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Ear & Body Piercing/Cartilage piercing and sterilization


Hi so 11 months ago I got my cartilage pierced with a needle at a body shop. Sadly, us customers didnt get a choice of gauge so I had to get a 20g. Inserted into the piercing right now is a standard butterfly back earring. Okay so online I found a horseshoe circular ring in an 18g, if I buy this earring and try to insert it will there be some pain? Being that I am technically gauging it. I've read reviews and people have said that they bought it for there 20g piercing and had to push it in and had some difficulty. Also, is it safe to do that? Lastly, how would you clean your earrings prior to inserting and after?

First, if this 18g circular barbell you speak of was not sold to you in a sealed package with a clear written indication that it was sterilized, there is nothing you can do to make it safe to wear at home. Body jewelry should only be purchased when it meets the criteria discussed in my article at which includes adequate cleaning and steam autoclave sterilization.

Feel free to follow up with a link to the product and I can give you an informed review of it.

The post on your butterfly backed "gun" piercing stud may be thicker than 20g, but in any case you are best to have a qualified professional do the change for you, as they can use a gentle appropriate method, ensure proper sterilization and should have a selection of safe jewelry to fit.

If you buy a piece with a rough edge or exposed screw threads it could damage the piercing and risk infection and scarring. I could refer you to a conscientious colleague in your area who would make sure that you got the right piece and safe treatment. Check my map where you can locate a piercer here:

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Brian Skellie


I can answer questions in regards to and not limited to: jewelry safety, specifically material, shape, proportion, and related issues; aseptic technique and sterilization as it applies to piercing safety; ethical issues of technique and bedside manner; the aftercare and recovery process for piercings. *Available for consultation.


Body artist and founder of Piercing Experience (1992), and SciCan Authorized Dealer of STATIM Sterilizers and related infection control products

Currently serving on the APP Board of Directors as President, formerly as Global Media Director 2013-2014, International Liaison 2010-13, Treasurer 1997-99. Over fifteen years with ASTM and APP.

The Point Journal of the Association of Professional Piercers, USA Today, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Atlanta Magazine, Creative Loafing

I regularly participate and teach in many APP and related body art educational programs. I keep current certifications for OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens, First Aid, and CPR.

Awards and Honors
APP President's Award, Best Freehand Piercer, Best of Atlanta

Past/Present Clients
Tens of thousands of one on one client experiences as the founder of Piercing Experience in Atlanta, GA, USA *Body jewelry design and safety expert: Member ASTM committee F04( former Member AAMI ( Research advisor and educator for the APP for over a decade( teaching advanced studio setup, sterilization and equipment management, freehand piercing, aseptic/sterile technique and much more. Distributor and Body Art expert for SciCan StatIM sterilization and infection control products. and

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