Typical Piercing Sizes | Painful Pleasures Community

Typical Piercing Sizes

Learn all about standard starter jewelry sizes by body piercing type.

by PainfulPleasures Last Updated: May 13, 2021

Body jewelry comes in all varieties. It can be challenging enough to decide what style you want to rock in your new piercing, let alone what size is the most appropriate — but don’t worry! In this article, we provide a comprehensive overview of body piercings by type. You’ll learn all about what size of standard body jewelry is most appropriate to wear by piercing, as well as what type of standard body jewelry is most fitting.

Typical Starting Sizes by Piercing

Belly Button Ring, Navel Jewel, Jeweled Belly Button RingBelly Button: Normally, navel piercings are done with either a 14g or a 12g needle, followed by starter jewelry of the same size. A 12g navel piercing is ideal for preventing migration, which is a common symptom of navel piercing rejection. You can ask for a larger gauge, like 10g, if you’re really concerned about migration. However, most stylish or desirable belly button rings come in standard 14g or 12g sizes. Nonetheless, we can teach you how to change the barbell for navel rings of all sizes in our How to Modify Your Belly Ring article. Note: We do not recommend smaller gauges for navel piercings because of the high rate of rejection. 

Bridge: Bridge piercings are executed in an area that isn’t particularly fleshy. As such, 18g tends to be the ideal size for a bridge piercing, because it is typically heavy enough to minimize migration risk while also being small enough to fit into the limited space available. 16g is also a common option if your piercing artist says there is enough skin available for a slightly larger barbell.

Cartilage: Cartilage piercings are typically done using an 18g needle, but it isn’t unheard of for a piercer to use a needle as small as 22g or as large as 16g. Of course, you can request that your piercer use a heavier gauge needle, but we don’t recommend starting out much larger than 12g. Cartilage piercings tend to stay sensitive for many months (anywhere from 6 to 9, on average). Wearing heavy-gauge jewelry in such a sensitive piercing can increase discomfort and slow the healing process. If you really want to start at a larger size, then we recommend wearing lightweight starter jewelry made of a material like BioPlast.

Cheek: Cheek piercings are most often done with 16g to 12g needles followed by starter labrets of the same size.

Dermal: Dermal piercings are typically done in smaller sizes, like 18g or 16g. There are also 12g and 14g dermal options available, too. The recommended size for dermal starter jewelry depends on the location of your dermal piercing. For instance, a facial dermal piercing will likely require smaller jewelry (18g), but a dermal piercing placed on your chest may be a little larger (around 14g).

Earrings, Organic Earrings, Earlobe PiercingsEarlobe: Most earlobe piercings start out around 20g or 18g. Occasionally, a piercing artist will use a 22g needle. Most French hook earrings and standard stud earrings are 20g in size.

If you want to start your earlobe piercing at a higher gauge, we recommend being pierced with a heavier gauge needle rather than having your earlobe punched with a dermal punch. When a dermal punch is used, the tissue is removed permanently. A needle simply parts the flesh, which means it has better potential for growing back together if you later decide you don’t want your ear piercings to be so large after all.

Eyebrow: 16g and 18g are the most common sizes for starter eyebrow jewelry. As with any surface piercing, eyebrow piercings are highly prone to migration, but the problem can be minimized with slightly heavier guage eyebrow rings. Avoid 20g jewelery or smaller unless you have a small face/very fine features and your piercing artist feels it’s the only option for you.Straight Barbell, Barbell, Titanium Body Jewelry

Frenum: Frenum piercings are another type of surface piercing, so piercing artists will typically use a somewhat heavier-gauge needle and straight barbell. 12g is a good standard starting size, but clients can request anything from 14g up to 8g (and even larger) if desired. It will take a little time for your partner to get used to your new male genital piercing, so we always recommend starting with a more moderate size, like 12g. You can easily stretch to a larger size later, once you know your partner is comfortable with the feel of your jewelry during intercourse.

Elephant Industrial Barbell, Industrial Jewelry, Industrial BarbellIndustrial: 14g is the most common size for industrial starter jewelry. However, some people choose to wear slightly smaller jewelry, such as a 16g barbell, while others prefer to start with a larger size like 12g. You’ll find that more of our industrial piercing barbells are available in 14g, but we do have options in other sizes. You can use any of our straight barbells in an industrial piercing, too, which gives you tons more options in sizes other than the standard 14g.

Lip: The size of your starter jewelry for a lip piercing varies according to what kind of piercing it is. For instance, a labret, Monroe, or Medusa piercing will typically be done with either a 16g or 18g labret stud. If you want something more delicate for your Monroe piercing, then you could request a 20g stud. If you’re getting a horizontal lip piercing or a variation like snake bites, then you could go with a 14g or even a 12g captive bead ring or circular barbell. As with any piercing, you can request a larger or smaller size; those are just the typical starting sizes for the various types of horizontal lip piercings.

