Piercing Shrinkage and How to Prevent It

Piercing ShrinkageKeep in mind that you should remove your body jewelry only in special circumstances. Most of the time, you will remove the jewelry only for a few moments, when you take your old jewelry out and insert a new one. This is the best way to treat jewelry removal, because new jewelry will replace the old one.

Remember: your piercing is a hole in the tissue that only jewelry keeps open. Once the jewelry is out, the piercing will start to shrink. While it often happens to new piercings you need to know that all piercings are prone to shrinkage once the jewelry is removed. Even the old, well-established piercings will shrink.

Piercing Shrinkage

In many cases, the hole without the jewelry will close completely, especially if you are pierced with a small gauge. For stretched piercings and piercings with a very large gauge, the hole might not close completely (hence, these piercings cannot be fully retired), but it will shrink.

What you need to understand is that you don’t have to take your jewelry out for a long time in order to notice some shrinkage. It depends on the piercing, but it often doesn’t take more than a few hours to notice the problem. For some piercings, such as genital piercings (especially penis piercings), this period of time is even shorter.

For this reason, you should always be careful about removing your jewelry. As a general rule, you should never remove the jewelry for a prolonged period of time unless you wish to retire a piercing or bring it down to a smaller gauge.

What if I Have to Remove the Jewelry?

There may be some situations in which you feel you have to remove the jewelry without inserting the new one straight away. Most of these things are serious and it’s not surprising that you might feel that jewelry removal is the only way to go. Some of these situations include:

  • Job and other societal situations in which wearing body jewelry is not allowed. Many people face problems with their bosses or other professional situations if they choose to keep their piercings. While some piercings can remain hidden under clothes, some piercings are “out in the open”. If your boss doesn’t allow piercings you may think your only option is to remove the jewelry while you’re at work.
  • Pregnancy. Pregnant women with navel piercings or nipple piercings often believe they will have to remove their body jewelry.
  • Airports, hospitals and other places with metal detectors. Since body jewelry will trigger metal detectors many people think they cannot wear their body jewelry in these situations. Not to mention that in some situations (X rays and some other medical examinations) metal jewelry is forbidden.
  • Sex. In case your partner dislikes your genital piercing, you might feel you need to remove your jewelry before the intimate moments.
  • Broken jewelry. Sometimes, jewelry breaks in the most unfortunate moments, when you are away from your jewelry box and cannot replace it. You might be forced to take your jewelry out immediately if it’s broken.


While not all of the above situations allow you to keep your jewelry, it’s important to know that in many cases, you don’t have to remove your jewelry. In fact, there are numerous ways in which you can keep your jewelry or insert a substitute jewelry as an emergency.

Here are some of the simplest solutions:

  • For jobs: If your boss is against piercings, try to hide them instead of removing the jewelry. This is a good solution for all other societal situations in which you might not be allowed to show your piercings. There are many well-crafted and comfortable hider jewelry pieces and retainers you can use to keep your piercing and hide it at the same time. While they will not make your piercing invisible they are not jewelry in the strict sense of the word and will help you conceal your piercing.
  • For pregnancy: Pregnant women need to know that they do not have to retire their navel or nipple piercings. However, it will be wise to wear softer jewelry. This is where navel retainers come in handy. When it comes to nipples, a piercing will not prevent breastfeeding. However, you will want to remove the jewelry during breastfeeding to avoid the risk of the baby choking on jewelry or being hurt. However, make sure to put your nipple jewelry back right after breastfeeding to avoid it to shrink.
  • For metal detectors: The solution is simple – do not wear metal jewelry. There are many acrylic jewelry pieces, organic jewelry pieces as well as jewelry made of other non-metal materials you can try. They are generally safe and won’t trigger a metal detector. Make sure they are ok before any medical procedure, though.
  • For sex and genital piercings: This one is tricky. Many times, genital piercings are functional, which means they enhance the pleasure for the wearer and their partner, so taking the jewelry out will often invalidate the point of a genital piercing. If your partner insists, however, you can take your jewelry out during sexual intercourse but make sure to put it back right after you’re done. This is particularly important for penis piercings, since they tend to shrink pretty fast.
  • For broken jewelry: As a general rule, you should replace any broken jewelry piece as soon as possible. It means you should always have at least two jewelry pieces for the same piercing. If you are out an away from your replacement jewelry, you might try to patch your jewelry quickly, to keep it inside the piercing. These solutions are not the best but it’s better than to take the jewelry out. If the old jewelry piece is completely broken, you will have to take it out, but in this case make sure to replace it with a new jewelry piece as soon as possible. Remember: even a few hours can make the piercing shrink!
About Melina Jackson:
Melina is a staff writer, author and researcher for TheChainGang. She covers numerous subjects, from body jewelry to kinky adult toys. In addition to this, Melina also provides occasional adult toy reviews written in an interesting and sexy manner. She says: “I’m happy and proud to be a part of TheChainGang team. I enjoy every research because I know how much importance TheChainGang places on customer satisfaction and providing accurate and up to date information. I particularly like sex toy reviews: they are fun to write and experience”. In addition to writing and researching, Melina provides online research results and handy information for buyers interested in accurate and easily understandable tips and advice on choosing the best adult toys and body jewelry.

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