SAFE PIERCING

THE ASSOCIATION OF PROFESSIONAL PIERCERS

Posts tagged stretching

27 notes

Anonymous asked: I'm rather unfamiliar with the processes and terminology of stretching. I was just wondering what ear weights are for-- are they simply for looks (so many are so gorgeous!) or do they have a functionality for those with stretched lobes?

Ear weights are for previously stretched and healthy lobes. They are not for making the lobe larger. For some stretched lobes if you’re not wearing your fit plugs then the holes may tighten over time. Wearing a small amount of weight will keep the hole relaxed. So it gives people the option of wearing an elaborate hanging design without the need to wear a plug or eyelet every day. 

Check out these awesome custom weights from Blessings to You jewelry. 

Ryan Ouellette, APP outreach

Filed under weights lobes earlobes gauges stretching weight

209 notes

A lament to incorrect terminology: Denting

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. 

Ryan Ouellette, APP outreach

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Filed under denting stretching septum stretching septums stretching a septum piercing septum denting stretching cartilage septum piercing septum stretching gauges safepiercing

37 notes

Anonymous asked: What would you say to convince to parents that gauging is a personal choice? Thanks for running this blog, it's been quite helpful!

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. 

Ryan Ouellette, APP outreach

Filed under stretching gauging gauges lobes stretched lobes

12 notes

Anonymous asked: Would stretching your ears past half an inch for a long period of time (maybe 2 years or more) last in permanent stretching damage?

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. 

Ryan Ouellette, APP outreach

Filed under stretching gauges

6 notes

marymagdalene-official asked: I tried stretching my ears from a 16 to a 14 and it REALLY hurt, even though I was going slow and I used lotion etc. I took them out. I know it's not totally comfortable anyway, but do you think going to a professional will make it hurt less? I really want to get them done :(

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. 

Ryan Ouellette, APP outreach

Filed under stretch stretching gauges gauging

12 notes

Anonymous asked: Im curious as to how to go about stretching my septum properly, any advice? :)

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. 

Ryan Ouellette, APP outreach

Filed under septum stretch stretching stretching septum

53 notes

Anonymous asked: What's a good age to begin stretching your ears?

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. 

Ryan Ouellette, APP outreach

Filed under stretching stretch gauges gauging

133 notes

Anonymous asked: What is your opinion on ear scapelling?

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.

but…

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. 

Ryan Ouellette, APP outreach

Filed under earlobe scalpelling scalpel lobes gauges stretching earlobes earlobe safepiercing body modification scalpelling

8 notes

Anonymous asked: I'm currently gauging up my ears and I recently went up from a 4 g to a 2 g and everything went fine but healing it taking longer than last time and my left ear keeps oozing plasma. Did I do something wrong or is that normal?

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. 

Ryan Ouellette, APP outreach

Filed under stretching gauging gauges

10 notes

shavedmartian asked: What is the best way to safely gauge outer labia rings? Should I just wear a certain heavier jewelry and pull on them from time to time? Can I wear weights sometimes? What could I use as weights? How long should I wait in between sizes? Randomly slid in an 8g easy after having 10g for about 2 years.

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. 

Ryan Ouellette, APP outreach

Filed under stretching gauging labia

21 notes

Anonymous asked: When do you think would be an okay time to start stretching your ears?

3:47 pm

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. 

Ryan Ouellette, APP outreach

Filed under stretch stretching gauges gauging

37 notes

Anonymous asked: Is it safe/okay to stretch your ear lobes at home, or should you meet with your local piercer to go up each gage? If you meet with a piercer to do it about how much will each session cost?

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. 

  • Do not stretch faster than one gauge size every 6-8 weeks. Any faster than that and you are tearing and scarring your skin, not stretching it. 
  • Do not force jewelry in, if your lobe is ready for the next size it should gently wiggle or slide in. If there is too much resistance you should stop trying to insert the jewelry and give it some more time. 
  • Do not stretch with tapers, leave that to a professional. If store bought tapers come with a set of O-rings they are meant as jewelry when you are already at that gauge size, not as a stretching tool.
  • Do not stretch with plastic/acrylic, silicone, double flared plugs, or externally threaded jewelry.

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. 

Ryan Ouellette, APP outreach

Filed under stretch stretching gauging gauge gauges

30 notes

Q: Okay so I started stretching my ears with acrylic tapers/plugs. I didn’t realize they were bad until I found this blog. I didn’t have money to buy quality jewelry until a few days ago, so I bought some quality plugs from a piercing shop. BUT I can’t get them in! My piercer told me that since I’ve been at 8g for 6 months, I should be able to buy a pair of 6g plugs and stretch when I get home. But My ears won’t budge! Did I f*** them up with s****y 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. 

Ryan Ouellette, APP outreach

Filed under acrylic plastic off gassing stretching

16 notes

Anonymous asked: Is it safe to stretch cartilage? If so, how would I go about doing it?

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. 

Ryan Ouellette, APP outreach

Filed under stretching cartilage stretching cartilage