Ear Stretching (commonly know as gauging)
Ear Stretching Introduction
Ear Stretching. Many people know it as gauging but, in fact, the ACTUAL term is stretching. A gauge is a unit of measurement just as a shirts size would be a large or a shoe size a 7. An ear size (when stretched) is used in term of gauge, hence 7g. I don't call my stretched ears gauges, it would be the same as saying, "These are my badass sizes (pointing to shoes)". Gauge is a unit of measurement, a size reference. It doesn't make any sense so please educate yourself if and before you call your stretched ears gauges.
Now that that is done and said... There are many different ways to stretch your ears. People differ a lot on this subject believing one is better than the other. Who knows? I know plenty of people who have stretched their ears many different ways and came out with very mixed results. I will tell you, in my opinion, the best way to stretch your ears. This is MY OPINION. I have conculed this on past experiences, what I have seen/heard, and what I have researched. Best of luck to everyone.
How to stretch your ears properly
First off (Things you need to know and things you need)
First your ears must be pierced. If they are not, get them pierced then wait 4-6 months before you start your stretching expedition. Once your ready to stretch you must figure out what size gauge you were pierced with. Most places pierce with an 18g but I've heard of some piercing with a 20g. Either way, more than likely you're an 18g.
If your size is an 18g you'll need a 16g or even maybe a 14g. It's not recommened you skip sizes but for many women who wear dangly earrings their ear holes can naturally loosen so you may be able to pull off a 14g. I did, but we are all different. I recommend you use a taper, and I would like to also add THIS IS NOT JEWELRY. It's meant to stretch and ONLY stretch. It can lead to uneven weight distribution and give you thin spots so I recommend DO NOT WEAR AS JEWELRY. You'll also need some type of oil. You can use Vitamin E, Jojoba, Avacado, Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Emu oil. You'll need a circular barbell. If you come across a plug/tunnel that's a 16g or 14g then you can use it as well, it's just hard to come by (or at least where I'm at). Circular barbells are nice to wear, they add a little weight but not much at all. I first use a 14g circular barbell, went in easy as pie. And lastly but MOST importantly, Do NOT stretch with acrylic. Acrylic is extremley bad for your ears especically a freshly stretched one. It's porus and can harbor bacteria. Some people can tolerate acrylic and some can not. DO NOT stretch with acrylic, if you choose to use acrylic use it later once your ear has healed and only use it occasionaly. It messed up both my ears extremely bad and I will never use it again. Wood is also not good for a freshly stretched ear, so best to use it later. I suggest using stainless steel to stretch and stainless steel on.
LET'S GET STRETCHING!
Make sure you ear lobe is healed. Clean your lobe with warm water and an antibacterial soap. Then apply your choice of oil to your lobe. Massage, Massage, Massage. Coat your taper with the oil and slowly insert the taper into your ear. SLOWLY. Do not rush this process, you do not want to risk a blowout because you wanted to stretch your ears in a fast manner and make it a racing game. It takes time and everyone is different. Push only the amount you can through, wait a little while. Then see if you can push more through. Once you get towards the opposite end slip the taper out and place your jewelry in. Done! You should feel a slight stinging/tingling sensation, maybe a little discomfort but just a little. If there is any significant pain STOP. It should never be an untolerable amount, also there should be no blood. If you happen to start bleeding STOP. Too much pain and bleeding is a sign your lobes are not ready. If you happen to feel too much pain or begin bleeding take out the taper (clean yourself up) and place your old piece of jewelry back in. Wait a few weeks before you try to size up again. DO NOT RUSH YOURSELF. It may get irritating when your ears are not ready to size up but do not rush them because you will risk getting a blowout and cause tremendous damage to your ear. Then you'll have to nurse it back to care and start all over. Also if you don't happen to get a blowout, you could also get the "cattbutt" effect when you rush your ears when stretching.
After your new jewelry is in and you have sized up I would advise not to take out your jewelry for at least a week. Let your body do what it's got to do. Only let warm water wash over your ear in the shower, or wash (with jewelry intact) daily with warm water gently. I do not advise you to use any soap when your ear is healing. If your ear is irritated or inflamed It would be wise to use a sea salt soak. You will need to put 1 teaspoon of non-iodized salt into a cup of warm water. Then soak your piercing in the water for about 10 minutes. Do this twice a day. And do not overdo it since salt has an adverse drying effect and can prolong healing. In a separate cup do another salt mixture and wash your lobe with it, making sure to get rid of any crusties or possible pus. Like I said don't over do this, and wash your lobe twice a day.
Once, a week or so has passed and you have no problems, your jewelry is ok to take out. Now you can move on to massage treatments. After about a week or two after your last stretch you can use your choice of oil and massage your ear lobes. Massaging will increase the blood flow to your lobes and break down any scar tissue. Also it would be good at this point to leave your jewelry out for a few hours a day. You can do this after your massage.
When can I stretch again?
The recommended amount of time you need to wait is 4 - 8 weeks. And once you hit a 0g waiting 8 - 12 weeks is recommended. Everyone is different though it could take a longer time or even a shorter time. But I still recommend at least 4 weeks before you decide to stretch again. Listen to your ear, everyone's different. Once you decide to stretch again do as you would. If there is any pain or bleeding stop, your ears are not ready. Take them out and wait a longer time for them to heal. You don't want to rush your lobes and end up with a big problem. Blowouts, thin spots, and the cat butt effect are all causes of rushing your ears. Stretching your ears will more than likely be permanent (depending on the size) so you don't want to screw it up. You want your ears to be the best they can be, so take your time.
Unhealthy Lobes - Cat Butt / Blowout
Well there you go. I have written all I know about stretching (maybe forgot a thing or two). If you want to know how I know my information, I have had 00gs in both my ears. I used acrylic the entire time with only a few stainless steel here and there and my ears never reacted to it. With my 00gs I used an acrylic taper and had a severe reaction. Since then I have done my research and talked to numerous people.
If you would like to critize me or suggest something (ANYTHING) go ahead. I don't mind. Also if you see a misspelled word or something along that nature then feel free to tell me.
*****I do not own the rights to these pictures, I gathered all these pictures from google image search. I do not know who these pictures belong to, if you do please tell so they can be credited. I do not take credit for any of these pictures.*****
VOTE VOTE VOTE!!!! Tell me what size your stretched ears are. I'm curious.