Men’s Earring Guide

Since the beginning of its existence, humankind strived for many things, but some of them remained constant throughout the evolution of our civilization. One of the things that remained constant through the ages is social status.

Being more powerful or wealthier than your peers is one of the most desired things of mankind. Being unique is another. The earring is a common accessory nowadays, but throughout the ages, it has fulfilled some of humanity’s needs. It was used as a sign of wealth, of power, and even as a sign or property. Nowadays, earrings are used to upgrade and define a style or a look.

Types of Earrings and Piercing Procedures

There is more than one way to pierce your ear, and special earrings can be used for every location you decide to pierce.

There is more than one way to pierce your ear, and special earrings can be used for every location you decide to pierce.

The Helix - Cartilage Piercing

Location - The helix is the outside part of   your ear, and it’s composed of cartilage. So in order to wear a helix earring, you need to perforate the cartilage. Captive bead rings, barbells, and labret studs are the usual rings people prefer for this location. 

Helix Piercing Procedure - It is usually done with a curved or a hollow needle. The piercer will mark the spot on your ear so you can approve with the position. It is very important you keep your head perfectly still throughout the procedure.

You must never allow any piercer to use a piercing gun on your helix. This kind of procedure is illegal and extremely dangerous, as it may damage your cartilage permanently, and deform your ear.

Pain - This kind of ear piercing is generally not very painful. Pain, however, varies from person to person, and with the piercer’s experience. The helix is composed of cartilage and it doesn’t have any nerve endings, so it shouldn’t be painful, but because the cartilage can sometimes be tough to perforate, the piercer sometimes has to put a little extra pressure and effort. This might create a discomfort for some people.

Industrial Piercing

The term “industrial” refers to any two or more piercings connected by a straight piece of jewelry. It most frequently applies to a two point earring that’s placed on two separate spots of the helix. However, industrial piercings have many applications, limited only by your or the artist’s imagination. The most common industrial piercings are the bar, the construction, or the scaffold piercing. This is a versatile design that can be worn as a single piece of jewelry, a classic industrial, or as two piercings, each with their own jewelry.

How it is Done - This kind of piercing is usually approached in different ways by different artists, though some steps of the procedure should be followed by all. First of all, you should make sure the entire area is cleaned properly. Second, you need to agree to approve of the placement before you’re pierced. Be aware that sometimes your anatomy will not allow the artist to place the hole exactly where you want it. The artists’ concern should cover aesthetics, as well as healing and longevity of the pierce, so some spots should be avoided if they’re too narrow. This piercing procedure involves multiple piercings, so you should make sure the artist uses a different needle for every pierce. Because the needle must go through a tough tissue like the cartilage, the tip might become blunter after the pierce.

At this point, the artists’ style and experience will take over. Some artist will puncture all the points first, then insert the jewellery, while others will make one puncture, slide the jewellery, then repeat as many times as necessary.

You should keep in mind that starting with individual pieces of jewelry will allow you to heal quicker. After the areas are healed, you can insert the single piece. If you start with a single, long piece of jewelry, it will put greater pressure on the cartilage and the surrounding area, thus healing slower.

Rook Piercing

The perforation necessary for a rook earring targets the lower part of the anti-helix, above the Tragus. 

The procedure is considered more complicated than others because the needle has to go through a harder surface. The artist should properly clean and sterilize your entire ear before he/she starts the procedure. The tool the artist uses must be new or sterilized. Usually, a hollow 14 – 16 gauge will be inserted in the anti-helix. Once the penetration is complete, the barbell earring will be inserted and positioned. Once you have the jeweler in place, all the blood has to be quickly cleaned. This procedure only draws a small amount of blood.

Pain - This procedure is pretty tricky and the pain associated with it is variable. Some say it doesn’t hurt at all, while others complain it’s the worst piercing pain there is. It’s all a matter of individual tolerance.

Daith Piercing

This is a special kind of cartilage piercing due to its unique location, the crus of the helix. This kind of procedure usually requires a specialized piercing artist because it demands a sophisticated technique. This has been recently got popularized for the treatment of migraine, anxiety and weight loss.

