Common Problems with Navel Jewelry

Navel PiercingNavel piercings are among the most common piercings in the world. Most people don’t have any problems with their belly button jewelry, but sometimes there is discomfort caused by jewelry or improperly performed procedure.

Keep in mind that in order to enjoy your navel piercing, you need to get a proper fit for your navel jewelry. Most of the time, people who report problems with their belly button piercing actually have issues with inadequate jewelry or improper procedure.

In order to prevent these issues, it’s important to wear only appropriately fitted belly jewelry and ensure that your jewelry suits your piercing perfectly.

Common Problems

Here are some common problems you may face that will make it difficult to find a proper fit for your piercing:

  • Angle and depth of your navel piercing
  • Improperly sized jewelry
  • Bad jewelry (cheap jewelry pieces, improper materials)

While there are some other problems you may encounter, these seem to be the most prevalent ones.

Getting a proper fit on a belly button ring has nothing to do with your body size, it has to do with the angle and depth of the actual piercing.

Angle and Depth of Your Piercing

The first problem you might encounter is improperly done procedure. Simply put, you might be pierced in a way that is not fully suitable to your anatomy. Some piercings are done to be very deep or very shallow, which can cause further problems. Sometimes, the angle of the piercing is not right. All these things will make it difficult to find good jewelry.

Another problem may be your anatomy. While most people can get their belly button pierced, the exact position and depth of the piercing will depend on your individual anatomy. You might have such an anatomy that will require a piercing to be done at a unique angle or depth not usual for typical navel piercing. All of this can cause problems when you wish to get your navel jewelry.

Not to mention unique navel piercings. You may wish to have a stylish belly button piercing done at a special angle or many different navel piercings. All these things may make it tricky to find jewelry that suits you best.

Improperly Sized Jewelry

Another common problem you may encounter is improperly sized navel jewelry. This is actually a common issue. Even if your belly button piercing is performed in the most optimal way chances are that you will encounter a problem if you use jewelry that is too big or too small for you.

“Size” can mean many different things in this context. For example, it can refer to the gauge of the jewelry. You should always wear jewelry in the gauge you are pierced with, or gauge you currently have (if you have stretched your navel piercing). This is the only way to achieve a good fit.

However, size can mean many other things. It can refer to the length of your curved barbell or a diameter of the Captive Bead Ring or circular barbell. It’s important to ensure that jewelry is of the optimal size so you don’t face any discomfort or other problems. Remember, improperly sized jewelry can lead to numerous problems. It jewelry is too big, it will get caught on clothes. If it’s too small, it will dig into your flesh and hurt you. For these reasons, it’s vital to always ensure a good fit for your navel jewelry.

Bad jewelry (cheap jewelry pieces, improper materials)

You should stay away from cheap, badly-made jewelry. This goes without saying, but it’s worth mentioning it again. Cheap jewelry is often made of materials that are unsafe for your body so it should be avoided. Not to mention that this type of jewelry is usually poorly made and it can break easily. To avoid any potential problems of this kind, make sure to always use high-quality navel jewelry made of body-friendly materials.

Nipple Piercing Placement

Nipple Piercing PlacementIn order to be fully satisfied with your nipple piercing, it’s important to make a proper placement. Improper placement can bring a lot of problems, such as infections, migration and rejection. It can endanger your health and make you retire your piercing even if you don’t want to. Therefore, it’s very important to have a properly placed nipple piercing. The best way to ensure that is to get pierced by a professional. It means that your chosen piercer has to be experienced with nipple piercings and know how to make a placement that will work the best for you.

General Placement

Generally speaking, nipple piercing is placed at the base of the erect part of the nipple. It is very important for your piercer to pierce the exact spot where the nipple meets areola. It’s different for every person so this is why nipple piercings will vary a bit for everyone.

It is crucial to pierce only the nipple and not areola. Areola has a fatty tissue and it should not be touched or else you can experience problems. In some extreme cases it can even lead to mastitis. You don’t want this to happen to you so make sure to choose a piercer who knows what they’re doing.

Another thing to keep in mind is that nipple piercing can be oriented in many different ways. The most common placement is horizontal, but you may get a vertical nipple piercing, a diagonal nipple piercing. You can have your nipple piercing oriented in any way you wish.

