If you’ve never been pierced, you might be wondering if you can handle the pain.
Or maybe you’re thinking about getting pierced in a new place and wonder how bad it will feel.
That’s why we’ll discuss the big question: “How much does a piercing hurt?”
The answer is – it depends.
Let’s look at how being pierced in different parts of the body might affect you.
We can use a scale of 1 to 10 to help understand how it feels.
A rating of 1 would be like a quick pinch with your nails. It hurts less than a bee sting, which would be about 2 out of 10.
Getting earlobes pierced is about a 1 or 2, depending on the person.
But getting genitals pierced ranks at the top end of the scale, like an 8 out of 10. That’s not for the inexperienced or the faint of heart.
How much does a nose piercing hurt?
Nose piercings are usually about a 2 on a scale of 10. Some people say it feels like a bee sting.
Getting the septum pierced hurts more. But a professional piercer can usually find a spot where the cartilage is thinner, so it stings less (1).
Piercing the navel is about the same as piercing an earlobe. Pinch either spot with your nails, and you’ll see what I mean.
It’s not quite a bee sting, but you’ll feel the pinch.
Fleshy spots like these rank 1 on a scale of 10 for pain.
How does getting your lip pierced feel?
Have you ever bitten your lip? It doesn’t feel good, does it? But when it’s pierced by a professional with a needle, it’s not so bad.
On the pain scale, it’s about a 1 to get snakebites, Medusa, or labret piercings.
How does it feel to pierce an eyebrow?
An eyebrow piercing doesn’t hurt too bad, maybe a 3 out of 10. It doesn’t sting so much as it feels like it’s getting pinched hard.
How much does it hurt to pierce your tongue?
If you’ve never had a piercing, I strongly recommend you don’t pierce your tongue first.
It ranks 5 out of 10 on the pain scale.
The tongue might be fleshy, but it’s very sensitive with lots of nerve endings. It’s also prone to infection because of all the bacteria in the mouth. It’s crucial to have only a professional pierce this part of the body.
How much do cartilage ear piercings hurt?
Any time you pierce the parts of the ear with cartilage, like the conch, tragus, rook, helix, or daith, you’re going to feel it. It’s about a 5 or 6 out of 10.
At least, the worst part’s over in a second.
It may continue to feel tender as it heals, but the sharp sting will have passed.
How does it feel to get a surface piercing?
Anchors hurt more because they take longer to implant. I’d say you’d have to tolerate 6 out of 10 for surface piercing.
How much does a nipple piercing hurt?
The experience of getting a nipple pierced is highly individual. Most say it’s about 7 out of 10.
It’s an erogenous zone with lots of nerve endings, so it’s a very sensitive area.
But for me, the worst part is waiting for the nipple to heal and trying to protect it in the meantime.
How much do genital piercings hurt?
The most sensitive parts to pierce are the genitals. It’s an 8 out of 10 or more for sure.
Also, they take months to heal, and the pain lingers for weeks.
How long does the pain of a piercing last?
The initial pain of a piercing passes in a moment. But your skin is going to hurt for a while yet.
It’s the same as any other time you have a wound. The area is tender and susceptible.
Only this time, you have a foreign object stuck inside of it. The skin will try to heal around the jewelry, so it will turn red, swell, ooze, and generally be annoying.
How long you get to suffer depends on where the piercing is located. Typically, it takes a week for the worst to pass.
After that, it’s just maintenance.
The pain will return if you forget to take good care of your piercing. Try not to sleep on it, bang it, play with it, etc. Keep it clean, and things should be fine.
How can you manage the pain of getting pierced?
You may have heard that people use a numbing spray to minimize pain while getting pierced. That’s not the brightest idea as numbing spray can slow down the healing process.
Instead, arrive at the piercing shop with a positive outlook. Recognize the fact that it’s going to hurt at first, but it will get better. Concentrate on how sick that piercing will look.
