Flat Piercing: Ultimate Guide

Flat piercings are an increasingly popular and stylish choice for those looking to expand their ear piercing repertoire. As a type of cartilage piercing, they provide a unique and versatile addition to your collection. In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about flat piercings, from the process and pain level to jewelry options and aftercare. Embark on this journey to discover the fascinating world of flat piercings and elevate your ear game to new heights.

What is flat piercing?

A flat piercing, also known as scapha piercing, is a type of cartilage piercing situated on the relatively flat area of the upper ear. Positioned between the helix (the upper rim of the ear) and the rook (the flap of cartilage), it provides ample space for unique piercing placements. Flat piercings are versatile and can be adorned with a variety of jewelry styles, including studs, large decorative pieces, chains, and charms. This type of piercing allows for large, flat jewelry options such as clusters and flowers. However, not everyone’s ear shape is suitable for this piercing. If your ear has too many curves, the piercing may not work too well. Flat piercing can be combined with other cartilage piercings, such as the forward helix or auricle, to create a distinctive look.

Piercing Name Placement Cost Pain Level Healing Time
Flat Piercing The flat area of the cartilage, below the upper rim of the helix and above the rook $30-$70 5/10 6-9 months

While flat piercings offer a stylish and original touch, they require a longer healing time due to the nature of cartilage. Cartilage is avascular, meaning it does not have blood vessels, and blood flow is essential for healing. As a result, it takes longer to heal compared to other fleshy areas. It is crucial to understand the healing process and be prepared to commit to the necessary aftercare before getting a flat piercing.

Different Types of Flat Piercings

Flat piercings, which are located on the flat area of the ear cartilage, offer various possibilities for creative and unique jewelry placements. While flat piercings are primarily a single type, there are some ways to diversify them through combinations and arrangements. Here are a few examples of different styles of flat piercings:

  • Single Flat Piercing

A single flat piercing is the most basic form, where just one piercing is placed on the flat area of the ear. This type offers simplicity and elegance, allowing for a variety of jewelry options like studs or small hoops.

  • Double Flat Piercing

This style features two flat piercings placed side by side or slightly apart. It allows for a more creative and intricate jewelry display and can be combined with other cartilage piercings for a cohesive look.

  • Triple Flat Piercing

A triple flat piercing consists of three piercings placed in a straight line or triangular pattern on the flat area of the ear. This arrangement can create an eye-catching effect, especially when adorned with matching or coordinating jewelry pieces, such as studs or small hoops.


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Do flat piercings hurt?

The pain level associated with a flat piercing varies from person to person, as individual pain tolerance and experiences differ. However, it is generally agreed that cartilage piercings, like the flat piercing, tend to be more painful than piercings in fleshy areas, such as the earlobe. The flat piercing can be considered on the higher end of the pain scale compared to other piercings, due to the thinness of the cartilage in that area. While the pain of a flat piercing can be intense for some, it is usually brief and tolerable, especially when performed by a skilled piercer. On a pain scale of 1 to 10, the flat piercing pain level is generally around 5/10, making it a suitable option for piercing novices as well.

Keep in mind that cartilage piercings, in general, tend to be more painful than other types of piercings. However, a flat piercing is less painful since the area is thinner than most other cartilage. That being said, the pain experienced during a flat piercing is typically brief and manageable, lasting only a few seconds as the needle passes through the cartilage. After the initial sharp pain, a dull ache may persist for a few hours, followed by general ear sensitivity for about two weeks.

How much does a flat piercing cost?

The cost of a flat piercing varies based on factors like location, piercer’s experience, and jewelry selection. Generally, prices range from $30 to $70 or more (not including the jewelry). Consider prioritizing the piercer’s expertise, studio reputation, and jewelry quality for a successful piercing experience. Don’t forget to account for aftercare product expenses to ensure proper healing.

How long does a flat piercing take to heal?

The healing time for a flat piercing can vary depending on the individual and their aftercare routine. Healing a flat piercing can be easy if you take care of it properly. Flat ear piercings are less prone to getting caught or snagged because of the shape of your ear. However, be gentle when removing your glasses or taking off your shirt to avoid accidentally bumping your piercing.

Cleaning the back of the piercing may be challenging, but asking someone for help can make it easier. The main problems with flat piercing are migration due to accidental snagging or sleeping on them. To avoid migration, get the piercing on the side you don’t sleep on and use ear pillows or travel pillows while sleeping.

Downsizing is a critical step in the healing process, and you should stay in touch with your piercer to ensure proper downsizing. Due to swelling, a longer stud is initially used for a flat piercing. However, once the swelling has gone down, it’s important to downsize to prevent the jewelry from turning sideways and not sitting flat against your ear.

Healing time for flat cartillage piercing is usually 6 to 9 months, but setbacks can cause it to take up to a year. Wait until your piercing is fully healed before wearing large or decorative jewelry to avoid discomfort, irritation, or migration.


