Ear piercing costs can vary a lot depending on many factors. If you go to a mall kiosk, for example, versus a professional body piercing studio, you’ll end up paying a lot less. However, sometimes you really do get what you pay for. It can be worth it to spend a few extra dollars to have your piercings done in a place that makes proper hygiene and the most up-to-date techniques top priorities for their customers.
Many people will get a type of ear piercing at some point in their lives, whether it’s a traditional lobe piercing or a slightly more complex (and, honestly, painful) cartilage piercing. But there are a ton of options to choose from, and it can be a great way for individuals to express their personal style both in the jewelry they choose and in the placement of their piercing.
But how much does it cost to get your ears pierced? Are there different prices for where on your ear you get the piercing? Is the jewelry included in the price? Today we’ll discuss ear-piercing costs and other topics such as piercing techniques, the proper healing aftercare process, and what state and legal requirements a professional body piercer might need. First, let’s take a look at the different kinds of ear piercings and how the procedures are performed.
Types of ear piercing and techniques
There are two basic categories of ear piercing — lobe and cartilage — and a variety of options within those classifications.
Traditional lobe piercings are the most common type of piercing, and most people’s ears can accommodate up to three or four holes in the lobe. There’s also a transverse lobe piercing where the hole goes horizontally through the lobe rather than front to back. A barbell style of earring is often popular with this type of piercing.
There are quite a few more options when it comes to cartilage piercings because, other than the lobe, your ear is pretty much all cartilage. A helix piercing is very popular, with the helix being the part of your ear that begins just above your lobe and curves around the top.
You can also get a daith piercing, which goes through the inner ridge of cartilage closest to the ear canal. Many people like to put a hoop earring here, and piercings here are said to help alleviate chronic migraines (though there’s no scientific evidence to support that theory).
In addition to the styles above, you can choose between conch piercings, rooks, industrials, and many others. Check out this ear piercing chart to see where each one goes and which ones strike your fancy.
There are also thousands of pictures online so you can see tons of examples of how multiple piercings and their jewelry look in real life.
When you go in for an ear piercing procedure, the technicians who are piercing ears will generally use one of two methods: a piercing needle or a piercing gun. Since the term “piercing gun” has fallen out of favor (for obvious reasons), piercing guns are now known as piercing instruments.
A piercing needle is generally thought to give more precise placement whereas a piercing gun (instrument) is often not as exact and can also be difficult to use in tighter spots. Most commonly you will find that a dedicated body piercing studio will be most likely to use a piercing method that involves a needle (which comes in a variety of sizes and shapes for harder-to-reach spots). A mall store, on the other hand, is typically going to use the less precise piercing instrument.
How much does it cost to get your ears pierced?
Ear piercing costs generally vary depending on where you get it done and the type of piercing you choose. Typically, on average, expect to pay about $40 per piercing, which may or may not include the piercing earring.
A traditional earlobe piercing may cost a little less, while an industrial piercing will charge you a bit more. Plus, your jewelry options for your initial ear piercing may be limited, so if you choose to upgrade, it’ll cost you an extra $10 or $20 more on top of the base price. Some shops may throw in the piercing for “free” with the purchase of a “starter kit,” which usually consists of the piercing jewelry plus an aftercare solution.
You might also get a discount for getting multiple piercings at once (say buy two get one free), although you’ll probably still have to pay for the extra jewelry. Be careful though, because if you get two piercings in one ear and a single piercing in another, you could be pretty uncomfortable sleeping and doing other activities for quite some time. It’s probably best to do only one ear piercing at a time.
Choosing your piercing jewelry
As mentioned, oftentimes your ear piercing cost will include the piercing earring, or “starter jewelry,” that comes with it. Usually, these will be piercing studs made of surgical steel or other types of hypoallergenic earrings.
You will need to keep the piercing earrings in until you’re totally healed and then you can experiment with other kinds of jewelry. Many people have sensitive ears, so it’s usually best to stick to hypoallergenic earrings that use metals such as gold (unless you’re allergic), titanium, and surgical steel. Other than that, the sky is pretty much the limit on how you choose to adorn your new piercing.
New piercings are delicate and a little painful. For this reason, carefully follow any instructions your piercing professional gives you to avoid infection and allow the area to become completely healed.
In general, these are the steps you should take to care for your newly pierced ears.
- Thoroughly wash your hands before cleaning your new piercings.
- Try to avoid touching the new piercings except when you’re cleaning them.
- Use a saline-based wound wash for cleansing the affected areas a couple of times a day.