Things to Keep In Mind

There are some things to keep in mind when it comes to nipple piercing placement:

  • Almost any nipple can be pierced, but in order to be sure, ask your piercer for advice.
  • Some things to consider when deciding on placement for nipple piercings is the length of jewelry and the shape of your nipples. These things are individual and nipples vary a lot among people.
  • In order to get a properly placed nipple piercing, your nipples have to be erect. It’s difficult to judge the best placement if your nipples are completely flat when they are not erect. Let your piercer know about this before the procedure so they can judge properly on how to place your nipple piercing.
  • It’s vital that the balls of the jewelry don’t press areolas. It can lead to redness, swelling and infections. Not to mention it’s very uncomfortable.
  • Keep in mind that everyone is unique and there are no two unique nipples. Even your own nipples tend to vary slightly, which will influence the placement.
  • Improper placement is not just dangerous but it also makes your nipples look bad. It’s just not aesthetically pleasing and jewelry will not sit properly.
  • When doing a proper placement, it’s also vital to choose good jewelry. It has to be made of body-friendly materials and of appropriate size or else you risk numerous problems, such as migration, rejection, infection and other issues.
  • The placement depends on the shape and size of your nipples. More defined nipples tend to pierce a smaller piece of tissue. Flat nipples require more tissue to be pierced.
  • Nipple piercing for men will often extend to areola, but if done properly, this is not a problem.
  • Typical jewelry worn in nipple piercing is straight barbell, Captive Bead Ring (or another type of a ring) and circular barbells. You piercer will need to determine the proper length of each jewelry piece to ensure the proper placement and correct procedure.

What if You Lose Jewelry Parts?

 Surgical Steel Captive Bead Replacement Ball

Surgical Steel Captive Bead Replacement Ball

Body jewelry should be quality-made to ensure your safety. In other words, cheap jewelry made of unsafe materials can pose a great danger to your health. Nickel allergies, infection, migration and rejection are just some of the problems you may encounter with low-quality jewelry.

However, that’s not all. Cheap jewelry is usually poorly made. It means that it’s not crafted properly. Chances are that parts of the jewelry will bend, break or simply fall out. This is yet another reason why you should stay away from cheap jewelry.

On the other hand, some well-made jewelry can also give you headache. Beads, balls, charms and other jewelry parts tend to get lost from time to time. You need to know what to do in a situation when you lose part of your jewelry.

Lost Jewelry Parts

Good jewelry is made to be secure, but there is always a risk that it may become loose. This is particularly true for removable elements, such as beads, balls, charms and gems. In fact, your jewelry doesn’t even have to be loose or low-quality to lose a bead – unfortunately, beads and balls are often lost by the owner in the process of removing and changing jewelry.

If this happens to you, do not panic! There are ways to go to remedy this problem, but you need to work quickly because piercings without jewelry can close up quickly.

The most commonly lost jewelry parts include:

  • Beads on Captive Jewelry
  • Balls on Barbells
  • Gems (of all kinds)
  • Charms
  • O-Rings (for ear plugs and flesh tunnels)
  • Shafts

Keep in mind that this problem happens relatively often, so you should not panic. There are ways to remedy this situation and to even save your jewelry piece.

Beads on Captive Jewelry

Captive jewelry beads are probably the most commonly lost jewelry pieces. It comes with the territory: captive beads are held in place by the opposing sides of jewelry, but they are not screwed nor permanently attached in a different way to the jewelry. This makes them easy to lose, especially during the process of removing and changing jewelry.

Beads are integral parts of Captive Bead Rings, but many other jewelry types use them, too. For example, Captive Barbells have removable rings with beads that can be lost. However, in this case losing a bead is not so bad since the main part of the jewelry is barbell and it will stay inside your piercing.

Since beads are so easy to lose, it’s always recommended to have a spare bead or two in your jewelry collection. These replacement beads are very handy so you should always have some at your disposal.

Balls on Barbells

Another commonly lost jewelry part is the ball on a barbell or another threaded jewelry piece (such as a Screwball Ring). These balls are more difficult to lose than beads on Captive Bead Rings, because they are screwed. However, accidents happen so you should not count on never losing a ball on your barbell.

