Stretching - Tips & Advice

General tips for stretching piercings

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* Do not stretch an earlobe or other soft tissue faster than 1mm per at least 6 weeks.

* Do not stretch any cartilage piercing faster than 1mm per at least 2-3 months.

* Do not skip sizes or force a piece of jewelry into a piercing.

* Proper stretching should not make holes in the skin. If it bleeds, the skin has cracked.

* There is no magic limit to how much you can stretch your piercing and still expect it to contract when you are tired! All bodies are unique and different aspects such as age both your own and how long you have had your piercing stretched come into play. Stretching your ears to large sizes usually means that you have to operate on them when you are tired to get rid of the sniff that hangs down.

Jewelry for piercings comes in a variety of sizes, designs and materials, but not all are suitable for stretching. So what materials are safe to stretch? Non-porous, non-organic materials are best, where the surface is smooth and intended for the purpose. The material for stretching holes should be considered the same as for most newly made piercings, internally threaded or completely without threads. Plugs or tunnels should be single-flared (where one end is straight or rounded), as jewelry that is double-flared is larger at the outer edges than the bearing surface itself.

Other materials may be appropriate depending on the type of piercing and jewelry. Materials such as wood, other organic materials such as horns and bones and metal weights (brass, copper, silver) should only be worn in fully healed piercings and should not be used to stretch. If you are unsure whether the material or type of jewelry is suitable to stretch with, come by and talk to a piercer.

When problems occur - Allergic reactions

No matter what material you use during stretching, an allergic reaction can always occur. Human bodies are all unique and always changing. They can react to basically anything, even if it is low allergenic, even if your friends can use it, even if you could use it last year. Changes in your health, environment and lifestyle can also affect your body's tolerance to foreign materials. As long as you keep track of your piercing and are aware of it, you should quickly notice what works for you and what does not.

Should your piercing suddenly start to itch, swell up, get a rash, become red, hot or secrete clear liquid, take out your jewelry immediately and change! Instead, insert something less reactive if possible (glass, 316L steel, titanium) or leave your hole empty if your body feels it is best. Soak your saline piercing a couple of times a day until it gets better (1/4 sea salt and 2 dl warm water in a glass). This helps to extract any fluid or chemical residues in the skin while soothing the tissue and helping to speed up healing.

When problems arise - Wear / Blow-outs

If you tear a hole in a piercing during stretching, you usually know right away. It usually bleeds and that part that was so difficult to push through a while ago suddenly slides through with ease.
If this happens, soak your piercing with saline (see description above) for a few days or until it gets better. When scabs no longer form, you can massage the skin with jojoba oil, vitamin E or cocoa butter a few times a day. This accelerates healing and also softens any scar tissue during development.

A blow-out is an uneven distribution of skin and / or scar tissue that arises from stretching too far and too fast. It may look like your piercing has turned in and out. The methods of soaking and massage described above can be helpful, but you can still get permanent scar tissue. Once it has healed, start your stretching from the other side, so that you "stuff in" the excess tissue.
Should you tear holes or get a blow-out, take it as a reminder to stretch slower next time.

Some simple tips that can help you along the way

> Heat. The best time to stretch is after a hot bath or shower, or after using warm compresses on the area. The heat causes the tissue to expand and soften, which makes your skin easier to stretch and makes it much more comfortable. It also helps increase circulation, which speeds healing.

> Lubricants. By lubricating a handrail or a piece of jewelery, you facilitate insertion and minimize both pain and wear. Water-based / soluble lubricants have the least risk of irritation and are easiest to wash off afterwards. Silicone-based lubricant may be more effective for piercings in or near mucous membranes.
Oil-based agents, such as Vaseline and olive oil, can also be used, but can leave an oil film that can keep oxygen supply and cleaning fluids away, so wash thoroughly afterwards.

> Cleaning. It is of utmost importance that you keep your piercings clean while stretching. Just because it was healed before does not mean you can leave it dirty without risking irritation or infection. The procedure during a stretching creates irritation and small, tiny tears in the skin, leaving openings for bacteria. Antibacterial soap in the shower not only kills these bacteria, but also removes dead skin cells that make your holes itch and smell bad.

> Patience. Once; Take it slow! Patience and time are the key to healthy and successful stretching. This is not a competition for speed and size, but an interactive experiment with your body's limits and how to expand them. Find what works for you and stick to it.

> Caution. Never assume that it is reversible. There is no set size or time limit that distinguishes what can shrink and what can not. For most people, their holes begin to contract immediately after the jewelry is removed, especially if they are irritated. However, you should never undergo any form of body modification without forethought and the realization that you and your body will not be the same again.
Fashion-wise as it is at the moment, body modification is not a trend but an essential way of being.