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Piercing FAQ

Body Piercing & Jewellery Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)

  1. How do I work out what jewellery size I need?
  2. What are the common jewellery sizes for piercings?
  3. What is spore testing?
  4. Why do you not use piercing guns?
  5. What is rejection or 'growing out'?
  6. Can you re-pierce an area once a piercing has rejected?
  7. What does homogenous mean?
  8. What is epithelisation?

1. How do I work out what jewellery size I need?

Our jewellery is measured in millimetres.

There are four possible measurements:

  1. Stem thickness - thickness of the jewellery stem in millimetres e.g. 1.6mm
  2. Length - length of the jewellery stem e.g. 12mm
  3. Internal Diameter - measurement across the inside of a ring
  4. Ball - ball diameter

Our measurements are given in stem thickness first followed by internal diameter/length eg.: 1.6 x 12mm. Our rings are always measured internally. Straight and curved barbells are always measured between the balls. On curved barbells (eg., belly bars) measure the shortest distance between the balls along the inside of the curve.

Inches to millimeters conversion (you my need to round up or down to the nearest whole mm as necessary)


  • 1/4 inch = 6.35mm
  • 5/16 inch = 7.94mm
  • 3/8 inch = 9.53mm
  • 7/16 inch = 11.11mm
  • 1/2 inch = 12.7mm
  • 9/16 inch = 14.29mm
  • 5/8 inch = 15.88mm
  • 11/16 inch = 17.46mm
  • 3/4 inch = 19.05mm
  • 13/16 inch = 20.64mm
  • 7/8 inch = 22.23mm
  • 15/16 inch = 23.81mm
  • 1 inch = 25.40mm
  • 1 1/16 inch = 26.96mm
  • 1 1/8 inch = 28.58mm
  • 1 3/16 inch = 30.16mm
  • 1 1/4 inch = 31.75mm
  • 1 5/16 inch = 33.34mm
  • 1 3/8 inch = 34.93mm
  • 1 7/16 inch = 36.51mm
  • 1 1/2 inch = 38.1mm
  • 1 5/8 inch = 41.28mm
  • 1 3/4 inch = 44.45mm

gauges to millimeters:

  • 20ga = 0.813mm (0.8mm)
  • 18ga = 1.024mm (1mm)
  • 16ga = 1.290mm (1.2mm)
  • 14ga = 1.629mm (1.6mm)
  • 12ga = 2.052mm (2mm)
  • 10ga = 2.588mm (2.4mm)
  • 8ga = 3.264mm (3.2mm)
  • 6ga = 4.111mm (4mm)
  • 4ga = 5.189mm (5mm)
  • 2ga = 6.543mm (6mm)
  • 0ga = 8.23mm (8mm)
  • 00ga = 9.246mm (9mm)

2. What are the common jewellery sizes for piercings?

Below is a very rough guide to the kind of sizes you may expect your piercing to be. However, if you are unsure please measure your piercing with either some vernier callipers or a ruler.

  • Eyebrow - usually 1.2mm or 1.6mm stem thickness by 6mm - 10mm in length
  • Earlobes/rims - if wearing 'normal' ear piercing jewellery usually 0.6mm - 1mm stem thickness, if wearing barbells or body rings without stretching usually 1.2mm - 1.6mm stem thickness, if you've stretched then you should know your size! Earlobe jewellery is usually 6mm - 8mm in length if it is a barbell or stud, ring sizes however vary greatly depending on the size of the lobe.
  • Tragus - usually 1.2mm stem thickness (but occasionally 1.6mm thick) by 6mm - 8mm in length.
  • Nose - usually 0.8mm - 1mm stem thickness. Usually only a thickness is required for studs. For the internal diameter of a ring measure from the piercing to the edge of the nostril.
  • Madonna - usually 1.2mm stem thickness, but occasionally 1.6mm, by 6mm - 9mm in length.
  • Labret / Lower Lip - usually 1.2mm or 1.6mm stem thickness by 6mm - 9mm in length for a stud or 8mm - 12mm internal diameter for a ring.
  • Tongue - usually 1.6mm stem thickness by 12mm - 16mm in length
  • Female Nipple - usually 1.6mm stem thickness by 12mm - 16mm in length/internal diameter.
  • Male Nipple - usually 1.6mm stem thickness by 10mm - 14mm in length/internal diameter.
  • Navel - usually 1.6mm stem thickness by 8mm - 12mm in length (occasionally 6mm).
  • Clitoral Hood - usually 1.6mm stem thickness by 8mm - 10mm in length
  • Prince Albert - usually 2.4mm stem thickness (if un-stretched) by 14mm - 19mm in internal diameter.

3. What is spore testing?

Autoclave Spore Testing is the method used by medical professionals to determine if an autoclave is operating properly. The tests usually take 48 hours, once the sample reaches the lab.

