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Tightening Body Jewelry

New Flower Studio Body Piercing

Tightening your threaded body jewelry is an important part of maintaining your piercings. At New Flower Studio in Long Beach, California we sell the internally threaded barbells commonly placed in navel piercings (belly button) and nipple piercings.

Whether you’re wearing internally threaded barbells or the externally threaded style, tightening them regularly is necessary. Since the body moves, your jewelry moves too. This means that your threaded pieces are constantly loosening. If the jewelry becomes unassembled and one of the ends falls off, the the shaft may fall out of the piercing. This can be bad news if you love your piercing and want to keep it open.

The two barbells seen above are called “internally threaded.” This means the shaft is smooth from end to end. The threads are on the bead. Along with the material and polish, being internally threaded is one of the common factors used in evaluating jewelry quality.

A very popular alternative to threaded barbells is threadless body jewelry. At professional piercing studios like ours these are used daily in piercings where smaller jewelry is preferred like nose piercings and helix piercings (ear cartilage). These pieces assemble together using tension rather then the traditional threading.

While they can be be pulled out accidentally if they get caught on something like a towel or hairbrush hard enough, threadless barbells don’t loosen and fall apart like threaded barbells do. The tension can be adjusted by a piercer as necessary, but we generally consider them secure.

The above picture shows an externally threaded barbell. In the world of professional body piercing, this style is associated with low quality jewelry. Pieces like this will be sold as “surgical steel” and have codes such as “316LVM” that appear to validate the quality. Unfortunately this is only marketing. Learn more about jewelry standards here.

At New Flower in Long Beach we suggest that our clients wearing threaded barbells tighten their jewelry each time they shower. Showering is a routine, no one forgets how they clean themselves. If you make tightening the ends of your threaded barbells part of your showering routine you can usually expect them to remain secure.

Tightening your barbells requires you to hold one end firmly with one hand. Apply a spinning force in a clockwise motion to the opposite end. This tightens each end. You won’t need to tighten them separately.

If you’ve experienced your body jewelry coming apart and/or falling out, try and reinsert and reassemble as soon as possible. Please don’t wait any longer than you have to. If necessary, visit a professional piercer who may be able to help. If you’re in Los Angeles or Orange counties we welcome you to visit us in Long Beach.

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John Johnson
John Johnson is a professional body piercer and owner of New Flower Studio body piercing in Long Beach, CA. He's also a Red Cross instructor and authorized OSHA trainer who provides Bloodborne Pathogens Standard Training on behalf of the Association of Professional Piercers (APP). He manages the online education platform for the APP and is a member of BAEA, AFDO, NEHA, and APP body art and legislation committees.
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