Gauging Ears With Stretched PiercingsGauging Ears With Stretched Piercings

Stretch piercings in your ear lobes can be obtained by gauging ears to a specific piercing size, either in one go or by means of several successive earlobe stretchings. A lot depends on how large you want your piercing to be, and anything that one gauge more than the last will involve more than one stretching.

Gauging ears is carried out using 'gauge numbers' that refer to a specific diameter of hole. For example, gauge 20 is written as 20g, and that refers to a piercing of 0.8 mm in diameter. 18g refers to a piercing of 1 mm in diameter, so as the gauge numbers drop then the diameter increases. Also, gauges drop in twos, so that there are no odd gauge numbers. Thus, the sequence goes: 20g, 18g, 16g, 14g and so on to 00g. Therefore one gauge step down is from one even number to the next and from a lower piercing diameter to a higher.

When gauging ears you should stretch piercings by only one gauge step. So, if you want to change from 16g to 14 g (1.2 mm to 1.6 mm) you can do so in one step. However, if you wanted to go from a 16g to an 8g (1.2 mm to 3.2 mm) you would have to do that in four steps, involving four stretched piercings, each of one gauge level.

When you have your earlobes pierced with the intention of increasing the gauging to a fairly high diameter for some gorgeous large-diameter bars you have seen or even a cool flesh tunnel, then first consider the initial diameter - the greater the initial diameter then the fewer ear lobe stretching steps you will have to undergo to reach your preferred diameter. Do not have your ears pierced in a shopping mall with a gun because these generally pierce at 20g or 18g at the most.

Start With a Professional Piercing

Have the initial ear lobe piercing carried out by a professional using a needle. It is well worth the extra expense, and a pro will pierce your earlobes to 16g, thus saving yourself a whole step of gauging ears to your target size. Let the professional know your intention and you will be given some expert advice, and you might even agree to have the pro do the gauging for you.

It is possible for people to do their own stretched piercings themselves, and most do to be honest, but only once they are certain that the initial piercing has completely healed. If you begin too soon you might blow out the piercing or split the skin, and any attempts to gauge your ears after that might be impossible. Gauging ears is a skill that has to be learned, so follow all the advice you find if you want to be able to wear these fabulous barbells you have seen.

It is also essential to wait until each stretching has properly settled, the skin thickening and hardening properly, before going onto the next gauge. This will take about 3 times the time for the initial piercing to heal, but don't rush it.

Ear Jewelry: When Gauging Ears and After

The ear jewelry available for stretched piercings is fabulous. When choosing the jewelry to wear during the process of gauging ears you should keep potential infection and allergies in mind, and surgical stainless steel and titanium are best. However, once you have reached your target gauge and your stretched piercings have fully healed, you have a wonderful world of amazing jewelry in materials too brittle to be used in high gauge pins or barbells.

You can use bone, horn, wood, stone and even amber and glass, many of which also help the piercing to stay clean and not get clogged with oils from your skin. You can also use metal and acrylic ear jewelry in many shapes and sizes. Many are happy with large studs, while others prefer large diameter hoops, barbells and regular earrings. Others love to wear solid cylindrical plugs, either flared or held by o-rings and ear weights made of any material under the sun, though silver, bronze, brass and copper are common. The really wealthy have theirs made in solid gold.

Flesh Tunnels Are Popular

An alternative to the regular type of ear jewelry is type of hollow plug known as a flesh tunnel. These are particularly used for the larger diameter stretched piercings, and when gauging ears this is often the ultimate objective. Flesh tunnels are available in many different materials and are held in place in much the same way as the plugs: with flares, o-rings or with a screw on back piece. Some people have beaded or other forms of decorative elements threaded through their flesh tunnels, and they are frequently worn as a mark of just how far a person has managed to go with their stretched piercings.

Gauging ears with stretched piercings is therefore carried out by people both for their decorative effect and as a means of displaying their ear stretching skills. Whatever your reason is, keep in mind the gauge of your initial piercing and that everything involved in gauging ears must be sterilized and kept clean and free from germs. Make sure each stage is fully healed before starting the next, and you should have no real problems.
by Peter Nisbet
References and Bibliography
More information on gauging ears with stretched piercings can be found on Flesh Tunnel where you will also find Ear Stretching Tools to help you do it yourself, plus and some funky flesh tunnels and ear jewelry
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