Ear Stretching and Ear Gauges: Everything You Need to Know
So you’re keen to explore your creative self by stretching your ear lobes (ear gauge) this year. Welcome to the club! As with most first timers, you might have a lot of questions about it at the moment. Before you start thinking about the specific spacers to add to your collection, it’s good to get a bit more information about the process. Ear stretching has formed part of many cultural traditions over the centuries, including being used for spiritual and ritual purposes by the Ancient Egyptians. These days it is a form of expression for many people living in the modern world too. So let’s start with the basics, and work our way through some of the most common questions people ask during the journey.
What is an Ear Gauge?
Ear gauging, also called ear stretching, refers to the process of gradually stretching out pierced holes in the earlobes, in order to add specific jewelry into them. Fit for all genders, the holes could be sized anywhere from the diameter of a pen, right through to the surface of your favorite soft drink can. The jewelry you choose can be referred to as tunnels, spacers or plugs, depending on what you get. It’s a good idea to start dreaming a little bit about what you’re going to try first, adapting your options as your style and preferences change over time. You control how big to go, and not rushing the process means getting a good and comfortable result.
Is Ear Stretching Painful?
This is one of the first questions that most people want to have answered. In short, the answer is not really. The stretching process might tingle or sting slightly, but if it’s done correctly by a professional with good experience, it shouldn’t hurt all too much. If you’re feeling pain after inserting the taper / spacer, then it’s likely that its size is a little too big for the hole you’re working with. The idea is to work it down to a choice that fits comfortably and doesn’t leave you in any pain. You’ll get the hang of the way it feels in no time at all and shouldn’t be too afraid if you’ve had tattoos or piercings done before.
Is Ear Gauing Permanent?
Ear gauges are permanent or impermanent depending on a couple of factors. As a general rule, people who make holes between 6 and 10 millimeters can expect their ears to revert back to the size of a normal piercing. This will take several months of healing. Keep this in mind if you don’t want the process to permanently stretch your ears. It’s also a good idea to stretch it out slowly and to remember to go one size at a time. Pushing it or rushing the process may result in a result that can’t be reversed. We’re all wired differently, so results may vary.
How to Safely Stretch Your Ears
Knowing the process for safely stretching your ears can help make sure the professional doing it knows what they’re doing. Many people try to do it at home, which is fine and can be done through a few different stretching techniques - gauges taper kit, taping, dead stretching.
But if you know that you are too eager and will stretch too fast then it is recommended that you seek help from a professional. Without patience to stretch your ears slowly then your stretching process will often result in failure or infection and is not recommended. A skilled ear stretcher will know how to go about creating the smaller hole and repeating the process without pushing your earlobes to a point where the process is excessively painful.
Aftercare for Ear Gauges
The most important factor to keep in mind during the process is not the actual stretching, but rather how you will look after the ear gauge once you’ve begun your journey. A newly stretched piercing should be met with patience and discipline at all times. Wash the spacer twice a day with chemical-free soap (that nobody else uses) to prevent crusties from forming. Apply an aftercare cream to help keep your earlobes moisturized and healthy. Massage your earlobes with jojoba oil to keep it moisturized and use when inserting new jewelry or when stretching up a size. The healing period can vary depending on the person. Once you’re in the process, patience is key.
How to Spot and Prevent Infections in Ear Gauges
When you’re doing your daily aftercare routine, take some time to inspect the area thoroughly. Don’t be too alarmed if there is a distinctive smell at first, but if this lasts it’s worth seeing professional advice. Preventing infection requires disciplined attention and sticking to a cleaning routine. Always wash your hands before touching the earlobes or cartilage. Keep the jewelry as clean as possible with a mild soap or cleanser. Rubbing alcohol or an antibiotic ointment could come in handy if you suspect that you have an infection. Get a second opinion first, and ask for extra advice to make sure that it can heal sooner rather than later.
Can You Downsize an Ear Gauge?
If you’re planning on going through the ear stretching process, you can bank on the fact that at some point during the process you may question whether you’ve gone further than you might have wanted to. If the earlobes were stretched properly, the hole will start to close up on its own and you can downsize to your heart's content. If it falls within the size range we mentioned earlier, it will be possible to go down to a smaller size over time. Remain calm and patient, as it could take some time before you hit the size you want.
Trusted Support During The Process
Aside from having a close friend or family member to offer moral support during the process, it’s good to know you can bank on expert advice that will offer peace of mind as it goes along. At BodyJ4You, we’re committed to helping people recover well from piercings, ear stretching, tattoos and more. From aftercare soap to choosing the best jewelry based on your preferences, our team has you covered. A decade and a half into operations, we offer quality-controlled products and ideas based on the latest trends, curating on the best options to help you feel and look your best at the end of the day. We’re here for you, and look forward to helping you get exactly what you’re looking for.