Is 16 Gauge Normal For Ear Piercing? Quick Guide - Piercinghome (2023)

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For some of the people choosing a new earring set can be a little complicated in case if they are considering choosing a new size of the gauge. You should always look for the new pair of jewelry for your ears or any other part of the body if you are clear in your mind about the difference of most common gauge sizes just like 18 gauge or 16 gauge piercing in mm.

Many people do want to know that is 16 gauge is the normal size for the ear-piercing! Well, we will be having a complete guide about 16 gauge ear piercing right here for the readers!

Two types of methods for Measuring Gauge

Table of Contents

It might sound an unnecessary logic to you but earrings or other jewelry gauze sizes get bigger as you will select the lower number of the gauge. 18 gauge is the most smaller sizing of the gauge as compared to 16 gauge earring using largest gauges as being 0, 00, and 000 gauge jewelry. Normally the gauge size of the jewelry is converted from two different methods in which we have US gauge conversion and metric gauge conversion.

S. Gauge Conversion

Unlike the rest of the countries, the US measures the gauge in inches, In the US, around 16 gauge earrings are measuring approximately 5/128-inch whereas on other 16 gauge earrings is measuring almost 3/64-inch. This brings about the difference between 1/128-inch or even 0.0078 inches.

Metric Gauge Conversion

Next, we have metric gauge conversion in which all the sizes of the gauge are listed as in millimetres for the sake of simpler measurement standards. A piece of 18 gauge earring is measuring almost 1.0 mm whereas on the other 16 gauge earring has a measurement of around 1.2 mm. This brings a difference of around 0.2 mm.

Hence the overall sizing difference between 16 and 18 gauge standard earring size mm earring has been quite negligible, but it is always recommended to take help from an experienced piercer to make the selection of right sizing for your piercing for accurate results.

All the jewelry items including earrings are available in various lengths so try to look for the suitable length and gauge to pick the comfortable piercing for yourself. Hence 16 or 18 gauge has always remained one of the favorite choices when it comes to lip, ear, eyebrow, or nose piercing. You can also sue 16 gauge vs 18 gauge piercing for the septum or the genital piercings.

Is 16 Gauge Normal for Ear Piercing?

If in case your piercing has a stud, then its gauze size is 14g. But if in case you are using a sleeper ring, then it should have a gauge size of an 18 or either 16 gauge piercing jewelry. Besides if your piercing is included with captive bead rings, then its sizing has to be around 12-18g which is completely depending on the choice of the client.

Depending on the area where you are having a surface piercing positioned on your body, the fantastic starting dimension will vary. You should always remember the fact that as much higher the number will be, the smaller the jewelry piece will be.

Why Do Guys Wear Earrings in Their Left Ear?

A Quick Overview on Body Piercing Charts-Jewelry Sizes, Ears, Gauge Details

Type of PiercingGauge SizeStandard Length
Belly / Navel Ring14G3/8″ | 7/8″
Nose Piercing20G | 18G1/4″ | 5/16″
Tongue Piercing14G5/8″
Cartilage Piercing16G | 18G3/16″ | 1/4″ | 5/16″
Eyebrow Piercing16G (14G is also commonly used)1/4″ | 5/16″ | 3/8″
Industrial Barbell14G(16G is also commonly used)1 1/2″ (varies)
Labret Lip Rings14G | 16G1/4″ | 5/16″|3/8″
Monroe Piercing16G1/4″ | 5/16″ | 3/8″
Nipple Piercing14G3/8″ , 1/2″
Tragus / Helix / Rook / Conch / Daith16G | 18G3/16″| 1/4″ | 5/16″ | 3/8″
Septum Piercing14G(16G is also commonly used)3/8″ | 7/16″ | 1/2″| 5/8″
Ear Piercing20G | 18G

There have been different types of ear piercings that you can choose for yourself based on your comfort level. But sometimes, remembering the sizes and names of the piercing can be quite a lot overwhelming for the people.

Therefore, it is extremely important to get a quick idea about different types of piercings and their approximate gauge size for your convenience. Let’s help you a bit and guide you about different types of piercings and their standard size gauge to let you know which one is appropriate for you.

