Inner vs Outer Conch

conch-piercingA Conch Piercing is one of the more unusual ear piercing types, even though it’s popular with some people. It is one of the cartilage piercings, which makes it a bit trickier to perform than earlobe piercings. Cartilage piercings also tend to be more painful. However, this is not a reason to give up if you really desire to have a Conch Piercing.

There is a certain confusion about Conch Piercings. Namely, there are two distinctive types of Conch Piercings: Inner and Outer Conch. People sometimes confuse the two and are unsure about their similarities and differences. If you wish to get one of those (or both!) you need to know which is which and what their main differences are.

Inner Conch Piercing

Inner Conch is by far the more popular variant. If no closer distinction is mentioned, chances are that “Conch” will refer to Inner Conch piercing. Inner Conch is done on the specific part of the cartilage in the center of the ear, adjacent to the ear canal. There is a small cup-shaped area that is pierced.

This specific placement is characteristic of Inner Conch. All Inner Conch piercings are done on this cup-shaped cartilage area, or else the piercing in question cannot even be considered “Inner Conch”.

If the area is large enough, it is possible to have a large gauge Inner Conch piercing. However, the only way to achieve this is with a dermal punch. Cartilage piercings are almost impossible to stretch properly, so if you want to have a larger Inner Conch piercing it’s best to go with a dermal punch.

Outer Conch Piercing

Outer Conch piercing is a more unusual placement. It is performed on the flat part of the ear cartilage, ideally between the helix and the antihelix of the ear. The placement itself is tricky, because it has to be done on this specific spot to “count” as an Outer Conch piercing, or else it would be a simple Helix or Antihelix piercing.

In fact, these spots on the cartilage are located near each other so there is often some confusion whether the piercing in question is Outer Conch or not. Ideally, an Outer Conch piercing should be done on the cartilage but away from the rim/edge, unless you are going for a Helix piercing.

However, those who do not care about the names and simply want a piercing on this particular spot have nothing to worry about – you can simply tell your chosen piercer the exact spot where you wish to be pierced. You don’t need to know the name of the piercing or stress about getting it right.

Another way to perform an Outer Conch piercing is through dermal punching. This way, it is relatively easy to have a large gauge piercing in the cartilage, which would otherwise be very difficult (or impossible) to achieve.

Inner vs Outer Conch: The Verdict

As you can see, Inner and Outer Conch Piercings are very similar (hence the name), so it’s easy to confuse one for the other. Both are cartilage piercings done on the inner side of the ear, though Inner Conch is more so (as the name implies).

The main difference is the placement: Inner Conch has a very specific placement on the cup-shaped area near the ear canal. Outer Conch doesn’t have a special placement so there is more freedom when performing this piercing type.

Another potential difference is jewelry. Typically, Outer Conch allows for more space and freedom when choosing jewelry (for example, Captive Bead Rings), while the Inner Conch typically uses simple studs. However, this is not set in stone and there is always room for some experimentation.

Madison Piercing

Madison PiercingMadison piercing is a relatively rare piercing performed through the skin at the front of the neck.

At the same time, it is one of the more popular surface piercings, so it’s definitely not uncommon among body piercing enthusiasts.

Piercing and Placement

Just like any other surface piercing, Madison has a relatively high rate of migration and rejection. It is also a very sensitive piercing, so it’s important to perform careful aftercare in order to keep it as long as possible.

Madison piercing got its name after the porn star Madison Stone, who was the first person publicly associated with this piercing. However, Rasmus Nielson was the first person to actually have this piercing.

This piercing is placed horizontally at the jugular notch (base of the neck). Typically, this piercing is placed slightly above the collarbone.

The procedure is not complicated, but this piercing does carry certain health risks. First of all, the healing period is very long, so this is one of the things to keep in mind. There are also reports about Madison piercings that did not heal at all after one year. It’s clear this is a very sensitive piercing.

