First time stretching my ears | Experiences | Forum
February 14, 2014
I've had my ears pierced since I was maybe…7? Got them pierced at Claire's (cringes internally) with I'm assuming a 16g needle. I barely wore any ear rings past the first few years after barreling down a hill on my bike and crashing into a tree so hard that my right ear ring completely embedded inside my lobe…
Fast forward to age 18, I started wearing ear rings again, but pretty much every type of metal irritated my ears, made them itch like crazy, so unless I had sterling silver or stainless steel, it was pretty much a losing battle.
Now at 21, I have decided to start stretching my ears. Before I start explaining my method – YES, I do know that you're supposed to wait a month between stretches. But I have also seen instructions saying that if the taper will slide in with little resistance, then it is usually okay to size up.
I started January 13th at a large 16 and quickly sized up to 14g because the 16g turned out to be a bit too small for my lobes. Within a week, I had sized up to a 10g. I then waited about a week to size up to an 8g. Another week to get to 6g (once I had gotten to 8g, I began to use the taping method and saw a MASSIVE improvement in the actual stretching). Today I sized up to a 4g, and both tapers slid in with such little resistance I almost couldn't believe it!
So, I went from a 14g, to a 4g, in literally a month's time. I can only brace for all of the negative comments I may get about this…I just wanted to share my experience. Stretching is different for everyone, and I suppose I just have unusually stretchy ears!
The thing that has made this so easy and quick has been the taping method. If any of you are unaware of it, I seriously recommend looking into it. And before I am asked – I have had no blow-outs, my naked lobes look extremely healthy, round, and even. They do not resemble cat-butts. The only time one of them bled was because I nicked the inside meaty bits with the ridge of my plug.
Best of luck to everyone stretching their ears! It is quite the journey!
Hi Michelleychelley, welcome to the forum.
I must confess that i considered deleting your post, as i feel that your advice is very bad, but on reflection i thought this is a subject worth reiterating for people who like yourself lack knowledge about stretching your lobes.
I think perhaps you misunderstand the point of waiting between stretches. This isn't because you won't be able to stretch, and whilst it can help avoid blowouts, that isn't the reason either. There are 2 main reasons, both relating to how the body heals.
When you stretch the skin, it creates micro tears. When something is in situ which the body can't remove, or does not react to, the skin infills this area creating new tissue. When this is allowed to settle the tissue becomes regular skin. When it isn't allowed to heal, or the stretch is too great to heal in this way, the body granulates, and infills with scar tissue. To the untrained eye this can look and feel like normal skin, however it is not very flexible and much weaker. This can cause problems stretching later, especially at larger sizes.
The other reason is to allow the body time to develop and adjust the blood supply to the area. Putting pressure on the tissue can cause capillaries the become compressed and die off. The body can regenerate this, within reason, if the pressure is not too great. Stretching too fast does not allow time for this to happen.
The end result is weak spots, lobe thinning, uneven lobes or in the worst case 'lobe death' where there is insufficient blood supply to even maintain the lobe and it becomes necrotic. You wont necessarily see any of that immediately.
At small sizes you MIGHT get away with it. I have to say that you are starting to approach sizes where i can assure you that you will not.
You mention using the taping method, however i think it sounds like you are using tapers, which is completely different. The taping method uses small wraps of tape to cover a plug, so that stretches happen in very small increments the body can better heal. Tapers are a sudden stretch involving forward pressure on the fistula, which should be carefully done so as not to over stretch or force the fistula out from it's place (a blow out).
Tapers should be sterile and only done by an experienced person, such as an experience piercer. They should be goof quality and sterile. Many tapers sold on the mass market are unsuitable material (such as acrylic) and shape (they over stretch and taper too fast). With care they can be used by an experienced person at small sizes. You're definitely getting past that.
It's also worth noting that when you had your ears pierced at Claire's it was with gun. That is, not a needle, but a blunt piece of jewelry forced through, which in itself creates scar tissue. For some people that can actually help initial stretches, but often can cause complication further down the line.
