Archive for Ear Piercings


Check out this awesome video of Stephanie getting her rook piercing done by James at American Skin Art in Buffalo, New York.  Look for the money shot (actual needle insertion) at about 17 seconds.

First the piercer cleans the ear thoroughly, and then proceeds to mark the area where the rook piercing will go.  Stephanie approves the placement, and the needle and receiving tube are carefully put into place.  Next, our piercer tells his client to take a deep breath, and expertly pushes the needle through her cartilage, corking the free end to avoid any mishaps.  A ball captive ring is then pushed into place and carefully secured through the use of some expert tools.  Just a quick final cleanup, and Stephanie is ready to enjoy her rockin’ new rook.

rook ear cartilage piercing

The rook is an ear cartilage piercing performed where the fossa (the flat upper plane) and crus, or inside edge of the helix, meet.  That visible outcropping of cartilage just between the inner and outer conch areas?  Yep.  Right there. Although it’s been around since the 90s, (first popularized by famous piercer Erik Dakota) the rook piercing is still fairly rare and provides a beautiful and unique look, whether alone, or paired with other piercings.

the ear anatomy in relation to rook piercings

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the stretching lifestyle

In tribal cultures the stretching of ear lobes and other soft tissue piercings is predominantly performed with a single method: dead stretching done with gradually larger pins and plugs.  In the western world however, there are a variety of techniques for achieving a stretched look, many of them primarily contemporary in origin.

One way that large gauge lobe piercings are achieved is by performing the initial piercing with a larger gauge needle than normal (such as a 12 gauge piercing needle) and then allowing the piercings to heal with pyrex or titanium plugs, or ball captive rings.  Rarely a dermal punch may be used to accomplish an even larger initial hole, but this is mostly shied away from as the tissue is soft and easy to stretch.  Scalpeling and the “pierce and taper” technique are also generally frowned upon, and each involve more pain and longer healing time, as well as greater risk.

 risky methods of stretching

Many choose to stretch with the use of a stretching kit, which includes a tunnel or taper of each standard size across a specific range, say from 14 gauge to 00 gauge.  Tapering in general (using tapers and lubricant to enlarge  a healed fistula) is a popular contemporary method.  But some may decide to size up in even more gradual increments, utilizing a method known as “taping.”  This basically involves the use of non-adhesive tape, such as medical grade teflon tape, to wrap layers around the jewelry, resulting in a slowly progressing size enlargement.  Although they may take longer and require some excess investment, taping and tapering are lower risk approaches to ear lobe stretching and normally show favorable results.

kits for home ear stretching

More treacherous bygone techniques for lobe piercing enlargement have resurged in recent years however, such as weighting, which adopts the use of large heavy earrings or small weighted loops that stretch the piercing gradually as they dangle.  Once practiced by tribal societies in Southeast Asia, this unique type of augmentation has been largely rejected due to the risk of thinning tissue.  Unfortunately for most, only the bottom portion of pierced flesh will stretch, as the top and sides are not subjected to the force of the weight.

 pros and cons of using weights

There are multiple methods of stretching ear lobe piercings, each with an interesting and unparalleled cultural history, but persons from all races and walks of life show a number of stretched subpopulations.  Just one more way that body mod is connecting the human race.

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Stretched: the Magic of Mix and Match

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mixing it up with plug pairs

Classes have started again, and with a hectic schedule, unseasonable weather, and some major first day fashion scrutiny, you’re looking for something new and fresh.  Maybe something fun to wear in your stretched lobes?  Then look no further.

This season it’s all about fashion that’s fun, and one of the coolest ways to change it up is by mixing and matching what goes in your ears.  All of these wooden plugs are organic, available in sizes up to one inch, and sold separately for easy interchangeability.  You can even mix rich sawo wood with soft crocodile wood for a funky two-tone style effect.  Here are just a few of the sweet pairings you can put together:

cool mixable crocodile wood plugscool mixable sawo wood plugs

So regardless of what else is going on during the Fall/Winter season, at least you know your ears are taken care of.  One task down, 27million436thousand812 to go.  Isn’t higher learning fun?