Another issue is a high rate of migration and rejection. Madison piercings that are not healed properly or those that migrate and reject will typically cause scarring. In order to prevent problems, it’s vital to perform adequate aftercare. In addition to regular cleaning it’s also important to avoid any kind of irritation that might lead to infections, migration and rejection.

In order to prevent irritations, it’s vital to choose proper placement. Madison piercings placed too low will get caught on clothes. On the other hand, if it’s placed too high it will cause tension on the tissue due to skin movement. That’s why it’s important to find a reputable piercer experienced with this type of piercing to ensure success and minimize problems.

Jewelry

A typical jewelry piece for Madison piercing, especially initial jewelry, is a surface bar. Some people choose to wear flexible barbells instead. In some rare cases, people choose Captive Bead Rings as initial jewelry, but this is not a good choice since CBR can lead to quick migration and rejection.

After the piercing is healed a different type of jewelry can be worn. While surface bars are always popular for this type of piercing, it’s also possible to wear Captive Bead Rings, as well as barbells of different kinds. Curved barbells tend to be particularly popular with Madison piercing.

Additional Info and Tips

  • Madison can be very effective but it’s important to heal it properly first. If you notice your piercing not healing it’s best to take jewelry out and retire the piercing before it causes further trouble.
  • In addition to migration and rejection Madison piercings can be dangerous in certain situations. For example, if you suffer a trauma on the neck it can cause impact damage. Keep in mind this piercing is located at a very sensitive spot.
  • In order to minimize migration and rejection risks it’s vital to wear softer jewelry or special surface bars as initial jewelry.
  • Jewelry for Madison piercing should be light in order to minimize pressure on your neck. Avoid overly complicated and richly decorated jewelry pieces on this piercing.

Top 5 Simplest Piercings

First PiercingNewbies often wonder about the best first piercing placements for beginners.

If you don’t have any piercings yet, or if you only have a few, you might wonder what is the best piercing type for newbies.

In other words, what is the best first piercing?

Here is a list of top 5 first piercing suggestions. These piercings are simple, relatively painless and typically risk-free, which makes them great choices for newbies.

  1. Earlobe

Earlobe is a logical first step for most people. A regular earlobe piercing is so socially acceptable that it’s popular even among people who dislike other piercings. In fact, it is considered so mainstream and inoffensive that it’s often not even counted as a “real” piercing.

Despite this reaction from the public, earlobe piercings are real piercings just like any others. Therefore, they should be treated as any other piercing, with the same aftercare instructions and approach to procedure. Meaning: it’s important to get pierced at a real piercing studio and it’s vital to be pierced by a professional using a piercing needle. Never allow to be pierced with a piercing gun or by a someone who is not a professional piercer. Keep in mind: earlobe piercings may be relatively simple and painless but they should be treated like real piercings.

That being said, earlobe piercings make an excellent choice for a first piercing because of several reasons. They are simple and quick, so they do not cause much pain or discomfort. They are also very popular and, as stated above, socially acceptable. It means you can try piercings without much risk. If you are interested in piercings it is recommended to start with earlobes even if this is not your most desired piercing type. An earlobe piercing will help you prepare for the whole experience better than going with a more extreme piercing first.

  1. Nostril

Another light and simple piercing you can get without much trouble. While not all nose piercings are painless and easy, a simple nostril piercing is a good choice for newbies. It is not particularly painful so it makes for a relatively easy experience.

Another advantage to nostril piercings is that they tend to be small and discreet. If you wish to have piercings other than those on your earlobes, starting with something small makes sense. Nostril piercings are easy to hide, which is yet another advantage of this piercing type.

  1. Eyebrow

Eyebrow piercings are very stylish and popular. The best thing is that they are not complicated to perform, which makes them a good choice for those who wish to get piercings but want to start with something simple enough.

One thing to remember about eyebrow piercings is that they are actually surface piercings. In fact, they are the most popular surface piercings in the world. It makes for a simple and relatively painless procedure, but it also means these piercings are not permanent. While not all eyebrow piercings will migrate or reject, this is one risk associate with this piercing type, so it’s important to pay attention to that.