The piercing process is relatively short. The artist should start with sterilizing the entire ear and marking the points the needle will penetrate. He/She should take the time to make sure that the piercing will be done quickly and smoothly because the area is different for every individual. After that, the artist will pierce a hole in the area with a curved needle, catch the needle’s tip with a receiving tube and guide it throughout the entire process. After the hole is complete, the jewelry is inserted.

Pain - The procedure is mildly painful. You should expect a little bleeding and pain.

Tragus Piercing

The Tragus is the small oval cartilage located right next to your ear canal. Tragus piercings are usually the choice of fashionable people that want to distinguish themselves from others. You can wear almost every kind of ring in this location, once the healing is complete, but most people prefer barbells or circular rings.

Procedure - When you decide to get a tragus piercing, make sure you go to an experienced and precise artist. While other areas of the ear offer a wider surface, the tragus is rather small. You should make sure that your ear is thoroughly clean before you go to an artist. Start cleaning it up to five days before you go for the procedure, to make sure you don’t have a dormant yeast infection. Use saline water and alcohol for cleaning.

This procedure needs some extra pressure from the artist because of the thickness and resistance the tragus possesses. You should be laying down during the whole procedure. A protective cock should be placed within your ear canal. The area should be cleaned and sanitized thoroughly. Using a curved or a hollow needles, the artist will pierce the tragus by applying some pressure. Bleeding will occur naturally, but it won’t be a large quantity, so don’t worry. Sometimes you can hear a rather loud pop as the needle pierces penetrates the cartilage. After the hole is complete, the jewellery is attached.

Pain Threshold - This is a rather painful procedure, as greater pressure is needed to go through the tragus. Some pain will be felt in the first few days. The healing time after this procedure is very long. It may take up to 6 – 18 weeks. In this period, you have to be careful not to contact any kind of secondary inflammation.

Tragus Piercing Healing - Because the healing process is long after this procedure, you should take care of your ear by following these steps:

  • Clean the area twice a day – Clean the tragus area with saline water. Make sure you use sea salt and not table salt. Pay special attention to the area close to the piercing. Rotate the piercing all the way while cleaning the area.
  • Don’t play with the piercing – You might be inclined to play with the piercing even though your ear is painful. But keep in mind that every time you touch the piercing, you risk contaminating it and the surrounding area with bacteria. You should also cover the piercing with a plastic band or a band aid before going to bed, so it won’t move around while you sleep
  • Make sure you have clean sheets – Make sure your head rests on clean sheets every night until the healing is complete. A simple solution to this problem is to dress your pillow in clean T-shirts you can turn over each night. After you turn them over, you can wash them quickly.
  • Clean gadgets – Make sure all the gadgets that touch your ear are clean. This includes telephones, eyeglasses, helmets, headphones, and everything else. A better and safer way to protect yourself is to avoid using gadgets with that ear during the healing period.

Snug Piercing

The area above the anti-tragus is called the snug, so a piercing done in that area is knows as a snug pierce. Because this area is located near the anti helix, you might hear it called an anti-helix piercing. This area is very sensitive and has a thick cartilage, so it’s one of the most difficult to pierce. But the location makes it one of the most interesting and striking ear piercings.

Procedure - Before you have the piercing procedure done, you should make sure your ear is germ-free. You may have a dormant yeast infection. In order to make sure you don’t, clean your ears with saline water twice a day, for at least five days before the procedure.

The artist should use a 16 – 18 hollow needle to make the piercing and a ring of the same size should be used. The smaller the size of the ring, the better. You don’t need a ring that will become a bother and lead to irritation.

Pain - This is one of the most sensitive parts of the ear, so getting a snug piercing will be painful. You must be sure that the piercing artist has a lot of experience before you start the procedure. This is a small area, so the lack of experience might result in the pierce being placed at a bad angle. It could also lead to more pain and a longer healing time than necessary.

Healing - This piercing procedure has a very long healing time. They usually take between 4 to 6 months to heal, even when they’re taken care of.

As an alternative to the snug piercing, you can choose a faux snug. A faux snug is a helix and a conch piercing placed in a way that makes them look exactly like a snug. While the healing time is long for these types of piercings, it will only take around 2 – 4 months, and they can be more comfortable than a real snug.

