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5mm (4gauge) cartilage stretch

Before I get into this, hindsight is an amazing thing! I was debating between a punch and stretching, I decided on the latter for the strange and simple reason of "if I get it punched its over and done with and I will be bored afterwards!" stupid reasoning but it worked for me at the time.

I pierced my ear myself, I knew the risks but didn't have £25 to spend out on a new piercing – so I grabbed an old stud earring and pretty much just shoved it through my cartilage, very limited pain but lots of blood, which I wasn't expecting. It took me 3 days to get from a sorry as 20gauge earring to 14gauge and I had to get Debbie, one of my piercers to do that stretch for me, the pain for that was a strangely intense short sharp pain.

At this point I wish to say, I am a very impatient person, not a virtue when stretching is involved.

Three weeks after the 14ga stretch I went to 10ga, very little pain, infact less than the initial stretch to 14ga, for 2 weeks I had a 2 inch spike out the back of my ear which was very uncomfortable and I don't think I slept much for that fortnight, I swapped jewellery to a single flared tunnel after 2 weeks as I was having some issues with the spike and o rings, I also found at this time I had a lumpy on the back but it wasn't anything major. Other than the lumpy and a small amount of crusties I didn't have any problems at this stage.

Another two weeks later (5 weeks after initial piercing) I went to 8ga, I used an acrylic spiral for this stretch and if I had to do it again I would definitely just use a taper and put the jewellery in through after the taper, the spiral caught and pulled, it also had a tendency to come out at night so I was forever re-stretching it for about a week, then I got a small internally threaded tunnel, yay for no o rings, it was at this time I found out where I had been wearing my spiral it had slipped round was no longer at 3mm but 2.7mm so getting the tunnel in was painful and messy, lots of blood and it aggravated my lumpy which was refusing to disappear.

It was a week later (6 weeks after piercing) I went from 8ga to 6ga. The only way I can explain it was I had a very bad week, was extremely stressed and didn't particularly want to reach for the razor blade and add more scars to my arms. Stretching my ear was an option. The jewellery was a small "bullet" green acrylic, held on by two o rings, I thought this to be a good idea as it was the stretching instrument and the jewellery, so less swapping, in theory. The jewellery wouldn't sit properly and one of the o rings kept popping off, the jewellery its self kept falling out at the most inconvenient times, usually into food or drink, I slept very little for a week before I finally got a 6ga BCR (due to the fact I didn't stop at 6ga I now have the very prettyful BCR attached to my cell phone as a charm.)

Clear acrylic with a red bead, it all glowed under UV light and was most comfortable! At this point my lumpy became more aggressive and spread a little, I think the stretching and bad jewellery aggravated it, it took five weeks (12 weeks after piercing) to clear up the lumpy but I was left with some annoying skin that wouldn't come off and was quite attached to where it was. I made the decision to stretch to my final 4ga 13 weeks after the initial piercing, I had my taper (after learning my lesson) and the jewellery that would follow it through, I tried to stretch it myself but found I could no longer get the angle right and it was causing aggravation with the stretch, none of my friends or my mum and dad was willing to do the final stretch for me, so I put the pretty BCR back in and timed my next visit to the city with the final stretch and got another of my piercers, Rosie to do it for me, very sharp pain, and through the whole process unlike the burning sensation of stretching your lobes that lasts for 3 or 4 days, my cartilage did not burn, just the sharp pain at 6ga and 4ga. The small flap of skin that refused to dislodge? It came off and freaked the three of us out completely in the studio! It was at this point we found the jewellery was far to short and the o rings kept popping off, I hadn't realised just how thick cartilage is compared to lobes. I ordered some new jewellery, a squishy tunnel three days after the final stretch, it didn't arrive for a week and then I discovered when I removed my old jewellery and my ear poured blood, that it probably was not a good idea to mess with squishy jewellery, I had to make a mad dash to Debbie to get a new tunnel, which is currently residing in my ear, it took another two weeks (16 weeks after piercing) for it to stop bleeding.

It is now 17 weeks and 2 days since I did the piercing, and although I don't regret it and the flack I got off people for doing it myself, I wish I had just got it punched out at 4gauge. I would have had less hassle and the placement would have been much better. Hindsight really is an amazing thing.

As a side note, I don't recommend self-piercing unless you really do know what you are doing and have the correct sterilized, autoclaved equipment. It wasn't until afterwards I realised the stud had been sat in my jewellery dish for at least 3 years and all I did was rinse it in hydrogen peroxide before donning my medical gloves and shoving it through my skin. I still have issues with it that I wouldn't have had if I'd bitten the bullet and got it punched out, it would have probably healed properly by now!


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 21 Oct. 2008
in Ear Piercing

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Artist: myself
Studio: at+my+home+and+two+piercing+studios
Location: Stamford+and+Peterborough%2C+UK

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