Take a friend to hold your hand or bring something to squeeze.
Take a deep breath, or better, use meditative breathing to calm yourself.
Most important, go to a certified piercer and get the job done right.
What can you do to reduce pain after getting a piercing?
Once you go home, you can take a painkiller and ice the spot. Tylenol and ibuprofen kick in after about half an hour.
Wash your hands and put ice on the piercing for 5 or 10 minutes every hour or so. Use a clean cloth or paper towel each time.
Take photos if you want and show it off, but don’t touch the piercing. Leave it alone unless instructed otherwise by the piercer.
Clean it morning and night, or if it gets dirty or sweaty. You’d be surprised how much saline rinse can cut down the pain of a new piercing.
You can make your own saline rinse at home. You’ll need a cup of warm water and ¼ teaspoon of non-iodized salt, also known as sea salt. Mix it well before treating the piercing with it.
I prefer premade rinses as they are more sanitary and require less effort to use.
How can you tell if you have an infected piercing?
Since every new piercing is red, sore, and oozing, it’s hard to know if it’s infected (2).
If you’re worried, show it to the piercer.
It could simply be irritated. Then, you might need to switch to hypoallergenic piercing jewelry, like titanium.
Otherwise, you’ll need to go to the doctor if the skin is hot and very painful. Usually, it will be leaking pus that smells bad, too.
Don’t put off treatment as you could end up with a deadly infection in your bloodstream. Thankfully, and extreme circumstance like that is rare if you are cleaning and protecting the piercing.
While we’re on the topic, let me show you a few products for piercing aftercare.
CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser
Any time you get a facial piercing, you need to think about how you wash your face. If you use a medicated cleanser, you’ll need to stop for a while and use mild soap instead.
One of the best options is CeraVe’s face cleanser for sensitive skin. It’s fragrance-free and contains no alcohol.
It’s moisturizing, but it won’t clog pores. Plus, it’s so good that the National Eczema Association has certified it.
Vanicream Gentle Body Wash
Body piercings require mild soap, too. Vanicream’s body wash has nothing in it that could trigger allergies or irritate the skin.
It has no artificial fragrance, color, parabens, sulfates, or gluten. Somehow, it still manages to do a good job cleaning the skin. It leaves it soft and never itchy.
Dr Numb Topical Anesthetic Foaming Soap
Although we recommend not using numbing spray before getting a piercing, there’s nothing wrong with using anesthetic soap afterward. Just don’t get hooked on it.
It’s only good for temporary relief, and only for a few days. Use it only in extreme cases because it contains benzethonium chloride, an antimicrobial agent. Abusing it could slow down the healing.
The numbing component is 4% lidocaine, a topical anesthetic. Therefore, this is a product that’s regulated by the FDA because it’s a drug.
NeilMed NeilCleanse Piercing Aftercare
There are lots of sterile saline rinses on the market. Be careful that you get one marked for piercing aftercare so that it doesn’t have any other unwanted ingredients.
This one is pure pharmaceutical-grade water plus sodium chloride. It’s made by an American company.
Choose from fine mist or stream versions.
H2Ocean Arctic Ocean Mint Rinse Mouthwash
If you have a lip or tongue piercing, you need alcohol-free mouthwash. This one was designed specifically for taking care of piercings.
It contains sea salt and xylitol, so it does double duty. It also tastes pretty good and prevents dry mouth.
Pain is for a moment, but glory is forever.
Your next piercing is going to hurt. However, the worst part is over in a flash.
Keep it clean, and soon you’ll be showing off your dope new look.
Feel free to drop us a line about the kind of piercing you got and how it felt.
1. https://www.healthline.com/health/most-painful-piercings by Tim Jewell, published April 16, 2020, accessed October 9, 2020
2. https://www.bustle.com/articles/188738-how-long-should-a-piercing-be-sore-a-pro-piercer-tells-all by Phoebe Avison, published October 10, 2016, accessed October 9, 2020