  1. Navel

Navel piercings are among the most popular piercings in the world. They make a perfect candidate for a first body piercing. If you wish a piercing that is not on your ears, navel makes a great place for a simple yet very effective piercing. It is therefore not surprising that many newbies choose this piercing type.

Navel piercings are great because they are typically easy to perform and maintain. Another huge advantage is the number of different jewelry styles you can choose to wear in your belly button piercing. Curved barbells are standard jewelry types for navel piercings, and many of them are very richly ornamented. On the other hand, you may choose a different jewelry style, such as a circular barbell or a Captive Bead Ring.

  1. Other Ear Piercing (not cartilage)

Ears make a good placement for beginner piercings. While earlobe is the obvious choice, some other placements are very popular with newbies. You may opt for a helix piercing or for a more unusual placement such as a rook or a daith piercing.

There are some words of warning, though. If choosing an ear piercing that is not located on the earlobe, make sure you are familiar with the exact type of the piercing you want to get. Keep in mind that ear cartilage piercings may be painful, so proceed with caution. That being said, ear piercings, especially when they are done at smaller gauges, are very popular and a good choice for newbies.

Oral Piercings

tongueOral piercings are those piercings located fully or partially inside the mouth.

When a piercing is fully located in the mouth, it means that both the enter and exit holes, as well as jewelry, are placed inside the mouth.

The most typical of these piercings is tongue piercing.

However, this is not the only way to have an oral piercing. A piercing can only be partially located in the mouth while the other side is located on the outside, such as on the lip or cheek.

Oral piercings require special aftercare and close attention because of the sensitive tissue and heightened risk of infections. It’s vital to perform aftercare with great care and to monitor your piercing for any potential problems.

Oral piercings include:

  • Tongue piercing.
  • Smiley piercing.
  • Some rare piercings, such as frowny, uvula and other rare oral piercings.
  • Various lip piercings can also be classified as oral piercings, because they are partially located inside of the mouth.
  • Cheek piercings can also be considered oral piercings if they are partially located inside of the mouth.

Tongue Piercing

Tongue piercing is among the most popular piercings and by far the most popular oral piercing. This piercing is performed on the tongue, and the placement can vary slightly based on person’s wishes and anatomy. One of the best things about tongue piercing is that it’s relatively painless and it heals quickly.

While it may seem complex or traumatic tongue piercing is actually one of the less stressful piercing types. However, to ensure satisfaction and safety, it’s vital to get pierced by a knowledgeable, experienced piercer.

Typical jewelry for this piercing type is a straight barbell or a Captive Bead Ring. Tongue piercing, just like all of the other oral piercings, require special aftercare.

Smiley Piercing

Smiley piercing is performed on the frenulum of the upper lip, that is, on the thin piece of skin in the middle of the inside upper lip. The skin here is very thin so it pierces easily. When positioned correctly, jewelry is made to sit on the upper lip and partially on the upper teeth.

Typically, this piercing is not visible unless the person smiles or opens mouth wide enough, so this is why it’s called a smiley piercing. Indeed, it can be best seen when the person smiles.

Since the skin is so thin the procedure is quick and this piercing heals quickly. However, it’s important to follow all aftercare instructions carefully in order to prevent infections and other problems.

Typical jewelry for smiley piercing is a small gauge Captive Bead Ring.

Rare Piercings

There is a number of rare and unusual oral piercings. Some of them are not actually rare among piercing enthusiasts, though they are certainly not as popular as the most common oral piercings. These piercings include frowny, uvula and some more unusual oral piercings.

Some users like to get creative and always seek the way to find new places to be pierced and new, unusual placements. Oral piercings are among those unusual types, though the anatomy of the mouth often makes it difficult to invent new piercing types easily.

Lip Piercings and Cheek Piercings

Most lip piercings are partially located inside the mouth while the other end is located on the outside. Piercings such as labret, Madonna and Monroe, as well as many so-called “bites” piercings (Angel bites, Snake bites, Dolphin bites, and more) are also partially located in the mouth.

