The Ultimate Guide to Body Piercings and Jewellery

The Ultimate Guide to Body Piercings and Jewellery

Body piercings and jewellery have been embraced by countless individuals as a form of self-expression, cultural heritage, or simply as a fashionable statement. The art of adorning one's body with piercings and embellishments has a rich history that dates back thousands of years, with each culture contributing unique styles and traditions. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the mesmerizing realm of body piercings and jewellery, discussing everything from popular types of piercings to essential safety measures.

The Fascinating History of Body Piercings

Body piercings have traversed through time, with evidence of their existence dating back to ancient civilizations. Egyptians, Romans, and various Indigenous tribes used piercings for religious rituals, cultural identification, and personal adornment. The significance of body piercings varied across cultures, showcasing social status, warding off evil spirits, or symbolizing coming-of-age ceremonies. Exploring the history of body piercings allows us to appreciate the deep-rooted traditions and symbolism associated with this art form.

What Are The Types of Body Piercings?

From navel piercing to surface anchors, body piercings can be subtle, complimentary, tantalizing, or shocking - it all depends on how you wear them. Some of the most popular types of body piercing include:

  • Navel/Belly Button
  • Nipple
  • Microdermal/Surface
  • Genital
Belly Button Piercings

Navel/Belly Button Piercings

Navel, or belly button, piercings is one of the most popular body piercings today. Although its popularity peaked in the 90s and early 2000s, the navel piercing is here to stay. From Britney to Beyoncé, navel piercings have kept their place in pop culture.

During the 90s, the belly button piercings were a sex symbol. Now it is returning as an elegant and cool piercing, with a lot more options in jewellery design and style. These piercings are most often worn by women but can be worn by men as well. In ancient Egypt, they were signs of courage and manhood.

Generally, these piercings are performed along the upper area of the navel. There are a number of jewellery options today ranging from belly button rings, to barbells, and Bali dangles.

Belly button piercings are safe, and one of the least painful piercings. They have a lower rejection rate than other surface piercings. As well, since they are a fleshy area with few nerve endings, getting pierced is easy and low pain. Complete healing can take 6-12 months. 


Nipple Rings

Nipple Piercings

Nipple piercings are popular among both men and women. They can add a little edge, heighten sexuality, or add a touch of elegance.  

Although they can be found throughout much of history, the popularity of nipple piercings in the Western world seems to date back to the Victorian period. The same period that brought us burlesque. They had a revival again in the 1970s and have been going strong since. 

Because nipples are a sensitive area they can be more painful to pierce than other common areas such as ear piercings. Despite this, nipple piercings are popular for both men and women. Once the area is pierced, the jewellery is not painful. In fact, most people report a pleasant or arousing feeling from playing with their nipple piercing jewellery.

Healing times for nipple piercing are a little longer, as much as 12-18 months to fully heal. Fortunately, they are easy to protect since they are usually covered by a shirt. Still, make sure you are ready to commit to this extended aftercare time before you piercing your nipples.

Most people get horizontal nipple piercings with a lateral bar or ring. Angled and vertical nipple piercings are less common, but still an option. Angled nipple piercings can compliment curvy body types. Consult with your piercer for the best option but, in the end, it’s best to choose the style that appeals to you. 

Surface Piercings

Microdermal Piercings

Microdermal piercings are unique from other piercings. For one, they can go anywhere on the surface of your body. For another, they are affixed differently than other piercings.

Instead of a piercing that goes in one hole and out another, surface piercings have a single hole punched into the skin. A dermal anchor is placed into the hole. The skin heals up around the base of the anchor. Dermal piercing jewellery attaches to the anchor. 

The options for jewellery and placement are limited only by your imagination. People make dermal piercing necklaces, attach horns to their heads, or have simple beads “floating” on their skin.

Microdermal piercings require more care than other piercings. They are more prone to both migration and rejection than other piercing types. In addition to requiring careful aftercare, they are more prone to damage than other piercings, even after healing. As a result, you need to take extra care such as covering them up if playing sports.

Surface Piercings

Surface piercings are similar to dermals. However, although the end product can look like a dermal, the base is similar to standard piercings. A piercer inserts a surface barbell by making two holes, like a regular piercing. Only the ends of the barbell are exposed, giving the appearance of dermal anchors.

The piercing and jewellery for surface piercings are lower cost than dermals because they are less specialized. However, they don’t last as long with the average lifespan for surface piercings being only 1 to 2 years. After this, the body often starts to reject the piercing.


Genital Rings

Genital Piercings

Intimate and enticing genital piercings are any piercing of the genitalia. The types of piercings and jewellery vary widely, as do the reasons for getting them. Genital piercings have been a right of passage, aesthetic enhancement, or increasing sexual pleasure and confidence.

 While genital piercings are often perceived as for young, college-aged, kids the ages are much more varied. Today, middle-aged women are just as likely to get these piercings to liven up the bedroom at home, as a young adult looking to experiment with their newfound sexuality.

