Rogue has become quite the hub for large-gauge piercing work in the UK! With a combined experience of over 30 years, the piercing team at Rogue can offer pretty much all body piercings at a larger gauge than standard. So, what is a large-gauge piercing and how do we do them?
What is a Large-Gauge Piercing?
We define large-gauge as anything pierced initially at 10g (2.4mm) or higher. Large-gauge piercings can also be achieved via stretching, however this is a much longer and more labourious process that can take many years to achieve.
Most piercings can be performed at a large gauge, the most popular being:
- Lobe Piercings
- Septum Piercings
- Lip Piercings (Labret, Philtrum, Snakebites and many more)
- Genital Piercings
- Cartilage Piercings (Conch, Helix, and Daith)
- Nipple Piercings
- Navel Piercings
What is the process?
We always recommend booking in for a piercing consultation before any large-gauge work – This is for two reasons.
- Depending on the piercing, we need to perform an anatomy check. This is done to ensure you have the appropriate anatomy for the piercing you would like, and to double-check that your intended piercing size is suitable.
- We also like to talk to our large-gauge piercing clients in advance, as there are sometimes multiple methods available for some piercings. In addition, we always want to talk to our potential clients about what to expect, and ensure that you are ready to choose a large-gauge piercing.
How is a Large-Gauge Piercing Done?
Large-gauge piercings are performed the same as most other piercings – We simply use a larger needle, and custom-made jewellery. As previously mentioned, there are sometimes alternative methods available which can be discussed.
- To prepare for your appointment, we recommend eating a good meal with complex carbs and protein involved. We also strongly discourage drinking alcohol for 24/48hrs before your appointment.
- At your appointment, we will firstly double-check the anatomy and decide on an appropriate placement for you. Depending on the piercing location, we will also discuss this placement with you. Some piercings have ‘wiggle-room’ for placement, such as conch piercings, whereas others really require precise placement. We are happy to chat about this with you to make sure you’re happy!
- We will then clean the piercing placement again. We use a double-cleaning method to first clean and secondly disinfect the location.
- We usually pierce you laying down – This ensures your comfort and prevents extra movement. It’s also good for clients who might feel a little faint due to the piercing process!
- Once we are happy with the marking, we will don our sterile gloves. We use sterile gloves for all piercing procedures for optimal hygeine and cleanliness.
- We may then take a short time to decide on our positioning, so there may be a short 2-3 minute wait while we prepare ourselves to pierce. This is to ensure the piercing itself is the quickest, smoothest process.
- Once we are ready, and you are ready, we will instruct you to take a nice deep breath in. On your exhale, this is when we will pierce you!
- It is super important to keep your breathing relaxed and even. Holding your breath and clenching your torso can only make the process feel more intense and increase any feelings of panic. Nice, even, deep breathing is key.
- Once the piercing is performed, we then insert the jewellery. The entire piercing process itself will take less than a minute.
- You are more than welcome to take a break at this stage – There is no rush to jump off the piercing bed and take a look! We will always move at your pace.
Why Pierce and not Stretch?
This is a super common question we get! There are two main reasons that you might want to pierce (or repierce) at a larger gauge instead of simply stretching a standard gauge piercing.
Firstly, it can expedite the process and allow you to get to your goal size a lot faster. For example, if your end goal is an 8g septum piercing, that might take upwards of 2-3 years to achieve by stretching a 16g piercing. That’s 6 months post-piercing before you can make your first stretch, and then 2 years of stretching a single size at a time with the recommended 6 month wait time in between. You can read more about septum stretching in more detail here. This is a very long time indeed! That time can be shortened significantly if you choose to get pierced at 8g – You are immedietely at your goal size.
Secondly, it is less traumatic to your body. This may seem counterintuitive, but I hope I can explain this fully! Each time you stretch a piercing, even if you do so under ideal conditions using perfect technique, you can cause the generation of scar tissue. This scar tissue is a lot less elastic than normal tissue, and we need to wait for this scar tissue to soften before you make your next stretch. This is one of the reasons why you need to take stretching really slowly. That being said, even if you wait forever, some scar tissue will still remain from your previous stretches, and this can begin to accumulate. The maximum size that your body can accomodate will depend massively on the amount of scar tissue you generate during your stretching process – After a certain point, your scar tissue will not allow you to stretch to a larger size without damage occuring. If you simply got pierced at a larger size, you can avoid the scar tissue that would have otherwise been generated during the stretching process. For example, if your goal size for your earlobes is 1/2″ (approx 12mm), that is usually 12 stretches that you will need to do. 18g to 16g, 16g to 14g, 14g to 12g and so on. That is 12 opportunities for scar tissue development, even under ideal conditions. And who among us can claim to have always stretched their piercings absolutely faultlessly? Very few indeed. So, if your goal is 1/2″, you can skip 50% of the stretching process by getting pierced at 6mm (2g). This means that a) Your stretching process is shorter and b) You will usually end up with healthier, happier earlobes at the end.
Thirdly, (I know I only said two, but here we are), piercing at or near your goal size allows you to control the final look and placement of your piercing a lot more. When you stretch, you are naturally causing the distortion of tissue. Inserting larger jewellery forces the tissue around it to move and adapt. Over time, especially in body piercings such as navels and nipples, this can sometimes result in thinning tissue or a wonky piercing. Getting pierced at a larger gauge minimises issues with migration, and can prevent a ‘stretched out’ look. This can be especially important to consider in oral piercings like labret piercings, where some people do (and others really don’t!) want the super stretched up distorted look.
A final addition to this answer would be a financial one! Stretching piercings, especially genital or other body piercings, can be expensive. You will usually be expected to purchase multiple sets of jewellery that you will be wearing for a relatively short time before discarding. If doing this properly and wearing high quality jewellery, this can easily cost many hundreds of pounds. Getting pierced at or near your goal size will save you a heck of a lot of money, and who doesn’t appreciate that!
Where Does the Tissue Go?
A classic question! Many people are under the impression that needles remove tissue. So, when you push the needle through, there is a little chunk of flesh on the inside that is no longer a part of your body. Nobody likes a flesh thief! However, this is absolutely untrue and is a bit of a classic piercing myth. So, what happens when you get pierced with a needle? This short video gives you a good idea of what happens.
Does it Hurt More?
Excellent question! Having experienced large-gauge piercings, performed many hundreds, and worked alongside them for many years, we can confidently say that they are never as intimidating as you are expecting. Yes, they can feel a little pinchier than a standard piercing, but they are performed just as quickly and leave no long-term discomfort. They often heal better than standard gauge piercings, too!
I have an existing piercing. Can I be repierced at a larger gauge?
Yes, you totally can! What you need to do to prepare depends on the piercing location and the method by which we repierce you. As a general rule, we usually recommend removing your existing piercing, and waiting at least 12 weeks before booking in for your large-gauge piercing.
Repiercing hurts no more than an initial piercing, and the healing time is not usually extended by doing so.
How Long Do They Take to Heal?
This really depends on the placement. That being said, most large-gauge piercings only take about 10-15% longer than a standard piercing to heal. So for example, if a standard lobe takes 6 months, then a large-gauge lobe will take 7 months. This varies from person to person, but they are not going to take years and years!
Large gauge piercings can be a really, really useful tool in your piercing toolbox. Sometimes they are the only way forward (such as in most genital work), or they can be an excellent option depending on your piercing goals!
The most important thing to know is that you have a lifetime of support from the team at Rogue. We are large-gauge and genital specialists, meaning that we always have a member of the team on hand every day of the week to answer your questions. Don’t hesitate to get in touch via instagram or email, and make sure to head to our booking system to get booked in for your next piercing project!