Why Stretching Ear Lobes is so Popular

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Published: 13th January 2012
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Stretching ear lobes is popular because it enables people to express their individuality, and choose for themselves how they want to decorate their body. This is not a new form of body modification, of course, since ear lobe stretching has been fairly common in many societies throughout history. However, it is relatively new to modern Western civilizations as opposed to the Asian, African and South Americans who have being doing it for countless centuries.

We shall first look at the history of this form of ear decoration and then explain how it is done. It should be stated immediately, that after a certain degree of stretching, ear lobes will not revert back to normal, so do not embark upon this journey unless you are convinced that this is what you want.

Stretching Ear Lobes in History

Many cultures have used body modifications of many types for a number of reasons, including religious, cultural and for personal adornment and beautification. Sometimes it has to be done to belong to a particular cultural group or tribe, and sometimes it is done to ward off evil spirits. Mainly it is carried out because it is regarded as a form of beautification in certain civilizations, including, it seems, Ancient Egypt, South America and Eastern Africa.

King Tutankhamen had his ear lobes stretched, which is obvious from the holes in his death mask which could accommodate a 10 mm needle. The East African Maasai still practice earlobe stretching, and stretching earlobes was apparently carried out by the Polynesians, as exemplified by the stretchings apparent in the large statues of Easter Island. Others include the stretched earlobes of statues of Buddha and many more representing civilizations all round the world.

Some Things to Consider

If you are interested in having your earlobes stretched, then, as suggested above, you must be certain this is what you want. Many young people have their ears stretched and don't like the results. Even more do so in their youth, and then regret it later when they try to get responsible jobs: there is a certain degree of discrimination by employers in certain occupations, particularly professional work, where prominent piercings and stretched ear lobes would make it very hard for you to get a job.

Like it or not, that's a fact. However, there are just as many employers with a liberal outlook, and as time moves on, this will become less of a problem. Just be aware of it, that's all! Given all this, and you still want to go ahead, then also keep in mind that after a 10 mm or 12 mm stretching, your ear lobes are unlikely to be able to return to normal - unless you have plastic surgery. Therefore, this is not something to have done on a whim, but only after careful thought.

How Stretching Ear Lobes is Carried Out

There are various ways to stretch your ear lobes, although the normal and safest methods are by means of insertion tapers or Teflon wraps. In the latter, studs are wrapped with Teflon tape and inserted into an existing lobe piercing. It is left there for around two weeks until your ear has healed or got used to the stretched position, then more Teflon wrappings added and so on.

Another is by means of insertion tapers. Surgical stainless steel rods are tapered so that one end can easily be inserted into the existing hole, and the other end is thicker as required for the next sized gauging. A stud of the new gauge is then pushed through right at the back of the insertion taper and secured. This is left for about two weeks, and the process repeated with a larger diameter taper and stud, and so on until the desired diameter is achieved.

The term gauging applies to the diameter of the hole, or the tapers and studs used to create or fill it. As the stretched diameter increases, the gauge number decreases. So while a gauge of 12 denotes a hole or needle of 1.63 mm in diameter, a gauge 2 is 6.54 mm (approx inch) and a gauge 0000 is a half-inch, or 12.7 mm diameter.

It is important that the right amount of time is allowed between successive stretchings, because otherwise the ear lobe could become damaged or the stretching contract. It is important that the hole has time to 'set' and heal with the correct size of stud or taper inserted, and then you can go on to the next size.

Because this is so important, it is advised that you have a professional carry out this work for you - at least the first so that you know what is involved, and how to do it yourself next time round. It is very easy to mess up stretching ear lobes, and to try to rush it. By taking care, following the correct procedures and being patient, you will achieve the result that you want. However, many such stretched piercings end up in the emergency department of hospitals because they are rushed and not carried out correctly. At least have your first done professionally, and then you will better prepared to try the next yourself if you must do so.

Stretching Ear Lobes: Appropriate Jewellery

What is appropriate jewellery for stretched ears? You have a good choice, in fact, ranging from some fabulous diamond and gold tragus bars and rings to flesh tunnels made of a variety of materials. A flesh tunnel is a tube fitted to the circumference of the hole, so you can see right through the stretched piercing.

Others prefer studs and bars of the correct diameter for the stretching, and there is a wide range of ear jewellery available online and in High Street stores for stretched piercings. However, for many it is not for the adornments that have their ears stretched, but to join the group of people who are likewise adorned: much the same as with tattooing in its earlier days.

Stretching ear lobes is a decision that should not take lightly, but have taken it you should go for it and seek out the best methods for adorning your new larger piercing to suit you. It is advisable to have the stretching carried out professionally, although you can do it yourself if you fully understand the implications if you do not follow the recommended procedures correctly. Otherwise, be yourself and use whatever body modification and jewellery to suit that you feel is best for you.

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