself is not known to be particularly painful.
Navel piercing. While many people have sensitive belly buttons, the regular navel piercing doesn’t really touch the belly button itself. What is pierced is a tiny part of the tissue above the belly button. This area is moderately sensitive and the procedure is done quickly, so it doesn’t hurt much. Navel piercings are very popular and there are many gorgeous body jewelry pieces you can wear with this piercing.
Other relatively painless piercings are tongue web piercing, upper lip web piercing and smiley piercing. They all go through very thin piece of skin so they are not really painful. You need to pay attention to the aftercare, though, since oral piercings require a good amount of care.
May Cause Some Discomfort
(2-3 stars out of 5 on the pain scale)
Piercings in this category tend to cause more discomfort, but they are usually not very painful. If the pain is present, it usually doesn’t last for long:
Inverse navel piercing. This piercing is performed through the lower right of the belly button (as the opposite of the regular navel piercing, which is pierced at the top). While the procedure itself is not complicated not particularly painful, it tends to cause more discomfort than the regular navel piercing.
Nostril piercing. Nose piercings are typically not problematic. They tend to be done quickly (especially nostril piercings), so they are suitable even for beginners. That being said, many people claim that nose piercings ended up being more uncomfortable than they thought they would be. It still doesn’t mean they are super painful, but they may pose discomfort during the healing time.
Septum piercing. When it comes to septum piercing, it often seems more painful than it actually is. You need to remember that you are piercing a thin piece of skin in your nose, and not the nose cartilage itself. Septum piercing procedure is one relatively quickly and is not as painful as some people fear.
Tongue piercing. Tongue piercing is uncomfortable and does cause some pain, but many people claim it’s not as painful as they feared it would be. The key to a successful tongue piercing is to find an experienced piercer who knows what he’s doing. Another thing to note is that the aftercare can be tricky and painful, but by that time, the procedure is over, which makes people relax a bit.
Ear cartilage. Ear cartilage piercing is one of the more basic piercing forms, so even beginners can consider it. At the same time, you need to know that it tends to be a bit painful, even though most of the pain comes after the procedure is done. Since cartilage is harder than regular skin tissue, it takes a needle a bit longer to go through the tissue. This sort of piercing is also known to cause soreness and discomfort after the procedure and during the first days of healing.
Out of the various cartilage piercings, it’s difficult to tell which one is the least and which one is the most painful, because it all depends on your individual sensitivity and the person performing the procedure. Some people say that conch piercings hurt the less, while tragus ones hurt more, but it may be different for you (indeed, there are people who claim that conch hurt the most!) Industrial piercings tend to cause more discomfort because there are two holes to pierce and they need to be perfectly aligned so the jewelry can be inserted without a problem.
Lip piercings (Monroe, Madonna, etc.) Lip piercings are among the most popular ones and many people the look of a pierced lip. That being said, lips tend to be sensitive so there’s some pain and discomfort associated with this piercing type. The pain is not unbearable and it often depends on the exact location of the piercing. You should expect the initial sting to hurt a bit but it doesn’t last long so you should be fine. When it comes to lip piercing, keep in mind that you may experience some sharp pain and numbness, but don’t worry: there are no important nerves in the lip that can cause serious problems or long-lasting pain.
(4-5 stars out of 5 on the pain scale)
Piercings in this group are known to be more painful and reserved for more experienced users. However, not all of them are the same (for example, some genital piercings are less painful than the others, so may even fall in one of the less painful categories). It also depends on your personal anatomy and pain level:
Nipple piercing. Nipple piercings are not complicated but they tend to cause some discomfort. The main thing you need to remember is that nipples are very sensitive. There are many sensitive nerves out there and while the nipple piercing only goes through a small part of the tissue, it’s a very nerve-rich area. Plus, the healing period is tricky because you need to wear clothes above the piercing. That being said, nipple piercings are very rewarding and the initial pain of the procedure doesn’t last that long, so you should be fine.
Corset piercings. Corset piercing is one of the most popular forms of surface piercing. These are done temporarily and they require patience and skill to done right. The individual piercing is not so painful, but the procedure requires you to get many piercings are the same time, coupled with many jewelry pieces and a final decoration. This is why they are known to cause discomfort.
Genital piercings. Many (though not all) types of genital piercings tend to hurt, because this is a nerve-rich and very sensitive area. Another trouble is that the needle often has to go through quite a bit of tissue, especially when it comes to certain penis piercings. When it comes to genital piercings, it all depends on your pain level and individual anatomy. You will love to know, though, that many genital piercings don’t hurt as much as you think they do. For example, Prince Albert piercing is relatively easy to perform and it doesn’t hurt as bad. Many men report it to hurt less than some other piercing types. Frenum piercings are also not known to be very painful. More complex genital piercings, such as the ones going through lots of tissue (for example, Ampalang and Appadravya) tend to be more painful. For women, the easiest and least painful genital piercings are hood piercings, triangle piercing is a bit more complex, while the most complex and painful one is the clitoral piercing (even though it’s rare; most of the female piercings you see do not go through the clitoris itself).
Some rare forms of piercings are also known to be painful. For example, gum piercings are rare and not frequently performed, but some people love them. They tend to be painful because the needle goes through the nerve-rich, sensitive and relatively thick tissue. Eyelid piercing is another form of a rare and painful piercing. The problem is not just the procedure itself, but also the fact that eyes are very sensitive so any jewelry can cause itchiness and problem with the eye.