Without a ball, the barbell will likely fall out at the slightest body movement. Again, this is why it’s important to have at least some replacement balls in your collection. They are handy for all the situations in which you can lose your original ball.

Lost Gems

High-quality jewelry is made in such a way that it’s difficult to lose a gem or another decoration. Unlike cheap jewelry pieces, gems on well-crafted jewelry are not simply glued. They are hand-set so they will hold.

However, in an unlikely event that a gem falls out, there are several options. If the gem is just a part of a ball or a bead and the ball (bead) is still in, this is a mere aesthetic problem. Your jewelry will not fall out, so don’t worry about it. However, if you lose a bead, you should get another one, even if it’s just a plain bead without a gem.

To make your jewelry as good as new, you can order special replacement beads and balls with gems. This way, you will be able to use your jewelry again and it will look as good as new.

Charms

Charms are usually not an essential parts of jewelry, so losing them will usually not make it impossible to wear the jewelry. Charms are made to enhance the beauty of your jewelry and to be eye-catching, but they are not part of the main mechanism.

If you lose a charm on your jewelry piece, this is usually just an aesthetic problem. Your jewelry will still be wearable. In order to make jewelry beautiful again, you can always order a new charm for it.

O-Rings

O-Rings are integral parts of many ear plugs, ear tunnels and earlets. Some jewelry types made for stretched earlobes are smooth so they require O-Rings to keep them in place. It means that the jewelry will fall out without an O-Ring, which can pose a huge problem.

Luckily, O-Rings are cheap and easy to replace. If you like jewelry made for stretched earlobes, make sure to always have some replacement O-rings in case you lose your original ones.

Lost Shafts

There is another, less frequent (but by all means not impossible) accident: you might lose your barbell’s shaft or a shaft on another jewelry piece. It is not a common occurrence, but it can happen.

In this situation, make sure to replace the whole barbell and order some replacement shafts for your jewelry. It’s important to replace jewelry as soon as possible so the piercing won’t close. At the same time, it’s possible to save your jewelry if you order a replacement shaft to fit with the original balls you already have.

Additional Tips

Here are some handy tips on how to prevent to lose parts of your jewelry or what to do if it happens:

  • Give your barbell beads and gems a little twist every few days to ensure they are tight.
  • Check your Captive Bead Rings regularly to make sure the bead holds snugly in place.
  • In case you lose your complete jewelry or if jewelry falls out of the piercing, make sure to insert a new jewelry piece immediately. It will prevent your piercing from shrinking.
  • Some temporary solutions when a ball or a bead falls out: you might want to put a piece of a chewing gum on the end of the jewelry to seal it. Some people use a tape for the same purpose. These might be a quick, short-term solutions, but keep in mind that they are not safe nor hygienic. They will cause infections and other problems, so they should be used only for a very short period of time (a few hours at most). For example, if you lose a bead when you are outside the home and want to keep your jewelry in until you go back home to replace your jewelry. However, do not use these solutions for anything longer because it will bring more harm than good!
  • Oral piercings are tricky, because once you lose a bead or another part of the jewelry, there is a danger that you might swallow your jewelry by an accident. If you swallow a bead or a ball, it’s usually not so much of a problem, since they are small and smooth. However, if you swallow a threaded shaft of a barbell, now that can pose a problem. It might not to, but you don’t want to risk it.
  • In case this happens, and especially if you experience signs such as gagging, choking or if you can’t breathe, make sure to seek medical help immediately. Same goes for other signs, such as pain in the abdomen, fever, bleeding or vomiting. These are all serious signs and you should take them seriously. Make sure to seek medical help immediately.

Body Modifications and Public Reaction

Piercing PublicThere are many people who have at least one piercing (or tattoo). Body modifications have become very common and accepted in many areas of life. They are especially popular among young people and certain subcultures. Piercing, tattoos and other body modifications are a great way to express ourselves and change our appearance any way we want. It is a great way to add something new and to enjoy our bodies more.

In essence, a decision to get a piercing or a tattoo should be a personal one. It concerns you and nobody else. Your body, your choice. This is your own way to express yourself and it should not concern other people.

