Around 17% of people have piercings nowadays. Once seen as taboo, body modifications are now mostly mainstream, with many workplaces accepting and welcoming those with body mods.
So if you grew up when piercings were a no-no, you might be interested in revisiting this subject. You won’t look or feel as out of place, and you’ll have some interesting body art too.
If you want to get ear gauges though, you can’t just shove plugs in. You need to stretch your earlobes slowly to get the best results.
Read on to find out how to start stretching your ears to get some cool body mods.
Get Your Ears Pierced by a Pro
If you don’t already have ear piercings, then you’ll need to visit a professional piercer.
Don’t try to do this on your own, as it’ll be a terrible start. You might not position the piercings correctly, and you probably don’t have the right tools either. This can lead to serious infections, meaning you’ll need to let your lobes close up again.
Invest in a solid foundation for ear stretching by doing it right. Spend a little money to see a reputable piercer, then allow your piercings to heal completely before attempting the next steps.
Purchase the Right Equipment
Before your ears heal, you can get started on purchasing the right equipment so you’re ready to go.
Here are the key pieces you’ll need.
To ensure you don’t damage your earlobes, you’ll need lubricant. You can stop by your local jewelry store to get commercial-grade lube. Or if you’ve already got coconut or jojoba oil at home, you can use those too.
Avoid buying lubricants with chemicals and additives. Your piercings will be sensitive and healing, so these things can irritate you or even cause infections.
It’s important that anything you introduce to your piercings is clean and free of germs. Otherwise, you might get an infection.
Rubbing alcohol is an affordable sterilizer and comes in big quantities, so have a bottle or two on hand.
Tapers are long and spiky pieces of jewelry; they resemble squat knitting needles.
There are two main materials: acrylic and steel. If you’ve got the budget for it, choose steel tapers, as they’re easier to use. They’re more expensive though, but are completely worth it since these are the tools you use to stretch out your lobes.
Stay away from cheaper tapers. While they’re better on your wallet, they’ll probably irritate your piercings since they’re made of lower-quality materials. This can hinder your healing process, and therefore, make gauging up slower.
Plugs are the jewelry you put into your earlobes to hold their shape after stretching with tapers. As the name suggests, they look like plugs (they’re cylindrical and squat too).
There are three main options here: steel, titanium, and silicone. You can also pick organic plugs, which are made of fascinating materials like wood, glass, or stone. They all have their own pros and cons, so weigh them up to decide which you want.
If you’re not certain of your dexterity, then it’s recommended that you get flared plugs. It’ll be easier to put them in.
Initial Ear Stretching
Get the smallest taper you have; it should only be slightly bigger than your ear piercing, so probably a size 12 or 14 gauge (the bigger the number, the smaller the size).
Wash your hands and sterilize your equipment. Use rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs, tissues, or paper towels.
Now massage your earlobe. If you’ve just taken a bath or shower, this works too. The point is to get your lobes warmed up, both literally and figuratively.
Next, lube up both your piercings and tapers. Then with the thinner side of the taper, slowly push it through your piercing. If you feel any discomfort, stop right away.
Otherwise, grab your plug and follow up with it immediately after your taper goes through completely. This allows you to fit the gauge in.
How to Proceed
One of the most important things to remember while stretching your ears is to start with small ear gauges. Also, you need to give your ears time to adjust. In general, you should give it at least six weeks between sizing up.
If you aren’t patient and careful, you’ll end up with ear stretching blowout. Your lobes will form skin beneath the piercing, and it can be painful, as well as red and irritated. This can then lead to your lobes tearing and/or getting infected.
So slow and steady definitely wins the race here.
How to Take Care of Your Piercings
Your job’s not done yet after you place the plugs in. In fact, it’s only started.
You need to wash and soak your piercings at least twice daily. Use a chemical-free soap and warm water for washing, and warm clean water with a pinch of salt for soaking.
In addition, massage your lobes with oil at least once a day.
While it might be tempting, don’t touch your piercings. If you must, then wash your hands first.
Know How to Start Stretching Your Ears Correctly
When you know how to start stretching your ears correctly, you’ll have a safer and more pleasant time.
The essential things to remember are to be patient, use plenty of lubrication, and size up slowly. In between gauges, take good care of your piercings by washing, soaking, and massaging your earlobes.
Before you know it, you’ll have your desired ear gauges!
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