What makes these piercings tricky is that they require double aftercare. The part of the piercing and jewelry that lies outside requires aftercare suitable for general piercings while the inside part, the one that lies in the mouth, requires special aftercare suitable for oral piercings.

Cheek Piercings are another type of piercing that resides partially inside the mouth. Similar to lip piercings, part of the jewelry is outside the body, this time located on the cheeks, while the inside part is inside the mouth and it’s considered oral piercing.

Navel Piercing Types

Navel PiercingNavel piercing is among the most popular piercings in the world. While it’s mostly popular among women there are also many men who like this piercing type and visual effect it can achieve.

While a typical navel piercing is the one done through the upper rim of the navel, it’s important to know that this is just one of the possible placements for this piercing type. In fact, there are many different placements and navel piercing types you can get.

Typical jewelry for most navel piercings is a curved barbell, though there are other jewelry choices that can be used, such as Captive Bead Rings and other types of rings. Sometimes, the jewelry choice will depend on the navel piercing type you choose to get.

Piercing Types

Here are the most common navel jewelry types:

  • Regular navel. What is considered a “regular navel piercing” is a vertical piercing done through the upper rim of the navel. This is the most common and by far the most popular navel piercing in the world.
  • Inverse navel. This is another vertical placement. The main difference between this piercing and regular navel piercing is that the inverse variant is placed on the lower part of the navel (lower ridge) instead of the upper.
  • Horizontal navel. This is a horizontal variant of the navel piercing. Instead through the ridge of the navel, this placement is done long the ridge, horizontally. Sometimes, it’s possible to pierce different spots horizontally, so you may pierce through the lower ridge of the navel, to achieve the lower horizontal placement.
  • True navel piercing. This is a relatively rare placement and requires specific anatomy. To be able to get this piercing, you need to have an “outie” belly button. In the case of this piercing, instead of navel ridge, the piercing is done on the navel itself.
  • Navel industrial. This is a combination of several navel piercings connected by a single barbell. Typical jewelry is a long straight barbell (industrial barbell). There are many different directions to position a navel industrial. Typically, piercings are done separately and jewelry is added later, once the piercing are healed. However, some piercers choose to connect new piercings with the jewelry straight away.
  • Multiple navel piercings. A navel can be pierced multiple times to create different patterns. Some of these piercings can be connected by a single jewelry piece to create a navel industrial (see above), while others can use individual jewelry pieces. There are many different patterns and placements you can achieve with multiple navel piercings. These piercings always look very stylish and richly ornamented so it’s possible to achieve multiple different looks with these piercings.

Lip Piercings: The Basics

lip piercingLip piercing is one of the most popular piercings in the world, and also one of the most common facial piercings. It’s relatively easy to perform, but you need to find an experienced professional and a reliable piercing studio.

This is typically one of the first piercings a person will get. It’s more adventurous than a simple earlobe piercing but not as intimidating as nipple or genital piercings.

However, nothing prevents you from having a lip piercing as your first and only piercing, if this is what you want. Remember: there are no rules and “good” vs “bad” when it comes to personal preferences! The only thing to remember is how to stay safe.

Placement and Procedure

Lip piercings are often known as “labret piercings”, even though labret is just one of the many possible placements for a lip piercing. Lip piercings are very varied since there are many different ways and spots to pierce one’s lip. This is why there are numerous different lips piercings known under many names. The basics, however, remain the same.

With a lip piercing, what is actually pierced is not the lip itself (save for a few specific cases). Rather, what is pierced is a skin near upper or lower lip. The piercing hole itself doesn’t extend to the lip itself in most of the cases. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule but these general guidelines are true for most of the cases. One of the main reason is to allow for normal talking and eating without jewelry getting in the way. As usual, there are types of lip piercings that may violate this rule so it all depends on the particular placement. Most of the time, however, the piercers try to keep the jewelry away from the mouth itself, even though the inside part of the piercing (and jewelry) will usually be inside the mouth. This is why lip piercings are considered both facial and oral piercings, which dictates the aftercare and safety instructions.

