Piercing is the most common and popular body modification in the world, but despite its popularity there’s plenty of confusion surrounding the tools of the piercing trade. By far the most important tools in any piercer’s kit are their piercing needles (if your piercer tries to use a piercing machine, get out of there—they are impossible to sterilize and far less safe than traditional piercing needles). Here’s a breakdown of the most common piercing needles and some frequently asked piercing needle questions.
Types of Piercing Needles
Depending on the location of a piercing on the body, it may be necessary to use a particular piercing needle or piercing technique. Here are the most common types and their uses.
- Straight piercing needles: Straight needles are the most basic and versatile piercing needle you’ll encounter, used for everything from ears and tongues to eyebrows and nipples. Straight needles come in a wide selection of lengths and gauges to accommodate any piercing. You can also find straight coated piercing needles, which reduce the need for additional lubrication during piercing, and straight threaded piercing needles, which allow for much easier jewelry installation after piercing.
- Cannula piercing needles: Cannula needles are also straight, but they are enclosed in a plastic sheath. After piercing, the needle itself can be pulled through the sheath, which stays in place inside the fistula, allowing for much easier installation of jewelry through the sheath, which is then removed.
- Curved piercing needles: Curved piercing needles are used for piercings in tight, hard-to-reach areas. Inner ear piercings like rook, daith, and tragus piercings are usually performed with curved needles. We also offer hooked piercing needles that can make some especially tricky or tight locations easier to pierce.
Piercing Needle Gauges
In piercing, gauge refers to the diameter of the needle and therefore the size of jewelry that a piercing performed with a specific needle will require. The higher the gauge number, the smaller the diameter of the needle; for example, 18g needles have a diameter of about 1mm, while 8g needles have a diameter of about 3.25mm. Our store allows you to shop for piercing needles by gauge, so you can quickly find the size and style of needles you need.
While some piercings can be performed with a number of different needle gauges, some should only be performed with needles of a specific size. If you are interested in a larger-gauge jewelry, be sure to talk to your piercer first. While it is often possible to stretch piercings to a larger gauge, they may need to be pierced at a smaller size first.