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Tips on Stretching Piercings and Gauging Earlobes
The following piercing stretching tips are specifically aimed at measuring earlobes, where earlobe piercings can be enlarged to very large sizes to incorporate many different types of ear jewelry including wonderful flesh tunnels.
Stretch piercings have been popular in many civilizations throughout history, taking many forms from measuring earlobes to labret stretching and septum piercing. In the very early periods of history the materials used were wood, stone, bone, horn, shells, claws and claws, shaped and carved to facilitate tight piercings.
The oldest known incidence of people measuring earlobes was discovered in 1991, in a glacier in the Otztal Alps between Italy and Austria, where a 5,300-year-old mummified body was found with tattoos and an earlobe piercing of between 7 mm and 11 mm in diameter. Although the method used was known to be definite, this may have been carried out by a method known as dead stretching, where progressively larger ear jewelry is forced through the hole which gradually increases in diameter.
In preparation for measuring, make sure you have a good anti-bacterial soap without perfume. Then you will need a sea salt solution – make it using three tablespoons of salt in enough water to dissolve it, and at least enough to bathe your ear inside. Never use hydrogen or any other peroxide as an antiseptic – the soap and salt solution is enough. .
You will also need some warm water to bathe your ear before each phase of ear stretching, or you might prefer to have a warm shower first. This softens the ear and helps prevent tearing of the skin/scar that could lead to bleeding.
Finally, you’ll need some lubricant: avoid petroleum jelly or any other mineral oil or petroleum-based lubricant. Most piercing tightening tips recommend emu oil and jojoba oil, each of which offers mild antiseptic and skin conditioning properties acting as a perfectly suitable lubricant.
When tightening piercings, the two recommended methods are the narrow method and the Teflon method. The tip method involves inserting a narrow stick or pin into the piercing, the narrow end being of the same gauge as the piercing, and the wider end one gauge down. The size of the taper is that of the desired gauge of piercing. So if your piercing is 16g, the taper will be 14g taper, from 16g to 14g. These are equivalent to 1.2 mm to 1.6 mm.
Never use a battery more than one step down. However, since piercing gauges are always even numbers, one step down is 16g to 14g or 12g to 10g. Also, as the gauge numbers drop, the actual diameter increases. So while 16g is 1.2mm, 10g is 2.4mm.
There are a few different types of taper, including a taper pin on ear jewelry, so you simply insert ear jewelry tapering from your current gauge to the new one. The problem here is that a fully tapered needle won’t stretch your ears evenly – the needle needs to be the same diameter all the way through, or your piercing might as well be stretched with a tip.
To overcome this, you can use an insert rod, which is a tapered rod of about 3 inches. After warming your ears with the warm water or shower, and washing them with anti-bacterial soap, apply the lubricant to the taper and slowly work it through. When it reaches the thicker end, follow it up with earrings of the new size, and you’re done. Wipe off excess lubricant and clean the ear with anti-bacterial soap and then some of the saline solution.
An even safer way is to wrap a layer of non-stick Teflon tape around the pin of your ear jewelry and push it through the lobe. If you can see any space when you pull the ring, then it is safe to do so. Wait until the ear has accepted it, then do it again, and so on until you reach the new size, when you can use larger ear jewelry.
If there was severe pain or the piercing is bleeding, then you should stop immediately and allow the piercing to heal properly before trying again. If you try to tighten piercings too soon, before they are fully healed, then you can tear the skin and even have a breakout, both of which will make it difficult to tighten again.
Measuring Earlobes: Aftercare
Aftercare when measuring earlobes is quite simple. It shouldn’t be so much to worry after piercing until it heals, but more to keep it clean, and rotate the new size jewelry every now and again. You wait until the ear accepts the new hole size permanently so you can possibly change the hole diameter again. The stretched skin needs to be allowed to thicken and harden – give about three times as long as your original piercing took to heal. If you want to use a flesh tunnel, then you can continue to tighten piercings until the diameter reaches a considerable size.
Done correctly, and following the tips above, stretching piercings are safe and relatively easy. Many extend the diameter of their piercings this way, and measuring earlobes is probably the most popular form of piercing stretching carried out these days. Take your time – waiting is hard, but if your ear isn’t ready for the next stretch, it’s likely to be damaged.
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