Archive for Ear Piercings
To say a body jewelry style belongs strictly to a certain demographic is silly. Humans are a complex species. No two of us are alike. There’s bound to be some overlap in personalities and interests, across all sexes, gender, race, etc.
It’s sometimes assumed that individuals who choose to stretch their earlobes are of some underground, hardcore form of being. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it is pretty hardcore… hardcore awesome!
Stretching, much like any form of body modification, is an individual choice. For some it’s a journey of self discovery and awareness. It’s also just a cool way to accessorize! Have you seen our collection of new Acrylic Dried Spring Flowers Saddle Plugs?
No matter what your style is, you’ll have an easy time finding a pair of plugs, tunnels or tapers to match it. Don’t be afraid to show your effeminate side through body mod! If you think the only people who stretch their lobes are the stereotypical “goths” and “punk rock” kids, you need to check yourself…
And then check out these beauties, in all their delightful stretched lobe glory!
Come see Jenny get her Industrial piercing by James of American Skin Art in Buffalo, NY.
Money Shot at 0:39 and 0:47
What is an Industrial Piercing?
An Industrial piercing is actually two piercings, a helix and anti-helix, connected by a single barbell and is typically pierced at a 14 gauge.
Do I have to wear an industrial barbell or are there other options?
When you get pierced you can go with the traditional industrial barbell or ask your piercer for separate pieces of jewelry to wear until your piercings are healed. The advantage of this is that multiple cartilage piercings tend to stay tender and sensitive for many months and some people find that having the separate pieces puts less pressure on the affected area.
It’s Jenny’s first real piercing and we’re all super excited to see how she does! First James starts by cleaning the area and then marking both points where each end of the industrial bar will go through. He uses his tools to make sure the marks are perfectly straight and aligned. Next he applies a clamp to the first insertion area, then he pushes the needle through. He then moves the clamp to the second area and continues through with the needle still in the first hole, this creates a slight folding of the ear temporarily, once the needle is through both parts of the ear he corks the end of it to prevent any injury. The barbell jewelry is then pushed through, following the needle out of the ear. The ball end is screwed onto the barbell and then the area is cleaned.
It’s common for your ear to feel hot and burny right after you get it pierced and for a few days after. Many people find taking Motrin helps reduce the pain and swelling. Clean your industrial with a solution of non-iodized sea salt and water; 1/4 tsp sea salt to 8 oz of water, a few times a day or as directed by your piercer. You can use cotton swabs, q-tips, or gauze to soak in the solution then compress it onto your ear for a few minutes. An industrial piercing typically takes 3 to 9 months or longer to heal.
Watch as our friend Natori gets her double forward helix project by piercer James of American Skin Art in Buffalo, NY!
Money Shot at 0:20 and 0:50
What is a Helix?
The helix is the curled outer rim of the ear, and can be pierced and most any point. Forward helix means that it is the area further most towards the front of the ear.
I love my body. I love my tattoos. I love my piercings.
Whenever I decide to get a new tattoo or body piercing, family and friends are bound to ask “What will they think of you at work?” or “Won’t that look unprofessional?”
Fair questions, I guess. As a working professional at the age of . . . well, forget my age; it can be a challenge to balance the professional me with the actual me. My job involves meeting and taking with people all day, everyday. At work I am not Kate, I am usually called Dr. C or Professor. The vision students—and other professors—have of how a college professor should look often doesn’t include tattoos and body piercings. I have to consider how my piercings can affect how well I can do my job.
But I love a challenge and I have found a balance that works for me. More and more places of business are relaxing their policies on body art due to increasing workers–blue collar, white collar, Ivory Tower alike–who have visible ink and piercings. With a little research, forethought, and persistence, I discovered that there are a wide range of piercings which are fashion forward and professionally appropriate.
Ear piercings are considered very safe and easy. Aftercare and reducing the risk of infection can be easy as well. With over a dozen different places for piercing on the ear (and double that for both ears!) there are countless combinations of styles to suit your professional appearance.