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the trick to industrial barbell sizing

A little overwhelmed when shopping for new industrial barbells?  Maybe it’s your first time, or maybe you just love the fun look of bent and waved industrials but have no idea which one will fit.  And you don’t want to buy something that looks really awesome only to find it won’t fit, right?  Well if you give us just one minute, we can teach you how to measure so that it never feels like a gamble again.  Here’s the secret:

Think of the balls or spikes at the ends of your industrial as two points.  We’ll call them point A and point B.  Now, just like in math class, it’s your job to find the shortest distance between point A and point B.  That’s right.  It’s straight across.

 how to measure for length

No matter how wacky and wonderful the waves, dips, and spirals in an industrial barbell are, the length is always measured straight across from one ball to the other.  So if your poker straight project bar at home measures 37mm, then even the most interesting new barbell from the online store will fit, as long as you look in the specifications, and make sure that it lists a length measurement of about 37mm.

 cool industrial project bars

Much easier, right?  Now, time to go shopping.

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Check out this fun short video of Jalesa getting her industrial pierced by James from American Skin Art. And keep your eyes peeled for the needle insertions at around the 15 and 25 second marks.

industrial ear piercings being performed

As with all professional piercings, the area around the piercing site is first thoroughly cleaned.  Then a set of guidelines are marked where both piercings will be, including a connecting line to assist with the needle’s angle. Next, a pair of forceps are clamped into place, and the outer portion of the ear is swiftly punctured. Our piercee is instructed to take one more deep breath, and the needle is pushed through for the second and final time. Finally, the needle is chased with an extra long industrial barbell, and Jalesa is ready to show the world her new piercing.

Jalesa enjoys her new industrial ear piercing

Though often referred to as an “industrial piercing,” this type of modification is actually a set of two piercings, interconnected across the ear with a single piece of body jewelry.  For this reason the industrial may take longer to heal completely than an average helix piercing, but it’s definitely well worth the wait.  With proper attention and aftercare, healing will be straightforward, and you’ll be left with a versatile and interesting new mod.

For more up close videos of real piercings being performed, don’t forget to follow us and peep our channel on YouTube.

tools for stretch mods

Even if we’re not including the earlobes, most of us can say we have at least one piercing or tattoo, but what about other types of modification?  Stretched piercings, also known as “stretch mods,” are popular primarily in persons 29 and under, and depending on where you live, what industry you work in, or who your friends are, you might be the only person in your social group who has them.

 rarety of stretching

In areas where stretch mods are uncommon or body mod in general is less popular, it can be hard to find the resources you need in the community, particularly if there aren’t any veteran modification artists close by.  But thankfully there are a few tools that are still within easy reach.  For those who are interested in stretching but don’t have access to in-parlor stretching services, there are home stretch kits that can still expedite the process.  These are kits (usually composed of tapers or tunnels) that include a full range of sizes between where you are now, and where you want to be.  For example, a set that goes from 14 gauge to 00 would contain a taper in both of those sizes, as well as the 12 gauge, 10 gauge, 8 gauge, 6 gauge, 4 gauge, 2 gauge, and 0 gauge inbetween.

 nine piece home expander kits

This ensures that small increments are taken when you stretch, lessening the risk of irritation or blowouts, both of which can pose an issue for mod enthusiasts who dead-stretch.  The use of special lubricants or stretching balms is good too, and for those who have sensitive skin or like to take things slow, interchangeable tapers are also an excellent choice.

 tunnel to taper interchnageable sets

These will come with three separate parts: a taper tip, a tunnel tip, and a screw-on backing.  When the taper and tunnel portions are screwed together, they pass through the ear like a regular stretching taper, and once the tunnel side is properly in place, the taper can be removed and the back screwed on to create a regular flesh tunnel plug.  This allows for the tunnel of a new larger size to remain in the fistula following the stretch, assisting with the transition.

For more about stretching, plug jewelry, and sizing, check out the rest of our Plugs and Gauging category.  Happy stretching!

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Take a front row seat as BodyCandy friend Natori gets her tragus pierced by James at American Skin Art.  (Look for the needle insertion at about the 27 second mark.)

First, the piercer uses cue tips to thoroughly cleanse the tragus area of the ear.  Next, he marks a dot to show where the piercing will be positioned and has Natori check in the mirror and give the okay.  A hollow needle receiving tube in placed at the opening of the ear canal directly under the tragus, to protect any other parts of the ear from accidentally getting poked.  Then our piercee is instructed to take a deep breath, and the needle is pushed through.  Jewelry is inserted, the ear cleaned up once more, and Natori is ready to walk away with her fun new piercing.

 tragus getting pierced

Tragus piercings require similar aftercare to other ear cartilage piercings, and initial heal is often quick.  They’re a very versatile piercing that can hold numerous different types of body jewelry including BCRs, small barbells, horseshoes, and studs.  Tragus surface piercings and vertical tragus piercings can also be performed on most individuals, and are growing in popularity as alternatives to the standard.

 beautiful new tragus ear piercing

For more cool close-up videos of real piercings being performed, don’t forget to check us out on YouTube.  Happy piercing!

