Stretched Ears: A Beginner's Guide to Stretching (Body Piercing)
Stretching your ears is a popular way to modify you body - it involves the process of gradually inserting larger and larger jewelry into your lobe until you reach a desired side. Compared to traditional earrings, stretched lobes are a bit more bold and offer a more statement look, as opposed to a subtle accent.
Once considered a fringe look for alternative individuals, plugs, tunnels, tapers, and even ear hangers are now widely accepted. Depending on what jewelry you choose to wear, they offer the same accessorizing options as regular earrings with just a bit edgier of a look.
Are you thinking about stretching? Do you already have a small size gauge in your ear but are confused about how to size up? The key to successful stretching is PATIENCE. Here are a few tips on how to swap your jewelry in and out with no hassle.
Inserting Jewelry Into Stretched Ears
Whoa... That's a big plug! It can be an intimidating process to figure out how to insert something new into a mod, especially if you're still healing or in the process of sizing up. Here's a few guidelines to make sure you're doing everything correctly!
1.) Hop in the shower! A nice, warm shower can not only be relaxing, but can also make the process of inserting plugs that much more smooth. Take a few minutes to gently massage your lobes to get the blood flowing to them... This extra attention will make them more malleable and willing to accept a larger piece of jewelry.
2.) Use some bio-compatible oils! Jojoba oil and emu oil are amazing for plugs - these oils are natural and won't cause you any added complications if you use them for lube. Note: these should just be used for that little bit of extra lubrication - don't force something into your ear that's too big.
3.) Size matters! Speaking of sizes, are you using the correct size in your ear? It's not smart to leap between sizes - you'll just damage your fragile ear tissue or even worse, cause a blowout. Baby steps are important - the long term health of your lobes is more important than instant gratification!
4.) Insertion methods are important too. Are you using a single flare or a double flare plug (more on this later)? If you are still stretching, single flare plugs are the way to go. Single flares of an appropriate size can be pushed right in and held with an o-ring if necessary. Double-flare plugs might take a little more finesse and should really only be used if you're at your desired size already. Hold the double flare at an angle to your ear and insert it that way, almost as if you're threading a button through the slot on a shirt. This gives you a little extra leeway when inserting a size up.
5.) Patience, patience, patience! We're begging you! Give your body time to heal itself if necessary. If you start to get sore, there's no shame in giving your body some rest! Size down until you're not feeling sore anymore and gradually work your way back up. A blowout is NOT worth it.
Single-flare vs. Double-flare?
There are several different kinds of jewelry for stretched ears. Here are a few specifics:
Single-flare plugs are "flared" at one end of the jewelry, meaning there is an obvious side that should be pushed into the ear. Typically, the flared or decorative side should be front facing. These plugs can be held in with an o-ring placed on the back of the plug. These plugs are great while you are still stretching and should be your first option when it comes to sizing up.
Double-flare plugs flare out at both ends. These plugs don't need an o-ring to stay secure, but they can potentially be more difficult to squeeze into your ear. Remember not to force anything too big into your stretched lobes and try the aforementioned button-method if you're having difficulties. Double-flare plugs are best for when you have already reached your desired size and should not really be used to stretch up.
If you're stretching up, we recommend the single-flare option. Their no-nonsense backs mean an easier insertion resulting in a smaller chance of a complication. Once your ear is feeling comfy again, it might be a good time to insert a double flare, as your skin will have to stretch just a little bit more to accommodate their extra girth.
We want to hear from you!
What was your stretching experience like? Do you prefer single-flare or double-flare plugs? What about tunnels, tapers, and hangers? Let us know about your experiences with ear stretching in the comments below!
Check out all of our jewelry for stretched ears here!