Everything about Piercing Needles: Size, Types, sterilization and techniques.

As I have already shared my views on Piercings. I really love piercings. But sometimes it seems a bit expensive for some people. Today I will give you a piece of complete information about Piercing Needles and also talk about Cannula. What are the differences and similarities in the cannula and traditional needle piercings?

Hollow, Cannula, and curved needles are widely used for piercing. Needles of different gauge sizes are used for different body piercings. Today I am sharing important information about piercing needles.

How to choose the right piercing needles and which one is legal/illegal? Not only this we will discuss how to pierce and how to close piercings? I will answer all of the questions that you are searching for.

Above all, you must have knowledge of the right needles and piercings before you are going to pierce your body on your own.

Check out my favorite products-

Easy piercing kit with jewelry

Ear piercing instrument with marking pen

Your Body is an Empty Canvas. So, Decorate it!

Needles of the different sizes used for piercing with gauge Chart.

Needles Standard Size Piercing
18G and 20G   Ears and Nose
14G 3/8” and 7/16” Belly/Navel ring
14G 3/8” and 1/2” Nipple
14G 5/8” Tongue
14G 3/8”, 7/16”,1/2” and 5/8” Septum
16G, 18G 1/4”, 5/16” and 3/8” Tragus, Helix, Rook, and conch
16G 1/4”, 5/16” and 3/8” Monroe
14G or 16 1/4”, 5/16” and 3/8” Labret and Eyebrow

Types Of Piercing Needles

Mostly three different types of needles are used for piercing worldwide by experienced piercing or tattoo artists. These are Hollow needle, Cannula needle, and Curve Needle.

Apart from these three, piercers use a dermal punch for some piercings. It is not any specific needle or tool rather it is a piercing style.

  1. Hollow Needleshollow piercing needles

These are the most common type of piercing needle which all Pro piercers have being sins a long time. It looks like a syringe needle. This is safe for use and its hollow structure makes it perfect for piercing. It is a hollow needle featuring a triangular, sharp tip. These needles are laser cut to ensure sharpness.

It comes in different gauges- like as small as 20 G and as big as 2G. But the main this is to know what Gauges hollow needle is suitable for which piercing. The size of the needle really matters as it may result – an awkward piercing look. Which no one likes to have. Wearing the same size of jewelry as the needle size is preferable.

Piercing with a large gauge needle or jewelry is not recommended. It may cause unnecessary bleeding, scars, and pain.

We mostly prefer and use – 14G, 16G, 18G, and 20G. let`s talk in detail about this.
  • 20 Gauge- 20 G is about 0.8mm. This is the smallest type of hollow needle. It is used in Ear and Nose piercing. Some people prefer to be pierced with 20 G needle. It is because they thought ears may stretch. And get bigger over time if done with a bigger gauge needle.
  • 18 Gauge- It measures 0.1mm and is also used by piercers to pierce Nose and ears as well.
  • 16 Gauge- It is a 1.3mm hollow needle. This is an ideal piercing size and is used in a number of piercings. It is used in piercings Like- Cartilage, Eyebrow, Monroe, Tragus, Helix, Conch, and Rook piercing as well.
  • 14 Gauge- 14G is a 1.6 mm needle, this is what we use in Navel piercing/ Belly button Piercing. Piercers also use this for a Tongue piercing, Labret, Eyebrow, Industrial, Septum, and Nipple piercings.
  • wanna try Hollow piercing needles, check the best recommendation of our readers.
  1. Cannulacannula piercing needles

The cannula also called a catheter is nothing new for us. This works the same as a Doctor Insert catheter into the patient`s body and then remove when not needed.

In this, the needle is encased into a removable plastic. The plastic is in the shape of a tube.

In this, piercing is done in the same manner as a hollow needle. But after piercing the needle, plastic tube that encased needle remains in the cut. The needle is pulled out of the cut and the plastic inserted is used to wear a piece of jewelry.