It’s possible to pierce a lip almost anywhere, so this is one of the main reasons there are so many different lip piercings. Both upper and lower lips can be pierced. The piercing can be made centrally or to the side, depending on the wishes and individual anatomy. Typically, each of these placements has a different name (Labret, Monroe, Jestrum, etc.)

The procedure doesn’t last long. Your piercer will make marks on the desired area and make sure you’re happy with the placement. Most piercers will use forceps to stretch out the lips and keep them in place during the procedure. The piercing itself is done with a piercing needle and it’s pretty straightforward. After the piercing is done, your piercer will put the jewelry and instruct you on proper aftercare.

Lip piercing is not particularly painful. In fact, a standard lip piercing is one of the least painful piercings, so it’s one of the reasons why it’s often chosen as one of the first piercings a person will get. However, it all depends on the type of the lip piercings. Some more extreme lip piercings tend to be more painful.

Jewelry

Typical jewelry for all lip piercing is a labret stud. It is also commonly used as initial jewelry for all lip piercings. Labret studs are small and easy to use so they don’t cause much trouble. However, it’s vital not to twist or turn your labret stud during the healing time.

While labret studs are very popular, some people prefer to use a Captive Bead Ring for their lip piercing. It is particularly common for piercings done near the mouth, because the loop of the ring can go in and outside of the mouth in a very effective manner.

Keep in mind that your initial jewelry will usually be a few sizes larger, to account for initial swelling. After the swelling is gone you should go to your piercer to get the proper jewelry that will ensure a good fit.

Additional Info and Tips

  • Lip piercing has a long history among many cultures. It’s popularized on the West in the late 20th century and it remains very popular to this day.
  • Different lip piercings have unique names so they are often identified as special names. One of the most popular lip piercing is Monroe, which is done on the upper lip, at the place where Marilyn Monroe had her beauty mark. A similar piercing done on the other side is called Madonna. These are just two examples of many lip piercing varieties.
  • While most lip piercings are done through the lip (the hole going from the outside to the inside of the mouth), horizontal placements are also possible. Horizontal placements are rare and they include piercing of the lip itself and include the bar going through the lip’s surface. It is considered a more extreme type of a lip piercing. The most extreme lip piercings have a hole starting out at the lip and going thought the mouth to exit on the lower edge of the jawline. These piercings also tend to be the longest of all lip piercings.
  • Keep in mind that a lip piercing is both a facial and oral piercing. It requires two types of aftercare: general aftercare for the outside part and oral aftercare for the part of the piercing inside your mouth. It’s vital to use saline solutions and other products that are specially made for oral piercing aftercare. Never use harsh chemicals inside your mouth!
  • Lip piercings are typically done at 14 gauge, but other sizes are also possible.
  • It’s very important to ensure a proper placement. A bar that is too short can sink into the lip, causing numerous problems. Also, it’s important that the jewelry doesn’t rub on the gums or else it can cause it to recede. In order to achieve the best placement you need to find a knowledgeable piercer who’s experienced with lip piercings. Never allow to be pierced by a friend or another non-professional!
  • The healing time for most lip piercings is between 1 and 3 months. However, more complex lip piercings or multiple lip piercings will take a longer time to heal.

Why Are Captive Bead Rings so Popular?

Why Are Captive Bead Rings so PopularCaptive Bead Rings are among the most popular jewelry styles for piercings. In fact, they are so common that they may be considered the most popular jewelry type.

Captive Bead Rings (CBRs) are very versatile so they can be used for almost any piercing imaginable. It’s therefore not surprising that they are so common.

In fact, they are so popular that many people equate them with body jewelry of any kind. Ever heard of people talking about navel rings or eyebrow rings? While many people use CBRs for navel, eyebrow and other types of piercings, there are more common jewelry styles appropriate for these piercings. However, all these jewelry styles are often known under a collective name of “rings”. This is, in large part, due to the fact that Captive Bead Rings are so popular.

