Though many turn their nose up to tattoos and piercings, body modifications have a long and fascinating history, prominent in many cultures worldwide.
One of the most popular ways to spice up your style and add an edge to your look is through ear gauges. Ear stretching is the process of enlarging your earlobe through jewelry measured in gauges.
However, like anything you do to your body, you’ll want to ensure that you make the most informed decision.
If you’re not sure this style is right for you, continue reading for some of the most crucial things you need to know before you look into one of the less common types of piercings.
1. Your Ear May Never Shrink
Your earlobes are made of tissue, while the rest of your ear is constructed of hard cartilage. This means that an earlobe piercing is relatively painless when compared to other areas of your ear.
When it comes to a standard eighteen gauge earring post, inconsistent wear means you risk your piercing closing up. However, even the smallest piercing can leave a permanent indentation in your skin.
However, when you stretch your ears with different gauge sizes, your earlobe may be permanently enlarged. Unless you plan on wearing plugs forever, you may need surgery to repair the appearance to normal.
If you haven’t stretched your ears to a large size, you may be able to shrink and reduce the appearance of your lobe. Depending on your skin’s elasticity, you can downsize your jewelry to help tissue grow back.
2. You Should Anticipate Scar Tissue
When sizing up jewelry, it’s crucial that you take the time to research gauge sizes. If you choose gauges that are too big, there’s a likelihood that you can tear your tissue.
Not only is this painful, but in order for your body to repair the damaged tissue, it can cause scarring. This scar tissue can make it extremely difficult to continue increasing your ear gauge while making the likelihood of reversal slimmer.
Should you tear the tissue in your lobes, there are steps you can take to minimize damage. Massaging your ears once a day for a few minutes at a time with oil can help break down tissue from building up.
3. You’ll Need to Wait Before Sizing Up
You likely have seen people with giant plugs in their ears and decided that’s what you’d like yours to look like. However, you’re seeing people who have been stretching their ears for years!
In order to ensure you don’t cause damage to your ears, you’ll need to slowly increase your ear gauges. Some recommend waiting a month between each new size, while others wait up to six months.
In general, it’s better to err on the side of caution when sizing up. Waiting as long as possible to stretch your ears ensures that you’re giving your tissue time to adjust to the new size.
If you switch the size too quickly, you risk causing damage to your lobes. Not only do you risk tearing and scarring, but if you increase too quickly to a size too large, your earlobe can tear and detach.
4. Pain Is a Negative Sign
When you put your new earrings in, you may notice a little pressure. This is a great sign! Pressure indicates that your ear has adjusted to the previous size and healed fully.
However, if you notice pain when you insert a new size into your ear, you’re likely tearing earlobe tissue. You should stop and continue using the previous side, allowing your ear more time to heal.
Similarly, should you experience any painful swelling, redness, bleeding, or discharge from the piercing, you should immediately call your doctor. These are all symptoms of an infection, and if left untreated, can spread to the rest of your body.
You will also want to avoid putting anything other than a plug or sizer in your ear. Many try to insert “funny” or strange objects in their ears. This can cause pain and damage, especially if the item is heavy.
5. You Should Have an Expert Help
Though there are plenty of online tutorials and guides available, when you stretch your ears for the first time, you should enlist the help of an expert.
Visiting your local ear piercing parlor is a surefire way to safely begin the process. Not only will an expert help you choose the correct sizes and materials, but they can also ensure the process is completed safely.
When you try to stretch your ears at home, you can’t guarantee how sterile the procedure is. Your tools, hands, and jewelry will need to be completely sanitary before you begin, which is hard to do at home.
In some instances, you may need another tool to help with insertion. However, since these are professional tools, incorrect use can cause damage to your ears.
Finally, having an established relationship with a piercer is a helpful connection to have. Should you have any questions or need advice, you can always contact your piercer.
Everything You Need to Know About Ear Gauges
Though they look untraditional, ear gauges are one of the most interesting types of piercings. With so many fun piercing options, you can express your personality through their piercings.
Remember, the key takeaway is to go slow when switching sizes.
If you’re ready to begin your stretching journey thanks to this guide, you’ll want to check out the rest of our website. There, you can find more lifestyle tips and tricks, including jewelry and fashion advice.