Public Reactions

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way in real life. There are many people who are still highly prejudiced against people with piercings, tattoos and other body modifications. Their reasons for hate are different, but have one thing in common: they want to police your own body and tell you what you can and can’t do with it.

The truth is, piercings, tattoos and body modifications do not harm anyone. In most of the cases, they have nothing to do with other people. Despite this, there are many out there who’d like to make your body modifications their business. Sometimes, it’s about expressing their opinion (usually negative), but it can often go beyond that.

As a person with piercings, tattoos or other body modifications, you probably know about all the comments, reactions and questions you face in everyday life. Many times, those reactions are positive, but what about the other ones? What happens when public has a negative reaction to your body modifications or think you are a bad person because of them?

In many situations, you can simply ignore it. These people are not worth your time and you don’t owe them any explanation. Your body is yours and you don’t have to listen to their negative reactions. If they don’t want to have any body modifications, fine – you don’t make them. It’s their choice not to have any piercings, body jewelry, tattoos or other body modifications and it’s not your place to tell them they’re wrong about it. Because it’s not wrong for them. Similarly, they have no right to tell you your body modifications are wrong, because they are not wrong for you.

This way to treat public reaction is a good way to make people mind their own business. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy like this. There are some situations in which public reaction can have negative consequences for you, especially in the professional setting.

What if Your Boss Doesn’t Like Your Piercings?

Let’s face it: there is still stigma about piercings, tattoos and other body modifications. It’s therefore sad – but not surprising – to know that many companies and employers discriminate against people with body modifications. It’s still difficult to find employment if you have visible modifications, and while it should not be that way and while we should fight against it, it’s important to realize it’s happening.

So, what to do in this situation? There are several options. The easiest one would be to simply quit your job or refuse a job offer. However, this may not be a wise thing to do because most of us need jobs to survive.

Unfortunately, it means a bit of a compromise. It’s always best to seek employment with companies that do not mind body modifications, if this is not possible, try to talk to your employer and come up with a compromise.

In many cases, it may mean hiding your piercings or tattoos. You can approach this in several ways. For example, you may wear simple, discreet jewelry that will not draw attention to your piercings. Or you may try to hide your body modifications with clothes.

In some situations, you may go with special hider jewelry or retainers. These jewelry pieces are specially made to hide your piercings and to be discreet while preserving your piercing and preventing it to shrink. This may be a good way to go if your boss requires no visible jewelry. However, you need to talk to your employer about this.

Whatever you do, try to avoid jewelry removal. Many piercings shrink quickly so you may have difficulties to insert a jewelry piece after not wearing anything for hours.

Finally, you have an option of retiring your piercing. It is an extreme measure, but in some cases may be the only option if you wish to keep a job you like but your boss is absolutely against piercings. Keep in mind that you can usually get repierced later, so think about this retirement as temporary.

Unusual Piercings

Unusual PiercingsWe all know about the most popular body piercings in the world. Regular earlobe piercing is so common it’s often not really considered a “true” piercing at all, even though, technically, it’s no different than any other piercing.

Some of the more popular piercings include navel piercing, nostril piercing, eyebrow piercings, lip piercing and tongue piercing. Many people have those and they are very stylish and popular.

You may think that some more extreme piercings, such as nipple piercing or genital piercings are rare. While they may be less common that the most popular piercings, they are not truly rare: there are many people who choose them.

So, what is considered a rare or unusual body piercing?

Rare Piercings

A “rare” piercing is the one performed on a body part that is not so popular to pierce. This may seem a bit vague to define. It’s important to understand that, technically, any body part (or almost any) can be pierced. In this sense, it’s possible to have numerous rare piercings performed on unusual body parts. Here, “unusual” means “a body part not typically pierced”.

Some people enjoy these unusual piercings because, let’s face it: they are very original. Who wants an ordinary belly piercing or a nostril piercing when you can have a very unusual place pierced? Indeed, these rare piercings often attract a lot of attention.

However, it’s important to understand that some piercings are rare for a reason. Some body parts are not really suitable for piercings, so while you can technically perform a piercing it will not last for long or it will bring a lot of problems.

