The Correct Body Piercing Jewellery for Hygiene

You’re going to have a piercing – you know where you want it, but what do you want to put in it? Here’s a guide to the jewellery best suited for all areas.

Ear Lobe

The ear piercing is by far the most popular type of body piercing, either a single lobe piercing, or multiple piercings in the rim. There are many different parts of the ear that can be pierced, depending on how adventurous you are.

Once the lobe is fully healed, you can hang anything you like from it – whether you have a penchant for hoops, chandeliers, or you’re a diamond stud fan. When you have the initial piercing, though, the studio will probably suggest that it’s done with a stud, or what’s called a ‘ball closure ring’. Some of the more unusual piercings (such as the ‘Industrial’) use a barbell, which stretches from one side of the ear to the other. The usual healing time for an ear piercing is five to six weeks.


Eyebrows are usually pierced with a barbell or a ball closure ring, and these can be fitted in a selection of different designs and sizes. You can, have your eyebrow pierced in several different places, but the most common place is on the outer edge of the brow. This type of piercing can take six to eight weeks to fully heal.

Madonna, Lip and Labret piercings

Piercings on or near the lip will nearly always be done with a stud. Healing time is around six to eight weeks.


Nose piercings are usually fitted with a stud, as this makes the piercing easier to clean while it’s healing. Nose studs aren’t the same as ear studs, and don’t have butterfly clips to keep them in place – they are bent into a horseshoe shape inside the nose, which stops them falling out. Once the piercing has fully healed, the stud can be swapped for a ball closure ring. The nostril can take up to 12 weeks to heal.


Although you might not think it, a tongue piercing is said to be one of the least painful piercings you can have – although the few days afterwards can be uncomfortable. Tongue piercings are usually done with a long barbell, as there is likely to be a fair amount of swelling. This can be changed down to a shorter one as the swelling goes down and the piercing heals. The healing process for a tongue piercing will take about three weeks, and there can be a few days on soft food as the swelling dies down.


A nipple can be pierced several times, and it can be a vertical or a horizontal piercing. When a male nipple is pierced, it’s usually done with a barbell, ball closure ring or a circular barbell, and the best choice for female nipples is a simple barbell, for comfort. A barbell is always used for a vertical piercing. Once the nipple is fully healed, after about 12 weeks, the barbell can be changed for whatever suits!

Navel (Belly Button)

Navel piercing is another really popular fashion statement, seen on models and pop stars everywhere! The most common form of navel piercing, the upper piercing, is usually best done with a bananabell (a jewelled navel bar) or a ball closure ring. If you have the ball closure ring to start with, some studios will suggest that you change after a few weeks to a bananabell. Although the piercing isn’t healed at that stage, the bananabell sits much closer to the body so this reduces the risk of catching on clothing as the piercing heals and the swelling goes down. Healing takes around six months in some people but can take as long as a year.


Always ask your piercer for their recommendations about which types of metal are best for your piercing. Generally speaking, any metal you choose should be a type that’s known not to react to body tissues – some precious metals and surgical implant materials work well.

Good Choices for Body Piercings
  • 14k or 18k white or yellow gold
  • Surgical implant stainless steel or titanium
  • Niobium
Bad Choices
  • Sterling silver – it oxidizes (tarnishes) when it comes into contact with body tissues.
  • Plated gold – the plating can rub off and the exposed metal underneath can react with your body to cause irritation and infection.
  • Any type of fake gold or base metal jewellery, which may corrode when exposed to bodily fluids.

It’s important that you take your time to decide exactly what jewellery you would like to wear in your piercing, and you’ll probably find that there is a huge range of designs and colours that make the decision a difficult one. Either way, you’re likely to be wearing your choice for a good few weeks or months while the piercing heals so pick something that’s going to keep you happy for the long term – and always ask your piercer for their recommendations if you’re not sure.

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