Questions About Stretching Ear Lobe Piercings
December 1st, 2010
I received this message through the contact form:
My ears are currently at 1-1/4" (have been for a little over a month, probably), and are showing signs of blowing out soon. I'm planning on going up to 1-3/8", so I've started soaking them in sea salt twice a day, and applying Emu Oil afterwards.
I know it depends on each person, but how long do you think it will take until they're ready to stretch again?
Any advice you can give me would be great! F.
Thanks for your message. I can't really say how long you should wait, and you shouldn't set a goal date either.
I think you should let your ears tell you, rather than trying to set a schedule for them! If you say they're "showing signs of blowing out" --and depending on what you're referring to, you may need to wait 6-9 months or longer before going up again. Or you may not be able to stretch further safely. Sometimes a body hits a limit, and attempts at further stretching can be unsuccessful and cause tissue loss.
Saline soaks if they're VERY mild are good, but be sure not to cause any drying of tissue. Emu oil is great, and I guess you know I heartily recommend it. Just listen to your body and when your current jewelry is very loose, and the tissue looks happy and healthy, then you can consider more stretching. Are you familiar with some of the techniques for stretching a little bit at a time? (Have you read my book, The Piercing Bible? Here's a brief passage from the section on stretching:
Typically even old piercings can’t usually go up more than one size at a time, barring heavy play, wearing weights, or tearing from trauma. You must allow a sufficient interval of time between each enlargement for your tissue to fully regain its suppleness and integrity; only then is it safe to go further. Skin is remarkably resilient if not abused, but if you become impatient and try to force your piercing, the consequences can be severe. Overstretching tends to result in a buildup of scar tissue and reduction of flexibility, which can limit your capacity to stretch in the future—or shrink back to normal, if desired. Failure to adhere to appropriate procedures can cause the total destruction and loss of your piercing from tissue necrosis (death).
There's loads of information in there all about a variety of methods of safe stretching along with warnings on what to avoid.
Elayne Angel, Author
The Piercing Bible--The Definitive Guide to Safe Body Piercing
Medical Liaison, Association of Professional Piercers