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Glasses and Piercings

Let’s talk about glasses! The need for visual aids is a common one, with 63.7% of the population needing some form of assistance with vision. While many folks may wear contacts, there’s a myriad of reasons someone may prefer glasses from their medical conditions, sensory preferences, fashion preferences, and more. I personally am someone with low vision who loves my glasses! But when it comes to glasses and piercings, many folks question how these two things work together. Can you still be pierced if you wear glasses? Will they impact certain piercings? Let’s take a look!

Glasses and Ear Piercings

The first consideration if you are a glasses wearer is getting ear piercings. The arms of your frames will sit on top of and around your ears, and can often come in contact with the backs of various ear piercings. How can this affect things? How might it change your piercing plans?

New Piercings

If you are looking to get new piercings please wear or bring your glasses to your appointment. Seeing how your glasses sit on your ear will be essential in ensuring your new piercings work around them. If a client wears glasses I typically look at both where they sit at the juncture of ear and head and how much room we have behind them. Some client's ears sit further off their head and there is plenty of space between their glasses arm and their ear. In these cases we can usually still do any piercings and placements- with the glasses securely on they won’t contact the piercings at all.

We can see lots of clearance between this flat piercing and these glasses

However even with plenty of space- you will need to be careful when putting on and taking off their glasses. If you yank your glasses off or shove them on you will likely snag your piercings. Once your piercing is downsized the chance of snagging it drops dramatically. I usually try to downsize as early as is safe for clients who wear glasses to minimize catching and bumping. For many clients they get their ear piercings and wear their glasses with no issues at all as long as they are careful!

However, some clients’ ears sit much closer to their head, or they wear glasses with very thick arms that would impact placement for piercings. If this is the case there are a few different choices. Sometimes we consider wearing a different pair of frames during healing with thinner arms that won’t touch the piercing and cause issues. Other times clients may choose to wear contacts for the duration of healing. Alternatively, we can move the placement to allow for the glasses to sit better- for example, moving a conch further out or a flat further down to avoid where the glasses rest. If neither of these is a viable choice, we may do a different piercing entirely or say no to certain piercings (most commonly faux rook, flat, and industrial piercings) if there’s not a reality where the glasses won’t cause issues or the piercings won’t cause issues with the glasses. Occasionally I will still do the piercing in the intended placement, after a lengthy discussion about risk and care needs. If we proceed to pierce anyway, clients can expect a longer healing time, a higher risk of irritation and issues, and they will need to be extra diligent about care and downsizing. Even with all that, there is no guarantee the piercing once fully healed will be comfortable with the glasses. So understand there is a risk to proceeding to pierce anyway.

Regardless of what outcome works for you, please remember to keep your glasses clean while you are healing piercings. We can often forget to clean down the arms of our glasses and dirt, bacteria, and hair products can collect on the arms and cause issues for our piercings.

Healed Piercings

When it comes to glasses and healed ear piercings, they usually get along quite nicely. Once piercings are fully healed they can be downsized into jewelry that is a snug and comfortable fit. Flat backs are perfect for glasses wearers as they rest close to the back of the ear and don’t interfere with glasses. Properly fitted jewelry is essential for folks who wear glasses. But it doesn’t stop with properly fitted jewelry. Properly fitted glasses are essential too. Wearing frames with arms that don’t interfere with your piercings is key, and this may be looking for frames with simpler, thinner, or specific-shaped arms. You’ll also want to make sure your frames are accurately measured for your head and adjusted to rest comfortably on your ears by your optometrist. I own multiple pairs of glasses myself because some styles I love the look of get uncomfortable on some of my ear piercings after prolonged wear. Those pairs I’ll wear for an event or a day and swap them out for a comfier, simpler pair afterward. If you notice your glasses are beginning to cause issues with your piercings or aren’t resting correctly, don’t hesitate to check up with your piercer and make sure things are okay. You also may be due to have your optometrist refit your glasses and ensure they are resting well on your head.

When it comes to any ear piercings and glasses, some piercings will be more impacted than others.

There is -just- enough clearance between these frames and my industrial

The front placement of an industrial often can come in contact with the arm of your glasses. Very special care should be taken during marking and initial piercing to ensure that the placement won’t interfere with your glasses. Make sure you bring your glasses to your appointment. Larger and more decorative jewelry on the front may not work as well with every pair of glasses. These are also very easy to catch and snag on glasses during healing, and should be approached with extra care.

Faux rooks and flat piercings are often most impacted by glasses when fresh. We need to leave room on jewelry for swelling and healing, and this extra space tends to wear on the backside of the barbell. Right near where your glasses sit. When the jewelry is initially long it can be much easier to catch and snag with your glasses and may feel uncomfortable. Once healed and downsized however there is usually plenty of space between your glasses and the back, and you usually don’t even notice it's there.

Glasses and Facial Piercings

The second consideration with glasses is facial piercings. Glasses rest on the bridge of our nose but can move up and down our nose during the day. They can also easily be hit or bumped and contact the area around our eyes. How does this affect the placement and healing of our piercings- and will it change your piercing plans?

