What Is an Orbital Piercing? A Beginner’s Guide June 7, 2021 – Posted in: Piercing Types – Tags: , , , ,

Orbital piercing highlights: 

  • The orbital piercing is often confused with an outer conch piercing filled with a large hoop. They are not the same.
  • This piercing style can appear in many areas, but it’s most common in the lobe or ear cartilage.
  • It’s characterized by two piercings connected by a single hoop.


The orbital piercing is one that allows you to really personalize your ear piercing look. Because it consists of two piercings, there are so many ways that you can individualize the look, whether you want to decorate your piercings individually or cohesively. It’s one style that’s sure to catch positive attention.

The term “orbital piercing” is often misattributed to another somewhat similar piercing style: the outer conch piercing. However, there is a key difference. Orbital piercings can appear in multiple suitable locations in the ear and consist of two piercings. The outer conch piercing, on the other hand, only appears in the inner cartilage. Decorated with a hoop that encircles the rim of the ear, it creates a similar aesthetic, but it’s not the same. 

So, what exactly is an orbital piercing and how do you care for it? Here’s a beginner’s guide.

What is an orbital piercing?

cartilage orbital piercing closeup

Photo via Instagram by thekadence

An orbital piercing refers to any piercing that consists of two holes connected by a single piece of jewelry, usually a hoop. These most commonly appear in the ear, but you can get this look in other places of the body. Common orbital piercings appear in the lobe or conch area of the ear, but some people have connected two different piercing types, like the rook and the forward helix, for a truly unique look.

Orbital piercing versus conch

Much of the confusion surrounding the terminology comes from the conch piercing. If you get your inner conch pierced, a common style is to wear a large hoop that goes around the rim of the ear. People often mistakenly call this an orbital piercing, even though it’s just an inner conch piercing with a hoop.

You can wear a similar style in the inner conch that requires two piercings. In this case, it is an orbital piercing because two piercing holes are fitted with a single piece of jewelry. The former style matches this aesthetic, but since two piercings are involved, it’s a true orbital piercing.

Pain level

Pain level depends on where you’re getting pierced. Keep in mind that if you’re going to get an orbital piercing, you’ll need to get pierced twice, so if you’re afraid of needles, you might need to mentally prepare yourself for multiple piercings. However, most people have no problem getting pierced twice in one sitting, and it shouldn’t be any worse than getting a single piercing.

How long does it take to heal?

Again, this depends on where you get it. 

If your orbital piercing appears in the cartilage, you can expect to spend around 6 – 9 months on healing. If it appears in the lobe, it will take at least 6 weeks to heal. In general, healing with rings is a little harder for some people, and healing any kind of piercing that has two entrances and exits is also challenging. This means that these minimum healing times are just that—minimums. 

Orbital piercing aftercare is the same as any other piercing. Make sure that you clean it 2 – 3 times daily with a piercing aftercare saline solution for the entire healing period. Continue these practices until a piercer confirms that the piercing has fully healed. Piercings appear healed on the exterior before the interior has completely repaired itself, and it takes a professional eye to ensure that the piercing is done healing.

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Can I turn my existing piercings into an orbital piercing?

Since an orbital piercing is simply two piercings connected by a single hoop, you might wonder if you can take your existing piercings—say, a double helix piercing—and connect them with a single hoop to create this style.

The answer is yes and no.

lobe orbital piercing

Photo via Instagram by salabodymod

If you have multiple lobe piercings, you shouldn’t have a problem simply fitting them with a hoop, provided the piercings are far enough apart from one another. The lobe is more flexible than other parts of the ear, and it should be fairly easy to fit a hoop between two lobe piercings as long as the hoop is the right size.

The cartilage is a little more complicated. It’s inflexible, and if the jewelry pushes against the piercing holes, even in a healed piercing, it could cause some problems in your ear. Your best bet is to get your cartilage pierced with an orbital piercing in mind so that you can be sure that you’re pierced at the correct angles to allow for a hoop. If you’re already pierced, talk to a piercer before you buy your hoops to make sure that your piercings can accommodate the orbital look and that you purchase a hoop in the right size.

You must make sure that your piercings are fully healed before trying out the orbital look. We also recommend visiting your piercer so that they can ascertain proper hoop sizes to safely fit in your piercings.

If you’re looking for a piercing style that’s versatile and unique, then the orbital piercing could be for you. Don’t be afraid to come to the piercing studio with an open mind; your piercer could have some orbital ideas that you haven’t thought of yet.

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