Of course anyone is free to stretch however they see fit. My advice comes from years of research and experience, having healthy thick 2" lobes ( at that size for several years), and knowing many people who have stretched their lobes in a variety of ways.
I've yet to meet anyone who wished they had gone faster. I've met plenty who thought they were doing something ok and messed their ears up, and now wish they had gone slower or followed the advice .
February 14, 2014
Hello, Oakbear! And thank you for the advice!
I am aware that there is the running risk of micro-tears, and that even if it doesn't FEEL like it hurts, it can still be damaging the lobe. Now that I am at 4g, I will definitely be slowing down on stretching (I'd say I'd give it a week before I start to tape again). On that note, I do know what the taping method is--it's the only reason I've been able to size up so quickly! Using tape (I'm assuming) puts less resistance on the blood vessels and skin, instead of trying over and over to get a taper to fit, and end up feeling that tell-tale sting that you've gone too far.
Before any of this started, I wanted to make myself very informed. I know acrylics are a no-go if you want healthy ears. I actually know someone who is using an acrylic set of tapers and I really, reeeeally want to tell her that she's doing herself a huge disservice. I ordered a stainless steel set of tapers, plugs, and some other bits and bobs that I'm sure I'll never use. It also came with some stretching balm, which has been very useful in speeding up the recovery time of any sensitivity in my lobes.
So far, I've had few problems, but like I said, now that I'm at a size I'm comfortable with (for now), I will be slowing down. If I did decide to size up again, I would have to inspect my ears and make sure the holes are completely round and that there is no swelling or puffiness (besides the normal shrinkage of them when you remove a taper/plug/etc).
As an addendum, the taping method really is a life-saver. It took me a bit to get down, since tapers…well, taper, so the tape has to be small enough to wrap around the part of the taper that is even in circumference.
Thank you very much for all the information, Oakbear! You definitely seem to know your stuff! And 2"!!! Wow I don't think I could ever go that big. I have tapers up to 00 right now, and was originally happy with the size, but now I just want more….MORE!!!!!
Heh, sorry. Thanks for not deleting my post. I don't think I am misinformed, I think I'm just really bad at conveying the things I DO know
Hope i didn't upset you with my advice. The number one thing with stretching is to go slow. It's hard to keep perspective of that when 'in the moment', so i often advise 'go as slow as you think you need to, then go slower'. That includes tape, as it is so easy to get carried away!
You may regret it if you don't go slow enough, and will be thankful if you do.
It's a great way to teach yourself patience and discipline.
February 14, 2014
thank you very much for your advice! I will definitely be keeping that in mind. I do plan to go slower now (it's just so tempting to speed up the process )
I will not be bothering with them for a while now. I'm actually going to get my second tattoo on Tuesday and I'm basically going to tell him the same story…hopefully when he sees my ears he'll realize he has no cause to worry. I am very apt at listening to my body, and obeying when it tells me I'm going to fast/hard.
I may update on this forum as I get to bigger sizes. Any other recommendations or just comments in general are always welcome! I'd love to hear some experiences from members on here
November 27, 2013
February 14, 2014
So, I'm now up to 2g in my right ear (with a few layers of tape) and a 4g in my left (also taped) I'm feeling good about the pace I'm going at. Like I said before, it'd take twice as long without the taping method. I highly recommend it, but also recommend changing the tape at least once a day.
I mean, I started doing this on January 13. It's been a bit shy of two months, and I've gone from a 14g to a 2g. Of course I'm slowing down now, but that's because the differences in sizes are greater. I do love my lobes, though. I could imagine letting them settle around 4g so I can wear these cute plugs I got…I just want to go larger! Now 00 seems like so small to me – I wouldn't go much higher than like…half an inch. I don't want my lobe to hang when I leave them naked is the thing.
If anyone has any recommendations, let me know!
Well you could listen to the advice you thanked me for and said you were now going to follow, rather than ignoring it completely and messing up your ears?
No, that seems silly! With your magic taping you could be at you half inch goal in a few weeks! :
I don't mind what you do with your ears. I do mind that some people who are also impatient and ill informed might take your posts with equal weight to mine and do themselves harm. Of course it's their life and body too, but i wish people would only give safe and well informed advice if they feel the need.
