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October 15, 2011 4:52 PM   Subscribe

Need some datapoints on body piercing.

Has anyone put a 16 ga piece of body jewelery in a standard ear piercing and if so, were you still able to wear regular earrings after wearing the 16 gauge for awhile? I am wanting to get some nice implant grade, internally threaded circular barbells but they only go down as small as 16 ga. The piercer assures me that having worn earrings for years I can easily go to a 16 with no real discomfort and will still be able to wear regular size earrings as well. Is he blowing smoke or can I try this without a permanent change?
posted by stubborn to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
As a data point, I have done this. It was not an issue at all and didn't look weird or hurt.
posted by verbyournouns at 4:56 PM on October 15, 2011

16g is very small as piercings go. You can totally do this.
posted by mollymayhem at 5:03 PM on October 15, 2011

I've gone as big as 14 gauge and had the hole go back to standard size, though the standard earrings were a bit loose. 16 should be fine though.
posted by lekvar at 5:09 PM on October 15, 2011

Off the top of my head, regular size earrings are, what, 20g? 18g? So you're going up a few sizes (jewelry is only sized in even numbers until you get to about 1g), but the change in diameter you're talking about is well within the stretchiness of skin. If you wanted to move from 2g to 0g and back overnight, you'd be crazy; but 20 or 18 to 16 and back? Not a big deal at all.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 5:12 PM on October 15, 2011

Your piecer is correct. I have done this.
posted by girlstyle at 5:46 PM on October 15, 2011

I have done this. I've gone to 8g and back to 18/20g with no issues at all.
posted by shamash at 6:19 PM on October 15, 2011

I've had my ears pierced with 12ga, haven't had anything in them for a while, and you can barely tell they were ever pierced.
posted by kavasa at 6:34 PM on October 15, 2011

I've done this, as well as going larger (not sure about the gauge, but maybe 8?) and back with no issues. Then I left the holes empty for about a decade; I recently got curious and indeed I can still put regular earrings in, no problem.
posted by Forktine at 6:36 PM on October 15, 2011

Data point here; tapering to 16ga from a standard hole is easy and you may not even need to "stretch" it. If your current ear piercing hole is truly too small, your piercer can help you stretch it safely using tapers and lubricant and some time. When I had stretched earlobes, the point at which I could not wear regular earrings without concern that they'd fall out was at the 8ga mark. You'll be fine at 16ga wearing normal earrings.

One thing to ask your piercer about is the assumption of going "back and forth." If your earring holes right now need to be tapered to a 16ga (if the 16ga does not fit in already), and you plan to let the piercings shrink without the 16ga earrings in, and then stretch them up again for the 16ga CBBs, and so on, back and forth, you may cause irritation of your fistulae. Irritation can cause tearing and possibly infection. So, keep your stretch clean, sanitized, and listen to your body. If it hurts, stop.
posted by juniperesque at 9:30 PM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

I occasionally work my ears down to a 12g or 10g. I start with wearing 20g hoops, then 18g then 16g it takes 2-3 weeks. Going the other direction you should be able to easily go from a 16g to regular earrings. Going back to 16g, however, depending on how long you went back to regular earrings for, you might have to work your way back down again over a few weeks.

Ears are precious resources. Take your time, be careful and enjoy your body decorations!
posted by HMSSM at 12:17 AM on October 16, 2011

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