I decided to get my anti-tragus pierced. I have three piercings in my left ear lobe along with a BCR in my left tragus. It seemed natural to add to my right ear where I have only two ear lobe piercings and I liked the proportional look of balance piercing my tragus and anti-tragus.
Experienced piercing professionals will have an informal, informational routine to the piercing process. James, my piercing artist, made me feel at ease immediately. We chatted about music and movies as he carefully set out the tools and jewelry, taking his time to show the sterilization labels on all the instruments, and putting on his latex gloves.
James and I discussed the placement of my piercing; he cleaned the outside of my ear he made a small mark in washable ink for where the barbell would go. After looking in the mirror, making some placement adjustments, he cleaned the outside of my ear again.
It was time to lie back on the piercing bench.
Did it hurt? No more or less than my other piercings. Stillness and steady breathing are important. Give yourself something to squeeze, hold on to a friend’s hand. It only takes a second. The tragus and anti-tragus on ears have very few nerve endings and, therefore, pain is minimized in comparison to other body piercings.
Aftercare can be a challenge for a working professional with a hectic schedule. Thankfully there are a wide range of products that are effective, safe, and convenient. Follow the instructions your piercing professional gives you, don’t be afraid to call them with questions or concerns.
If you are a working professional, find your balance. It can be done.
Love your body. Love your tattoos. Love your piercings.
Welcome to the Final Installment of Our Ear Stretching Guide!
Keeping your lobes healthy is continuous process. Using products like Hold Fast stretching balm or jojoba oil keeps the skin soft and moisturized. These also help reduce scar tissue and thicken your lobes, and can reduce blow outs over time if used daily.
What is ear funk and how do I fix it?
Your ears, like any area of skin, shed dead cells. This becomes trapped in between your lobe and jewelry after several days of continuous wear. The dead skin cells build up and cause your ear lobes to smell. You can remedy/avoid this by removing your plugs and washing your lobes or wearing organic plugs, as the porous nature of the material will absorb the cells.
Wearing Double Flared or Saddle Plugs:
People often find difficulty in wearing this style plug in sizes 0 gauge and under. To insert a double flare plug, lube your lobes beforehand, then place the plug in at an angle. Be sure to never force a piece of jewelry into your ear.
Organic Plug Care:
Materials that fall into this category are, wood, horn, bone, coral, stone, and the like. Wood in particular should be kept dry to avoid cracking and swelling. Using an oil such as jojoba is recommended to condition the wood and give it shine. Simply massage a small amount onto the jewelry.
If you experience swelling, redness, itching, discharge and/or hotness you may have an infection. It is recommended to downsize the jewelry and allow the ears to return to normal. Wearing steel or glass is a good option for irritated ears as the non-porous material minimizes the risk of prolonging infection. If you feel the problem is serious, consult your doctor as soon as possible.
Find the Other Portions of the Guide:
Welcome to Part 2 of Our Ear Stretching Guide!
Methods of stretching:
Tapers are one of the most common ways ear are stretched, especially within the range of 14-00 gauge. A taper is a straight piece made usually of acrylic or steel that is smaller on one end and gradually increases in diameter.
Types of Tapers
Acrylic tapers are the least expensive and an easy option for most. The are light weight and come in many colors and patterns. Acrylic tapers though, can not be sterilized and may be a bit harder to get through the ear.
Basic steel tapers are higher quality than acrylic but remain a good option for those on a budget. They can be sterilized as they are non-porous and can be autoclaved. Also, they slide easier through the ear. Due to the flat back to them, they require a steady hand when switching from taper to plug.
Concave Steel Tapers (Highly Recommended):
Concave tapers are the best and highest quality tapers to use. Like the basic steel tapers, they can be autoclaved and sterilized for a safe and clean stretch. They also have a concave back (an indention on the end of the taper) so that the plugs actually fit inside of the taper so when you’re ready you can insert your taper, put the plug into the back of the taper, and follow through. These tapers are bit more costly but well worth the price.