Bridge Piercing

Bridge piercingsare normally performed in one such area of the body which is not too fleshy. So for the bridge piercing, we will be mentioning 18g as the perfect and ideal size for you.

This is because it is quite alto heavy to reduce the migration risk and is also small enough to easily get fitted into the specific limited space. You can even opt for 16g only if your piercer is recommending it to you. 16g is selected if enough skin is already available for the slightly larger barbell.

Cartilage bridge piercing

16 gauge cartilage earrings piercing is normally done using an 18g needle. But most of the time, a piercing expert will be using a small needle which is around 22g or even 16g large. It is your choice whether you ask the piercer to start with a heavy gauge needle.

When Can I Change My Cartilage Piercing?

But, we won’t recommend you start with the needle which is more than 12g. At an average level, cartilage piercing will take almost 6-8 months in terms of healing. It is extremely sensitive therefore wearing any heavy-gauge jewelry can increase the level of pain and discomfort.

Cheek Piercing

Cheek piercings are normally done by using a 16g or a 12g needle that is additionally followed by the labrets of a similar size.

Dermal Piercing

Dermal piercings are normally performed by using smaller sized needles. This can be either 16g or 18g. You can even check out some options of 12g or 14g dermal as well. Hence the suggested size of the dermal starter jewelry will be depending on the required location of the dermal piercing.

For the facial dermal piercing, you will need a piece of small jewelry which is around 18g. But if the dermal piercing has been placed on top of your chest, then it will be a little larger as around 14g.

Earlobe Piercing

Most of the earlobe piercing starts from 20g and ends at 16 gaugelobe earrings. Occasionally, all the piercing experts make the use of a 22g needle in which standard stud earrings are around 20g in sizing. If you are considering starting your earlobe piercing at a little higher gauge, then it is recommended to look for the heavier gauge needle besides having the earlobe being punched by using a dermal punch.

As you will be using a dermal punch, the piercing tissue is completely removed permanently.

Eyebrow Piercing

For the eyebrow piercing 18g and 16g sizes are the most common ones. Eyebrow piercing can somehow be much prone to the migration but this entire problem can be minimized by using a heavy gauge eyebrow rings. If you are having fine features or small face shape, you should avoid using 20g jewelry size.

Frenum Piercing

Frenum piercings are one such piercing in which the expert will be using a heavier piece of gauge needle as well asa straight barbell. 12g is an excellent standard size but most of the clients request in between the 8g or 14g or even the larger one.

It is recommended to always opt for the moderate sizes which can be 12g. Later on, you can stretch yourself to any large size once you get a feeling that you are comfortable in your frenum piercing during intercourse.

Industrial Starter Jewelry

14g is one of the most common sizes for industrial starter jewelry. Some of the people do choose to wear a little smaller jewelry in which we have 16 gauge piercing earrings, whereas others look for the larger size in which we have 12g. Most of the industrial piercing barbells are accessible in the size range of 14g, but you can even search for some other options as well.

Lip Piercing

For the lip piercing, the size of the jewelry will be depending according to the type or kind of piercing you are choosing. Monroe, Labret, and Medusa lip piercing are done with either 18 or 16g of labret stud.

If still, you are in want to have something extra delicate for the Monroe piercing, you should look for 20g stud. For the horizontal lip piercing, you can pick 14g or can also choose a 12g captive bead ring as well as a circular barbell.

Nipple Piercing

In the nipple piercing, one of the most common sizes is 12g and 14g. Based on the surface piercings, as much higher the nipple jewelry gauge will be, the less likely it will bring the risk for rejection or migration.

One of the most desirable rings or nipple barbells are available in both 12g and 14g which will probably not be bothering you in case if you want to get started with the larger size. Besides, you can also make an effort in which you can match all your basic nipple barbells with different threaded ends.

Nostril Piercing

For the nostril piercings, 18g and 20g are the most ordinary choices to make right now. 16 gauge piercing needle is the most recommended one if you are performing the nose piercing for the first time.

What is the standard gauge size for additional Genital Piercings?