Follow along as Holly gets a three part piercing on her outer ear cartilage. (Watch for the needle insertions at about 0:30, 0:55, and 1:13).

Our piercing professional, James from American Skin Art, first cleans the ear and marks three small dots where the piercings will go.  He then has our piercing enthusiast double check in the mirror that the markings are aligned how and where she would like.  He instructs her to take a deep breath, and pushes the hollow piercing needle through, corking the free end.  Next, the jewelry is slid into place and secured, and the other two piercings are performed in the same fashion.  Once all three are finished, there’s a final cleanup, and our newly modified friend is ready to go.

 triple outer cartilage piercing

There are a variety of perforations that can be made in the cartilage of the human ear, and not all of them have a specific or distinct name.  This type of triple piercing is often referred to as an “ear flat piercing,” “triple scapha piercing,” or “fossa piercing,” and can be performed in a variety of orientations.  Multiple piercings of the ear cartilage in general are becoming more common amongst the modified generations.

 Holly's Triple Cartilage Piercing

For some, the ear’s features won’t allow for certain piercings, and that’s where your piercing professional comes into play.  With a thorough knowledge of the ear’s anatomy, they can often recommend alternate placements or styles, and angle such piercings correctly to allow for optimal healing.

For more up close videos of real piercings being performed, don’t forget to follow us on YouTube.

anti-tragus piercings

The tragus piercing is a piercing of that small nub of cartilage that extends out from the side of the face in front of the ear canal’s opening.  An anti-tragus piercing is a piercing of the cartilaginous outcropping directly across from it, at the ear’s inner rim.  A little bit rebellious, but it’s actually named “anti-tragus” after the portion of the ear anatomy that holds it.

 parts of the human ear

Aside from a fun name though, the anti-tragus actually has a lot of other things going for it.  This piercing heals well, can accommodate a variety of jewelry styles, and matches perfectly with its less feisty counterpart.  It’s also pierced in much the same fashion as its cartilage-decorating cousins.  Some piercers will pierce entirely freehand, while others will use a receiving tube, or more rarely, a pair of forceps.

As long as it’s cared for properly and avoids any knocks or scrapes, initial healing will occur around the eight to twelve week mark, with full healing taking approximately one year.  During the first weeks it’s often recommended that wearers avoid submersion in pools or lakes, take care when pulling clothing off or on over the head, and limit the use of hair products, which can be potentially irritating.

Depending on individual ear anatomy, piercing the anti-tragus of some persons isn’t feasible, and others may be limited to specific types of jewelry.  For the most part though, a variety of styles can be used including small curved barbells, straight barbells, tragus style studs, BCRs, and other circulars.

 tragus and anti-tragus earrings

For more about ear piercings and anatomy, check out our Ear Piercings category, and don’t forget to hit us up on YouTube to see real piercings being performed close up.

piercings of the upper ear antihelix cartilage

A rook piercing is a piercing of the antihelix of the ear, where it meets the triangular fossa at the inside edge or crus of the helix (the ear’s outer rim).  This is an outcropping of cartilage between the inner and outer conch that sits just above where a daith piercing would rest.  The rook is a contemporary piercing, first appearing in the early 90s, and famous piercing artist Erik Dakota is credited with it’s naming and popularization.

 the popularization of the rook

Like most other ear piercings, the area of the rook is first cleaned and marked for placement.  Some piercers will choose to pierce entirely freehand, while others may prefer to include a needle receiving tube, or even a small pair of forceps, and possibly a cork.  After being pierced, the jewelry will be pushed through and secured, and the ear will then be cleaned again.

Due to its location and the thickness of the cartilage, a rook piercing can take longer than average to fully heal.  Depending upon the aftercare regimen and the individual, initial healing can occur as early as twelve weeks, but may take up to six months, with full healing occurring around the one year mark.

 small curved barbells for rook piercings

Many different types of body jewelry can be worn in a rook, but which will work for the individual ear is often determined by the anatomy.  For some, the cartilaginous ridge will be less defined, and for others it may be pronounced but relatively closed in.  Curved barbells and BCRs are most commonly worn, but straight barbells and star or heart shaped hoops have also been used.