People often find that genital piercings improve sensitivity and stimulation for themselves and/or their partners during intercourse. This is one of the prime motivators for genital piercings. Elayne Angel of the Association of Professional Piercers cites a reasons people choose specific types of genital piercings including:

  • Healing time
  • Visibility
  • Sensation
  • Pleasure for self
  • Pleasure for partner
  • Piercing penetration
  • Sexual preference
  • Activities (i.e. horseriding, bike riding)

Picking the right genital piercing has a number of factors, including the above list and individual anatomy. You always want to consult a piercing professional on the right piercing type for your genitalia. Generally, we recommend you consult with a doctor as well.

Choosing Body Piercing Jewellery

When you shop for body piercing jewellery there are a number of factors to consider.

Materials and AllergiesSelecting the right material for body jewellery is crucial to ensure comfort and avoid allergic reactions. Learn about the common materials like surgical steel, titanium, and bioplast, and understand how to identify potential allergies.

Sizes and GaugesUnderstanding the sizing system for body jewellery, including gauges and lengths, allows for a comfortable fit. Whether it's for a stretched piercing or a regular one, knowing the appropriate measurements is essential.

Styles and DesignsBody jewellery comes in a plethora of styles, ranging from classic to contemporary. Explore the wide variety of designs, including studs, hoops, captive bead rings, and barbells, to find the perfect accessory that matches your personality.

Barbells for Body Piercings

Barbells are among the most popular types of piercing jewellery. They are a single metal rod that enters the skin through one hole and exits through another.

The name comes from the traditional appearance with a metal ball on either end of the bar. They resemble a miniature version of vaudevillian strongman barbells.

Classic Barbell

Generally, piercing jewellery barbells are straight, curved, or circular. Navel bars usually have one bead end and one end with larger ornamentation. For surface piercings, there are also surface barbells. These differ in that the entire bar is hidden, with only the ends exposed. With standard barbells expose some or most of the bar.                  

Navel Barbell

Body piercings that use barbell jewellery include:

  • Nipple Piercings
  • Navel Piercings
  • Genital Piercings
  • Surface Piercings

Rings for Body Piercings

Rings aren’t as common for body piercings as barbells. But, they’re far from unusual. From belly button rings to a Prince Albert captive bead ring, rings are appropriate jewellery for most body piercings.


Piercing Rings

Rings are any jewellery that completes, or nearly completes a 360° ring. Common body piercing rings include captive bead rings, fixed bead rings, circular barbells and clicker rings.  

Body piercings that use barbell jewellery include:

  • Nipple Piercings
  • Navel Piercings
  • Genital Piercings

Shields & Dangles for Body Piercings

Shields and dangles are heightened ornamentation for body piercings. Their purpose is as variable as their styles. A nipple shield, for example, can be used to highlight the nipple while exposed or to make the piercing less obvious while hidden by clothing.

Dangles, as the name suggests, are pieces that hang (or dangle) from the piercing. They range from simple to complex. A shield, on the other hand, goes around the piercing, usually in a circle or semicircle. 

Body piercings that use shields and dangles include:

  • Nipple Piercings
  • Navel Piercings

Body Piercing Aftercare: Maintaining Optimal Healing

Cleaning and SanitizingProper aftercare is vital for ensuring a smooth healing process and preventing infections. Learn the recommended cleaning techniques, suitable solutions, and duration of aftercare for different types of piercings.

Avoiding Irritants: Certain substances and activities can hinder the healing process of a fresh piercing. Discover common irritants to avoid, such as swimming pools, excessive touching, and subpar cleaning products.

Handling ComplicationsDespite following aftercare guidelines, complications can occasionally arise. Learn how to identify and address issues like infections, migration, and rejection, ensuring the health and longevity of your piercing.


Body piercings and jewellery offer a captivating and personal way to self-expression. By understanding the history, types, aftercare, and safety precautions, individuals can embark on their body modification journey with confidence. Pierced stands as a reputable studio that prioritizes customer safety and offers expert guidance. Embrace the art of body piercings, stay informed about the latest trends, and unleash your unique style, all while ensuring your well-being and satisfaction.

Remember, body piercings are not just about the aesthetic appeal; they represent personal stories, cultural heritage, and individuality. As you embark on your piercing journey, always prioritize safety, consult professionals like Pierced, and enjoy the artistry that comes with adorning your body with beautiful jewellery.

Get Your Own Body Piercings and Jewellery

When you get pierced, it’s usually best to buy your first set of jewellery at the same time. Your piercer is certain of the safety of the jewellery and its materials. As well, they are familiar with the varying gauge sizes between the jewellery brands they carry.

If you are shopping jewellery for an already healed body piercing, it’s still best to buy from a credible source with professional piercers. That’s why Pierced only offers jewellery from top piercing jewellers like Junipurr, Maria Tash, and BVLA.

Our expert piercers are always happy to answer your questions about body piercings and jewellery.

Piercing Studios Near You


Square One Shopping Centre
100 City Centre Drive, Mississauga, ON L5B 2C9

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Need an Experienced Piercer in Mississauga?

Working with an experienced piercer can make all the difference when it comes to your piercing experience. If you’re in the Mississauga, Ontario area and have any questions about ear piercing, body piercing or jewelry, give us a call or stop by our piercings studio today. We’d love to help walk you through what to expect and help you choose the right option.

Rethink piercings, rethink piercings, rethink piercings.

Rethink piercings, rethink piercings, rethink piercings.