Then piercer uses to cut the hub section of the tubing using sterile scissors. Finally, insert the jewelry through the plastic tubing and pulled out through it.  Now the demand for Cannula piercing is increasing because It makes the process of inserting a jewel much easier. check the recommended cannula needle on Amazon.

  1. Curve Needlescurve piercing needles

These needles are rarely used for piercing. I never got pierced with this as I thought it is a most painful needle. The reason behind my weird though is the shape of this needle. Curve shape makes it look more terrifying. In contrast, those who have tried this accepted that it is really not that much pain.

It is used in Tragus piercing and other ear piercing. The curved shape makes it safer to pierce ears as it does not get accidentally pierced into another side of the ear. check the most recommended curve needle for piercing.

  1. Dermal punch

The name Dermal punch isn’t sounded more like any medical term to your ears? Yes! A dermal punch is used by educated piercers or doctors. It is a medical device that dermatologists use while doing skin biopsies.

Then the question comes-“why only doctors and well trained professional piercer can use this”. The reason for this is very simple. A dermal punch is only used to do 2gauge, 4 gauge or 0 gauge piercings.

These piercings can be done by doing a big cut of about 5, 6 or 8mm. which is much bigger than other piercings and heavy bleedings normally occurs.

This takes special attention and knowledge of piercer. As piercer needs to be aware of blood vessel placements.

Today piercing is a fashion trend for both men and women. And they are started using so many different methods of piercing – “Piercing Gun” is one of them.

How to sterilize Piercing Needles/sewing needles?

Sterilizing Needles before the piercing is absolutely important. Hence, this is the step that should not be avoided. Ask piercer whether he/she has sterilized the needle before piercing or not. If not then don`t let her/him do the piercing.

Sterilizing needles at home is nothing bad but I will recommend you no to do piercing by yourself if you are not trained. Never ever try to go beyond earlobe piercing.

Piercings like labret piercing, Navel piercing, and Tragus piercing are some of the complicated piercings. As these should be done by professionals only. It may lead to serious complicacy.

I have 2 different methods of Sterilizing needles at home. You can sterilize any needle by using these methods

  • 1st Method

Take any antiseptic lotion. Clean the needle and put it in the boiling water. Place only the metal portion on the needle in the boiling water and let it stand for 6-12 mins. Use sterile latex gloves to remove the needle tips from the water. Rub it with rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide solution. Your piercing needle is ready to pierce your Earlobe.

  • 2nd Method

This method is super easy to do at home. But it doesn`t give complete assurance of sterilization but safe to some extent. Light up a candle or take any heating source. Project the tip of the needle or the whole part of the needle in the flame. Let it became red hot. Take a cotton ball, dip it in rubbing alcohol. Rub the metal part of the needle but don`t forget to wear your sterile latex glove before touching the needle.

  • 3rd Professional`s method of sterilizing Piercing Needles.

Professionals in commercial parlors use Autoclave to sterilize piercing needles. An autoclave is a sterilizing device, in which needle a packed in special sterilization pouch before placing it into the autoclave.


The color of the indicator strip changes when sterilization is completed. You just have to put the metal needles into it after packing in the pouch. Then set the time and pressure. Wear sterile latex gloves before touching the needles.

The autoclave can be used to sterilize only metal needles. This is the safest and easiest method of sterilizing needles. Must ensure that the piercer sterilizes the needles before doing further processes. If not then it is better to skip that salon.

how to use piercing needles

How to use Piercing Needles?

Mark on the skin, hold it tight, and push in the needle to pierce it. 

Always consult an expert for piercing. If you are doing it on your own make sure you are not going beyond earlobe piercing. It may be risky to do other piercings at home without the help of any experts.

Before piercing, apply an analgesic cream or any numbing agent. This will reduce the pain while piercing.

Use only sterilized needle. You can sterilize it by your own by doing any one of the above methods. Never ever reuse unsterilized and already used a needle.

You should not do piercing directly without properly holding your skin. Use dermal anchor forceps. Mini slotted Pennington forceps with a lock. First of all, make sure all the tools of piercings are sterilized. Above all, read complete information about different forceps types before using

. Then use the right forceps for your piercings.