Captive Bead Rings: Design

Each Captive Bead Ring has a specific design setting it apart from any other jewelry style. A captive bead ring is typically round in shape so it makes a circle. One important aspect of a Captive Bead Ring is the opening and closing mechanism – the bead itself. Each Captive Bead Ring has a small opening to fit the bead. The bead itself it pressed by the sides of the ring, thus keeping it in place and preventing the ring to be opened. Beads typically have small indentations so the end points of the ring can fit.

A captive bead ring is typically round in shape so it makes a circle. One important aspect of a Captive Bead Ring is the opening and closing mechanism – the bead itself. Each Captive Bead Ring has a small opening to fit the bead. The bead itself it pressed by the sides of the ring, thus keeping it in place and preventing the ring to be opened. Beads typically have small indentations so the end points of the ring can fit. This is a pretty standard and recognizable design.

However, this doesn’t mean that CBRs are plain or boring. While the basic design is standard, there are many ways to make a Captive Bead Ring unique and more interesting. In fact, Captive Bead Rings are very versatile and they can be used almost anywhere. There are many different rings to use so it would be incorrect to say that these rings are “ordinary”, despite their huge popularity.

One of the best things about CBRs is how the basic design can be modified and enhanced to produce jewelry of varied styles. Some of the rings are very simple, with a plain bead of the same color as the rest of the ring. Others have beautiful beads done in many different colors and patterns. Some beads include a sparkly gem. Also, some rings include additional decorations, such as charms or chains. All these additions can make for a very decorated jewelry piece that doesn’t resemble a plain-looking Captive Bead Ring.

Popularity of Captive Bead Rings

There are numerous reasons why CBRs are so popular. Here are the most important of them:

  • They are practical. Captive Bead Rings are comfortable and easy to wear. While they take some level of practice to open and close, once you know how to do it they are very easy to use.
  • They are reliable. Captive Bead Rings are among the most reliable body jewelry types. They are not easy to get snagged on clothing and they typically don’t pose much problem for long-term wear. It makes them a very good choice for body jewelry.
  • They are versatile. CBRs can be used for almost any piercing type. Almost any piercing can accommodate a Captive Bead Ring, starting from simple earlobe piercings to some genital piercings.
  • They are beautiful. As described above, CBRs can be decorated in many different ways to achieve different looks and styles. The basic design is not a limit so there are many different styles to choose from. As a jewelry type, Captive Bead Rings are very elegant, starting from the simple, plain-looking ones to the richly ornamented pieces.
  • They are a classic. Simply put, a CBR is a classic jewelry piece used for so many piercings and in so many situations. It is not surprising that people always go back to this foolproof design.

Guiche Piercing

Guiche PiercingA guiche piercing is a male genital piercing done on the perineum. This is not the most popular and widespread genital piercing, but there are many men who have it, so it’s not considered rare, either.

Guiche piercing is not difficult to perform and it can bring added stimulation, so many men enjoy it to the fullest.

Piercing and Placement

The Guiche piercing (pronounced “geesh”) first gained popularity among gay BDSM culture, only to become more common among all demographics in the 1980s and 1990s. According to Doug Malloy, this piercing is of a Polynesian origin. He said that some communities on Tahiti used to practice it on teenage boys. However, there is no concrete proof of this claim.

A Guiche piercing is done on the perineum, on the spot between a man’s scrotum and the anus. Typically, the piercing is done centrally, across the raphe (the midline of the penis). This standard placement is done transversely to the penis, but other placements are also possible. For example, some men choose to have their guiche done laterally.

Guiche is not difficult to perform, but some care must be taken. It’s mainly because this piercing is something between a regular piercing and a surface piercing, so it may require special care.

Jewelry

Typical jewelry for a guiche piercing is a Captive Bead Ring. Many men choose these rings because they are practical and they can also be used to attach weights. Captive Bead Rings can be used both as initial jewelry and regular jewelry.