This is why many unusual body parts are often pierced temporarily. This is particularly true for surface piercings. They can be performed almost anywhere, but they are prone to migration and rejection, so they are only temporary.

That being said, there are many creative places to pierce. Many of these unusual piercings are also very extreme and therefore not everybody’s cup of tea.

Examples of Unusual Piercings

Here are some examples of more unusual piercings:

  • Web Piercings. There are many different types of web piercings because there are many delicate webs of skin on our body. Some of them are located in the mouth, for example, in between our lips and gums. Some of the most popular oral web piercings are Smiley piercing and Frowny Piercing. You can also find these webs of skin between our fingers and our toes, or wherever you have a connective tissue. A web of skin of this kind is known as “frenulum”, though this term usually means a specific web of skin, the one that connects foreskin to the penis (and yes, it can be pierced, too).
  • Uvula Piercing. This is a piercing done on the soft tissue that hangs down at the back of your throat. It is very sensitive and can provoke a gag reflex when touched. Despite this problem there are people who like to have their uvula pierced. This piercing is very unique but it’s difficult to see unless you open your mouth really wide. Typical jewelry for this piercing type are Captive Bead Rings and circular barbells.
  • Achilles Piercing. This is an extreme piercing done on the spot in between the Achilles tendon, the ankle and the leg bones. It is a very deep piercing and can cause numerous problems. It also takes a long time to heal properly. Keep in mind that it has to be done by an experienced piercer because you don’t want any mistakes with this one. If done incorrectly, it can limit your movements or even prevent you from walking properly. This is a rare and extreme piercing and it’s not for everybody.
  • Corset Piercings. Corset Piercing and other forms of surface piercings are done temporarily. They can be performed on almost any surface of the skin, but the most popular spots include: the back, on the calves, and on the front of the neck. In fact, they can be placed anywhere where there’s enough soft tissue to pierce. It’s important that the chosen area is relatively large because these piercings are done in decorative patterns so they are typically performed in pairs and groups.

Jewelry for People with Allergies and Sensitive Skin

Nickel Allergy ProblemThere are many sensitive people prone to allergies and other skin problems. There are also people with a very sensitive skin. Does it mean these people cannot enjoy body jewelry or piercings?

Good news: if you are prone to allergies or if you have a sensitive skin, it does NOT mean you can’t wear body jewelry. The trick is just to find jewelry that will not trigger your allergies and that will be comfortable for you to wear.

Unsafe Materials and Alloys

In most of the cases, to avoid allergies, skin sensitivity and other problems, it’s important to wear jewelry made of safe materials. Safe materials are those materials that are body-friendly and medical grade. These materials will not cause allergies in most people.

It’s important to understand what causes allergies in the first place. Most of the time, what people are allergic to are various alloys present in metal jewelry. Alloys are mixtures of elements. It means that even if the jewelry is made of a main element, it may contain traces of other elements, which can prove to be dangerous for you. Alloys are often added to enhance the properties of the main element, such as to make it stronger, or softer, or to change its color. This may work, but it can also be dangerous if you are allergic to the alloy.

Avoid Nickel Allergy

By far the most common is nickel-allergy. It is very common because nickel is a very popular alloy used in many metals. Nickel is sometimes used in gold jewelry, so all gold pieces containing gold can cause a serious allergy.

For this reason, it’s important to wear only nickel-free body jewelry. Whenever you choose your jewelry piece, especially if it’s gold, make sure it’s nickel-free. This is the only way to avoid nickel allergy.

Another material to avoid is steel. It may also contain nickel. However, not all steel jewelry is created equally. Surgical Steel is a safe material. This is a medical-grade jewelry material that does not contain nickel.

However, nickel allergy is not the only problem you may encounter. Depending on your body, you may be allergic to a different alloy. This is why it’s highly recommended to check all the alloys present in a jewelry piece or to stick to hypoallergenic jewelry only.

Hypoallergenic Jewelry

Hypoallergenic jewelry is the one that is specially made to be safe for people who have allergies and sensitive skin. This jewelry is made of materials that are known not to cause allergies so it’s generally safe even for the more sensitive users.

