SAFE PIERCING

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Posts tagged stretching

34 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

30 notes

SafePiercing inbox: stretching damage from incorrect taper use

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 hopefully
I 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
In the future, please be aware that although you can purchase items called “tapers” online or in stores, these items are meant as tapered jewelry, NOT as stretching tapers or tools for stretching. Professional piercers do not often use tapers to stretch a piercing because forcing a stretch adds stress to the tissue and leads to scarring. Stretching should be done with time only. You wear jewelry until the piercing becomes loose, then you gently insert the next size up by simply wiggling in high quality jewelry, then you wait again. Typically you don’t want to stretch faster then one size every one to two months, and that is at a minimum. 
I know hearing this might frustrate you if you’re trying to go bigger, but you really need to drop down or at least stop stretching for now. If you cause enough damage to see exposed “meat” you can cause some pretty significant scarring. Keep pushing your earlobes and you could end up with a very ugly lobe, or possibly no earlobe at all. Why go through all this effort if you have nothing to show for it in the end?
Please consider taking the time to visit a reputable professional, even if you have to drive awhile to get to them. Think of the money you spent on these “tapers” and jewelry and what you got for that money, which is nothing. Now think of spending a few bucks on gas to visit a skilled professional and have them stretch your ears correctly so you can be happy with them long term. Hopefully the decision will be easier to make next time. 
Ryan Ouellette, APP outreach

Filed under stretching stretch taper tapers lobes gauges gauging earlobe earlobes

86 notes

I decided that a 2 1/2 hour drive from Norwalk, CT was totally worth it to go visit Rockstar Piercing in Providence, RI. And damn, was I right!
The second I walked in the studio seemed so professional and clean. Megan, the lovely girl with turquoise hair, set up my paper work. Jay Pond was the lucky duck who got to do my piercing, of course after looking at my anatomy. I originally wanted a triple helix piercing - which let me tell you, the place in my hometown looked at a picture of what I wanted and said it was “photoshopped” - and he said my ear was more cut out for a double helix. Totally cool. I really appreciate he wouldn’t try to execute something not appropriate for me.
Natalie helped me pick out my jewelry and we decided on this lovely Anatometal cluster with amethyst and purple opal, along with a white opal to accentuate it. I’m so happy because it matches my purple hair perfectly.
Jay was so amazing with the procedure, walking me through everything calmly and easily. And like that, it was done with perfection. I feel invincible with it. 
I honestly cannot be happier. I was emailing back and forth with Megan the day after and we decided to order a pair of matching Anatometal gemmed eyelets with amethyst and white opal to match. They’re sending me them to my house which is so wonderful.
I wish I lived closer so I could get pierced more often - but it makes a good excuse to visit my new favorite place and town. Thank you everyone at Rockstar!!

I decided that a 2 1/2 hour drive from Norwalk, CT was totally worth it to go visit Rockstar Piercing in Providence, RI. And damn, was I right!

The second I walked in the studio seemed so professional and clean. Megan, the lovely girl with turquoise hair, set up my paper work. Jay Pond was the lucky duck who got to do my piercing, of course after looking at my anatomy. I originally wanted a triple helix piercing - which let me tell you, the place in my hometown looked at a picture of what I wanted and said it was “photoshopped” - and he said my ear was more cut out for a double helix. Totally cool. I really appreciate he wouldn’t try to execute something not appropriate for me.

Natalie helped me pick out my jewelry and we decided on this lovely Anatometal cluster with amethyst and purple opal, along with a white opal to accentuate it. I’m so happy because it matches my purple hair perfectly.

Jay was so amazing with the procedure, walking me through everything calmly and easily. And like that, it was done with perfection. I feel invincible with it. 

I honestly cannot be happier. I was emailing back and forth with Megan the day after and we decided to order a pair of matching Anatometal gemmed eyelets with amethyst and white opal to match. They’re sending me them to my house which is so wonderful.

I wish I lived closer so I could get pierced more often - but it makes a good excuse to visit my new favorite place and town. Thank you everyone at Rockstar!!

Filed under piercing piercings body modification stretched ears stretching jewelry submission

2 notes

Anonymous asked: Hello, I've had a tongue piercing for well over a year and I've decided to start stretching it. I just went from a 14g to a 12g with no absolutely no swelling or any other problems. Unfortunately I forgot to ask how long I should wait until going up another size. What would you recommend? Thanks for you time!

As with any piercing, I would suggest you give your body as much time as it needs to adjust to the new size before attempting another stretch. 

I think it’d be safe to wait at least a couple of months to play it on the safe side. Remember, if the next piece doesn’t easily go in, don’t force it to. 


