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Let’s Talk About Ear Stretching

plugs violet

Photo courtesy of @violetfirehock

The first time I saw a pair of gauged ears I was a little shocked as to how a simple earring
sized hole could become the size of a quarter! It was amazing and terrifying and I knew right
then i wanted to stretch my ears. So just like with any other new adventure I first did a little
research on what I was getting into before I began. First, I did the obvious and posted my
newest endeavor on facebook to see how my friends would react. I got the general “yay
thats awesome” to the “ewww no don’t you dare” reactions. Then I googled ear plugs and
found some totally awesome jewelry and I decided to go for it.

I went to my local tattoo shop and talked to the piercer and told her I was ready to start
stretching. She introduced me to tapers which are in my opinion the best way to begin. If
you don’t know what a taper is, its a shape that goes from smaller to larger and gently
expands your ear hole as you push it through.I was also told 316L surgical steel is the safest
material to stretch with. She then explained the process of stretching slowly and what sizes
to begin with. She also stated that its important as with an body piercing or modification to
wash your hands with antibacterial soap before starting. So I took with me this new found
knowledge and went home to insert the tapers.

I started with a 2mm taper as i’ve had my ear holes since 1 yrs old and have worn earrings a
long time. I was told its a little easier to push through if you use a little A & D ointment or
vaseline so I did. It was a little uncomfortable at first kind of like a pinch and it was sore for a
few days. But after that I was able to move it in easily and I was ready for the next one.

eric plugs

Photo courtesy of @ericemerymusic

I continued with the tapers until I was about a 4 gauge. Then I went to the tunnels. Personally
the tunnels are my favorite ear jewelry. I love that you can see right through the ear hole. So
it was tunnels there on and with those I could skip buying all the in between sizes by
wrapping white plumbers tape around the plug every few days to stretch to the next size. I
didn’t want to purchase all these pair of plugs I didn’t intend to keep as I wanted to get to
5/8″ and then purchase the ones I really wanted.

I then made a huge mistake at 9/16″ which is the size just before 5/8″ where I wanted to be. I
was at a tattoo expo and came across a jewelry booth and bought a pair of 5/8″ silicone
plugs. I went to the bathroom and squeezed them in, it hurt but i figured it was like every
other time, 3 days or so and it would be over. I was so wrong. You should never stretch with
silicone as it adheres to the skin. I was not told this and i left them in for a week or so and my
ears were killing me, so I pulled one out and my skin came along with it. I was terrified and
immediately went to my local tattoo shop to seek advice from the piercer. She told me to soak
my lobes twice a day in warm water with sea salt until i was healed.

I was so bummed. My ears shrank back down to a 6 gauge and I had to start all over again. I
am now back at a healthy, happy 9/16″ and I believe this is where I will stay.

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