Posts tagged stretching
Posts tagged stretching
Ok so yesterday we received a message asking “How do you start to cartilage dent? I want to go up to 2g and I heard it can be a good idea to start denting at smaller gauges” to which I replied that I had no idea what that term even meant let alone how to achieve it. So rather than some followers thinking we are dumb for not knowing what this means I did googling / asking around and what I found was a lot of misinformation. None of the professional piercers (including APP members) I asked knew what this term meant, nor did any of them suggest it. Among the Youtube videos of people explaining the best way to pierce your friend’s navel in your bedroom there are some videos explaining what denting is and how to do it. When this is the main source of information on the subject you may want to use caution in following the advice you find.
The interweb tells me that “denting” is ”cartilage displacement in a septum piercing”. It also seems that people are under the impression that A.) this is a good thing, and B.) it can somehow be done purposefully in a safe way. Both those things are actually untrue, and I will explain why.
First what people are calling “denting” is actually erosion of the cartilage in the septum. Piercings through, and near, cartilage can not be stretched like soft tissue. When you stretch something like an earlobe the body is generating new tissue and expanding the piercing. With cartilage you’re not actually stretching, but you are causing the body to erode and remove cartilage, making the hole slightly larger. Since most septums are pierced below the cartilage and not through it when you stretch a septum too fast what you think is “denting” is actually permanent damage to the cartilage of your septum.
If you stretch a septum slowly you’ll be allowing the body to generate new soft tissue and expand the piercing. This new tissue will act like a cushion between the piercing and cartilage and you can avoid the uncomfortable “jewelry pressing against the cartilage” sensation that seems to be one of the main justifications used to promote denting. In some cases of very large gauge stretching (0g or larger perhaps) you can have some slight erosion, but it should certainly not be a goal for someone to erode the cartilage for any smaller sizes.
There is also no way to intentionally cause cartilage erosion without essentially grinding jewelry upward into your septum piercing or applying regular pressure to the piercing and jewelry. I don’t know why this is a desired action because cartilage erosion is not comfortable, some people can have discomfort bordering on pain if their jewelry presses against their septum cartilage. Again this discomfort is usually avoidable by correctly and slowly stretching a septum piercing.
I have worn a comfortable 6g septum piercing for about ten years now and I don’t have the slightest bit of “denting” or erosion in my septum cartilage, and that is because I stretched it slowly and safely. I would strongly urge anyone interested in this to use caution. Just like you can cause significant damage when stretching an earlobe incorrectly you can cause significant and permanent damage if you stretch a septum, or any cartilage piercing too quickly.
Some parents disapprove of stretched ears (gauging would not be the correct term) because they just simply dislike piercing. Others may be concerned that their child is rushing into something that may have lasting consequences. When it comes to educating, you can feel free to share any of our stretching posts that you may find helpful. When it comes to convincing, that is up to you. Try to present it as a well thought out choice for self expression, one that you have considered properly. Wear nice looking jewelry so your lobes will stay healthy. If you are rushing your stretches with bad jewelry and making your lobes look nasty then you’re probably not going to sway them easily.
We support you expressing yourself, but at the same time we may agree with some parents when it comes to health and safety. If you want your choices to be respected by others you need to take them seriously, respect the piercings and respect your body.
Well there aren’t really any rules with stretching and permanency. Sometimes a 2g hole will stay open forever, sometimes 3/4” lobes will totally close up. I would say that in general if you wear something as big as 1/2” long term you’ll probably have a noticeable hole permanently, it might not be open enough to re-insert big jewelry, but it would probably be very noticeable.
I can tell you that healthy correctly stretched lobes will 1.) look much nicer if you decide to take the jewelry out than rushed stretched scarred up lobes. And 2.) will be more likely to tighten or close on their own if they are not all scarred up from bad or rushed stretching.
Yes, let a professional do it for you. If you tried to push a blunt or externally threaded piece of jewelry through your piercing there is a decent chance you made a small tear. Also lotion is meant to go on the skin not in it, lotion in a cut, scratch, or tear could cause more stinging. I would expect going from a 16g to 14g to be essentially painless, when done professionally.
Same as any other piercing really. Go slow, do not skip sizes or force in jewelry. Like any piercing you want the piercing to be fully healed, and you don’t want to stretch faster than one gauge size every 6-8 weeks at a minimum. Septums can be easy to stretch for some, tough for others. Having a professional piercer perform your stretches for you can help to ensure a healthy piercing in the long term.
Well adults are free to do whatever they want with their bodies, I’m not about to tell you when its appropriate to do what you want with it.
What I will say is that if you are young, possibly a minor, patience and forethought should be encouraged. I know stretching is easy to do at home, its really popular with younger piercing fans because its something you could do by yourself. People grow older, and sometimes that means we regret decisions we made when we were younger. Keep in mind that having large stretched piercings may impact future decisions and the life goals you may choose as you get older.
If you want to stretch your ears, go for it as long as you’re being safe about it. Take some time to think about the consequences of altering your body, not just for stretching but with any piercing or modification.
SInce earlobe scalpelling is an “advanced body modification” and not something covered by APP standards this in my personal opinion ok, not that of the APP.
