Dont Let Your Stretched Ears Get Infected Dos Donts
- DONT remove the jewelry. Removing the jewelry while the piercing isnt healed could cause an abscess. Leave the jewelry in to allow the piercing to drain.
- DONT touch the piercing, except to clean it twice a day. Touching the piercing more often, especially with unwashed hands, delays healing and could introduce more bacteria from your hands to the wound.
- DO use sea salt or saline soaks twice a day. Use 1/4 teaspoon non-iodized sea salt in 1 cup of clean warm water, and soak for 5 to 10 minutes.
- DO use an antibiotic cream or gel
- DO see a doctor immediately if you:
- Have severe pain or swelling from the piercing
- Have a lot of discharge thats thick, green/yellow/gray, and bad smelling
- See red streaks coming from your piercing
- Have a fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, or disorientation
- Have any symptoms that last for more than a week
The most important thing to remember in stretching is to take care of yourself be safe!
Is Your Piercing Really Infected Or Just Irritated
Instagram can teach you a lot about piercing trends, from the daith to the nipple to the one you’d never tell your grandma about. But what you won’t learn on social media are the nitty-gritty details like the healing process that follow. In one scroll you might notice that rook piercings are the new It spot, but what happens if it migrates, you’re allergic to your new barbell, or it gets infected? But better yet, how do you know if it’s infected in the first place?
We asked L.A.’s most in-demand piercer, Brian Keith Thompson and Patricia Wexler, MD, New York-based dermatologist, to answer the top questions surrounding infections, migrated jewelry, allergic reactions, and more. Keep clicking for some of our top FAQs.
How can you tell if your piercing is infected? According to Thompson, the telltale signs of an infection are simple: “The area around the piercing is warm to the touch, you notice extreme redness or red streaks protruding from it, and it has discolored pus, normally with a green or brown tint,” Thompson says. “You might also notice swollen lymph nodes, which is your body trying to kill the infection.” If your piercing is severely infected, you’ll basically feel like you’re getting a cold, and, in some cases, you might even begin to run a fever.
Did we forget your question? Leave it in the comments below and we’ll get it answered by our pros!
Taper Method ///step 7
Butt up your single flare jewellery to the taper. These two surfaces should match perfectly so there should be no lip in the transition.
Once butted up, carefully push on the taper with the jewellery simultaneously removing the taper and inserting the jewellery.
Replacing the taper for your single flare jewellery should be one smooth, controlled action.
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Sign: Sliding His Head On The Rug
That uncontrollable itch might also cause your dog to do some odd gymnastic-type moves, particularly if you have carpet or rough-textured area rugs. When dogs or cats have ear infections, they often slide their heads across the carpet and/or paw at their ears to relieve the discomfort. In some instances, the eyes may get in the way. Many pets who slide and roll around on carpeting end up with eye issuesred, raw, irritated, swollen eyesas a result, says integrative veterinarian, Carol Osborne, DVM, of Chagrin Falls Veterinary Center & Pet Clinic.
What Is A Blowout And How To Fix It
Blowouts are another common problem that is generally caused by stretching too fast or skipping sizes. The way this problem occurs is when the fistula is actually forced out through the back of the piercing. A blowout is a small flap of skin that will hang over the edge of your plugs. Though it is not generally too noticeable if it occurs on the back of your ears, it can limit the type of plugs you wear and you will generally need to wear plugs with a bigger wearable area . If you skip sizes or go to fast on a blowout that has already occurred then it will often continue to get bigger and bigger.
The best way to help get rid of a blowout is to take your plugs out immediately after you notice it and downsize 2-3 sizes smaller so your piercing will start to heal itself. Though it is never 100% guaranteed that it will go away, the chances are pretty good of it going back to normal if you downsize immediately after it happens. If you leave the blowout to heal up without downsizing though, then it will generally heal up for good that way and become permanent. There are many ways people have tried getting rid of healed blowouts, but the most common way is to downsize and to use oils like jojoba to help moisturize and soften up your skin. There is also the option of getting it surgically removed which is highly recommended if you have the funds to do so.
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Contact Your Healthcare Provider If:
- You have a fever.
- You feel a bump at the piercing site.
- Your earlobe feels warmer or more itchy than usual.
- Your earlobe is painful, red, or swollen. You may have yellow, smelly discharge from the piercing site.
- You cannot see your earring because your earlobe covers it up.
- Your earring is pulled out and rips your earlobe.
