We’d all like to think that we know a lot, but when it comes to body piercing knowledge professional piercers know best. After all, it’s their job to be educated and informed in this area of expertise. Here are the top 3 things body piercers know that you don’t.
The Most Common Length and Gauge
One of the first things body piercers learn, when it comes to jewelry, is the length and gauge appropriate for each piercing location. Often times this is a generalized, most common scenario for average anatomy. An example of this is that most commonly, 14g 7/16-1/2” curved barbells are most frequently used in average navel piercings. There’s little variation in this particular piercing area unless the navel is not well defined or even hidden. On the other hand, nipple body piercings vary not only from male to female clients but individual anatomy is also a key deciding factor for length and gauge. Female nipple piercings tend to have longer required lengths due to larger anatomy. Men tend to have shorter lengths needed. Anatomy is the main deciding factor when it comes to piercing and professional piercers know how to adjust length and gauge accordingly.
Approximate Heal Times
This is a big one! Heal times are not just numbers, they are real timelines specific to each piercing location. Just because your earlobe piercing healed in 4-6 weeks does not mean that your nipple piercings will do the same. You might be surprised to know that two piercings of the nose can have very different heal time averages. Take the nostril versus the septum piercing. The nostril piercing, most commonly performed on the sides of the nostril, averages a 6 to 9 month heal time while the septum piercing, if placed properly, takes a mere 6 to 8 weeks to heal.
Be informed and adhere to your piercer’s average heal time guidelines; these are not a joke. Changing jewelry too early is a frequent cause of inflamed and angry piercings. There are exceptions, which include properly timing downsizing after swelling and shortening posts in cartilage piercings for better healing. Jewelry changes early on in a healing body piercing should be performed by a professional body piercer.
Now this “snag factor” is something that you may be aware of especially if you’ve had a traumatic experience with jewelry being violently torn from its piercing place. Ouch! While this is certainly not fun, many people do enjoy picking out and wearing jewelry that has a high “snagability” rating mostly because it’s so darn gorgeous! While there’s nothing wrong with loving beautiful body jewelry, having it snag while healing is not ideal and certainly not enjoyable. The main culprit in this case is a traditional prong setting. While delicate and feminine, these pieces can cause unnecessary trauma if snagged or pulled on, especially when you are trying to heal a new piercing. Informed piercers will understand this risk and properly educate piercee’s on this factor.
While we adore and admire prong set gemstones, getting pierced initially with these pieces comes with a higher snag factor. Navel, dermal (surface anchor), nipple, upper cartilage and industrial piercings are the five highest ranking piercings with a high probability of being snagged. Rating factors include the location, proximity to hair and clothing, required extra length for swelling, etc. Initial piercings can require ¼” extra length on each side, making prong settings in a brand new industrial piercing problematic. This cartilage piercing already comes with a long heal time (6 to 9 months if not more) and adding “snaggable” prong settings can sometimes aggravate an already temperamental placement.
Healed piercings can tolerate much more movement and snagging. Prong settings look fabulous in every body piercing. One of our favorite places for prong set gemstones is in upper lip piercings (Medusa, Philtrum, etc).
Take these three things with you for your next body piercing. In most cases, your piercer will be ready to help you pick out the perfect piece just for you!