popular piercings for students

Top 10 Popular Piercings for Students Who Love Expressing Themselves

Many people sport jewelry on their earlobes, but how many of these popular piercings do you have?
February 20, 2018
11 mins read

When walking around a college campus, it’s hard not to notice the shine of earrings each way you look. These body modifications add a new dimension to style and are used as a form of self-expression. Due to celebrity culture, piercings have become normalized, and it’s not uncommon to see someone with multiple pieces of jewlery decorating their ears, face or body. I personally have seven piercings, so I’m interested in looking into the most popular piercings for students.

Typically, the first thing people imagine when they hear the word piercing is the standard earlobe. That said, thanks to Erik Dakota and other professional body piercers, creativity was tested, and the craft of body art was explored, which caused piercings to move beyond the lobe. Dakota popularized and named four piercings, three of which I will cover in this article. 

Lobe Piercings

As mentioned before, the classic image that comes to mind when people think of piercings is the lobe modification. The earlobe is the fleshy bottom part of the whole ear, which makes it easy and painless to puncture. Ordinarily, this is the first piercing people get before they decide to venture further.

Because it’s the most standard piercing, it’s easy to see why this is the most common one among college students. Today, people have up to two to three sets of lobe piercings for aesthetic appeal. Additionally, there is a trend in asymmetry where people have two holes on one side and one on the other; this ultimately adds another dimension to style and makes it more unique.

Nose Piercings

Nose piercings are popular due to their stylish and dainty connotations (Image via YouTube)

Moving away from ears, facial piercings have become mainstream. It’s hard not to see hordes of people rocking a nose piercing, whether it’s a stud or a small hoop. While some people aren’t fond of facial modifications, nostril piercings have a classier connotation. Due to the size of jewelry used, it is one of the more socially acceptable piercing options.

Primarily, the main reason people get a nose ring or stud is to create a certain aesthetic. There is a beauty and elegance, as noted by the classy connotation, that draws many college students to it.

Navel Piercings

In a similar fashion to nose rings, navel piercings have become increasingly popular; their demand has fluctuated with surges in appeal and disinterest. Currently, a revival in interest has returned, and many students have opted to pierce their navels. A trend that piercers at tattoo parlors have noted is that people usually get this modification in groups of friends.

Although highly feminized, the belly button jewelry isn’t exclusive to women; every individual, regardless of gender, can decide whether or not they want to express themselves with it.

Industrial Bar 

The industrial bar piercing offers a chic way to convey your personal style (Image via Ask Ideas)

Usually, the concept of a piercing is one entrance hole and one exit hole, but the industrial takes this a step further. Rather than just one hole, this piercing requires two. Punctured at an angle, one hole is located on the forward helix and the other is on the outer helix.

As the name suggests, these holes are connected by a bar. Often, bars are about 1.5 inches in length, but professionals can craft custom bars according to the size of your ear. With the number of designs a bar offers, such as the Batman logo or a multicolor pattern, defining your style couldn’t be easier. After all, this piercing is meant to draw attention.      


Although heavily associated with pain, college students have brought back the popularity of nipple piercings. In 2017, statistics were gathered, and they showed that nipple piercings are the most popular among men, but both sexes find them appealing.

Even though it’s not as visible as other ones, students like the aesthetic appeal and the positive feeling it gives them. In fact, many students say they feel more confident after getting a nipple piercing.


The daith piercing is used by many students to relieve the intense pain of migraines (Image via Viral Novelty)

As mentioned earlier, Dakota popularized a few new piercings in the ’90s, and the daith is one of them. Location wise, the daith lies on the ear’s innermost cartilage fold. One of the main reason why this is a popular piercing for students is because it’s supposed to help ease migraines.

Apparently, a pressure point that corresponds to the digestive system lies where the daith is located. Although it’s not a guaranteed fix because the needle would have to hit the precise location, it’s something to consider if you like piercings and suffer from migraines. Migraines aside, students, primarily females, find this to be an elegant piercing that has a classy aesthetic. 


Located on the uppermost inner ridge of the ear, which is known as the antihelix, the rook strays away from piercing norms. Most often, cartilage piercings go from front to back, but the rook interestingly goes from bottom to top.

People tend to request the daith more often, but the rook is more versatile because you can use a hoop or curved barbell for its jewelry. For the daith, however, you’re better off using a hoop due to its limiting location. Students also enjoy the attention the rook’s jewelry draws to this part of the ear. 


The tragus piercing is a popular modification for students due to its petite aesthetic (Image via Ask Ideas)

Another compelling ear piercing that students gravitate toward is the tragus. Located at the edge of your face, the tragus piercing punctures the little flap of skin that covers your ear canal.

Like the rook, it’s a versatile piercing that can accommodate multiple different jewelry types like a hoop, curved barbell, straight bar or stud. Similar to a nose ring, people view the tragus as fashionable and petite. 

Outer Conch

Named after the conch shell due to the shape of the ear, this piercing is designed for beauty purposes. Once healed, there is a lot of jewelry that can make this part of your ear an eye catcher. Unlike other cartilage piercings, the outer conch punctures the middle portion of your ear.

This piercing commands attention because the hoop used is bigger than regular hoops; this is due to the location and size of the needle used. Professionals pierce standard lobe piercings with an 18-gauge needle, and to put that into perspective, conches are usually 16 or 14-gauge.

When it comes to gauge size for piercings, the smaller the gauge, the bigger the needle, so if needles aren’t your thing, the outer conch piercing probably isn’t for you. That said, it’s still a beautiful piercing that many college students love.


Technically, even though the whole ear is cartilage, there is a certain piercing that people think of when they hear the term “cartilage piercing.” These are standard piercings on the outer edge of the ear that are usually adorned with hoops.

With the wide range of body modifications available, this is usually the first piercings people get besides the common earlobe ones, which is why it is one of the most popular piercings for students. Before they get too adventurous with other piercings, this is a great first step. Currently, it’s not uncommon to see people with multiple cartilage piercings.   

With the rise of popularity of body modifications, people, especially millennials, are flocking tattoo parlors. Among the many piercing options, these are the ten most popular piercings for students. So if you’re feeling adventurous, try one of these body modifications!

Erin Marie Winans, James Madison University

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Erin Marie Winans

James Madison University
English / Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication

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