What Is a Sideburns Piercing?

Kelly Ferguson

A sideburns piercing is a piercing on the side of the face, usually vertically or at an angle, near where the sideburns lie along the hairline. When it is placed through the bump at the inner edge of the ear known as the tragus, the piercing is known as a vertical tragus piercing. Depending on how close to the ear the piercing is placed, a sideburns piercing may be more accurately called an ear piercing rather than a facial piercing, but some people do pierce further from the ear and more into the facial skin.

An infection that occurs as a result of a piercing may be accompanied by a fever.
An infection that occurs as a result of a piercing may be accompanied by a fever.

The sideburns piercing carries a risk of infection, as with all other piercings, but it also might be prone to problems such as piercing rejection and migration. If the piercing does not pass through the tragus of the ear, it is considered a surface piercing, in which the piercing goes through a flat area of skin rather than a raised bump or flap like most piercings do, such as the standard earlobe piercing. Surface piercings often get pushed out of the body like a splinter in a process known as rejection. The body senses that a foreign object is embedded in the skin, and, rather than healing around the bar as desired, it chooses to slowly eject the jewelry from the skin. During this process, the jewelry migrates closer and closer to the surface of the skin until it is eventually pushed out entirely, usually leaving scars and irritated tissue behind.

Warm salt water may be used to clean an infected piercing.
Warm salt water may be used to clean an infected piercing.

When the sideburns piercing is done through the tragus of the ear, a regular metal curved barbell can usually be used. If the piercing is placed forward, more toward the face than the ear, it might be better to use a surface barbell than a regular curved barbell, to minimize the chance that the piercing will reject. A surface bar uses tight corners under the surface of the skin to allow the majority of the bar to remain straight and therefore less obtrusive to the surrounding tissue.

All piercings should only be done by experienced and reputable piercers in clean environments with sanitized and autoclaved tools, or by medical doctors under the same conditions, although professional piercers might arguably have more experience with techniques to perform the piercings properly. When taking care of a healing sideburns piercing, make sure to pay close attention and follow the piercer's aftercare instructions exactly. He or she will provide information on what soap or cleaning solution to use, if any, how long the piercing should take to heal, and anything else that might be important to the healing process.

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Discussion Comments


I do love piercings but sideburns piercing is not my thing. I hear people saying that it looks great all the time. I personally don't find the look very attractive. I think that a helix piercing looks far better. I'm planning to get a triple forward helix. It looks so beautiful. It's different and elegant.


@bluedlophin-- I just got mine so I have no idea if my body will reject it or not. I'll have to wait and see. Like the article said, rejection is always a risk with surface piercings. Some people's bodies are more likely to reject than others. If your body has rejected a piercing before, then there is a greater chance that it would reject a sideburns piercing too. If you've never had a surface piercing before though, you won't really know if there will be rejection until you get the piercing.

As for the pain, yes, it's a little painful. But not as bad as I had expected actually. The important thing now is to keep it clean. I think that infection is the biggest risk. So at this point, I'm just worried about following directions and keeping the piercing clean. If there are signs of rejection, I'll think about that later. I have a check-up with my piercer in a month, so I'll see what he says then.


Sideburns piercing looks very interesting but it also looks painful. I have a tragus piercing and that was a little painful. I would get a sideburns piercing but I can't stand the idea of more pain. I will continue admire it on others though.

By the way, has anyone had their skin reject this kind of piercing? I know the risk is there but I'm wondering if it has actually happened to anyone.

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