Other popular jewelry type are barbells, usually circular barbells, but other styles are always possible.

If a guiche piercing is stretched, it can accommodate jewelry made for large gauge piercings, such as plugs or flesh tunnels. However, wearing such jewelry may cause discomfort due to the position of the piercing.

Additional Info and Tips

  • Typical healing time for this piercing is between 6 and 9 months.
  • It’s vital to keep perfect hygiene. This piercing is located very near the anus so it’s understandable that you should take a great care about hygiene. This should go even beyond the healing time – this is piercing that you need to take care of at all times.
  • Guiche piercings are prone to migration and rejection because of their placement.
  • Many men like to wear special weights through their guiche piercing jewelry for additional stimulation.
  • This piercing is considered functional, since it is known to increase sexual pleasure. It can also be used for various kink and bondage activities.
  • Some men have more than one guiche piercing done. Multiple guiche piercings are known as a “guiche ladder”. A guiche ladder can be formed as an extension of an existing frenum ladder.
  • It is possible to stretch a guiche piercing. Such a stretched piercing is often known as a “guiche tunnel”.
  • There is a female variant of this piercing, called “female guiche”. However, guiche piercings are much rarer with women.

Barbells or Rings: Which is Better for Initial Jewelry?

Barbells or RingsSome people wonder which is the best jewelry type for initial piercings. As you know, initial jewelry should satisfy some special standards regular jewelry does not have to include.

For example, while all body jewelry has to be made of body-friendly materials, certain materials are considered safe only for fully healed piercings.

For example, initial jewelry should use only certain materials, such as titanium or 316LVM Surgical Steel, while gold and organic materials are not recommended for new piercings.

Similarly, initial jewelry should be of a certain length. This is particularly important for piercings where swelling is expected. Many piercings swell after the procedure is performed, so initial jewelry should be longer than the regular one.

Apart from these guidelines, there is also one common dilemma about initial piercings: should barbells or rings be used as jewelry? Or, to put it this way: which jewelry type is more suitable for new piercings – barbells or rings?

Which is Better?

Generally speaking, both barbells and rings are good choice as initial jewelry, as long as a particular jewelry type can accommodate this jewelry. Most piercings that can use barbells (be it straight, curved or circular barbells) can also use rings, so it’s not a problem.

Rings are often considered to be safer because they allow for easier cleaning. Proper cleaning is vital for aftercare and preventing problems, so it’s very important to perform regularly. Also, rings can accommodate swelling easily, so they often do not have to be changed once the first swelling is gone.

On the other hand, rings have certain disadvantages. They are more difficult to insert, though this should not be much of a concern, since your piercer will be the one to insert your initial jewelry. Also, rings are reported to cause more discomfort in some cases.

If we talk about barbells, it’s important to know that they can be cleaned properly – you just have to be more careful. Also, it’s possible to use a long enough barbell to accommodate for swelling, so this should not be a concern.

For example, rings are not a great initial jewelry choice for tongue piercings. In this case, it’s best to use a barbell. However, it’s vital to choose a barbell that is long enough to accommodate for swelling. Once the swelling is gone it has to be changed for a shorter barbell. It’s best to make your piercer change the jewelry for you.

The same should be done for other piercings with a significant swelling, such as lip piercings. Rings may be great jewelry for these piercings once they are fully healed, but different jewelry types, such as barbells or labrets are better used as initial jewelry. Just like tongue jewelry, initial lip jewelry should be longer to accommodate for swelling. Once the swelling is gone, your piercer should change your jewelry to a shorter one.

Also, navel piercings will typically benefit from barbells instead of rings as initial jewelry. While you may wear rings in your healed belly button piercing, it’s better to use a curved barbell as your initial jewelry. Rings are more likely to move inside the piercing and they can easily get snagged on clothing, which can be dangerous during the healing time.