However, keep in mind that “hypoallergenic” is more of a generic term used by jewelry companies. There is no strict regulation what “hypoallergenic” actually means. It may simply mean that it’s nickel-free. On the other hand, it may mean it’s made of the medical-grade materials specially made for sensitive people.

The safest body jewelry materials are those that are considered to be “hypoallergenic”. The most popular of them are:

  • Titanium
  • Niobium
  • Surgical Steel (especially the medical-grade 316LVM Surgical Steel)

You may also use gold jewelry, as long as it’s nickel-free.

Another good way to go is to use non-metallic jewelry pieces. Many of these materials, such as acrylic or Bioplast jewelry, is generally safe to use even by people with sensitive skin and allergies.

What about Organic Jewelry?

Another good way to go is to use organic jewelry (made of wood, stone, glass, horn or bone). If you choose to do this, however, make sure that you are not allergic to any of the organic components of your jewelry.

Organic jewelry is very beautiful and can be very effective but it can cause additional problems because it can’t be sterilized as much as metal jewelry. You need to make sure that organic jewelry is made of a material you are not allergic to. Also, it’s highly recommended to wear this type of jewelry only in fully healed piercings.

Different Types of Barbells

Different Types of BarbellsBarbells are among the most popular body jewelry pieces. They are probably the most popular piercing jewelry type after Captive Bead Rings. Barbells come in many different shapes and varieties, so they can be used for almost any piercing type.

The basic design of a barbell is a bar with a bead on each end. One or both beads are removable so you can insert your jewelry easily. The other bead is typically fixed, so only one bead is removable.

Barbells are a type of threaded jewelry. It means that the removable ball attaches to the shaft by screwing. Barbells can be Internally Threaded or Externally Threaded. Internally Threaded barbells have smooth ends and the ball is the one with a threaded post. The shaft has a threaded receiving tube. This type of jewelry tends to be more comfortable and safer to use, because there are no sharp edges on the shaft alone. It means you won’t hurt any tissue when you insert your shaft through the piercing.

Externally Threaded barbells are the opposite: they have a threaded shaft and a ball with a receiving tube. In this type of jewelry, you need to pass the shaft with a threaded post through the tissue. It may lead to tearing and other problems, so generally speaking, Internally Threaded jewelry is recommended. The only exception is jewelry of a very small gauge (such as gauge 20 or gauge 18). Such jewelry is too thin to be Internally Threaded.

Types of Barbells

There are many different barbell types to choose from. While all barbells share the basic design of a shaft with a ball on each end, the shaft itself can be shaped in several different ways. It makes for several unique barbell types. These different barbell styles are suitable for different piercing types.

The most popular barbell types include:

  • Straight Barbells
  • Curved Barbells
  • Circular Barbells
  • Spirals
  • Surface Bars

Straight Barbells

Straight Barbells are the basic types of barbells, and they can be used for many different piercings. A straight barbell has a straight shaft, with a bead on each end. The beads can be plain and simple, or they may have gems or other ornamentations.

A special type of a straight barbell is Industrial Barbell. This is a very long barbell, with the shaft significantly longer than regular. Such a long shaft is made to accommodate Industrial Piercings. Since this piercing type combines two piercing holes and goes from one side of the ear to the other, the bar should be long enough to reach both ends of the piercing.

Curved Barbells

Curved barbells are sometimes known as “navel curves”, because they are most commonly used for navel piercings. Curved barbells have a curved shaft, which gives them a really unique look. This curvature makes jewelry sit better in certain piercing types (such as belly button piercing), so curved barbells are widely used for these piercings.

The curvature on the shaft can be made in many different ways. It can range to almost straight to almost circular. A popular variation of this design is a so-called “J-bar” or “banana barbell”. This is a slightly curved barbell with a 90 degree bend near one end. It is specially designed to be used in several types of navel piercings. It makes the decoration sit better against the skin.

Circular Barbells

Circular Barbells are also known as “horseshoe barbells”, because of their shape. These barbells have a shaft that is circular. The shaft usually makes the perfect circle, although some circular barbells have a more elliptical shaft.

The shaft of a circular barbell is never fully closed the way it is with Captive Bead Rings. Instead, there is a gap on top and each end of the barbell has a bead.

