How to Stretch Your Ears
Stretching Your Ears- The First Steps
Stretching your ears is a body modification that should be researched completely before even attempting. You should make sure you know the proper and safe way to achieve a healthy stretched lobe. In this article I will cover how to stretch your ears, and the consequences of not stretching properly.
Step One: Getting Started.
If you haven't pierced your ears already you should visit your local piercing shop and get normal, 20g to 18g, piercings. If you have already pierced your ears, you need to figure out what size gauge you currently have. You never want to skip a size! Below you will see a table of gauge sizes with their nearest size in inches and millimeters.
(Note: If you are just getting your ears pierced you should wait until your ears are fully healed before you begin stretching. This could take anywhere from 4 - 6 months.)
Step Two: What you will need.
Assuming you have figured out what gauge you are currently at you are ready to purchase the next gauge size up. When you arrive at the store you will see lots of different gauges made out of numerous materials, be sure to stay away from silicone and wood. You want to use non-porous materials when stretching to ensure that ( in case you get a blow-out ) your skin and jewelry will not fuse together. When you first start stretching the most common method ( and what I would advise) is tapering. Buy a taper in the same size as your jewelry -- long, steel tapers are preferred, but any taper is better than none. You only need one taper to stretch multiple piercings, and you shouldn't wear your taper as jewelry.
Step Three: Begin Stretching!
So you've gone to the store to purchase your jewelry and tapers, now you are ready to start stretching. The best time to stretch is right after a hot shower. This is when your skin is the most elastic. When you get out of the shower you should massage your ear with a non- oil based lubricant. Take your taper (small end first) and begin to push through one ear. There should be no pain, if you are experiencing pain you should stop and give your ears more time to heal. You will experience some discomfort and resistance.
Stretching after a 00 gauge:
After you have stretched up to a 00 gauge it is time to start the next method of stretching. Using a taper bigger than a 00 gauge is not something I would recommend, the reason being that it will not give you an even stretch. Another method of stretching is, taping. Always use PTFE tape as it is the safest kind. You should wrap the plug you are currently using with one layer of tape every 2-3 weeks. It is a slow process but it is definitely worth it if you plan to stretch to a large size. You should continue to wrap the plug until you are able to put in the next size plug.
Step Four: Aftercare
Aftercare after a fresh stretch should be minimal. If you stretch properly, there should be no tears or damage to your skin, so there is no need to treat your stretches as if they were fresh piercings. Regular oil massages can be helpful to stimulate blood flow in the earlobes and promote healing. Leave your ears mostly alone for the first few days after a stretch, and resume oil massaging after jewelry can be removed easily and doesn't feel overly tight. You shouldn't perform any oil massages on broken skin this will only irritate your skin.
Problems you may run into
Below I have explained some complications you need to be aware of, and try at all costs to avoid to have healthy stretched lobes.
Blow-Outs: You need to be sure when you are stretching that your ear has fully healed before you try to go to the next size up. Stretching to quickly can cause a lot of damage to your ear such as, a blow-out. A blow out is when your skin gets pushed out through the back of the piercing causing an extra "lip". ( see image below) If this happens to you be sure to remove the jewelry and down size. Hopefully the tissue is re-absorbed.
Tearing: This can also happen when you stretch to quickly or unevenly. This is one thing you do not want to run into because this will not heal on it's own. If you want to repair your ear you will have to see a Plastic Surgeon and have them surgically fix your damaged lobe.
Can result from an uncleaned piercing. Be sure to take care of your ears properly.
Will They Shrink Back?
It is said that after going past a 0 gauge there is no turning back, but everyone is different. Before you begin stretching you should know that there may be the chance that you will never see your normal ear lobe again. Be sure that this is something you want to do.
You should consider the type of career you want to pursue. In some cases people who have stretched ears have had a harder time landing a job than people without stretched ears.
- Give your ears time to "breathe" This means removing the plug for an extended period of time. I usually sleep without mine in ( this is of course if you have been at the same gauge size for quite some time).
- Acrylics, silicone, and double flared plugs are not appropriate for fresh stretches.
- Be sure to give your ears enough time to heal before stretching to the next size. Remember the pictures of teared/ blown-out lobes, you do not want your ears to look like that!
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