If you’re looking for a subtle yet unique way to decorate your ear, you may have considered a daith piercing.

You may also be thinking about a daith piercing for medical reasons, as there’s some controversial evidence that these piercings can also deliver anxiety and migraine relief.

Whatever your reasons are, you’re probably wondering about how a daith piercing will feel and whether it will be painful.

Instead of hanging off the lobe of your ear, daith piercings penetrate the fold of cartilage where your inner ear meets your outer ear. This part of the ear is thicker and curved. That makes it a sensitive and sometimes awkward spot to pierce.

A daith piercing is considered one of the most time-consuming ear piercings to get. It also takes a rather long time to heal, during which you’re at risk of infection.

However, there are several steps you can take to reduce pain and ensure your piercing goes as smoothly as possible.

While they’re not the most painful piercing you can get, daith piercings will certainly cause you some discomfort during and after the procedure. Everyone experiences pain differently. Most people who get daith piercings report feeling an intense, sharp shot through your ear.

The piercing takes more time to do than most other piercings, about 6 to 9 seconds, which could prolong the pain. After a daith piercing is finished, most people report a dull, achy pain for a few days. Your daith piercing may be sensitive to the touch for several months.

There are many ways to pierce an ear. Some are more painful than others. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the most painful, here is a subjective and nonscientific comparison of the pain from anecdotal accounts of what to expect when getting various types of ear piercings:

Part of the earDescription of areaPain level
Earlobefleshy, lower part of your ear3
Helixouter thin upper part of your ear4
Forward helixinner thin upper part of your ear5
Daithcartilage where your inner ear meets your outer ear6
Traguslump of cartilage where your ear meets your face6
Transverse lobehorizontal piercing of your earlobe6
Rookfold of cartilage above the daith7
Snugcentral vertical fold of cartilage inside the helix7
Conchcup of the ear7
Industrialtwo piercings through the top fold of your ear7
Anti-traguslump of cartilage across the tragus7
Orbitalaround the central vertical fold of cartilage inside the helix7
Auricleoutside the cartilage near your outer ear7

While daith piercings are known to cause more pain than other types of piercings, there are a few things you can do to ease your discomfort.

Before your piercing

If you’re worried about pain during your piercing, you might want to ask your piercer to use a numbing cream or spray. You can also numb your ear yourself beforehand with an at-home numbing cream.

Other tips for reducing pain include getting a good night’s sleep before the day of your piercing and avoiding getting pierced if you’ve consumed alcohol.

You may want to listen to music, focus on your breathing, or chat with your piercer before or during your piercing to distract yourself from the pain.

When choosing a piercer, be sure they’re licensed and operating out of a clean room with clean equipment. To avoid the risk of an allergic reaction, choose jewelry that is:

  • gold
  • titanium
  • niobium
  • stainless steel

Allergic reactions are most common with nickel jewelry.

After your piercing

It’s important to stick to your piercer’s aftercare regimen to prevent your daith piercing from infection. Generally, this routine will involve washing your hands and soaking your piercing in saline, or saltwater, solution for 5 to 10 minutes at least once per day until it’s healed.

It’s also normal to experience pain if you accidentally touch or snag your daith piercing. Avoid wearing hats that cover your ears and be careful when dressing and undressing so you don’t catch clothing on your piercing.

You can prevent pain by sleeping on the side without the piercing. The pressure from your head can activate soreness. Don’t play with or touch your piercing with dirty hands, as this may encourage the growth of keloids, raised scar tissue on a piercing.

As with all piercings, improper aftercare can lead to a painful infection. Infections aren’t typical and should be treated right away.

Signs of a daith piercing infection include:

  • severe redness and pain
  • yellow discharge
  • warmth
  • swelling

It can take up to 9 months for a daith piercing to heal. That’s a long time, especially compared to an earlobe piercing which takes only 1 to 2 months.

You may notice a bit of redness, bruising, or tenderness during the healing period, and that’s normal. Your daith piercing will hurt less over time. Eventually, when it’s healed, it won’t hurt at all.

However, intense pain might be reactivated if you sleep on or touch or snag your healing daith piercing on a hat or clothing.

Besides causing some level of pain, your piercing may also feel a bit itchy as it heals. It’s important to be patient during the healing process and not to play with your daith piercing.

If you notice any signs of infection or pain that worsens, talk to your doctor right away. They can check on your piercing and recommend how to best reduce pain and ensure it heals properly. They may prescribe antibiotics for an infection.

Many people find daith piercings to be a fun way to decorate the ears and possibly benefit your health if you have migraine or anxiety. Compared to other types of ear piercings, they’re on the more painful end of the spectrum and take a considerably long time to heal.

However, there are steps you can take before and after your piercing to reduce your amount of pain. The key to a good daith piercing experience is to be patient and stick to your piercer’s recommended aftercare regimen.

If you’re worried about the pain involved with a daith piercing, you may want to consider a different ear piercing. While you can ensure your daith piercing causes as little pain as possible, there are plenty of other piercing options that are likely to cause less pain.