Wearing 20 gauge jewelry in a belly button piercing is not advisable - 14 gauge is the standard for navel piercings, although some people are instead pierced with slightly thinner 16 gauge jewelry based on their individual anatomy. In addition to the body rejecting such a thin gauge, a navel piercing is subjected to constant friction from clothing, which could lead to the jewelry snagging on a thread and being easily ripped out.
Two risks of wearing such thin jewelry in a belly button piercing include:
“Cheese cutter effect”
The jewelry physically being ripped out
Wearing inappropriately thin gauges of jewelry can lead to migration, commonly referred to as the “cheese cutter effect”– some piercing locations are more prone to migration or being physically pulled out than others. Two examples of such locations are eyebrow and navel piercings.
If your belly button piercing has started to close after not wearing jewelry for a while, don’t use a thin gauge just because you want keep it open at the risk of damaging your piercing. Instead, have a professional piercer taper your piercing open again so that you can wear the correct gauge of jewelry.