Stretching Ear Lobe to 8g
Out of the 4 lobe piercings I have, I have successfully stretched three of them multiple times. The largest is now 8g and began in a piercing that I've had for about 17 years now. My mother took me to the mall when I was about 10 and I had my left lobe pierced with a gun. Although there were never any major complications it remained a nusiance for the 2ish years that I wore it. Knowing what I know now I'm not surprised. Being young my mom did most of the aftercare for me including twisting the stud around a couple of times a day and cleaning it with alcohol. Many years later when I was 23 or 24 I looked at myself in the mirror, saw a pair of my then-wife's earrings (conventional) near the sink, and decided to see if there was actually still a hole there. To my surprise the earring went in comfortably and without incident.
I began reading up on current piercing knowledge and began to understand what a piercing meant in the context of the body mod community. Until this point I was vaguely aware that earlobes could be stretched, but I knew nothing of modern CBRs and all manner of barbells and common aftercare and stretching procedures practiced by the body mod community. Immediately I knew I wanted something thicker and more substantial than the small posts of conventional earrings. Soon I had bought my first pack of CBRs and I started out at 20g since I had read that was the most common size of the starter studs that piercing guns slam through one's ear with. It of course went in without incident. A week later I stuck an 18 through with no problems, and a week after that I put in a 16, again with no trouble but this time I could notice the slight pressure once it was in the hole. This lead me to believe that I could've probably gotten a 16 in from the get go; a few months later I took the conventional stud out of my dad's ear and stuck in a 16 with no problems also.
In preparation for going to a 14 I kept the 16 in for about 2 weeks, cleaning and soaking it often although there never seemed to be any swelling, oozing, or pain. This all probably sounds very wimpy but I wanted to take it slow and I wanted to err conservatively; I really saw no reason to rush the process and the consequences of rushed stretches didn't seem too appealing. I bought a 14g circular barbell, and after a hot shower to help get the hole loose, proceeded to put it in. It wouldn't go through. I could feel the threats on the other side, but I couldn't get it to go any further. I lubed it with some soap and still nothing. I was reluctant to push as hard as I could so mostly I was attempting to get it in by applying gentle but constant pressure. After about 30 minutes I gave up. I didn't do anything serious to the existing hole, but it was sore and oozing for a few days. A few days later I was looking at the 14 next to a 16 and thought the difference seemed really huge. It then dawned on me that I might have the wrong sized earring. I had bought the "14" at a tattoo parlor where most of the jewelry was loose in little comparmentalized boxes. Obviously something got shuffled around, so I opted for the sealed pouches at Spencer's to be sure of what I was getting. I felt much better having solved this mystery, though my ear was still recovering from the earlier attempt. So I kept the 16 another week or so, and the 14 went in easily albeit I did have to lube it up. Once the 14 was in my ear was actually sore and I figured now I was finally stretching the tissue. Two weeks later I was able to get the 12 in that had been mistaken for the 14 earlier. It also took some lube and for the first time there was some notable discomfort as I put it in. This stretch was quite sore for about a week accompanied by some light to moderate oozing. I resolved to wait at least a month before attempting any more stretches, if indeed I decided I wanted to go bigger at all.
For a while the 12 was exactly what I wanted. I enjoyed the weight and size and didn't think about going any bigger until several months later. The 10 was a bit more difficult to get in, but with soap as lube and steady pressure I got it through. It was accompanied by a noticable pinch although I never had any bleeding. Much like going from the 14 to the 12, it was swollen, achey, and quite tender for about a week, and overall it was probably about 3 weeks before the piercing was totally comfortable and no more oozing was happening. That earring remained in my ear for the next three years, interupted only for a couple of hours one night when I had to remove it for work, and once when it was out for about 5 minutes as I got dental x-rays.
As far back as having the 16 and 14 in, I always resolved to never take it higher than an 8. It took about 3 years before I wanted to do it, but finally I did. I could see that the 8 was much bigger than the 10 and I was aware that I would only be able to get but so far with dead stretching, but I was going to give this a shot. I bought an 8g circular barbell but it would not go in. The screws would come through but I could not get the actual ring in. I tried this for quite a bit until I drew a drop of blood which was actually from where the threads were catching on the inside of my fistula. The more I pushed the more swollen it got which continued to jam more of the threads into the inside of my fistula. I gave up for the day and the next day went and got a set of acrylic tapers and acrylic 8g plugs. Although quite tender from the day before, I cleaned the area well and soaked it in some very hot water before making an attempt with first the taper. There was noticable pressure and a good deal of the pinching feeling from where it had become raw, but despite that I was actually able to pull the entire taper through my ear. I tried following it with the barbell, but yet again the threads would catch inside the hole. I then resolved to wear the plug for a few days, but it wouldn't go in either, but looking back it was probably from the swelling of already having messed with it quite a bit.
So eventually I simply secured the taper with the fattest part in the piercing. With the sharp end towards my neck, it jabbed me everytime I laid down or leaned back. With the sharper end protruding from the front I looked rather bizzare; however, it was the most comfortable alternative at that point. Moderate swelling, oozing, and aching for a few days, but I decided to try to go ahead and get the plug in after about 3 days. The plug went in just fine, though my ear was still in no condition to do any real pushing. I wore the plug nearly a week and then gave the barbell another shot. My ear hadn't completely recovered but it was doing much better. Still, the threads caught the inside once again and there was immediate pain and 2 or 3 drops of blood. I went out again, and got an 8g CBR with a rubber ball. Somewhat to my surprise the CBR slipped in relatively easy. I wore it for almost 2 weeks, until there was no more soreness and oozing was minimal. Finally the damn barbell went in. At this point it didn't cause any additional pain so it only took it another few days for the swelling to go away completely and the oozing to stop. Luckily the area is fine now, but it has been about 4 months
The moral here is to take it slow and quit messing around with a piercing that's already angry. My problem was I wouldn't wait long enough for the hole to recover before going at it again. Had I simply gone with the taper first, followed it with a plug, and waited for the stretch to heal for a week, I'm sure the barbell would've gone in without incident. Although it is worth mentioning that the externally threaded jewelry isn't a great choice for intial stretching because of the irritation it can cause when going through the fistula; I greatly prefer the interally threaded stuff but have had a hard time locating any.
submitted by: Funeral
on: 18 July 2012
in Standard Earlobe Piercing