NOTE*- Using ice cubes for numbing skin instead of numbing agents is not recommended. As it will make the skin Coarse and thereby leads to heavy bleeding and more pain.

My recommendation

At the time we pierce our body we feel intense pain. But on the nose, it is unbearable and we are unable to think or see anything for a few seconds. This may be dangerous if we lost vision and the piercing goes wrong.

It is better to get a piercing or tattoo by a well-trained expert. Always use sterilized needles. Never, ever use ordinary wires/sewing needle or rusted needle/wire. Always use a sterilized needle and an unused one.

Getting piercing is not the only task after that taking care of the wounded area is most important. Cleaning, washing, and taking proper care is also important. You should take suggestions from experts. Also, ask what to add and what to avoid in your diet.

Never ever try to make tattoos or pierce others without complete information and experience. As it is not legal and if anything happens by mistake, you are going to be in trouble.

After all this information and warning let`s come directly on the types of needles.

piercing gun vs needles

Never use piercing Guns

Piercing guns are tough to sterilize and can cause infections. I always recommend using needles instead. Needles are less painful and easy to use too. For more detail check out Piercing Gun Vs Needles: Pros – Cons and Pain comparison

In the United States, They legally allow Hollow, Curve, and Cannula needles only. Only experienced piercers can use needles to pierce.

How to close Piercings?

To close your piercing you should take out your jewelry and keep cleaning it. For more details check out my latest post about How to close nose piercing? FAQs.

Piercing different parts are now becoming a fashion trend. But after that when it seems too ordinary, people wondered for the different methods to change their piercings or to close one.

As the piercing is a permanent body modification. It is tough to change or close. It takes time! maybe some years. Although, you can’t expect complete healing.

If you are searching for a natural method to close your piercing completely then you must know some points. Tiny gauge holes are easy to close and heal completely. Although, Large holes gauges cannot be closed completely. For that, we need Expensive professional assistance

Never try to check your closed piercing by inserting pins or jewels. As a result, it may be reopened.

My Body My Decisions!

Steps for closing piercing holes

  • First of all, take out the jewelry from the piercing.
  • Never put any pin or jewelry again into it
  • Clean the hole every day.
  • Use a saline solution to clean the piercing hole twice a day.
  • You can use mild antibacterial soap but be careful with it. It should not get into the piercing hole.
  • After cleaning make sure to squeeze gently around the piercing. Make sure no more water left inside there.
  • Use cotton clothes or cotton to wipe it completely.
  • Liquid discharge from the hole is normal.
  • Observe daily and within 3-4 weeks, the process of healing may starts.
  • if the liquid discharge not there anymore, hence means it is healing.
  • After the healing process starts, you can see the visible layer of skin in the piercing hole.
  • Now it`s time to fight to scar.
  • You can use your own anti-scars cream. Or ask your dermatologist to suggest for the best anti- scars gel or cream.
  • Apply as prescribed.

NOTE*  these steps are sufficient to close 18G, 20G, and even 16 G but larger gauge than these are hard to heal completely without professional assistance. Sometimes large gauge piercings need to go through minor surgery.

How you sterilized your needle? what you pierced on your own? And How your piercing hole closed. Let me know everything about your experiences, suggestion, or if any query related to this post. Share your views and ideas by writing to me on my mailing address. You can also follow me on Tweeter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Pinterest.

If you found this a useful post then share it with your friends and family. Visite site for more informative articles. Stay tuned for more useful posts and till then Take Care and Stay healthy: “Because You are Beautiful”.


Shipra Chatterjee. After working for years as a content writer, she is now a full-time Professional Blogger. Beauty and fashion blogging is her motivation. Her experience and feel can be seen in her work. She is passionate about writing articles and reading as well. Apart from blogging, she keeps inspiring people through different social media platforms. Spreading quality knowledge, Love and Positivity is her primary moto. "Keep Good coordination with your Life, There is no way to get out of it Alive - Shipra". Instagram: -Beautyhacks4all Twitter: -@Beautyhack4 LinkedIn: -BeautyHacks4all

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