Time to Stretch!
-Get a good quality lubricant such as Surgilube or jojoba oil.
-Lube your ears thoroughly as well as the taper.
-Insert the taper up to the base of the larger side.
-Once through, follow your plug through after the taper.
-Don’t worry if it takes a few minutes, take your time!
The Wrapping or Taping Method
Once you reach about 0-00 gauge, you will find this is a good option for stretching, as the jumps between sizes increase. Wrapping is simple, you take your current size plug ( we recommend a straight plug or tunnel; non-saddle plug) and wrap between 1-3 layers of tape. You can trim or tuck the excess into the tunnel. Doing this about once per week is the recommended pace. It takes about 1-2 months but it allows for healing time and has minimal risk for damage or blow outs.
Types of tape to use are PTFE tape and Bondage tape. These are non-toxic and won’t irritate your skin.
Find the Other Portions of the Guide:
Welcome to Part 1 of Our Ear Stretching Guide!
The practice of expanding the ear lobes goes back about as far as human history, from King Tutankhamen to the Iceman; a mummified body from 3300 BC, stretched lobes are a tradition across the world.
The typical jewelry worn in stretched ear lobes is called a plug, the size of the plug is the gauge. Plugs come in many materials and styles, from metal to wood, and from tunnels to ornate hanging designs. Finding what works with your body and style is all a part of the experience!
If your ears aren’t pierced yet:
-Find yourself a reputable piercer, certified piercers in your area can be found through
-Tell your piercer you plan on stretching your lobes, this is important because of the placement of the piercing on the ear lobe. Ear piercings for standard earrings are usually placed more towards the face, in the event that the client wishes to have multiple ear piercings. Ear piercing placement for stretching is placed centrally on the ear lobe, to ensure the skin around the plug will be even as you stretch.
-Make sure you let your piercing heal before you begin to stretch.
What size do/ should I start stretching at?
Most people find that 16/14 gauge is a good starting point, especially if you’ve been wearing regular earrings daily for a long period of time.
How big can I stretch my ears before they won’t go back to normal?
This is a tricky question, because everyone’s body is different, but in the body modification community the generally accepted answer is between 2-0 gauge.
Other factors on whether or not your ears will return to normal include: how fast you stretch and if you skip sizes. Stretching too quickly or skipping sizes can do more tearing of the skin than actual stretching and can also lead to blow outs and scar tissue. It’s important to take your time and be patient with your body. Waiting a full month between stretches is recommended.
What is a blow out?
A blow out is the result of stretching too fast and/or skipping sizes. It causes the skin on the inside of your ear to be forced outwards, causing a flap on the back of your stretched piercing. The recommended action to remedy this would be to down size but it is best to be avoided if possible as a blow out that is allowed to heal is permanent.
Will stretching my ears hurt?
Stretching your ears should not hurt, if you are experiencing pain this means you are stretching too fast. Reaching the next size is exciting, but moving at a pace your body is comfortable with is important.
Find the Other Portions of the Guide:
Watch as modified cutie Jen gets a daith ear cartilage piercing. (Look for the needle at about 22 seconds.)
First, the piercer cleans Jen’s ear thoroughly, being careful to get the cartilage all around where the daith will go. He then marks dots and a circular guideline, to show where the jewelry is going to lay. Our piercee approves the placement, and a hollow needle receiving tube is moved into place. She’s instructed to take a deep breath and exhale slowly, and the hollow piercing needle is gently pushed through, then corked. Next, the needle is chased with a BCR, which is meticulously squeezed into place with a pair of special jewelry pliers. A little final cleanup, and Jen walks away with an awesome new daith piercing to add to her collection.
Daith piercings were first performed in 1992 by piercing legend Erik Dakota, but they’ve definitely come along way since then, and are now worn with a variety of body jewelry such as ball captive rings, horseshoe barbells, and clickers. As a contemporary piercing, the daith has seen a steady rise in popularity, though it still remains less common compared to other ear cartilage piercings.