Cody Vaughn - APP Outreach Committee

Filed under tongue stretching

32 notes

Anonymous asked: I've been thinking of stretching my septum from 14g to 12g, my only problem is that I already have a clicker which I love and can't really afford another right now. Is there something that can be done at lower cost than replacement, so that I can still wear it?

Just going from 14g to 12g won’t really give you any options to continue wearing your 14g clicker. If you stretch more down the road that would open up a few choices for you though. If you get to around 10g or 8g you could either wear a very small eyelet / tunnel through your piercing, and the clicker through that. Or if your clicker has a straight wearable section you can get one of Industrial Strength’s clicker adapter sleeves to wear it through. One last alternative, if your clicker is from a gold company like Body Vision or Maria Tash you could contact them and see if they will replace the 14g wearable piece with a 12g one. 

I personally wear a flexible silicone eyelet in my septum, and then fancy jewelry through that. The following picture isn’t me, but you get the idea. 

Ryan Ouellette, APP outreach

Filed under septum clicker stretching

11 notes

Anonymous asked: So I got my nostrils pierced in August but I'm not happy with the size... I was wondering if it was possible to stretch your nostrils? Nothin big just a size or two, they are at a 16g but I was hoping to go to a 12g if possible

Yes, nostrils can be stretched just like any piercing. Since nostrils have cartilage you’ll want to stretch much slower than soft tissue piercings like earlobes. Stretch slowly, no more than one gauge size every 2-3 months once your piercings are fully healed. 

Ryan Ouellette, APP outreach

Filed under nostril nostrils stretching

26 notes

Anonymous asked: Could you talk about the difference between stretching ears and stretching cartilage such as nostrils? Like with pain and methods

It’s really the same technique to stretch anything. Patience, a properly done stretch should not hurt. No piercing should be stretched by forcing in larger jewelry.

Earlobes may loosen and be ready for the next size faster than cartilage in most cases. Soft tissue like an earlobe will need a minimum of six or more weeks to generate collagen and keratin and become naturally pliable. If you are stretching faster than this you could be damaging your skin whether you feel like it or not. Cause enough damage and you get issues like scarring and blowouts. 

Cartilage not only has to generate these natural substances, but in some cases it also slightly erodes the cartilage. A good rule is to double the time between stretches on cartilage. Forcibly stretching cartilage can cause the cartilage to fracture leading to permanent discomfort. 

Take your time, go slow, and consult a piercer for advice or assitance if you need it. 

Ryan Ouellette, APP outreach

Filed under stretching stretch gauges gauging blowout lobes cartilage tapers tapering

16 notes

chaaseyourdreams asked: i need a tip on stretching my ears. i'm at a 2 and the O just doesn't want to go in. no matter what i do

Your ears aren’t ready for the stretch then. You should never try to force jewelry in. When your ears are ready the jewelry should slip in with little to no effort. Give them more time and be patient. 

Ryan Ouellette, APP outreach

Filed under stretching

28 notes

Anonymous asked: Just honestly curious, if tapers are only for help with the insertion of jewelry, what should be used for stretching a piercing?

Time and patience. You’re not trying to force the hole larger, you’re just giving your body time to relax and loosen it on it’s own. Forcing larger jewelry into a piercing or forcing in a larger taper only causes tearing and scarring. 

Ryan Ouellette, APP outreach

Filed under stretching tapers

5 notes

Anonymous asked: Hi I was just wondering when it would be safe to change/stretch a septum piercing? I've had mine pierced for 3 and a half months, I had it pierced with a 16g and wanna up it to a 14g. I just don't wanna change it too early and due to my crazy schedule it's very hard for me to see my piercer :c thanks!

At three months you’re likely fine to put in a 14g. In the smaller sizes, septums tend to stretch very easily. 

If your septum is ready, the 14g should slide right in without the need of a taper. If it pinches, don’t force it, give yourself more time. 

Cody Vaughn - APP Outreach Committee

Filed under septum stretch stretching

95 notes

Anonymous asked: I heard some stuff about not stretching with tapers why is this and what are the different types of stretcher? Sorry I'm not very experienced :s

piercingsbyaj:

Tapers are not meant to stretch a piercing open. They’re a tool that we piercers use to help insert a piece of jewelry. That’s it. People just started looking at this cone shaped tool and said “Hey, I can totally ram this thing through my piercing and make it bigger!” And all this generally does is cause tearing and scarring and possibly blowouts. If you’re new to the wonderful world of stretching piercings, check out this ear stretching guide I’ve written along with Sarah Wooten for the Ask A Professional Piercer group on Facebook. 

