Did you know that people have been stretching their ears for thousands of years? Some do it for cultural reasons, and others do it because they like the unique jewelry that comes from the practice.
Like with any type of body modification, stretching your ears can help you show off your unique personality. While it may look painful, you’ll only experience a small stinging sensation if you practice proper gauge maintenance.
Want to learn how to get gauges? Check out this guide to learn everything you need to know to get started without hurting yourself or taking things too far too fast.
How to Get Started?
Before you can get started with ear stretching, you’ll have to have them pierced. You can get this done from a vendor who sells earrings and at certain tattoo parlors.
You’ll have to wait for your ears to heal before you replace your studs with ear gauges. This could take anywhere between 4 to 6 months.
What Size Do You Begin With?
All ear jewelry is measured in gauges. You can begin with a 14 gauge, though some people find it more comfortable to start with an 18. This is only a small step up from studs.
If you’re not sure which gauge option is best for you, don’t worry. The person who pierced your ears will know. All you have to do is ask them for their opinion.
Types of Jewelry
One of the main reasons why people stretch their ears is for the gauge earrings. There are plenty of options to choose from.
There are tapers. Their primary purpose is to push the stretching process along. While some styles look cool, they’re not meant to stay in your ears for more than a few hours.
Plugs are solid gauges that nobody will be able to see through. The opposite of plugs is ear tunnels. Both these jewelry options are okay for long-term wear.
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when stretching their ears is getting impatient. They jump straight from an 18 gauge to a 12 without waiting for their ears to properly heal first. The truth is, the process is pretty slow.
When your ears heal, and you’re ready to jump up a size, go to the very next one. For example, if you started 14 gauge earrings, you’ll go a 12.
Inserting Your Gauges
The best time to stretch your ears is right after a nice hot shower. During this time, your skin will be at its most pliable. Your hands will also be clean, which is a plus.
Rub a bit of lubricant on your ears before slowly pushing your jewelry of choice through. You may experience some discomfort, but it shouldn’t hurt.
If you feel any pain, stop what you’re doing. This is your ear’s way of telling you that while you might be ready for stretching, your piercing is not.
Maintaining Your Ears
You’ll be happy to know that there isn’t a lot of maintenance involved with ear gauges. As long as you keep your jewelry clean and stay away from harmful chemicals, you shouldn’t run into any complications.
You should also avoid touching your plugs. If you do experience an injury from your gauges, treat the area right away.
Clean Your Gauges
Taking a shower to clean your ears should only be step one of your hygiene routine. You’ve got to clean the jewelry itself if you want to keep infections away.
How you clean your gauges depends on the material. For example, if you have wooden jewelry, you should avoid soaking it in soap and water. Wipe it down with a damp cloth and let it air dry instead.
After you’ve finished a fresh stretch, you’ll need to give your ears a little TLC with an oil massage. Your ears will thank you for the moisture.
It’s recommended to use water-based products made with natural ingredients. Put a bit of the oil on your fingers and massage each of your lobes for about five minutes.
Stay Away From Chemicals
Again, when it comes to ear stretching, moisture is key. That means alcohol-based products are a no-go.
Products that contain peroxide will be harsh on your skin. Using them will irritate your ears and cause uncomfortable inflammation.
Don’t Move Your Plugs
You might be tempted to spin your plugs, but due to the number of bacteria on your hands, you shouldn’t put them anywhere near your ears. That is unless they’re freshly washed.
Not only can spinning your plugs cause infection, but if you’re not careful, you could damage your ears.
If you tear or damage your ears, you’ll need to clean them every day until your wounds heal. Take your jewelry out of your ears and soak your lobes in a saline solution for about ten minutes.
If you can’t get your hands on a saline solution, you can use salt water instead.
What If You Want to Revert Back to Piercing Size?
Once you switch to 10-gauge jewelry, you’re pretty much past the point of no return. If you haven’t gotten to that point, you may be able to revert your ears back to normal piercing size.
Massage your lobes with oil every day to stimulate blood flow and healing. You can keep your gauges out completely, or wear smaller and smaller gauges until you’re where you want to be.
How to Get Gauges and Keep Them Clean
The art of ear stretching has been around for thousands of years and is still practiced today. Having them will allow you to show off your personality, and you have a lot of jewelry to choose from.
The problem is learning how to get gauges without hurting yourself. We hope that you’re able to use the tips that you’ve read here today to properly maintain your stretched ears.
For more ear-stretching and piercing advice, be sure to visit the Lifestyle section of our blog!