Size Matters: Diameter
Size Matters! At least, when it comes to piercings it does. Now, in piercing size could refer to a number of different things: The thickness of a piece of jewelry, aka the gauge, the length of straight or curved jewelry, or the diameter of round jewelry. For this article, we are focusing on diameter! How large or small the diameter of jewelry is makes a huge difference! It can effect how well a piercing heals if its a fresh piercing, how comfortable jewlery is in a healed piercing, and even cause issues if it’s too small.
Diameter is the distance from one side of a circle to another, in a straight line. Likewise, circumference is the full distance around a circle. Both of these measurements come into play when fitting a hoop for a body piercing. Obviously, all jewelry should be the right size for a piercing/. For a new piercing the right size leaves a little extra room for healing and cleaning. And for a healed piercing, it should be a snug fit, but not too tight. In my article on initial piercing, we touched on ring diameter for fresh work.
Rings aren’t the Devil, but they are Hard Mode
Shape brings unique sizing considerations with a healing piercing. With a straight barbell, a little extra length is easy to achieve- the barbell is a little longer. With a ring however, to have extra room for swelling, the diameter of the entire piece gets larger. That makes rings for initial piercing pretty oversized, which is not the look most people are going for. Most folks want a cute, super snug ring, and that’s not what they are going to get. Besides that, the extra room on the ring often makes it easy for things to get caught and snagged. Daiths, Septums, and some genital piercings are an exception to this rule. But things like nostrils, helixes, and conches, are going to be a harder heal with a ring. Another consideration is rings often need to be thicker, but that’s a subject for the gauge portion of this series! Overall, definitely something to take into consideration when choosing your new piece!
Rings for healed piercings- Snug as a bug, but not too snug
If your goal is a well fitting, dainty ring, that’s going to need to wait till you are healed. But once you are healed, you can get it as tight as possible right? Well, yes and no. You still don’t want the diameter of the ring to be too tight. If it is too small, It can actually cause migration. Because the ring is smaller then the space between the piercing and the ends of your ear/nose/lip, that extra tissue is going to end up compressed. And in a battle of metal vs skin, metal is going to win. The body will simply push the metal out till it rests a comfortable distance from the skin, commonly called migration or rejection. I see this happen all the time with very snug hoops that are too tight for the area. The ideal fit should be wrapping around the piercing, without indenting or compressing any tissue. Heres an example of migration because of a ring that was too tight.
Unique Considerations: Flipping a Septum Piercing
That being said, when it comes to septum piercings that need to flip, they break some rules with diameter. Often circular barbells are used for clients who need to hide jewelry. A common complaint is that the jewelry doesn’t flip easily and hurts/pinches to flip up. Then seemingly obvious solution would be to go a size up in diameter, but those rings can hang down low, and sometimes sit too far up the nose, still making flipping uncomfortable. The solution is the have a piercer widen the ring with ring openers, from a C shape to a U shape, making flipping more comfortable!
I can’t ever find a good fit for my nostril, what gives?
This is such a common complaint! Time and time again I see clients who are frustrated they can’t get their ideal fit for their nostril piercings. This often comes down to two big factors. One- your nostril isn’t round! Nostrils are more of an egg shape, rather than round. So who when you put a round hoop in your egg shaped nostrils there is often a little gap! Beyond that, its not uncommon for some piercers not to take the final goal of a hoop into consideration when piercing. For a round hoop to have a great fit, you often need your piercing pierced for that fit. That said, it’s not hopeless if you want that perfect fit. Adjustable styles like nostril nails exist, which an experienced and trained pierced can help adjust to your perfect, snug fit. If you’ve been struggling to find a perfect piece, reach out to your local piercer to see about being sized!
Jewelry sizing is a very variable thing. Rings are even moreso, because of the totally one of a kind shape of all of our bodies, and the angles our piercings sit at, both play a huge role in the ideal fit of any ring. Definitely be fitted by a piercer if you can, and if you can’t, reach out online to get a rough idea of what a good size for you might be!