Spirals

Technically speaking, Spirals are almost never referred to as “barbells”, but they are a form of barbells. With this jewelry type, the shaft is made into a spiral. Sometimes, the Spiral is shaped in such a way that the ends overlap but they can be easily separated to make insertion of jewelry possible.

Spirals come in many different sizes and while some of them are ornamented with different types of decorations, it’s the shape itself that’s unique and made to attract attention. Therefore, most spirals are made to be simple yet elegant and they don’t have heavy ornamentation.

Surface bars

Surface Bars are used for surface piercings. This is a special type of barbell, where a shaft has two 90 degree bends. It makes this barbell resemble a staple. The ends of the barbell have beads. This shape is specially designed to make surface piercings more secure and less prone to migration and rejection.

Vertical vs Horizontal Piercings

Vertical and Hortizontal PiercingsMany times you will hear piercings referred to as “horizontal” or “vertical”. While these terms may sound intuitive, it’s not always clear what they mean. The confusion becomes even bigger when you take jewelry into account.

Many jewelry pieces are made for only one style of piercing (vertical or horizontal) and they simply don’t look great in the other type. Even worse, certain jewelry types can’t be used for a style of piercing they are not made for.

In order to avoid confusion and to be able to tell a difference easily, it’s important to understand the difference between vertical and horizontal piercings.

Piercing Direction

Whether a piercing will be considered horizontal or vertical depends on its direction and position on the body. This is true for both the piercing hole (the direction of the needle) and jewelry worn in a specific piercing.

The two most common directions are horizontal and vertical. They are mostly intuitive and easy to understand:

  • Horizontal piercings are done horizontally on the body part that is pierced. The needle goes from left to right. Same goes for jewelry: it is positioned from left to right. Examples: typical nipple piercings, septum piercing, Ampallang.
  • Vertical piercings are done vertically on the body part that is pierced. The needle goes from top to bottom (up and down). Same goes for jewelry: it is positioned from up to down. Examples: typical navel piercing, vertical clitoral hood piercing, Apadravya.

Keep in mind that these directions are not the only ones possible. It’s possible, though rarer, to make a piercing under an angle. This type of diagonal piercings produce a unique look. They are mostly done on ears or navel. For example, diagonal Industrial Piercing may be taken as one of these, though keep in mind that it is, strictly speaking, two piercings in one. Each of the individual piercings that make an Industrial Piercing will typically be ordinary horizontal or vertical piercings, only done at an angle that when combined together, creates a diagonal look.

Another example of a diagonal piercing is eyebrow piercing. While it’s typically considered a horizontal piercing (unless it’s clearly vertical), it’s important to note that eyebrow piercings are often done at a slight angle.

Inside and Out

This divide into horizontal and vertical piercings may seem neat when it comes to piercings where both holes are outside the body. But what about those where only one of the holes is visible on the outside?

For example, many lip piercings, nose piercings and other facial piercings are of this kind. One side of the hole (and jewelry) lies outside of the body while the other one is on the inside. In the case of lip piercings, one hole is on the outside of the lip while the other one is inside the mouth. In the case of a nostril piercing, one hole is outside on the nostril while the one is on the inside.

This sort of placement is characteristic for these types of piercings. So, are these considered vertical or horizontal? There is no universal way to answer this question, especially since it’s often not mentioned how directions are called in the case of these piercings. However, conventional wisdom and piercing practice often treat this piercing types as horizontal piercings.

Yes, they go from inside to the outside rather than left-right, but they can be considered horizontal when it comes to practical aspects. Most importantly, they are defined as “non-vertical”. This is important, because most of these lip and nose piercings have their vertical variant, which is a special type of piercing. With a vertical variant, the hole goes from top to bottom and both ends of the piercing (and both decorative balls) are seen outside of the body.

For example, a typical labret piercing will have the ball outside of the lip but the other end of the jewelry will be inside the mouth. Vertical labret, on the other hand, typically uses barbells and both ends of the barbell (with balls) are seen. This is because, unlike typical labret piercing, a vertical labret will have both holes on the outside of the lip.

