Woman with nose piercing looking off in the distance

It’s happened to many of us: we research a super cute new piercing, we pick out the look that we want, we make an appointment with the piercer, and the piercer says that they can’t conduct the piercing.

Humanity is amazing because we’re all different. But, that also means that not everyone can take every piercing. Sometimes, health considerations bar you from a certain choice, and other times, the shape of your body just doesn’t allow for certain piercings.

Before you lament the loss of your newest piercing dream, consider aesthetically similar piercing options that your body can accept. Here’s a list of popular piercing substitutions.

Rook piercing substitutes

The rook piercing is a bit of a newer trend in the piercing world. It pierces the fold of inner cartilage right below the forward helix. It can be an adorable addition to your cartilage party, but if the cartilage fold in this section of your ear isn’t wide enough, you might not be able to get it pierced. Never fear; the cartilage provides plenty of other areas to get pierced.

The daith piercing

Located just beneath where the rook piercing would take place, the daith piercing pierces the fold of cartilage directly above the ear canal. Getting your daith pierced will pierce a similar location as the rook. In fact, the rook and daith piercings often get mistaken for each other.

The snug piercing

The snug piercing pierces the fold of cartilage next to the rim of the ear where the auricle would be pierced. Although it’s in a completely different location than the rook piercing, it features two piercing points at the front of the ear, so you can wear similar jewelry as the rook piercing.

The conch piercing

If your rook cartilage can’t be pierced, then you could pierce the flat cartilage around that area. Conch piercings usually sport flat disc studs, so the aesthetic won’t be the same, but it will allow you to pierce in almost the same location as the rook would have been pierced, so this is the best option if you wanted a new sparkle in this specific area of your cartilage party.

Cheek piercing substitutes

Although the cheek piercing is gaining in popularity, it’s a notoriously difficult piercing to get. Its proximity to an essential saliva duct makes it a risky procedure; a slip of the needle could mean lifelong problems. For this reason, many people can’t get their cheeks pierced, and many piercers refuse to conduct this procedure. The good news is that there is an alternative.

Dermal cheek piercings

Instead of piercing all the way through the cheek, dermal cheek piercings implant a dermal anchor beneath the skin so that there is only an entry point and no exit point. Dermal cheek piercings are easier to keep clean, since they’re only pierced on the surface, and they don’t pierce deeply enough to affect the pituitary duct. They won’t pull in when you smile, so dermal cheek piercings will not have the dimpled look that standard cheek piercings have, but they are a much safer option.

Eyebrow piercing substitutes

When you go into a piercing studio, it’s not likely that you’ll have a piercer tell you that you can’t get an eyebrow piercing. You can pierce pretty much any point on the eyebrow, so no matter your brow shape, you should be able to get it pierced.

However, eyebrow piercings are very easily rejected. Many piercers state that eyebrow piercings will always see rejection; it’s just a matter of time. If you have a flatter brow, or if you’ve had issues with piercing rejection in the past, then you’re likely to have your eyebrow piercing rejected, as well.

If you know that rejection is an issue for you, you should probably consider another option besides the eyebrow piercing.

Surface piercings

You can get the skin around your eyebrow pierced instead of the eyebrow itself. Surface piercings also see a great risk of rejection (eyebrow piercings are technically considered surface piercings), but surface piercings along a bone—such as your brow line—will see more rejection than surface piercings in fleshier areas. Have a piercer take a look to see if a surface piercing substitute will have a better chance of survival than an eyebrow piercing.

Tragus piercing substitutes

Those who love dainty styles adore the tragus piercing. This piercing takes place in the triangular-shaped flap of cartilage in front of the ear canal, connected to the lobe. Since it offers such a small canvas, however, many people don’t have a tragus that’s large enough to pierce.

Anti-tragus piercing

Located kitty-corner from the tragus is the anti-tragus. If you feel your earlobe, you should feel a small portion of cartilage above it. This is the anti-tragus. Getting the anti-tragus pierced adds more to your earlobe party than your cartilage party, but it’ll provide a similar feel as the tragus piercing.

Surface piercing

You can also pierce the skin on your face right next to the tragus. A piercer conducts a surface piercing by pinching your skin and sticking the needle through. The piercing is then filled with a staple barbell or curved barbell, leaving the beads poking out for a double pierced aesthetic. A surface piercing will be bolder than the tragus look, but it’s probably the closest you’ll get to the tragus piercing location.

Forward helix piercing

The forward helix piercing pierces the cartilage at the top rim of the ear close to where the ear meets the face. You can get a forward helix piercing anywhere from the top of the ear to the end of your ear’s rim, directly above the tragus. If you choose this option, it will almost be the same as the tragus piercing, but slightly higher on the ear.

Tongue piercing substitutes

‘90s styles are back, and the tongue piercing is no different. However, the tongue is home to tons of nerve endings and veins, so many people can’t get their tongue pierced. Additionally, if you happen to have too much webbing beneath your tongue, you won’t be able to get this piercing. However, piercing professionals have gotten creative when it comes to mouth piercings, and there are tons of unique piercings that can fulfill the role of a tongue piercing.

Surface tongue piercing

If you can’t pierce straight through your tongue, you could just pierce the surface. A curved barbell will be placed through the skin at the top of the tongue for a double pierced look in a single piercing.

Snake eyes piercing

This piercing takes place at the tip of the tongue. It’s technically a surface piercing, so it will also be filled with a curved barbell placed beneath the skin with two beads sticking out. When you stick out your tongue, it looks a bit like a snake peering out of your mouth, hence the name.

Smiley piercing

Also known as the lip frenulum piercing, the smiley piercing pierces the flap of skin connecting your upper gum to the inside of your upper lip. Although this is technically a lip piercing, it’s an interesting oral aesthetic, so if you were looking for edgier looks with your tongue piercing, then the smiley piercing could be the perfect substitute.

The tongue web piercing

Instead of getting the surface of your tongue pierced, get the area below the tongue pierced instead. The tongue web piercing is pretty self explanatory; it pierces the webbing beneath your tongue. This option is great for those who want edgy looks that they can easily hide from their employer or conservative family members.

If your piercer tells you that you can’t get a piercing, you should always defer to their judgement. However, just because they say no doesn’t mean that your desired look isn’t still achievable. Our list is far from extensive. Check out what others are doing to see potential substitutions.

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