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Changing Jewelry

Jewelry types from joeltron.comThe one problem with ordering jewelry from us online is that we’re not around to help you put it in, but changing your jewelry is not brain surgery. With a little patience, and a little practice, it’s often easy enough to do yourself.

Below are some helpful tips for keeping your piercings happy and healthy when inserting or removing jewelry. For detailed information on how each type of jewelry works, see our page on different jewelry types.

Facial and Ear Piercings

Like traditional earlobe piercings, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to change jewelry in other piercings as well. Be patient, and if you’re at the bathroom mirror, make sure you cover the sink drain—lest you lose a dropped piece of jewelry!

Curved Press-fit Post with Side-set CZs in Titanium from NeoMetalAt Infinite, most ear piercings (along with nostril, eyebrow, and lip piercings), are done with press-fit jewelry. Similar to traditional butterfly-back earrings, press-fit jewelry is made up of two pieces that snap together. The decorative press-fit end has an attached pin that, when adjusted to have a slight bend, fits securely in place inside a hollow press-fit post. To remove, simply pull the two pieces apart, pulling the decorative end away first, then removing the press-fit post from the piercing. To insert, put the post in your piercing first, then line the decorative end up so it slides into the hollow post, and then push the two pieces together until secured. For more detailed information on how this type of jewelry works, check out Jewelry Types and our page on Press-fit Jewelry.

Sometimes ear or facial piercings will have threaded jewelry instead. If your post doesn’t easily pull apart, it may be a different type of jewelry. Threaded posts, whether they are straight or curved barbells or labret posts, are easy to change on your own as at least one end can be removed simply by unscrewing. (Righty-tighty; lefty-loosey.) While usually easy to take out, sometimes getting the removable piece to thread back on for insertion can be tricky. For more information on different types of threaded jewelry, go to Jewelry Types.

Fixed Bead Ring from AnatometalRings can be either the easiest to change or the trickiest. Some styles, like clickers and hinged rings, have a hinged-closure that snaps open and closed for easy insertion and removal. With other styles, like fixed bead rings and seam rings, you have to manipulate the ring itself, twisting the ends apart, much like tearing a piece of paper in half. Don’t pull apart or spread the ring; you want to ensure the ring isn’t warped during removal and is lined up properly after insertion. Captive bead rings and segment rings fall somewhere in the middle, each having a removable piece that pops in and out for insertion and removal. If you’re not sure what kind of ring you’re wearing, check out the more detailed information over on our Jewelry Types page. Rings can sometimes be tough to change and damage to the jewelry can occur if not done properly, so stop in to see your local piercer for help if needed.

Circular barbells, a horseshoe-shaped ring with two threaded balls on either end, are a favorite in septum piercings. These can be very easy to change on your own because each ball is removable and can be unscrewed. As with all jewelry made from small removable parts, make sure you change your jewelry somewhere where you can see if any pieces try to make an escape!

Nipple, Navel, and Genital Piercings

Bezel-set Gem Curved Barbell from Industrial StrengthChanging jewelry for piercings below the neck is just as easy as with other piercings, but can be a little different, because the jewelry is usually a little thicker than with facial and ear piercings. Posts can be easier to change than rings.

For posts, simply unscrew one of the ends. (Again: righty-tighty; lefty-loosey.) For nipple barbells, one or both of the balls will unscrew. With the gem-set curved barbells in navel or hood piercings, it will most often be the top ball that is removable. For plain curved or straight barbells purchased from Infinite, either end can be unscrewed to remove the jewelry.

Nipple, navel, and genital piercings can last for a lifetime, but even so the piercing can shrink quickly if jewelry is not kept in. If you are removing jewelry, make sure you have something ready to put back in, and when in doubt, make a trip to see your local piercer for help.

Helpful Tips

Make sure your piercing is healed first.

It may seem obvious, but make sure your piercings are good and healed before you go about switching your jewelry. And not just that it looks healed; make sure it is healed. (For approximate healing times for different piercings, check out our aftercare pamphlet.) A healed piercing is one where discharge (or secretions) are minimal and where your body has grown a solid channel of skin from the entrance to the exit of the piercing, creating a path for jewelry to be inserted.

Changing jewelry too soon can not only set back your healing, but if you don’t have a solid channel formed it may take several frustrated attempts to get your jewelry through the piercing—and you may even lose it. If you are not sure if your piercing is fully healed, wait. It is better to be safe than piercing-less and sorry.

Know your jewelry size.

It’s nearly impossible to purchase correctly-sized jewelry if you don’t know what size you’re currently wearing. In our studio, we often explain to clients that it is like trying to shop for shoes without knowing your shoe size: you can guess, but you probably won’t end up with something that is a good fit. If you do not know your jewelry’s size, stop by your local piercing shop and have your piercing measured, or check out our page on measuring jewelry.

Double-check the size of your new jewelry.

There’s nothing worse than trying to put in new jewelry and discovering that you’ve purchased the wrong size. If you’ve ordered jewelry from us online, before you open the heat-sealed pack your jewelry is contained in, hold up the new jewelry to an old piece and make sure they’re the same size.

Clean your hands and jewelry first.

Wash your hands with soap and water before handling your piercing or your jewelry. Once your hands are clean you will want to clean your new jewelry. While jewelry purchased from us or any other high-quality source is relatively clean, it will need a gentle cleansing before putting it in. (All jewelry is cleaned before shipment, but once it leaves the studio we cannnot guarantee that it will remain that way.) Metal jewelry can usually be rinsed with a soap-and-water solution. For more porous organic jewelry—such as wood, horn, or bone—be careful of what you're using, as anything used can get trapped in the material and leach into your skin. For these, a light oiling is all you need; grapeseed or jojoba oil will usually do the job.

Lubricate!

Putting jewelry in dry is extremely difficult, and can easily damage your piercing. Slippery jewelry may be a bit more difficult to handle, but makes for an easier jewelry change. Water-based sex lube is ideal, so get yourself a trial-size tube of K-Y Jelly (or something similar). Soap and water will also work, but stay away from petroleum-based products.

Don’t change your jewelry in the shower, or in the bathroom over the sink.

While it may seem like a good idea to insert jewelry while looking into your bathroom mirror, or in the shower while the skin is loose and warm, small pieces can be hard to hold and ends and balls are often lost down the drain. Instead, sit in the center of your bed where you can easily see and recover dropped jewelry.

Keep jewelry in your piercing.

Even healed piercings can shrink quickly if jewelry has been left out for too long. If for some reason you have problems inserting your new jewelry, make sure you put your original jewelry back in. Even a few hours can be the difference between an easy and painful jewelry insertion—or losing your piercing altogether. If your piercing has shrunk to the point that getting even your original jewelry in is impossible, you’re going to want to visit your local studio do get some help.

Any problems, check in with your piercer.

Changing jewelry is usually easy, but sometimes you may need a little help. If you’re not close enough to come in see us, there is likely a professional piercer in your area who can give you a hand.