20 gauge = 0.812mm

18 gauge = 1.024mm

16 gauge = 1.291mm

14 gauge = 1.628mm

12 gauge = 2.053mm

10 gauge = 2.588mm

8 gauge = 3.264mm

6 gauge = 4.115mm

4 gauge = 5.189mm

2 gauge = 6.544mm

0 gauge = 8.251mm

00 gauge = 9.266mm

Standard sizes for the starter jewelry which is to be used for both male and female genital piercings will be depending largely on the type and anatomy of the piercing. Most of the piercing experts will recommend you to choose only 16 gauge septum piercing for all types of jewelry pieces. But for various make genital piercings, our recommendation would be to choose 16g-12g.

Prince Albert is also known as PA piercing. It is one of the most common types of piercings which is available in different sizes in between the 10g and 6g. You should always remember the fact that as much higher the number will be, the smaller the jewelry piece will be.

You will also view that most of the PA wants are accessible in the larger sizes just like 6g. But if you are considering having any captive bead rings, then you need to start from 8g to 10g ring.

Piercing Jewellery Gauge | Piercing Gauge Chart

Is 16 Gauge Normal For Ear Piercing? Quick Guide - Piercinghome (1)

The piercing gauge chart actual size is basically the broadness of the piercing bar that goes through your skin. In other words, it’s the barbell’s thickness. Note that the thicker the barbell, they actually lower down the gauge size. So a 12 gauge barbell is much thicker than a 20 gauge barbell.

Length of Piercing Jewelry

Is 16 Gauge Normal For Ear Piercing? Quick Guide - Piercinghome (2)

The length of your piercing jewelry refers to the wearable length of the gold barbell that pass through your piercing mostly ear piercing. It is measured from the top side till bottom of the straight barbell and does not include the balls or charms.

Jewelry Diameter Chart

Is 16 Gauge Normal For Ear Piercing? Quick Guide - Piercinghome (3)

Diameter is used to measure the size of round barbells like hoops, captives, and circulars. It is measured from theinnerand widest point of the circle.

Is 16 Gauge Normal for Septum Piercing?

For the septum piercing, 16g and 18g are the two most common forms of gauge sizes. But for the septum piercing, we will recommend you with 14g size. Some of the people might even stretch their piercing to a larger size after they have completely healed themselves. But starting with the heavier gauge is the best option for you as a beginner.

For the tongue piercing, 14g is considered to be the most common sizes but for the starters, 12g is highly recommended. Hence, all in all, you should always look for a larger gauge and not less than 14g.

What Does a Septum Piercing Say About You?

Most of the people are also curious about to know the tongue web piercing gauge sizes! Tongue web piercing is normally performed in the middle of the gums and lip area which is a little delicate. Therefore, for the oral web piercing, the starting ideal size would be 20g.

Every single woman has an anatomy that is quite a lot unique and HCH and VCH piercing have the sizes which are different from one another. For the female genital piercings, fine gauge based needles are used for the delicate areas.

For instance, 18g or 20g captive rings are used for the horizontal clitoral hood piercings, or either 18g curved barbells can be used for the vertical clitoral hood piercings.


To sum up the whole discussion, we would say that no matter whatsoever type of piercing you are carrying out, always take specific guidelines and precautionary tips from your piercing experts. They can carefully measure your piercing area and based on the location measurement, they will recommend you with the particular size jewelry in which you are fully comfortable.

We have covered a few basic surface piercings in this whole article, so endure in the idea that these kinds of piercings have an excessive risk of migration and rejection if your starter 16 gauge earrings are too small.

Depending on the area where you are having a surface piercing positioned on your body, the fantastic starting dimension will vary. Most surface piercing barbells are accessible in 12g, 14g, or 16g; some large sizes like 10g are additionally reachable as starter jewelry. On average, 14g tends to be the most frequent starting measurement for any surface piercing.

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Can you pierce your ear with a 16 gauge? ›

It is commonly pierced at a 16g with a labret or captive bead ring, unless it was pierced with a gun, in which case the piercing will be an 18g or 20g earring post.

What size gauge is a normal earring? ›

The most common gauges for this are the 16g, 18g and 19g. Next to the Forward Helix is the Helix or the outer rim of the ear that stretches down near the earlobe. Typical earring sizes for this part of the ear are 16g, 18g, 19g and 20g.