Horizontal and Vertical Jewelry

What does it mean for jewelry? While many jewelry pieces can be worn in both vertical and horizontal piercings, some pieces are made for only one type. Furthermore, some pieces are made for piercings that go from inside out (like typical lip piercings or nostril piercings). All these differences often mean a specialized jewelry has to be worn.

Also, some jewelry types are made in two variants, horizontal and vertical. It usually depends on the decoration. Sometimes, the placement of the decorative bead or a gem, dangles or charms will depend on the horizontal or vertical orientation. In these cases it’s important to remember the direction of the piercing and to request either horizontal or vertical variant of the jewelry you wish to buy.

Condoms and Piercings

CondomsOne of the main concerns people have about genital piercings is whether they can damage condoms or not. Or, rather, if it’s possible to wear a condom if you have a piercing. This is a good question. Safe sex is important so it’s vital to know if your body piercing can cause condoms to break.

The good news is that for the most part, you don’t have to worry. Condoms can be used even if you have a piercing. However, it’s important to follow some precautions.

Will Condoms Break?

The unfortunate things about condoms is that they break from time to time. It’s not always the user’s fault, but it’s important to know how to decrease the chance of condoms breaking.

Body jewelry typically used for genital piercings cannot make condoms break on their own. It’s due to the shape of jewelry made for genital piercings. Since comfort is important for piercings placed on the penis and other parts of genitalia, the jewelry used is typically smooth and without rough edges. It means that it can fit inside a condom easily without causing any damages to the condom. The sex can then proceed normally without a problem.

It means that you don’t have to worry. Condoms will not break due to body jewelry made for genital piercings. While accidents may happen here and there, the experiences of many people prove that condoms are safe to be used with genital piercings.

In fact, condoms are recommended in some cases. This is particularly true for new piercings at the early stages of healing. A new piercing is basically an open wound, so it’s recommended to use condoms during sexual activities. Condoms will not only prevent sharing of bodily fluids, which is increased with new piercings, but will also protect the piercing itself from being hurt or damaged.

It is important to take a good care of your new piercing in the early stages of healing in order to prevent infections and other problems, so condoms can help with that.

Advice on Using Condoms with Piercings

Here are some tips on how to ensure that condoms don’t break if you use them with genital piercings:

  • Make sure to always use smooth jewelry without rough edges. It is the most important thing to ensure safety.
  • The jewelry has to fit nicely under the condom. It shouldn’t be too loose and it shouldn’t move under the condom.
  • It’s best if the jewelry is not made in a very small gauge. Small gauge jewelry tends to be sharper and can damage condoms more than large gauge jewelry. The good news is that genital piercings typically don’t use jewelry of the smallest gauge.
  • Experiment with different types of condoms until you find the ones that fit you perfectly.
  • Complicated jewelry or decorated jewelry is best to be avoided while wearing a condom.
  • Same jewelry rules apply for any body part that comes in contact with the condom. If you engage in oral sex, make sure to wear only smooth tongue and lip jewelry. Women should also wear smooth jewelry pieces in their genital piercings to avoid damaging their partner’s condom during intercourse.
  • If you are scared that your jewelry may damage condoms, you may consider removing it during intercourse. Make sure to put jewelry back after sex because genital piercings tend to close quickly.

Stretched Piercings Made to Extreme: Joel Miggler’s Cheek Holes

Cheek Piercing Extreme body modifications take a new meaning in this 23 year old’s facial piercings. Joel Miggler from Germany has several facial piercings stretched to large gauges. This young man, however, didn’t stop at stretched earlobes: he has large holes on either side of his cheeks. These cheek holes are stretched to the width of 36mm.

Depending on the type of plugs and flesh tunnels he wears, you can clearly see his teeth, gums and split tongue. The young man claims he has no special name for his cheek piercings. “You can call them stretched or big cheeks”, he claims. He also states he wants to continue stretching his cheeks to a larger gauge.

This body art enthusiast has multiple tattoos and 25 piercings total, but none of them attract so much attention as his stretched cheek piercings.

The young man claims the reaction to his piercings are mostly negative, especially online, but he and his girlfriend are not bothered by these reactions. “I don’t care what they say”, Miggler claims.