Stretching Your Lobes
Stretching Your Lobes
This is just my advice - it's far from gospel truth :)
Lobe stretching has been popular in nearly every tribal culture historically, and seems to be picking up in popularity in our anti- bodmod culture. It is very easy to do... (BTW This information pretty much applies to any fleshy tissue stretching.)
You will need a fully healed, well placed piercing. By well placed I mean that it should be high up enough on the lobe that when stretched the bottom skin won't be thinner than the sides - this can cause you problems in the long run.
You can get a head start with a large initial piercing. Even someone without large lobes can easily get an initial piercing of 6 or 4ga - or even more with large lobes. The way to do this is using a 2-4mm dermal punch, and then tapering it up to a larger gauge immediately after piercing. Most people actually find that this heals better, and you may be able to go to your final size in one step this way. My ear was done with the 2mm and stretched right up to the 6ga. We probably could have gone straight to the 4ga, but I have lobes that want to stretch - some people can't go to more than an 8ga from the 2mm.
Basically, just put bigger and bigger things in your ears. If they are healed, you can use just about anything. Up to about 1/2" you have the option of using knitting needles which are available in the same gauge system as jewellery. They also have a convenient taper built in. Just cut them down to size.
If you can afford it, you can have your piercer upsize using an insertion taper (a rod that changes in diameter from one gauge to another) and new jewellery (that you'll have to pay for). You can then use this leftover jewellery for new piercings or stretching something else. However, this can get VERY expensive if you do much stretching. As far as bought jewelry, I've found that the best thing for stretching (and wearing) are the wearable acrylic taper plugs available from Mantis, Stainless Studios, and (I assume) other jewelry suppliers.
You can use any variety of found or made objects. Pieces of wood carved, FIMO clay, film canisters. A good way to do a gradual stretch is a film or pill canister, and then slowly wrap electrical tape around it, a bit more every day. This should not irritate the skin. The best jewelry I've worn is a beautiful 2" Gaboon ebony tunnel that Nomad in SF sent me - Since the ebony has a rough surface, it seems to toughen up the ear. Also, and I don't know why, there is absolutely no earstink from wearing this jewelry. Blake explained that ebony lets your ear breathe, unlike plastic or metal jewelry.
In the winter, if you live in a cold part of the world, you are probably best off with solid plastic jewellery. Plastic because it won't get as cold, and solid so the wind doesn't blow through it. If the piercing is very large (over 1" - enough to seriously deform the ear), always cover it when you go into the cold. The blood circulation is not as good, and it is very susceptible to frostbite.
Do not stretch using multiple pieces of jewellery in one hole. This results in pinching, abrasion, and a piercing with a rough edge.
Do not over stretch. The can have very serious implications:
Tearing, resulting in damage to the ear, and excess scar tissue at the least. This scar tissue can make further stretching very difficult. Nerve damage, resulting in a loss of feeling in the lobe. Blood vessel damage, resulting in a loss of circulation in the lobe, and worst case tissue necrosis and all the complications that go with it.
If you do over stretch, just go back down to a smaller gauge or take it out for a while. Stretching back up is very easy if you have done it before. Something that you may notice is a lip forming on the back rim of the piercing. What this usually is, is the skin tunnel being pushed out the back - sometimes it happens when the skin tears and the ear begins to turn inside out. It doesn't always mean something bad, but it's certainly a warning sign.
If you decide you don't want it any more, you can take it out and it will return to "normal" if you have not passed the elastic limit of the skin. Most lobes can stretch to at leat 1/2" before reaching this limit. A .5" hole will close back up within a few days to about a 6ga. A 2" hole will close back up to about the size of a finger (if you're lucky) - If not, just cut them off...
When you first start stretching, do not take it out as it will shrink down again very quickly. Once you are past 1" you can take it out for a few days at a time without any problem.
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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 01 Jan. 1997
in Ear Piercing