There are several different types of body piercings, depending on the location. Ear, oral, nasal, and abdominal piercings are the most common. Genital piercings and surface piercings, while less popular, are prevalent in certain cultures and age groups.
Ear piercings include any piercings of the ear, whether a single hole, a scaffold piercing, or a weaved one. A scaffold is comprised of two holes in the ear connected with one piece of jewelry, typically a barbell. A weaved piercing is two or more holes with one piece of jewelry running through, usually found on the outer part of the ear. Many cultures pierce a young girl's ears shortly after birth, although these types of body piercings are considered gender neutral.
Oral types of body piercings typically include adornment of the lip, tongue, cheek, or the area between the lip and the chin, referred to as a labret. While nearly any type of body jewelry can be used in oral piercings, the most popular are barbells for the tongue and studs or small hoops for the lip, cheek, and labret. In some cultures, especially in certain African tribes, oral piercings are extremely common and considered a mark of beauty.
Nasal piercings have been done since biblical times and include jewelry placed in the nostril or septum. In India, these types of body piercings are popular, with many women piercing the left side of their nostril and attaching it, with a chain, to a piercing in their ear. Outside of ear piercings, nasal piercings are probably one of the most socially acceptable piercings in the professional world, primarily due to their relative ease of being hidden. Small, clear spacers in the nostrils, for example, are hard to detect unless a person is expressly looking for a piercing.
Abdominal piercings include nipple and belly button piercings, as well as surface piercings made directly above the nipple. The belly button is primarily pierced by women, while nipple piercings are nearly equally common between genders. The kind of jewelry used in these types of body piercings range from small, curved barbells to more elaborate, dangling jewelry.
While most types of body piercings are done for aesthetics, genital piercings are often for increasing sexual satisfaction. The most common of these, for women, is piercing the hood of the clitoris. The Prince Albert, a small piercing on the underside of the penis at the tip, is the most common genital piercing for men. Other piercings of the genital area include piercings of the vaginal lips, the scrotum, and scaffolding piercings on the shaft of the penis.
The least common piercings are surface piercings. This are typically made on the ankle, neck, forehead, eyebrow, and the space between the fingers or toes. These are usually worn with small studs or hoops and are prominent in certain cultures. Anyone planning to get any of these types of body piercings should always go to a reputable artist; doing so can greatly reduce the risk of infection.