I'm not giving advice based on what i read or a single experience, but on 18 years getting and researching modifications, knowing dozens of people who have done this, many respected professionals, having studied anatomy and wound care, as well as my own experience of successfully stretching a variety of piercings. I question accepted wisdom, and always want to know why we might do things a certain way, rather than pass on the same old advice without thinking. If your advice was safe or sensible i'd give it a thumbs up. My knowledge and experience tells me otherwise.
February 14, 2014
I can totally respect that. I actually am at 2g in both ears and plan to stay here for at least a month. I mean, everyone's body is different. I've had ZERO blow-outs (I may actually finally get around to uploading a picture of my lobes naked) and no cat butt, except when the tape I was using nicked the microtears. I am not pushing my ears further than they are willing to go, and they are actually stretching fairly evenly.
I really do appreciate your advice, but at the same time…it is ultimately my body. And I'm the type of person who learns how to do right, by doing wrong. If I make a mistake, I will NOT make it again.
The reason I like the taping method is that, instead of having to wait a month for the plug/taper to stretch the ear COMPLETELY to the next size, using progressing layers of tape make it so the lobe stretches very slowly and evenly. of course you need to clean them more often – I do once a day. Also still using salt soaks, the stretching balm (which has been a god-send) and massaging them in the shower. I haven't made any mistakes, I'm just…lucky. it's like people who smoke weed even though it's illegal. Just because it's illegal doesn't mean it's bad. Just because MOST people stretch their ears over a long period of time doesn't mean that's the ONLY way to do it…like I said, your body, your choice.
I really do appreciate the advice, but I'm a live and learn kinda chick. if it goes wrong at any point, I'll fess up. I want to be healthy, and so far I've had minimal problems. But no, I would not advise people to follow my routine. EVERYONE has different lobes. If it feels too tight, it is. Mine always go in with NO resistance.
I really have not too much else to say…sorry if I upset you. I just think the whole process is really cool. I wish I could size up to like 1 1/2 but I know you have to be EXTREMELY careful at those sizes and I just don't trust myself! Thanks for the words of wisdom, Oakbear! Sorry if I made you feel ignored – that was not my intention at all!
I'm not upset, but find it a bit sad that you took good advice then did the opposite. I want to encourage people to see body modification as a positive for them, and part of that is doing things in an educated, responsible manner. There are too many people out there who see stretched lobes as something to regret because they messed it up.
I wholeheartedly agree it's your choice how you do that, the risks you choose to take, but be aware that any mistake may be a permanent one. You can't un-scar your ears. If you're fine with that that then great, experiment away. There are circumstances i have done similar, but have always educated myself to understand the procedure and the risks.
When you post about unsafe practice in a positive way, without the knowledge to understand the procedure, it can influence others to also be unsafe. They might not be so happy about making permanent mistakes however.
February 14, 2014
I totally understand, and I'm not upset at all. I haven't torn my ears, but my left was getting puffy so I took the 3 layers of tape off my 2g tapers.They feel comfortable.I'm leaving them this way for a while.
I know I probably sounded like an ignorant know it all newbie, but I was just over-excited. And the smaller sizes WERE a lot easier…but I'm taking my time now. I had a few close calls, and I want to have round, healthy lobes, not like those ones that hang…no offense to anyone that happens to – sometimes it's natural when you go soooo high.
I'm sorry I was spreading false info. I got so caught up in it, and got carried away. My lobes are healthy right now- I just used isopropyl alcohol on them and then used a bunch of stretching balm.My lobes feel happy.
I want to thank you for expressing caution, and I apologize for staring it so blatantly in the face and saying "no". I am a person who learns by experience, not reading up on it. Always been that way. But I didn't have a blow-out, and the left (only bad side) was a bit cat-butty…But it will be fine! I understand my limits now. As a side-note, I did say that doing what I was doing was not smart. I take responsibility for that. But that's done and gone with. I'm really sorry if I offended you
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