Written by AJ Goldman - 12 Ounce Studios - www.PiercingsByAJ.com

and Sarah Wooten - Immaculate Piercing - www.ImmaculatePiercing.com

Here is a little guide to help you along while stretching your piercings. The majority of these tips will especially help while stretching earlobes in particular, and the advice or time frames may be different for different piercings. This guide is a collection of suggestions from reputable body piercers, this should not be construed as, or used as a substitution for, medical advice. Things may be different in your circumstance because everyone’s body is different!

First things first is jewelry quality. Stick with implant grade materials such as ASTM F138 steel or ASTM F136 titanium, glass, and also certain stones have proven to be safe to stretch with. Avoid lower quality metals (especially ones sold in common mall chain stores), avoid stretching or even wearing acrylic jewelry, avoid stretching with organics such as woods, and avoid stretching with silicone! All jewelry for initial stretches should be single flared or no flared. DON’T STRETCH WITH DOUBLE FLARED JEWELRY!!

Second thing would be time frame in between stretches because so many people get this part wrong. We generally recommend waiting a minimum of 6-8 weeks in between each stretch although you might find yourself having to wait 3 months or longer. The big thing here is to listen to your body. If you’re noticing pain or any sort of bleeding, you’re stretching too quickly. If this happens, stop, downsize to your previous size and just wait longer.

A common mistake when stretching is the use of tapers. You shouldn’t need tapers to stretch your earlobes so avoid stretching kits, chances are they’re coming with low quality jewelry anyway. Tapers are a tool used by professional body piercers to assist with jewelry insertions. Stretching piercings at home with tapers can often lead to stretching too quickly which will likely cause tearing, excess scar tissue and/or blowouts. Also, keep in mind that tapers are not jewelry. Wearing a taper as a piece of jewelry will cause a lot of pressure on the back and bottom of your lobe and can cause it to thin out.

Another method for stretching would be the “taping” method. This method involves wrapping a thin layer of PTFE or bondage tape around the jewelry every so often to help slowly increase the size of the jewelry and thus, your piercing. In most cases, this can be completely unnecessary and should be avoided. There is no known documentation that states that any type of tape is safe to be worn inside of the body. It should also be noted that using any sort of tape as a method of stretching is going against manufacturer’s instructions.  

Some tips along the way include frequent massaging. When your piercing has healed enough after your most recent stretch to the point where you can comfortably remove your jewelry for at least a few minutes at a time, it is greatly beneficial to gently massage the tissue. Holey Butt’r is a great product to use for massaging. Other alternatives would be jojoba oil, coconut oil, etc. Be sure to avoid oils which you may have an allergy to. If you are unsure, consult with your doctor or dermatologist before using any of these products. Massaging works so well because it helps increase blood flow to the area and helps promote new cell growth. Another great tip is to not be afraid to purposely downsize. Although you’re probably eager to get to your goal size, downsizing can be a great option to keep your lobes thick and healthy. Once the piercing is healed, wearing heavier jewelry such as stone or glass plugs can also help the stretching process. However, it should also be noted that wearing heavier hanging jewelry can lead to uneven stretching or thinning of the tissue at the bottom of the lobe.

Overall, the best method for stretching we’ve found is time. The longer you wait in between stretches, the easier it should be and the healthier your piercings will be in the long run. Stretching should be a long and slow process. Enjoy the ride, no need to rush. Each size has its benefits and different types of jewelry selections. If you should have any questions regarding stretching your piercing, feel free to ask in this group or of course you could ask your local reputable body piercer.

Filed under piercingsbyaj stretching tapers point

27 notes

Anonymous asked: Hi! Yesterday I tried stretching to 12g (after waiting a descent amount of time). The taper went through very easily, and I didn't feel a thing. I tried pushing the plug in, but only the taper would go through. The plug would stay out of the hole completely. Since I'm new to stretching I'd like to know if there's something I could do, something I did wrong, or if it's just plain bad luck. Thanks!

First thing, don’t use tapers yourself. Most of the time the “tapers" you can buy in stores or on websites are not appropriate for stretching a piercing. Just because something is pointy on one end does not mean it will work the way you need it to. Professional tapers have a very long smooth graduation, and usually a back end that helps connect or couple to the jewelry in some way. 

Save your money and your piercing’s health, don’t bother buying tapers. Simply visit a professional piercer and have them stretch your piercing for you. Many studios will insert jewelry or stretch for free if you purchase your jewelry from them. If they charge a stretching fee it will almost always be less than the cost of purchasing a taper, and you can have it stretched correctly. 

Ryan Ouellette, APP outreach

Filed under stretching tapers taper gauges