New Piercings

Just like with ear piercings, if you are planning on getting new piercings please wear or bring your glasses to your appointment. Without seeing how they rest on your face and nose we can’t ensure we are placing your piercings to work with your glasses. The most commonly impacted piercings are bridge and nostril piercings. Bridge piercings sit up on the bridge of the nose, very close to wear some people's glasses sit. If your glasses sit directly on your bridge, you won’t be able to wear them with a bridge piercing. You’ll either need to get a different pair of frames that wears lower or forgo the piercing entirely. Fortunately, most folks’ glasses wear a little lower than the actual bridge. If this is the case you can totally still have your bridge pierced with glasses- you’ll just need to take some extra care with placement and frame style. Wearing your glasses a little lower than your bridge can help things be less likely to bump and snag, and some clients even invest in a cheap pair of glasses that have lots of clearance with their bridge for the initial healing.

High nostril and nostril piercings are arguably the next most affected by glasses. Despite the fact that we wear our glasses much higher on our nose, they can easily slip down over the day and love to snag on nostril piercings. And if you aren’t so careful when putting your glasses on and off you will snag and catch your nostrils. For some clients they decide to simply deal with this and be extra careful during the healing process, in order to get the perfect placement for their piercings. Other clients would rather not deal with these issues, and we place the piercings where they will be impacted by glasses the least. Both of these are valid choices and ways to approach getting these piercings- and I personally had my high nostrils done a little lower partially so I had more space for the large frames I preferred to wear.

For both bridges and nostril piercings many clients find wearing frames with adjustable nose pads is significantly better for healing than solid plastic frames. The solid plastic notepads can not be adjusted so sit wherever they want to on your nose. They also tend to build up oils faster and be more likely to slide around the nose. Adjustable notepad frames are just that- adjustable. They can be adjusted at home to sit higher or lower on your nose and tighter or looser- to avoid your healing piercings. They also are a little easier to keep clean and oil and debris free- and if they get gross or damaged over time they can be replaced without having to replace your entire frames. Thanks to many affordable online glasses retailers I’ve had clients get a pair of frames for as low as 30-40$ to wear just for healing with their piercings.

Regardless of what outcome works for you, please remember to keep your glasses clean while you are healing piercings. We can often forget to clean the nose pads and inner areas of our frames thoroughly. Makeup, bacteria, skin care products and debris can collect on our glasses and cause issues for our piercings.

Healed Piercings

With glasses and healed facial piercings, they usually get along quite nicely. Once piercings are fully healed they can be downsized into jewelry that is a snug and comfortable fit. Nostrils can get a perfect fit post that prevents them from sticking out and snagging often- and the same goes for bridge piercings. Wearing frames that fit well with your piercings is important and this may be looking for frames with simpler, thinner, or specific shape lenses. You’ll also want to make sure your frames are accurately measured for your head and adjusted to rest comfortably on your nose by your optometrist. You may have gotten a pair with nose pads for healing, and realize that those function best for you even after healed. Definitely take time to experiment with different frames and listen to your piercings about what is and isn’t comfortable.

When it comes to any facial piercings and glasses some are impacted more than others.

Bridges with good anatomy and the right frames honestly are totally fine with glasses. There’s usually more than enough space and glasses are more apt to interfere with nostrils than they are bridges. That said, wearing glasses with adjustable nose pads is significantly bedder for bridges as the biggest concern with glasses is hitting them into your bridge accidentally. Nose pads can be adjusted to sit more securely on the nose and a little lower which helps with that. Downsizing your bridge as soon as it’s ready also helps minimize bumping and snagging. And making some small changes to your daily routine can also help with this, such are removing your glasses before taking shirts on and off, being gentle and deliberate when you adjust your glasses, and adjusting them from the sides rather than the front or the nose piece. I usually suggest getting pierced with simpler jewelry for healing if you wear glasses and want a bridge, to minimize catching and snagging.

While everyone always asks about bridges and glasses, I see nostrils impacted by glasses far more often than bridges. Glasses often slide down our noses during the day and it’s so easy for them to rest against our nostril piercings while they are healing and cause irritations and issues. Wearing frames that stay further up on your nose is essential, especially if you are considering high nostril piercings. You’ll want to train yourself to be careful when you put on and remove your glasses, lifting them up and over your nose rather than pulling them down your nose. Consider wearing smaller frames for healing that will be less likely to hit your piercings, especially with high nostrils. You’ll want to be very on top of downsizing your piercings if you wear glasses, to minimize catching and snagging. I also suggest starting with simpler and lower profile pieces if you are a glasses wearer. Taller designs are much easier to catch and snag. And much like bridges- consider removing your glasses first before taking shirts on and off, or during any activities where you could bump your frames into your piercings.

And an honorary mention to eyebrows, surface piercings around the eyes, and forehead surface work. These placements generally aren’t impacted by glasses at all, except if you do something that could slam your glasses into them. Like taking a tight shirt off with your glasses on, or hit your glasses doing your hair, or falling asleep in your glasses. (Ask me how I know this….) Any piercings in the range of where your glasses can potentially contact are always at risk of being hit by your glasses, even if they are generally worn far from where these piercings sit. Be gentle and careful with them and work to create new habits surrounding your glasses that take your piercings into account.

There is a lot of misconception online that if you wear glasses there are a number of piercings you can’t have. And while this is very occasionally true, it’s far more often the case that we can easily work around glasses to do safe, successful, beautiful piercings! Don’t let your glasses hinder your piercing goals- find a good piercer who is knowledgeable in the way glasses may affect things and willing to work with you to find the perfect balance between your lenses and your piercings. Happy Healing!

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