Gauge Size Chart: Understanding the Measurements

The trend to pierce your ears is as old as the era of kings and queens; however, there has been a lot of modification in styles, especially when it concerns stretching the earlobes. People worldwide, from Asian to European countries, prefer to get an ear gauge done since it is quite the way to put your style statement. But one significant thing about ear stretching involves being familiar with the Gauge Size Chart.

Whenever you think of getting a piercing anywhere on your body, you need to be sure about measuring your jewelry size so that there are fewer complications. In the case of ear stretching, a gauge size chart helps indicate the exact inches you need to extend your ear lobe safely and slowly. Now, this gauge sizing could make you a little confused if you are getting it for the first time. That’s why you should understand the detailed measurement through an ear gauge size chart.

We will help you find the right size for your ear gauge with the help of a Gauge size chart. But first, let’s get into the details of Ear stretching and the importance of knowing ear gauge sizes.

What is Ear Gauging or Ear Stretching?

There is traditional piercing, and then there is ear gauging; they both involve drilling a hole on your earlobe; however, gauging is a little significant and broader than the standard size of piercing. There is a reason why it is also known as ear stretching because your piercer, tattoo artist, or any other technician help to drill a hole in the ear and let it heal to stretch the piercing gradually with time. 

Every piercer would ask your preference on the hole diameter that could be anywhere between size or pencil or even as big as a soda can. The stretching is a carefully done practice and takes time; otherwise, it could cause damage and a severe infection on the pierced hole. 

There are sure complications involved if there are no after-care precautions on your to-do list. However, your piercing technician would always advise following a specific set of rules, and the beginning is from detailing you and giving a lesson about the Gauge Size chart.

gauge size chart


What Exactly Is an Ear Gauge Size Chart?

If you are getting a piercing for the first time, you should be wary of the exact size you need. It is self-evident that most people would choose the small size of the hole for their ear, but a big ear gauge size has become a part of street style fashion, and more and more style hunks are choosing it.  The Gauge Size Chart isn’t specific to only ear piercing, but it differs depending on the anatomy, such as belly button, eyebrows, tongue, and nose.  

To place jewelry in your ears, you need to know what should be the wideness of the piercing hole? According to Byrdie, Gauge is a word used to measure the thickness of body jewelry and not just the ears. The measurement is to know the wideness of the hole and not the overall length. And to understand this, there are sizes indicated through Gauge. 

According to sources, most Asian countries use the measurement in millimeters (“mm”) for getting a piercing on their body to fix a piece of jewelry. However, the Gauge measurement as indicated by ‘g’ is used in the U.S by people to convey to their piercing artists the size of wideness they would prefer for their jewelry. 

The Backward Gauge Size Chart

Now, these ear gauge sizes work backward. They are a little absurd for a normal human being to comprehend initially. Still, once you understand their backward sizing logic, it is pretty easy to determine how much wideness would be appropriate for you to place your jewelry in the ears. When you look at the ear gauge size chart, you will notice that the bigger the number goes, the smaller the wideness of the gauge. 

Yes, you read that right! Gauge Size works backward, and that’s why it is an unconventional form of working your way to finding out the right wideness for your piercing. So before going to your piercer, remember that the larger gauge would not have a more significant but more minor number. Also, the moment the gauge size goes to 00g, there is no lesser digit beyond this to indicate a larger width of your earlobe. We start measuring it through fractioned inches. 

Why the Need to Know the Gauge Size?

If you do not correctly identify the ear gauge size, there are high chances of you not fitting your jewelry into the shaft. More importantly, there is an equivalent probability of tearing the pierced hole, bleeding, and infection. Among the myriad measurement options available for you to fit the jewelry in your ears, getting a look at the Gauge Size Chart is essential. 

If you feel that getting a 16g piercing would be less painful, then you might be wrong because getting a more petite piercing might not fit the jewelry. Moreover, the pain of getting a 14g piercing hole would be equivalent to 16g. Ear stretching is very much different from wearing small studs in your ears. 

