People from around the world have been stretching their earlobes for thousands of years, and this ancient form of body modification continues to be highly popular today. People of all ages practice the art stretching their lobes to sizes of a few millimeters all the way up to several inches. I personally have been stretching my lobes for roughly five years now, and I absolutely love the way my 00g lobes look. However, my ears wouldn’t look so lovely if I had been careless in my stretching, like many other people I know. From unsightly blowouts and torn earlobes to lobes suffering from necrosis, I have seen people find countless ways to destroy their earlobes while stretching. People are constantly making damaging mistakes while stretching, all of which are entirely preventable. If you are considering stretching your ears, it is essential you avoid these mistakes, as some can even be potentially life threatening.
Stretching too Fast
Stretching too quickly is easily the most common and most damaging mistake made when stretching ears. Stretching should be a slow, painless process rather than a race. When stretching your ears, you should wait a minimum of 6-8 weeks before attempting to stretch up one size, and you should never, under any conditions skip a size when stretching. Stretching too quickly can lead to unsightly blowouts when the fistula of the piercing pushes out due to excessive pressure, bleeding, scarring, infection, thinning of the lobe tissue and even complete tearing of the earlobe. If you begin to attempt stretching to the next size and it hurts or you have difficulty: stop immediately and wait several more weeks before attempting again; your earlobes are not ready.
Stretching with Improper Materials
When stretching your ears, there are several different methods and materials you can use to safely increase the size of your lobes. For smaller sizes, such as 14g-6g, tapers are an appropriate option. Once bigger sizes are achieved, taping is a far easier option. You should only use Teflon or Bondage tape when stretching, rather than duct or electrical tape. Teflon and bondage tape are threadless and only stick to themselves, making them safe for inserting into a piercing. Trying to dead stretch by shoving larger sized jewelery in or stretching with other random materials such as pencils, pens etc will easily damage your lobes. Stretching with silicone plugs is also not okay, as this can also tear your lobes and cause infection.
Stretching Without Lubrication
When stretching, you should always massage tea tree or a similar oil onto your lobes before inserting a taper or a taped plug. Lubrication will make it easier for the jewelery to slide in without tearing the tissue or causing a blow out. Its a good idea to frequently massage oil onto your ears even when not stretching to keep the tissue hydrated and healthy. I massage my ears every other day with oil and have found it to be excellent for maintaining the thickness and overall health of my lobes.
Wearing Improper Jewelery
Wearing improper jewelery is a sure way to disfigure and thin out your earlobes. Tapers should never, under any circumstances be used as jewlery, as the uneven shape of them cause uneven pressure on your lobes. Plugs or tunnels made of porous materials, such as acrylic are silicone should never be worn for more than a few hours at a time, and should only be worn in fully healed earlobes. Plugs and tunnels made of clay are never okay to wear as jewelery, no matter how healed your ears are. And anything else that is not specifically made for wearing in stretched lobes, such as straws, screws, soda can tops and an unlimited list of other random materials are other huge no-nos. As ridiculous as this may sound, I have seen people attempting to wear everything from their own wisdom teeth to tampon applicators as plugs. Wearing improper jewelery can cause infection and necrosis of the tissue of your earlobes, which can actually be fatal if the infection spreads to your bloodstream or reaches your brain.