Autoclave spore testing is a simple procedure. The owner of the autoclave acquires a biological sample in a sealed ampule, either from a hospital laboratory, or a reputable offsite testing facility. This ampule contains bacteria, commonly a Bacillus strain, suspended in a coloured solution. This sample is then placed in the autoclave and the autoclave is run through a normal cycle. The sample is then delivered with all the necessary paperwork, to the laboratory or testing facility. Once the ampule is received by the laboratory, it is incubated at body temperature for 48 hours. After this time, the ampule is crushed, and tested to see if it contains any live bacteria.

4. Why do you not use piercing guns?

The lack of ability to sterilise the ear piercing guns is one of the issues of concern about such equipment. Blood can aerosolise (become airborne in essentially microscopic particles) and contaminate the gun. If any part of the stud touches any part of the contaminated gun, there is the possibility of transmitting a disease-causing micro organism. The Hepatitis virus can live for extended periods on inanimate surfaces, therefore transmission of such disease through this type of equipment is possible.

Further, most of the ear studs are quite dull, even if slightly pointy. The piercings are accomplished using a considerable amount of force. This is more like a crush injury than a piercing, and feels like one as well. The use of a sharper, sterile object makes for a much safer, gentler, more comfortable piercing.

Other aspects of concern include the fact that the studs are too short for some earlobes, which can result in complications. The jewellery can get completely embedded in ear lobes, even when pierced according to usual practice with a gun. Also, the piercings are difficult to clean thoroughly if too close fitting. The studs do not allow for much room even on slim lobes. Air and blood circulation are limited which can delay or complicate healing. Swelling and/or scar tissue formation can result. Also, the butterfly backing of ear studs have a configuration that can easily trap bacteria adding to the potential risk of infection.

Another problem is that the guns are very easy to misuse. Some who operate them "professionally" have little or no training. Further, many people do not stop at piercing only the lobes, and pierce eyebrows, tongues, nostrils, navels and other body parts with the ear stud guns. Such usage is warned against by most manufacturers, but that does not prevent frequent abuse of the ear piercing gun equipment. This is absolutely inappropriate and very dangerous!

Proper use of sterile, disposable equipment and sterile jewellery in a hygienic environment is the best way to prevent disease transmission during a piercing procedure.

Taken from The Association Of Professional Piercers Official Website.

5. What is rejection or 'growing out'?


Rejection is a cause.

Rejection happens when you place a foreign object in your body (i.e. body jewellery) and your body, for one reason or another, considers that foreign object a threat to your health and safety. In order to protect itself, your body slowly fights the object by pushing it and healing the skin behind it to eventually force the object completely out through the skin.


Migration is the symptom.

The process of the movement that slowly brings your body jewellery closer and closer to the skin's surface is migration. If the jewellery is not removed, or the rate of migration slowed, the process of rejection will cause it to migrate far enough to actually create a hole large enough for the jewellery to fall out on its own. Once this happens, the possibility of healing without scarring is very unlikely.

There are many reasons for piercings rejecting:

  • Failure to carry out proper aftercare
  • Having an allergic reaction to the jewellery being worn
  • Improper placement of the piercing (e.g. pierced too shallow)
  • Playing with the piercing before it has fully healed
  • Catching or knocking the piercing with enough force
  • Stretching the piercing too quickly or before it has fully healed
  • Wearing jewellery that is too thin
  • Pregnancy
  • Illness or stress

There is also a specific kind of rejection, popularly called 'growing out', to which a number of piercings are prone. This is a natural process, quite often associated with a person's body growing, and is not usually accompanied by any redness, discomfort or discharge until the very late stages. This is more common in younger teenagers (who's bodies are still growing). The end result of this process, which can often take a year or more, is the loss of the piercing. We commonly see eyebrows, surface piercings and navels 'growing out' over time. There is no way of being able to tell for definite how long a piercee will keep their piercing for, as it varies so much from person to person. If you are considering a surface piercing please bear in mind the placement, as another thing that can affect the longevity of the piercing is the amount of movement that area of the body gets. The constant stretching and relaxing, of, for example, an ankle piercing, can also help a piercing to work it's way forward.

If You Notice Your Piercing Migrating

Once a piercing has started migrating, there is not really anything you can do to completely stop it. You can, however, slow it down. If you are concerned that your piercing is migrating, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss your options.

6. Can you re-pierce an area once a piercing has rejected?

If your body has rejected one piercing, this does not necessarily mean that it will reject every piercing you have or even reject the same piercing if you choose to try it again. By using a different material, placement, jewellery size or even aftercare we can quite often achieve a successful piercing. If you are considering another piercing when one, or more, of your piercings have rejected please feel free to contact us. We will then go through your previous experiences, in detail, and try to diagnose what may have caused the rejection in the past so we can alleviate those problems this time.

7. What does homogenous mean?

Homogenous is of uniform structure or composition throughout.

8. What is epithelisation?

Epithelization is the process of becoming covered with or converted to epithelium. Epithelium is a membranous cellular tissue that covers a free surface or lines a tube or cavity of an animal body and serves especially to enclose and protect the other parts of the body.