While we're talking about piercings, I had my inner conch pierced about 5 years ago, and it was 14 gauge. I had to keep taking it out for work, and about 3 or 4 years ago I lost the bar down the sink one day when I was putting my piercings back in, and the only thing I could get to replace it was this cheap ear-lobe stud earring, which I assumed was 16 gauge. The butterfly thing at the back is a giant pain in the arse, so I decided recently to swap it out for a 16 gauge labret bar I had, but I can't fit the damn thing in. The old earring still goes in and out just fine, but I'm wondering if it's a fraction smaller than 16g. If so, is it likely that the hole has just gotten smaller and I'll have to get it professionally gauged to get anything bigger back in, or does the cartilage stay fixed and only the skin grow over, as tanq suggested, and would I be able to gauge it myself?
I've gauged lip piercings before, but cartilage scares me.