Conch Piercing

The conch is the cartilage that acts as the shell or outer part of the ear. Conch piercing is relatively simple, so you will encounter no problems if you go to a professional artist.

Procedure - There are two types of conch piercings. One is placed at the bowl-shaped area beside the ear hole, also known as the inner conch, while the other is placed on the flat portion of the ear, between the ridge and the helix, also known as the outer conch. The procedure used for piercing both outer and inner conch is the same.

Conch piercing can be single, double, or triple. Most professionals recommend doing a single pierce the first time, and add the others after this one heals. However, if you’ve experienced more than one ear piercings before and you know how to take care of them properly, you can opt to do all the perforation at once.

This perforation should be done by a professional so each hole will be in the right area. Your artist can use needles or a needle gun, depending on his/her experience and your ear’s anatomy. Most of them choose the needles because they are easier to maneuver. The area should be disinfected with alcohol or a medical disinfectant. The needle will then quickly pierce your ear. Some blood is to be expected, but in a low quantity. After the hole is complete, the jewellery will be inserted and locked. You should choose light jewelry to allow a quicker healing process and avoid an inflammation.

For bigger piercings on the outer conch, a dermal punch can be used. The dermal punch looks just like a paper hole puncher. This type of piercing is more damaging, more painful and needs more healing time.

Pain - This type of piercing is more painful than most, because of the thickness of the cartilage.

Anti-Tragus Earrings

Anti-tragus piercing is the perforation of the cartilage between the lobe and the tragus. If you decide to get an anti-tragus piercing, you should go to a professional that has a lot of experience. This area has thick cartilage and a lot of pressure is needed to get through it.

Procedure - The artist should make sure the area us thoroughly cleaned. Once it is, he/she should mark the entry and exit points. A thick hollow needle is used to pass through the cartilage. Once the hole is complete, the jewelry will be placed.

Pain - The anti-tragus piercing can be very painful, but this is different from individual to individual. Some bleeding is to be expected, and a crust can form in the first few days.

Healing - The healing process should take about 2 – 5 months.

lobe piercing

This is the most common ear piercing. You can get a lobe piercing done by a professional, by a friend, or even by yourself. Hoop earrings and studs are perfect for lobe.

Procedure - The most important thing you need to do is make sure the piercing is done clean and sterile. After you get the piercing done, take care of it for a couple of weeks. Make sure it doesn’t get infected.

Pain - This kind of piercing is usually not painful, but that depends on individual pain level and the piercer’s experience. If you decide to do the piercing yourself, but can’t commit all the way and end up with a scratched ear lobe instead of a pierced one, take care of it, as well.

A Quick Guide To Piercing Aftercare

Some of the piercing procedures can be painful, but they aren’t as painful as an infected ear. That’s why you need to take great care with your piercings until the wound heals. The healing time varies greatly, depending on the location of your pierce, but the same rules apply to all piercing wounds.

  • Wash your hands – Make sure you always wash your hands with antibacterial soap before handling your piercings.
  • Do NOT play with your piercing – Playing with your piercing will most likely prolong the healing period. After you insert a piece of jewelry in the hole, the body begins the healing process. When you play with your piercing you disturb that process and increase the chance of infection.
  • Clean it – Clean the piercing location and the surrounding area at least twice a day with saline water and/or alcohol. Slowly rotate the ring while you clean.
  • Do NOT change the ring – Do not change the ring until the healing process is complete. Once it is, you can change it as many times you want.
  • Do NOT use ointments – When you use ointments on the piercings, you’re actually blocking them, not allowing them to breathe.
  • Use clean bed sheets – Always use clean bed sheets when you go to bed.
  • Cover the piercing – Always cover the piercing with band aids or plastic before sleeping, so it won’t move around.
  • Use clean gadgets – Make sure every gadget you use around your ear is clean. This means your telephone, eyeglasses, bicycle helmet, or headphones should be cleaned before you use them. It would be a better idea not to used them with the pierced ear, if possible.

materials for men's earrings

While this is mostly a matter of preference, most piercing earrings come in a variety of hypoallergenic metal choices as

  • silver,
  • 14 KT gold,
  • 24 KT gold,
  • medical grade stainless steel, and
  • medical grade titanium.