Nipple: The most common starting sizes for nipple piercings are 14g and 12g. As with surface piercings, the higher the gauge of your nipple jewelry, the less likely your risk for migration and rejection. That said, most desirable nipple barbells and rings are available in either 14g or 12g, which shouldn’t hinder you from starting at a larger size if you want to; it’s just a consideration. Additionally, you may choose to mix and match your nipple barbells with various threaded ends; just ensure that your barbell jewelry has the same pattern as your threaded end of choice.

Nostril Ring, Captive Bead Ring, Gold CBR, Gold Nostril RingNostril: 20g and 18g are the most common starting sizes for nostril rings; 16g is also a popular starting nose piercing size. 

Other Genital Piercings: Standard sizes for starter jewelry used for male and female genital piercings depends largely on your anatomy and the type of piercing. You’ll find that most piercing artists will recommend jewelry in the 16g to 12g range for labia piercings, and anywhere from 14g to 10g for various male genital piercings, like apadravya and ampallang piercings. Note: Some women stretch their labia piercings until they can wear 8g or larger tunnels in them. Tunnels can be worn alone or with captive bead rings through them.

Prince Albert: Prince Albert, or PA piercings, are done in a wide range of sizes, most typically between 10g and 6g You’ll find that many PA wands are available in larger sizes like 6g, but if you want to wear a captive bead ring (highly recommended as your starter jewelry), then you may want to start with a 10g or 8g ring. Give your partner time to get used to your new addition, then stretch your PA piercing to a larger size later if you and your partner are comfortable with the change.Septum Ring, Septum Clicker Ring, Septum Jewelry

Septum: 18g and 16g are the two most common starting septum ring sizes; 14g is also a popular size. Many people stretch septum piercings to much larger sizes after they’re healed, but it’s less common for people to start with a heavier gauge.

Surface Barbells, Surface Piercings, Titanium Body JewelrySurface Piercing: We’ve covered a few surface piercings throughout this article, so bear in mind these types of piercings have a high risk of migration and rejection if your starter jewelry is too small. Depending on the location where you’re having a surface piercing placed on your body, the best starting size will vary. Most surface piercing barbells are available in 12g, 14g, or 16g; some larger sizes like 10g are also available as starter jewelry. On average, 14g tends to be the most common starting size for any surface piercing.

Tongue: 14g tends to be the most common starting size for tongue piercings, but 12g is also a popular size for starter body jewelry in a tongue ring. You aren’t limited to these sizes, but we only recommend asking for a larger gauge, not one smaller than 14g.

Tongue Web: Your tongue frenulum and the webs between your lips and gums are very delicate, so fine rings are typically placed in these areas. 20g is often the ideal starting size for oral web piercings.

Curved Barbell, Clitoris Barbell, Curved Barbell Body JewelryVCH & HCH Piercings: Since every woman’s anatomy is unique, VCH and HCH piercing sizes vary. Usually fine-gauge needles are used for these delicate female genital piercings (e.g. 20g or 18g captive rings for horizontal clitoral hood piercings or 18g curved barbells for vertical clitoral hood piercings). Always go with your piercer’s recommendation with these types of female genital piercings, since he or she will be able to carefully measure you and know definitively what size jewelry your clitoral hood can comfortably accommodate.


Piercing Sizes Chart: Quick Reference

Refer to our Piercing Sizes chart below for typical starter gauges by jewelry and piercing type.

Body Jewelry Measurement & Size Conversions

To learn about how body jewelry is measured, visit the Measuring Body Jewelry section of our Infocenter. For information on which millimeter measurements correspond with which body jewelry gauges and how inches translate to millimeters, check out our helpful body jewelry size conversion resource. You’ll also find ball size conversions there, which will help you convert millimeters to inches and vice versa.

Mixing & Matching Body Jewelry Parts

Body Jewelry Parts, Jewelry Tops, Threaded EndsWhen you purchase body jewelry from us, you’ll notice we use the same thread pattern for certain size groupings. For instance, much of our 14g and 12g internally threaded body jewelry has the same 1.2mm thread pattern, while much of our much of our 18g and 16g internally threaded body jewelry has the same 0.9mm thread pattern. That means you can easily unscrew the ends from a 14g piece of internally threaded jewelry and place them onto a 12g internal barbell. Likewise, the ends of an 18g piece of internally threaded jewelry can fit onto a 16g internal barbell. Just be sure to pay attention to the thread pattern before customizing your body jewelry. For instance, some 10g internally threaded jewelry has 2mm threading.

Circular Barbell, Titanium Barbell, Titanium Body JewelryIf you’re interested in learning more about how you can customize your body jewelry, visit our How to Modify Your Belly Ring article, complete with instructional videos. The information you’ll find there can be applied to any type of threaded jewelry we offer. Refer to our Body Jewelry Parts store category to pick up barbells and decorative ends in various sizes.

Tip: The threading type and size information for all the jewelry we sell can be found in the Details and Specifications sections of every listing.

When it comes to the various sizes and styles of body jewelry, bear in mind that everyone’s body (and every piercing) is unique. While this article is an excellent guide for standard and commonly used starter jewelry, we always recommend heeding the advice of a professional piercing artist for determining the length, gauge, and style that is perfect for you. Once your piercing is fully healed, you can start to customize, modify, and enjoy your new look.


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