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Flat Piercing Aftercare

Given the longer healing times and higher risk of complications, cartilage piercings like the flat piercing require consistent and proper aftercare. Here are the essential steps for taking care of your flat piercing:

  1. Clean with saline or sea salt solution 2-3 times daily to prevent infection and complications. Use a fine mist piercing aftercare spray and let it air dry or use a hair dryer on a cool setting.
  2. Avoid snagging the jewelry to prevent hypertrophic scarring. Be cautious with your hair and clothing, do not rotate the jewelry, and don’t pick at crusties. Consult your piercer for smaller jewelry if needed after initial swelling subsides.
  3. Use only piercing-safe products and keep other chemicals away from the piercing. Thoroughly rinse and dry the piercing after showering to avoid irritation and potential scarring.

Exploring Your Flat Piercing Jewelry Options

Typically, people wear a barbell or a labret in their flat piercing. Jewelry with round and symmetrical shapes such as trinities or flowers are recommended to avoid spinning like a propeller.

  • Studs: Classic and timeless, studs are a versatile choice for flat piercings. They come in various shapes, sizes, and materials, offering endless possibilities for customization.
  • Barbells: Straight or curved barbells can add an edgy touch to your flat piercing. They are available in various lengths, gauges, and materials, as well as with unique decorative ends.
  • Labrets: Similar to studs but with a flat back, labrets are a comfortable option for flat piercings. They can feature various decorative ends, such as gemstones, balls, or unique shapes.
  • Hoops: Small hoops can be used in flat piercings to create a minimalist yet stylish look. They come in different diameters and materials, allowing you to select the perfect size and style for your piercing.
  • Captive bead rings: These rings feature a small bead that holds the ring in place. They can add a unique touch to your flat piercing and are available in various sizes and materials.
  • Threadless jewelry: Threadless jewelry offers a secure fit with a push-pin mechanism, ensuring your flat piercing stays in place without the need for screwing on ends. This type of jewelry comes in various styles, such as studs or barbells, with numerous decorative end options.
  • Dangle and charm jewelry: To add a touch of flair to your flat piercing, consider dangle or charm jewelry. These pieces feature decorative elements that hang from the main jewelry piece, creating movement and visual interest.

Differences Between Shen Men Piercing vs Flat Piercing

Flat piercings and Shen Men piercings are two distinct types of ear cartilage piercings with unique characteristics and purposes. Though they appear in similar areas, there are crucial differences between the two:

Aspect Shen Men Piercing Flat Piercing
Purpose Therapeutic benefits (anxiety, pain relief, stress) Decorative and aesthetic
Location Upper inner ear cartilage, triangular fossa Flat cartilage area, below helix & above the rook
Healing Time 3 to 6 months 6 to 9 months
Jewelry Options Studs, small hoops, captive bead rings Studs, labrets, barbells, hoops, dangle/charm
  • Purpose

Shen men piercing, rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine, target a specific pressure point in the ear and are believed to have therapeutic benefits for pain relief and stress reduction. In contrast, flat piercing are primarily decorative and aesthetic, allowing for creative and unique jewelry combinations.

  • Location

Shen men piercing are situated in the upper part of the inner ear cartilage, specifically in the triangular fossa, a small depression near the helix. On the other hand, flat piercing are positioned on the flat area of the cartilage, below the helix’s upper rim and above the rook.

  • Healing

Shen men piercing, located on a thin area of cartilage, may heal relatively faster than thicker cartilage piercings. However, healing can still take anywhere from 3 to 6 months. Flat piercing, like other cartilage piercings, have a longer healing time due to limited blood flow in the cartilage, typically taking 6 to 9 months to heal.

  • Jewelry

Shen men piercing require small jewelry, such as studs, small hoops, or captive bead rings, to ensure comfort and minimize pressure on the pressure point. Conversely, flat piercing offer a wide range of jewelry options, including studs, labrets, barbells, hoops, captive bead rings, and even dangle or charm jewelry.


Can you get a flat piercing with a needle gun?

While it is possible to use a needle gun for a flat piercing, it is not recommended. Needle guns are not as precise as needles and can cause more trauma to the tissue, leading to a longer healing time and increased risk of infection.

How long should you wait to change your flat piercing jewelry?

It’s best to wait until your flat piercing is fully healed before changing the jewelry. This can take anywhere from 6-12 months, depending on the individual. Once your piercing is fully healed, you can change your jewelry as often as you like.

Do flat piercings hurt more than other types of piercings?

The pain of a flat piercing can vary depending on the individual and their pain tolerance. However, in general, flat piercings are no more painful than other types of ear piercings. For example, getting a flat piercing is typically no more painful than getting a traditional helix piercing or a lobe piercing.

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