Most professionals advise using medical grade titanium for your first cartilage piercing because this is the safest metal. All of the other metals have a little nickel alloy in their composition for strength, and you can have a nickel allergy you don’t know about. Since most of the cartilage piercings have prolonged healing periods, it’s better not to risk an allergy that inflames the area.

The earrings you wear can be plain, or they can be decorated with precious stones or diverse patterns. It’s a matter of individual preference and circumstances both. If you work in a stricter environment, but you want to take a risk and come with an earring at the office, a plain stud might pass, while a skull will most likely cause you problems.

If you attend formal events, such as funerals or business meetings, a richly decorated earring will most likely look out of place.

Your profession can also influence your choice of piercings, as well. While an industrial piercing might look off on a teacher, it would probably look great on an artist, or even on the CEO of a fresh, hip business.

No matter your profession or working environment, you should not wear earrings while working out or playing sports. Earrings can easily get caught in your sporting equipment and result in a painful experience. Also, when you’re playing sports, you might get hit and risk a minor injury. If you’re too lazy to take them off before working out, just cover them with plastic tape or band aids. This will reduce the probability of an injury, and it will keep the sweat off. If you’re working out in your healing period DO NOT remove your earring. Just cover it up.

Men’s Earrings Styles

There are a lot of different styles you can adopt when you decide to wear an earring. It only matters which style you consider to fit you best. It doesn’t matter in which of the following categories you think you might fit in, there is a general rule you should respect in order to make the most out of your new look: Do not wear magnetic or clip-on earrings. If you want to adopt a certain style, you need to commit. Magnetic or clip-on earrings, even though they don’t need a piercing in order for you to wear them, will make you look silly and scared. When you decide to get a piercing done, just take a marker and put some dots in the area you wish it to be placed. If you like how it looks, go to a professional and get the job done. If you think it looks silly and don’t want to get the piercing done, it will look silly with a magnetic or clip-on earring, as well.

  • The Rapper – This is a common style adopted by many young men across the globe. Get one or both earlobes pierced and put some shiny jewellery in them. This look may suit many different face types, but if you want to wear “bling”, you should have some money for a real “bling”. If you adopt this style in order to get girls, remember that “diamonds are a girl’s best friend” and they can spot a fake one from a mile off. That will seriously damage your image.
  • The Bad Boy – Another widely spread style, the bad boy usually has one or more cartilage earrings. If you want to adopt this style, make sure this is what you really want. Don’t let peer pressure get to you. Think of how this will affect your life in the future, if you want to change your job, or if you want to get one.
  • The Explorer – This is a style usually adopted by young men. Wanting to be more rebellious, they get one earlobe pierced. Now, because they have a pierce, they’re not shy any longer. They are risk takers, explorers. They flirt with danger. If you fit into this category, don’t go for gold or precious stones as your jewellery. Go for titanium, silver, or stainless steel. Plain or simple, you should not expect it to blow the minds of your friends. It’s not really a face tattoo, is it? You little rebel.
  • The Pin Cushion – People falling in this category should really think about their life choices. If you don’t have a stable, reliable job, this look is certainly a risk. This kind of people sports all kind of piercings, from ear lobes to nasal or facial ones. This style might look great on artists and acrobats, but it doesn’t look too good in an office, so your employment choices will be limited.

Final thoughts

Getting an earring should always be your decision. You are the one who’s going to wear it, at least for the time the wound needs to heal, probably longer, so you’re the one that needs to make the decision. Don’t let peer pressure decide this for you. It doesn’t matter if you’re the last of your friends that doesn’t have a piercing, or if you’re the first, you should make sure it will upgrade your look and your confidence, both. There are many different styles of piercings you can get, and you can wear them as you please, as long as you’re happy with the decision. CEO or factory worker, it doesn’t matter your profession, the only thing that matters in life is that you live it. So get at it, do whatever you want, as long as it pleases you.