Another thing to note in barbell vs ring dilemma is that the difference in curvature. Rings are always curved, which may be problem for certain piercings. With barbells, you can choose between different barbell designs, from straight to curved and circular. Each has a different curvature, so in case your jewelry has to be straight, it’s best to avoid both rings and more curved barbells and stick to straight barbells.

In Conclusion

At the end of the day, there is no much of a difference. Both barbells and rings make suitable initial jewelry, as long as they are well-crafted and made of body-friendly materials. For most piercing types, there is really no need to stress over the choice. Both barbells and rings will do a good job.

In some cases, yes, there is a bit of a difference. This is particularly important for very sensitive piercings, or those that are not easy to clean. However, it’s important to know that this small advantage also brings certain disadvantages. Ultimately, the choice is yours (and your piercer’s). That being said, keep in mind that both barbells and rings are good choices and neither will endanger your new piercing.

Segment and Seamless Rings

Titanium Smooth Segment Ring

Titanium Smooth Segment Ring

Segment and Seamless rings are a good alternative to classic Captive Bead Rings.

They are mostly used in the same way as CBRs are, and for the same piercing types, but they are designed a bit differently, which gives them some advantage to typical Captive Bead Rings.

Segment Rings

Unlike Captive Bead Rings, segment rings don’t have a bead. Instead, they have a removable segment. This segment is tightly pressed to the rest of the ring to make a perfect round shape when the ring is closed. Segment rings tend to be more elegant than Captive Bead Rings, since they offer a more seamless look.

To open a segment ring, simply hold the ring with the segment at the top. Push the segment gently to one side to open the ring slightly and force the segment out. Typically, opening a segment ring is easy, but closing it can be a bit tricky. To put the segment back, put one of its ends in the ring and push the segment in toward the end of the ring while pulling the other side out. It requires some practice but you will soon learn how to do it properly. Always be careful in order to preserve the ring’s shape and to prevent damages to the ring.

Keep in mind: you should never simply pull the segment straight out of the ring without opening the ring slightly first. It may cause the ring to lose its shape and functionality.

Seamless Rings

Seamless rings go even further. They do not have a ball or a separate segment of any kind. Instead, all they have is a split in the ring. This split is so sharp and thin that it’s not easily visible, which gives the ring a perfect seamless design. This is a very elegant choice so it’s not surprising that seamless rings are so highly praised for their beauty.

One great thing about seamless rings is that you can easily slip in and out of your piercing. No beads to worry about. There is no risk that you’ll lose an integral part of a ring since the whole ring is made in one piece!

How to open and close a seamless ring? The only correct way to do it is to twist them open and closed. It means that you have to pick different your ring with both hands near the split and twist the ends in the opposing directions to open the ring. Do the opposite to close it: simply squeeze the rings sides together.

One word of warning: if you open and close these rings incorrectly you can stretch them, which will make the opening wider. This may make the ring lose its original shape or even to become unusable in some cases. Opening and closing seamless rings with pliers is not recommended, since they can damage the ring’s perfect shape. They are great for Captive Bead Rings and segment rings, though.

What’s Wrong with Captive Bead Rings?

One word at the end: there is nothing wrong with Captive Bead Rings. In fact, they are beautiful, comfortable and very practical in many situations. There is a reason why they are the most popular body piercing ring type and why so many users choose them as body jewelry.

The problem is, CBRs have a bead that is not attached to the ring. It means it can fall off easily and there goes your beautiful ring. Of course, you may always use a replacement bead (in fact, that is highly recommended to do), but if you don’t want to worry about beads at all, get a ring without a bead.

Another thing is that CBRs can be very difficult to open and close. While some of these issues are present with segment rings, different designs allow for different opening and closing dynamics, which some users appreciate.

Finally, segment and seamless rings have a more seamless design and they tend to be perfectly round. This may look more elegant than a standard ring with a bead, so some people prefer these rings because of their aesthetics. And not just aesthetics: in some cases, having a perfectly smooth jewelry piece is exactly what you need (for example, if you have a highly sensitive piercing such as a genital piercing).