Stretching Your Ears 101

When deciding to stretch your ears one of the first things to consider is how to safely achieve a stretched lobe in order to accommodate new jewelry as well as prevent any skin damage associated with stretching.

One of two options that you will regularly find is the “piercing” option, in this method a piercing artist uses a larger gauged needle than the size of your ear and re-pierces your lobe piercing thusly making the hole larger. Some piercing artists find this method problematic because of the potential for damage and scarring; many have compared it to the round peg through the square hole theory; you have to damage the hole in order to push the peg through. The second option is the gradual stretching method that uses a tapered piece of jewelry usually in the shape of a talon or spiral with a fine point at one end and a gradual thickness resulting in another gauge at the end. This is gradually pulled through the ear over time as the skin opens up slightly and allows you to further move your jewelry.

Both methods will indefinitely require some time and patience as with either method you can expect to have to go back to a piercing shop multiple times. You can expect to gradually stretch to about one gauge or so in a month to two months depending on how quickly your body heals and the lobes stretch.

Most regular lobe piercings are about a 12 or 16 gauge. Gauges determine the thickness or width of the jewelry that fit in your pierching, In order to place a plug that is of substantial shape (about teh size of a pen tip) you will most likely need to be stretched to about 2 gauge or 0 gauge, as the lower the gauge number the larger the width of the jewelry.

When selecting jewelry, it’s very important to use a material that is sterile and non-irritating to the body like glass or implant grade titanium. Most plugged jewelry comes in glass (usually Pyrex) because of its aesthetic appeal, reasonable price, and sterility. Titanium, while more expensive is also more durable and long-lasting and causes the least amount of irritation. Make sure to choose a dependable piercing studio that has a reputation for cleanliness and ask them what types of materials is their jewelry made up of. Many places that still carry surgical steel are outdated and probably won’t offer the best in piercing quality and jewelry.

After you have chosen to stretch your ears and prepare for plugs, just like many other body piercing the best way to care for it is by keeping it clean, dry and not agitating it. By using non-perfumed, natural soap, drying it very well and not touching it until it’s time to clean it again, you can expect to keep your new piercing safe and non irritated. This will help speed up the healing process and allow your ears to stretch faster. Also, by limiting smoking and eating raw fruits and vegetables the antioxidants in your body will kick in and create a faster healing process.

Try to remember to be patient; if you have made the decision to stretch your lobes and wear plugs realize that the end result can be very satisfying. Once you have stretched to the desire gauge or size, there are many types of jewelry you can find from stones, gems, glass, titanium, and even certain types of bone. Once your ears have completely healed, you can even leave jewelry out for about 24 hours before your hole begins to draw up and shrink. Just remember to make sure you have safe, gentle and clean jewelry and a little patience and enjoy your plugs.

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