Hence, making the right choice for your ear gauge sizes is very much crucial. If you do not want the pierced hole to reject the jewelry, make sure to compare and understand the Gauge measurements through your piercing technician. Getting the idea about the Needle Gauge Size Chart reduces the risk of removing your piercing later or even causing a scenario of ear piercing infection. Since earlobe stretching involves drilling a bigger hole, it is pretty risky. 

Here is a Gauge Size Chart for you to know all the backward sizing options for getting an ear gauge. 

Ear Gauge Chart Actual Size

Gauge ‘g’ Inches Millimeter ‘mm’
18g 5/128″ 1.0 mm
16g 3/64″ 1.2 mm
14g 1/16″ 1.6 mm
12g 5/64″ 2 mm
10g 3/32″ 2.4 mm
8g 1/8″ 3.2 mm
6g 5/32″ 4 mm
4g 3/16″ 5 mm
2g 1/4″ 6 mm
0g 5/16″ 8 mm
00g 3/8″ 10 mm
7/16″ 11 mm
1/2″ 12 mm
9/16″ 14 mm
5/8″ 16 mm
3/4″ 19 mm
–  7/8″ 22 mm
  1″ 25 mm

Now that we have discussed the Gauge Size Chart and the various measurement options available, you should also keep in mind that at times your piercing artist might not have the available options for your ear gauge. Even though every artist has a standard size to offer unless your requirements are a little different from the conventional ear gauge sizes. In that case, Brien Keith Thompson, a Chief Piercing Officer at the Body Electric Tattoo in Los Angeles, explains to Byrdie that, 

You can order a gauge wheel tool online instead. A gauge wheel is a “flat disk with notches cut in it that correspond to gauge sizes. You simply slide your piece of jewelry into the notches until you find the one it fits perfectly in.

gauge size chart


Also Read: Sore Throat and Ear pain: What Is the Reason Behind?

After Care Options for Ear Gauging/ Stretching

There is equipment used by your piercing artist to help your earlobe skin stretch. Just after getting a regular piercing done in your ears, the technician would ask you to take precautions such as sterilizing your hands before touching the ears as it could increase the risk of infection. 

Only after the piercing heals in a couple of months, your technician would call you back to warm up the skin to maintain a regular flow of blood which makes stretching the earlobe easier. After taking your preference of gauge size from the Gauge Size chart, a piercer can use tools such as a Taper to begin stretching the piercing hole slowly. 

Tapers are a long and spiky cylindrical tool that have their measurements based on the different ear gauge sizes. They are made of steel and usually expensive due to high-quality standards since your ears are concerned here. If your technician uses any taper material other than steel, it could influence the healing process of your piercing. 

By using a lubricant, the taper is inserted inside the piercing and slowly stretched. It isn’t a haphazardly done process since it could cause severe damage. A plug is inserted on the taper. So as soon as the earlobe skin begins stretching and is of appropriate sizing of the plug, it could be inserted inside. Post the procedure, you need to be mindful about the precautions you take so that infection does not spread and lead to something severe. 

Things to Remember:

Here are a few things you could do post your ear gauging procedure. 

  • Keep your earlobes sterilized and wash with warm water at least twice in a day
  • Try soaking your earlobes in saline warm water
  • Keep massaging your ears at least once in an entire day. Do it sensitively
  • If you are looking to get your gauge a little bigger, wait for several weeks before going for the next piercing session
  • You witness any painful sensation or increased swelling, talk to your technician or meet the doctor.
  • If you experience symptoms such as discharge that looks yellow or green in color and emits odour along with the feeling of feverish, get medical attention urgently. 

Bottom Line!

Finding an appropriate size of your body jewellery is very crucial and that’s why learning everything from the Gauge Size Chart is a prerequisite for ear gauging. Without knowing the size of your piercing hole, you should not think of getting a piercing done, since it could lead to damaging of your tissues and extensive ear problems. It is an important takeaway for you to meet with a licensed piercing artist who tells you in detail about gauge measurement and understands your requirement.

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