Fashion is a full-body experience. Every part of you needs to look good, including your ears. 83 percent of Americans have pierced ears.
Most people are happy to have earrings. But others go the extra mile. They put in ear gauges, stretching their ears to fit in elaborate jewelry.
What are ear gauges, and what do they look like? What tools can you use to gauge your ears? How long does it take to gauge them?
Answer these questions and you can show off your fashion sense in a spectacular way. Here is your quick guide.
The Basics of Ear Gauges
Ear gauges are pieces of jewelry that fit into the ear lobes. Ear gauging is the process of stretching the lobes so jewelry can fit inside of them.
Ear gauging has been performed for thousands of years, and it is a safe procedure. Gauges can go along with a number of styles and outfits. In particular, ear gauges complement other forms of body jewelry like face piercings.
Once their ears are stretched, the person can insert whatever gauges fit into their ears. A person can reverse the process or cover their stretched ears if they desire.
Plugs and Tunnels
There are a few different types of gauges. Single-flare plugs have a flare at one end.
The flare faces outward and serves as a decorative component. The opposite end has an o-ring that allows the flare to slide into the ear. You can place something on the back of the plug to hold it in place.
Double-flare plugs have flares on both ends. This creates two sets of decorations, but it makes them hard to insert. They are ideal for people who are experienced with gauging.
Tunnels have a hollow center. This allows an onlooker to look through the earlobe. They are less decorative than plugs, but they can make a bold fashion statement.
You may think that earrings are gauges. But earrings are not, because they do not require the ears to get stretched.
Plugs and tunnels come in a variety of colors. Most people like to wear dark-colored ones, so they stand out.
Tools for Stretching Ears
You can go to a professional to get your ears stretched. If that is not an option, you can stretch your ears yourself. But you need to have several tools in order to stay safe.
You will need a moisturizer to keep your skin soft and malleable. You will also need a lubricant for the same purpose.
You should decide whether you want flares or tunnels. Whichever one you want, pick gauges made from glass and steel. They are easy to sterilize and they do not collect water.
You will need tapers that you can insert into your lobes. You should get a set of tapers so you can stretch your ears to large sizes. If you can't get a set, get a few small tapers and plan on acquiring more.
Get ones made from acrylic or steel. Steel tapers are expensive, but they slide through your pierced ears with little effort.
How to Stretch Your Ears
You need to get your ears pierced before you can stretch them. Try to make wide holes when you do so.
Allow your ears to heal for a few days. If you have an infection or bleeding, clean your piercings and go to a doctor. If the infection persists, you should not get your ears gauged.
When you are ready to gauge, wash your hands with antibacterial soap. Sterilize your tapers and apply lubricant to them. You should also add a little lubricant to your piercings.
Go one ear at a time. Insert your taper like you are putting in an earring.
Be careful and stop when you experience pain. Repeat with your other ear.
Do not touch your ears for a few hours. They may swell or ache, but that is natural. When the swelling dies down, you can keep going.
Stop whenever you encounter pain and take a break. Repeat the process until you get your taper all the way through one ear. Leave it overnight, then finish with your other ear.
You can insert your gauge once you are done with one ear. If your ears start to bleed, remove the gauges and wipe them with antibacterial wipes.
Your Next Steps
Gauge sizes go up in very small amounts. An 18-gauge taper is only one millimeter big. A 16-gauge taper is 1.2 millimeters.
This is for good reason. Stretching too much and too soon will cause swelling and bleeding. Wait a few weeks until your ears have healed before moving up to the next size.
Repeat the aforementioned process over again. Whenever you encounter pain, you should stop and wait for the pain to subside. This will create a lengthy process, but this will prevent you from feeling uncomfortable.
As your ears heal, you should keep an eye on them. You may develop scar tissue. Scar tissue will prevent your ears from stretching, so be careful.
Apply your moisturizer every day. Take hot showers so your ears remain flexible.
You can stop at whatever size you want. Big gauges will attract attention, but small ones can be effective as well.
Figure Out the Future of Fashion
Ear gauges have been a fashion staple for millennia. They are jewelry that fits into extended ear lobes. They include flared plugs and hollow tunnels.
You can stretch your ears yourself. You will need tapers and other tools so you can extend your ears.
Get your ears pierced, then clean everything. Insert small tapers in until you feel pain. Stop and insert your tapers back in when the pain has subsided.
Go slowly if you want massive gauges. You can insert gauges of several inches into your ears.
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