A trip to the far side

10 12 2007

– This pretty jewellery would make a nice christmas present…

… I thought. I checked out the website. Puzzled. I explored some more. Then paused. And took a deep breath.


I can just imagine what my doctor would say if he saw me wearing those.

– *&$#!!!
– Well, you refused me a pair of pink hearing aids!

Apparently these are now all the craze with the emo/hardcore crowd, although they have been around for a long time in the African and Asian tribes. Does stretching hurt? If you do it correctly, it shouldn’t do. If you’re going to do it, do it PROPERLY and do it SLOWLY. If you try to stretch too quickly, you may get a blowout, where the hole deforms itself by twisting inside out, with a section of tissue appearing as a circular flap on the backside of the piercing. These can develop into keloids. (And then you wouldn’t be able to wear your hearing aids. Whatever colour they are.)

If you catch a keloid in time, you may be able to remove them by downsizing immediately and allowing them to reabsorb. Frighteningly, keloids can continue to grow indefinitely and no satisfactory treatment has been identified. Here’s an extreme case …

Still determined? You can stretch your ears by

  • Tapering
  • The most popular, cheapest and ‘safest’ way of stretching ears. You can buy stretching kits which involve inserting larger and larger tapers into the ear hole until you’ve got the size you want. One of the most effective ways is to stretch in the bath/shower as the steam relaxes your earlobes, making them more supple.

  • Weights
  • These are not so widely used, as they tend to cause piercings to migrate and can lead to a thinning of the tissue, resulting in disfigurement and corrective surgery. This method has been traditionally used by various tribes in Africa and Asia. Weights tend to be used by those who want larger stretchings as it is more effective when the fistula (hole) has been made bigger.

    Once you’ve stretched them, you must look after them. Or they’ll rot! Stretchers must be sterilised and jewellery should be removed every day for a period and re-sterilised.

    Even after years of having stretched lugs, your ears can still choose to reject the piercing, which is extremely painful. This tends to happen during the cold winter months, and involves the ear becoming extremely painful to the touch, bleeding and sometimes pus inside the hole. If this happens, you can go down a few sizes and sterilised your ear and jewellery every day to prevent an infection. Then you can slowly re-stretch your ear.

    Hummm. How about this for a new fashion craze?

    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

    Still tempted?





    9 responses

    11 12 2007

    Oh. My. Gosh.

    11 02 2008

    Oh that is so grotesque. That scarring is horrendous. All the kids round my way are putting those rings in their ear lobes. I’ll just stick to my lovely ‘granite’ coloured aids – (nhs wouldn’t give me the coloured ones as “they’re for children and more expensive” – but I got glitter in the moulds!)

    15 07 2010

    A lot of people don’t understand why someone would want to stretch their lobes.
    But that’s really okay. There are as many different personal opinions as there are people in the world. It’s just a person’s own taste in style.

    24 03 2011

    Frankly, I love my stretched ears. Yeah, they’re kind of a pain when they feel like getting dry and not cooperating with me, but I love the aesthetic.

    There are a lot of things that can go wrong, of course, like you mentioned. However, this can be so easily prevented with the proper methods. One of which you missed is taping, where you put layers of PTFE tape slowly onto a plug until you reach the next size. Another is dead stretching, where you just sort of wait until your ear loosens up enough to fit in the next size.

    This also is not anything just in the hardcore/emo scene, nor is it a thing of just African tribes. There is an entire community of people who are modified that has been around since at least the 1990s somewhat publicly and likely before that, but more in private.


    24 03 2011

    As another note, Onetribe makes beautiful organics.

    As for when I’m older… Well… I look forward to it. The old Asian ladies with the stretched ears are really cool. It’s a reason to look forward to getting older.

    26 05 2012
    joshy jinxx 666

    i love my strech and yeah iv done all the methods of streching e.t.c dead streching wating a few week and puttin the next size in but i prefer 2 feel the pain while streching i like 2 go from plug to plug but when im streching i miss sizes goin from plug to plug normally 2mm-3mm at a time i just pray to god i dont get a keliod xx

    6 12 2012

    I have 14mm stretched ears,& I adore them.You’d have to kill me first before I ever took them out.They’re not just for ’emo’ kids.I’m 31 yrs old,so I’m not a kid of any kind,nor do I dress hardcore/punk/goth,etc. And I don’t have the expected retro 40s style & heavy winged liner you see over & over on girls w/modifications.It’s not a look that’s for everyone,but I love it,& don’t ever plan on changing it. And the photos here don’t happen in most cases-if you’re careful & take proper precautions.But I disagree that tapers are the safest method.Often times if you’ve waited the appropriate amount of time, dead stretching works just fine & very easily. For some transitions I’ve taped,though I feel that bondage tape is highly superior to ptfe/teflon tape.

    10 01 2013

    hello there everyone i just started streching a couple of months ago since I felt strongly about doing it myself I made it a point to take the time and research. not just the net, I’ve spoken to my doctor friends that have undegone this process, talked to the guy that has done most of my body piercing and tattoos. and while its not risk free its pretty simple and straight forward given that you do this taking all safty measures. as akPhilly said this senario all though not uncommon is not a likely senario.

    5 08 2013

    Tapering definitely isn’t the safest way to stretch, and once you hit about 6-8mm (2-0 gauge) it’s the most damaging method. The safest method is taping with PTFE or bondage tape,and it’s cheaper than tapering because a roll of tape will get you through a lot of sizes, as opposed to a taper which stretches you up once.

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