Is 16 gauge too big for lobe? ›

In the past, it was more common to pierce your lobe at 20G or 18G. However, now that styles are changing, it's more common to pierce the lobe at 16G or 14G. This allows thicker jewelry to go into the piercing hole and follows current styles and trends.

How big is a 16 gauge piercing? ›

Gauge to Millimeters Conversion
9 more rows

What can you pierce with a 16 gauge? ›

MEASUREMENTS: Gauge Size: 16G (1.2mm). Length: 45mm (1 3/4”). Type: Hollow Needle. PIERCING TYPES: Belly Button Ring, Eyebrow, Tongue, Tragus, Rook, Labret, Daith, Nipple, Prince Albert.

What is a 16 gauge good for? ›

16 Gauge - The 16 gauge shotgun's popularity has declined over the years and they aren't easy to find. Like the 12 gauge, it's also a good multipurpose shotgun, but is used primarily for upland hunting — the hunting of non-waterfowl game birds with use of hounds.

What gauge are normal earrings from Claire's? ›

Claire's uses an 18g earring to pierce which is slightly bigger than a traditional 20g lobe piercing. You can easily size your piercing up to the 16g if you want to wear that kind of jewelry.

What is the most popular ear gauge size? ›

The most common sizes are 18 gauge, 16 gauge, and 14 gauge. If your jewellery is a different size, you can measure it with a ruler. Another way to determine the size of your ear piercing is to ask your piercer.

Can you put a 18g earring in an 16g hole? ›

yes you can. When learning about piercings sizes you will know that the bigger the number the smaller the gauge of the piercing so yes you may use an 18g. the 18g is smaller than the 16g. Just be aware though that sometimes user smaller jewelry could cause your jewelry to get accustomed to that size.

Is 16g too big for an ear piercing? ›

16 gauge is small enough that the holes are not gaping open when no jewelry is being worn.

Can I put 16g in 14g piercing? ›

Yes, you can. A 16g jewelry is thinner than a 14g hole so it should go in fine as long as you're willing to downsize your piercing, possibly permanently.

What size gauges go back to normal? ›

Most people can go between 2g (6mm) – 00g (10mm) and expect their ears to revert back to a normal piercing, after a few months of healing.

How far does a 16 gauge shoot? ›

When used in choked barrels, this is a very effective load for medium-sized game at ranges of up to 35 / 36 metres.

What size needle is used for 16g piercing? ›

A: I would recommend using a 15g needle for 16g jewerly from my experience.

Why isn t 16-gauge more popular? ›

Part of the reason the 16 lost a lot of appeal was the abandonment of the 16 for skeet. Also, the ammunition companies did not pay attention to the 16-gauge. Powerful 12- and 20-gauge loads were developed, but the 16-gauge was left by the wayside.

Is 16-gauge the standard? ›

Gauge Range for Body Jewelry

“Standard size is 18 g, which is what I mostly use for all my ear piercings," Thompson reveals. "For piercings in general, 18 g through 16 g is the most common. For nipple or navel piercings, 14 g through 12 g is most common.

Is there a big difference between 16 and 18 gauge? ›

It is easy to believe that 16 gauge could not be all that different from 18 gauge steel. However, even though the numbers are very close, that 16 gauge sink is made of steel that is 25% thicker than its 18 gauge counterpart. That means the 16 gauge choice offers more: Heat Resistance.

What gauge are starter earrings? ›

Gauge Size

Most earlobe piercings are made with a 20G needle, as are some nose piercings.

What is the starter gauge for ear piercings? ›

Start with the right gauge

Most standard earrings are 20 or 18 gauge. It's often recommended that you start with 16 or 14 gauge when you first start stretching your ears.

What gauge are comfy earrings? ›

All styles of ComfyEarrings have 18 gauge posts, the same as many traditional earrings (which are usually 16, 18, or 20 gauge).

Is a 16 or 14 gauge bigger? ›

16ga steel is . 065” inches thick, that is about 1/16th of an inch thick. 14 gauge in comparison is . 083 inches thick which doesn't sound like much except it is almost 30% thicker (27.6% to be exact).