- Do not submerge yourself in water during the healing period.
- Avoid contact with the affected area with anything at all, such as cell phones or earbuds, including other people.
- Never remove your starter jewelry, even at night, as holes can close up very quickly before they’re completely healed.
- If you notice any signs of infection — extreme redness, swelling, or oozing — contact a healthcare specialist.
Body piercing and state laws
The increase in popularity of body art, such as piercings or tattooing, has caused many states to modify existing laws or instill new ones to try and regulate the body art industry, mainly for safety issues or to protect minors. And the results are quite varied.
Regulations to protect minors
Most states, for example, have some restrictions prohibiting minors from getting tattoos or body piercings, other than standard earlobe piercings. In most cases, a minor cannot get a tattoo or body piercing without permission from a parent or legal guardian.
There are also many individual tattoo or body piercing shops that won’t perform certain procedures until a person is 18 — a legal adult — regardless of parental permission.
Regulations on sanitation
Other states, like Nevada, do not regulate tattoo or piercing shops at all, although Las Vegas does have a tattoo ordinance. But many others, like California for example, have strict regulations that require shops to be certified by the local health agency, pay inspection fees, and be subject to periodic inspections.
Body art and piercing artists themselves may also need to register with local health agencies and renew their registrations every year. To be registered, they might have to show they’re up-to-date on vaccinations, undergo blood-borne pathogen training, and certify that they are aware of the laws related to body art safety. This is not true for every state, but many individual shops have their own strict requirements for piercing professionals.
Before you get your ears pierced, you should talk to different piercing salons and find out their policies and procedures regarding safety measures and sanitary practices. You should also talk to friends or family members who have ear piercings to find out where they’ve had it done and their experiences with the procedures.
Does ear piercing hurt?
You are having a professional pierce a needle through a sensitive part of your anatomy so, yes, there is going to be some discomfort when you get your ears pierced. It also depends on your particular tolerance for pain as well. If you have a high threshold for pain, for example, it might not be a big deal at all. However, if you have sensitive ears or sensitive skin, it could be a little more painful for you.
On the upside, ear piercing is a relatively quick procedure which many people describe as a quick stinging or burning sensation that quickly subsides, although there will probably be some throbbing or aching afterward. Keep in mind that people generally experience more pain for ear cartilage piercings than for lobe piercings.
How long do ear piercings take to heal?
The healing process for cartilage piercings takes quite a bit longer than with a regular earlobe piercing. The traditional standard says that lobe piercings will take approximately six to eight weeks to heal and cartilage piercings approximately four to 12 months depending on the exact placement.
Whatever style of ear piercing you decide on, you’ll want to carefully follow the aftercare instructions so as to ensure proper healing.
How do you sleep after getting your ears pierced?
Sleeping on your newly pierced ears can be tricky at first. They will be a little tender (especially in the beginning) so, naturally, laying on them can cause further discomfort.
More importantly, however, you will want to avoid infection. This means you should try and sleep on your back or on your opposite side of the new piercing to avoid introducing any germs or bacteria into the affected area. Otherwise, this can lead to painful (and let’s be honest, gross) infections.
You will also want to avoid immersing your ears in any body of water, be it a bath, lake, or swimming pool for six to eight weeks after piercing. This is in addition to resisting the temptation to touch the jewelry other than for cleaning. The better you take care of your ear piercings, the quicker they will heal and you can experiment with different styles of jewelry.
How do you shower with a new ear piercing?
It’s not really recommended that you get face and hair care products in your piercings, but it’s kind of unavoidable when you’re washing your hair. The best thing you can do is to schedule your cleanings for after your shower so you can remove any shampoo or other residue from the affected ear-piercing areas.
- An ear piercing’s cost can vary considerably depending on the type of piercing you get, the facility where it’s performed, the experience of the piercing professional, and the jewelry you pick out.
- When you have your ears pierced, you have literally dozens of options to choose from regarding the placement and jewelry of your piercing.
- Always be sure to get your ears pierced at shops that use sterile equipment and offer hypoallergenic earrings to get you started. This will help ensure proper healing.
- Follow aftercare instructions to the letter and consider using the aftercare products the salon recommends during the healing period.
- Avoid being submerged in water, sleeping on, or fiddling with your newly pierced ears until they’re completely healed.
View Article Sources
- Caring for Pierced Ears — American Academy of Dermatology Association
- Tattooing and Body Piercing | State Laws, Statutes and Regulations — National Conference of State Legislatures