The inside diameter of a ring initially placed in a piercing should be about 50% larger than the length of the piercing (or conversely, the piercing length should not exceed 2/3 of the ring diameter). This gives enough room within the ring to accommodate any swelling which may follow the piercing, and will give enough length in the circumference to provide a good cleaning action as the ring is rotated.
As the diameter of the ring increases, the likelihood of its getting pulled or twisted also increases. Thus the choice of ring for a new piercing is a matter of finding a large enough diameter to provide cleaning action without getting so large that the ring creates healing problems. The only exception to this is placement in nipple piercings where the largest diameter the client will accept is desirable to prevent distortion of the piercing during the initial healing process.
Rings are preferred in a fresh piercing, unless the placement makes it impossible. Barbells in fresh piercings should be oversized by about 50% beyond the length of the piercing to accommodate swelling and to provide a cleaning action.
In an established piercing, the barbell should match the piercing length. If it is too long, it will catch on things and injure the supporting tissues.
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