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As you may have guessed, the ears rank number one across the globe as most common piercing performed and worn.  In every country in the world, ear piercing is a popular practice, with the reasoning behind it touching every human cornerstone from religion, to social status, and most prevalently aesthetic value.  The piercing and stretching of ears may also be the oldest historical form of body modification, as mummified human remains over 5,000 years old have been discovered with jewelry still in the ears.

Since the mass piercing movement that began in Europe in the 1970’s and quickly spread to the United States, the piercing of various other parts of the ear besides the lobe has grown steadily in popularity.  These other piercings include the rook, snug, inner and outer conch, helix, daith, orbital, tragus, and anti-tragus, along with variations of the traditional lobe piercing such as the horizontal or “transverse” lobe piercing.

A standard regular ear lobe piercing is often performed with a gun and what is called a “piercing earring,” but even these more mundane piercings can also be done at a piercing parlor, and are reputed to heal quicker and more cleanly when performed with a hollow piercing needle.  Traditionally piercings of the ear heal to about an 18 gauge size and will require earrings with a post of at least 6mm (1/4″) in length for proper fit.  The standard earring style worn in this type of piercing are studs, drop earrings (those that have a single bead, pearl, or crystal hanging from them), dangle or chandelier earrings (with more elaborate hanging decorations), and threaders.

Piercings of the ear may also be stretched to accommodate larger jewelry like plugs, tunnels, and curved tapers.  This process usually takes several months to a few years, depending on the desired final size of the stretched fistula, and can be safely practiced with the use of stretching tapers or teflon tape, or by returning to a trained piercer for assistance.  For those who prefer the look of large gauge stretched ears without the permanent commitment, there are also earrings called cheater plugs that use a thin center post and wide, plug-like ends to fake the same aesthetic.

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