It has its place in body modification, but I feel that it is over-used and misunderstood. Ear scalpelling is when you cut or remove a small section of earlobe to either redirect a stretched earlobe piercing, or to increase jewelry by more than one size at a time. Earlobe scalpelling is not something that should be used for “middle sizes”. Meaning to to say its not just a quick and easy way to skip a few gauge sizes. It should really only be used when there are no other options, or for obtaining your final size. When you cut the lobe you need to let it heal for a long time, its not something you repeat, and its not something you do if you intend to continue stretching in the short term.When you cut the lobe you also limit future stretching, because you’re not allowing it to stretch, generate new tissue, and expand. When you scalpel you are putting increased pressure on your lobe, if this is your final jump its not so bad, but if you want to continue stretching you’ll end up with less lobe if you cheat and skip sizes with scalpelling.
So if your lobe is stubborn and you can’t get in that last stretch before you stop at a final size, or if your lobe is off center and you want to re-direct it slightly earlobe scalpelling may be an option.
Earlobe scalpelling is illegal in many parts of the US, since you have to use a scalpel to perform the service. When something is illegal cautious and skilled piercers aren’t going to be the ones offering it widely, you’ll have an increase in reckless practitioners offering it, so please use caution and common sense. Also, its a scalpel, not a toy. If some piercer wants to play doctor and they screw up you could potentially ruin your ear, or even lose your lobe depending on the level of damage. This is something that you should spend LOTS of time researching. If a piercer says they offer it or can do it, and they don’t have pictures of healed ones they have done, do not let them experiment on you. I don’t offer it, but I get people asking me for it all the time, and almost no one wants it for a legitimate or viable reason. Most people just want to skip sizes or magically redirect a badly stretched lobe, earlobe scalpelling is not for that.
Excessive or continued discharge after a stretching is a sign of damage or stress. If you forced in jewelry before it was ready, or if you stretched with a material or jewelry style not appropriate for stretching the discharge is most likely from irritation. Try rinsing the area with sterile saline wound wound wash, or warm water rinses in the shower. Avoid moving the jewelry or picking at dried discharge.
If the problem persists you may need to downsize your jewelry to remove the pressure and allow the lobe to relax.
We refer to the act of increasing jewelry size as stretching, gauge would be the size of the jewelry itself.
Sounds like you’re stretching in a safe way already, letting time do the work for you. Never force in jewelry when your piercing isn’t ready for the next size. We suggest waiting a minimum of 2-3 months between stretches of that kind of tissue, and only go one size at a time. If you have trouble inserting jewelry do not force it in, you can visit a professional piercer for assistance if needed.
Heavier jewelry can certainly help loosen a piercing, but labia piercings are typically pretty easy to stretch when you wait the right amount of time.
But seriously folks…
Do you mean how soon after initial piercing can you start stretching? Basically you need the piercing to be fully healed, and it never hurts to wait a few extra months after that for the piercing to mature a little. For a standard earlobe, if it is pierced and cared for correctly, and you wear good quality body jewelry, you could probably start stretching 4-6 months after your initial piercing. No harm in having a check up with a reputable piercer to be sure you’re ready. You could even have them perform your first (or all future) stretch(es) for you.
Stretching is pretty safe to do at home, you are not breaking the skin or causing any damage when a stretch is done correctly. You need to be smart and careful about it.
Having your stretching performed by a professional piercer is a smart idea, but not mandatory. Many piercers will stretch either for free, or for a small service fee if you purchase your jewelry from them. Consult with a professional piercer in your area to plan out your stretches or ask questions about jewelry.
In the future please refrain from swearing in a question. Thank you.
A: Acrylic jewelry is a basically solidified chemical compound, and it does something called off-gassing. Ever unwrapped some new plastic jewelry and it has that chemical smell? Basically it’s emitting a small amount of its chemical composition. When you wear acrylic or plastic in a body piercing that small amount of gas is leaching into your skin. Over time this off gassing starts to inflame and irritate the skin, enough irritation and the body starts to create scar tissue.
Wearing acrylic in a lobe could start to cause scarring in those with sensitive skin, and make future stretching more difficult. I would suggest having a professional piercer perform your stretch for you, rather than doing it home on your own. And in the future avoid acrylics and other low quality materials.
No, do not use any petroleum based products or ointments. It can clog pores and skin and cause all kinds of problems. If you need a lubricant use something water based, like KY jelly.
Cartilage can be stretched but it’s very different than stretching soft tissue like earlobes. Take much more time in between stretches, 3 months or more between sizes. Having your cartilage stretched by a professional piercer is also a good idea to avoid damaging your cartilage or scarring your piercing.
Q: Hello, I am in need of advice from a professional with experience in stretched ear problems. The problem with my ear is I stretches to 3\4 and left the tapers in for a day and a half and I attempted to put in my 3\4 single flared tunnels/eyelets and my first problem was they weren’t long enough (I have had this problem since I stretched to 9/16) than my second problem was one of the tunnels/eyelets caught a tear or scab or something(I’m unsure of what) and ripped ear open was bad enough to have meat hanging out of the wound and its a little less than 1\2 inch front to back and a little longer than 1\2 inch side to side and it is very painful so I was hoping for advice of some sort of what to do hopefullyI cant go anywhere else. The place I went to is 30 minutes away and any other shop that has credibility is 45 minutes to an hour away and I can’t afford to make alot of trips like that and our local hospital wont deal with wounds they send the patients to other hospitals about the same distance away. That’s why I was hope for an online person I could consult with