Which is smaller 16 or 20 gauge? ›

Few people know why the thickness of steel diminishes as the gauge increases (ie: 16 gauge steel is thicker than 20 gauge steel). The explanation comes from the early development of a steel gauge measurement system in which the control measurement was based on a 1″ thick steel plate.

How do I know my ear gauge size? ›

If you have a plug or tube, you have to compensate for the groove in the middle of the jewelry where it sits in your ear. On most all plugs and tubes, this is 116 in (0.16 cm) on each end. Deduct 18 in (0.32 cm) from your total measurement to get the actual size of your gauge.

How thick is 16g earring? ›

*With the wearing of traditional or normal kinds of earrings, the piercing size of the above table is not relevant, as standard piercings are all the same.
gaugeinches decimalmillimeters
16g0.051"1.291 mm
0.062"1.587 mm
14g0.064"1.628 mm
12g0.081"2.053 mm
18 more rows

Will my piercing shrink if I use a smaller gauge? ›

The larger the number, the thinner the gauge.

On the other hand, if you insert a smaller gauge of jewelry than what you typically wear, then your piercing will likely shrink, making it tricky to insert your larger jewelry later.

What happens if you size up gauges too fast? ›

Overstretching usually causes a blowout. Stretching out your ear should be a slow and gradual process. If you increase the size of your jewelry too quickly, you can develop blowouts and other complications, like lobe tears and infections.

What's the smallest ear gauge size? ›

A standard ear piercing is 20g or 18g so the smallest gauge size is 20g. Gauge sizes are always even numbers and the smaller the number the bigger the earring, so from 18g the next size up would be 16g. It would then go from there to 14g, then 12g, then 10g etc. When you get to 0 the next one up would be 00g.

Do ears shrink back from gauges? ›

The earlobe can shrink back to its normal size if the earring or gauge is less than 14mm or a size 2 gauge. Anything larger than this size will require reconstructive surgery. Stretching of the ear with gauge piercings is a process that takes many months and should not be rushed.

Does 16-gauge come in 3? ›

For decades, 16-gauge enthusiasts have had ammunition manufacturers make a 3-inch 16-gauge cartridge.

How wide is a 16-gauge? ›

Gauge size standard:
33 more rows

What does gauge 16 mean? ›

Definition of '16-gauge'

1. of, pertaining to, or being a size of shotgun shell having a diameter of 0.662 in. ( 1.68 cm) 2. of, pertaining to, or being a shotgun using such a shell.

How long does a 16 gauge piercing take to heal? ›

This piercing goes through the piece of cartilage that juts out of the front of the ear; it is usually pierced with a labret or barbell at 1.2mm (16g) gauge. It usually takes 8-16 weeks to heal.

Is 16g bigger than 18g? ›

Standard ear piercings are usually pierced at 20g or 18g. Gauge sizes go up (or down, depending on how you look at it) in even numbers from there, so the next largest size from an 18g is 16g, then 14g, then 12g, and so on. When you get to 0g, the next size is 00g (pronounced “double zero gauge").

Is 16g too big for ear piercing? ›

16 gauge is small enough that the holes are not gaping open when no jewelry is being worn. You can easily use a taper to stretch your lobes, and this blog will guide you through exactly how to do it!

How long should I wait to go from 16g to 14g? ›

Here is a good example timeline to get from regular piercing to 00 gauge: 16g to 14g - 1-2 months. 14g to 12g - 1-2 months. 12g to 10g - 2-3 months.

What are the quickest healing ear piercings? ›

Earlobe Piercing

Earlobe piercings are the most standard, comfortable, and fastest healing type you can get.

Is 16g or 18g better? ›

And as you know, the thicker sink will be more durable and typically higher quality than a thinner steel sink. So, put in more technical terms, the lower gauge steel, or 16 gauge sink, is the thicker and better choice than the 18 gauge sink made with thinner steel.

What happens if you put a smaller gauge in a piercing? ›

The larger the number, the thinner the gauge.

On the other hand, if you insert a smaller gauge of jewelry than what you typically wear, then your piercing will likely shrink, making it tricky to insert your larger jewelry later.


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