The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
Sign: Your Dog Shakes His Heada Lot
If your dog is vehemently shaking his head from side to side, hes not trying to say no. He may, however, be trying to tell you that he has an ear infection. Ear infections itch. One of the ways your dog tries to show you this is by shaking their head, explains Dr. Wilde. Shaking his head is your dogs way of scratching that itch. This symptom can also be a sign of other ear conditions in dogs, such as ear hematomas or ear vasculitis. If your dog is shaking his head, either with or without other symptoms, a trip to the vet is a good idea.
Dont confuse head shaking with head tilting. Heres what your dogs facial expressions really mean.
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Extra Tip: Avoid Silicone
If you decide that ear gauging is definitely for you, there are certain things you should never do when stretching your ears. The primary one to be aware of is: never use silicone. Professional ear piercers know this, but other people do not. Silicone is popular because its comfortable, lightweight and inexpensive. Unfortunately, silicone is bacteria-friendly and can lead to infection and blowouts. You should only use silicone when the hole has properly healed.
How To Stretch/gauge Your Ears Without Tapers
If you want to know how to stretch ears without tapers its a fairly easy method called taping although this is much easier for larger stretches than it is for smaller ones.
Just as it sounds, taping is used to increase your stretch size by wrapping tape around your plugs and tunnels a couple of times to help increase the stretch size with your own jewellery.
This process tends to take longer but you can increase the amount of tape every couple of weeks and it means your ears are more likely to stay healthy if youre aiming for a larger gauge size.
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Proper Ear Stretching Care
Developing a blowout is usually a sign that youre stretching your ear too quickly. Heres how to safely stretch your ears and avoid a blowout:
- Go up one size at a time. Stretching your ear too quickly can tear the skin. Only increase your jewelry by one size at a time.
- Wait 4 to 6 weeks before increasing sizes. Wait for inflammation and pain to subside before increasing the size of your gauge.
- Moisturize your earlobes. Applying oil to your stretched ears helps keep the skin healthy and reduce the chance of tears. Many jewelry stores sell lubricant specifically for ear stretching, but you can also use plant oils like coconut oil or jojoba oil.
- Stop when you feel pain. Stretching your ear safely shouldnt cause sharp pain or bleeding. These are signs that youre trying to stretch your ears too quickly.
What Gauge Should You Start Stretching With
This is probably the first question that most people have when they begin stretching. After making sure that your ears are fully healed from the initial piercing, you can start stretching at a 16 gauge. Most regular piercings are at 18 gauge. You’ll only want to go one size bigger during each stretch.
You need to remember that your ears have never been stretched before and that they will need to be taken care of. The first step to proper care is to start stretching slowly. Stretching slowly and at the right size will help you stretch more in the future.
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Causes And Risk Factors
It is important to be extra careful when handling a new piercing. If bacteria get into a newpiercing, it can cause infection. Other causes include:
- Removing the earrings before the piercing heals
- Touching the ears with dirty hands
- Putting your head in a pool, river, lake, or hot tub before the piercing is healed
- Forgetting to clean the new piercings twice daily as recommended by a professional
- Getting the ears pierced with equipment that is not sterilized or in a place that is not properly cleaned or set up for ear piercing
How To Gauge Your Ears
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Ear gauges are a bold and stylish way to express your individuality. If you’ve always wanted to stretch your ears to accommodate gauges, you can do so from the comfort of your home. Just get your ears pierced at a local studio, then use professional tools like tapers and surgical tape to stretch the holes out over time. As long as you have patience and practice good hygiene, you can stretch your ears safely.
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Surgery And Other Removal Techniques
In some cases, your blowout might be permanent, especially if you develop a raised type of scar known as a keloid scar. In this case, you may need surgery to remove the blowout.
There are various surgical techniques to close a gauged ear. One of the most common methods, called wedge resection, involves making an L-shaped cut and folding the ear lobe over itself.
Some other treatment options for keloid scars include:
So You’ve Decided On Your Taper Now It’s Time For The Stretch
So once you have decided on what style of taper you want to use, the next part is getting the stretch done. The 1st thing you will need will be a lubricant to use on your taper. Lubricant will make the taper super slick so it will slide through really easy. We recommend using a sterile lubricant like surgilube.
Lube up your ears and also the taper. Then just insert the taper all the way up to the base of the bigger side. If it takes you a few minutes to get it through it is ok, you don’t have to rush it. Once it is through then just take your plugs and follow through after the taper.
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What Size Do You Stretch To First
When you start stretching your ears, you will most commonly get a 14 gauge piercing size. Once you decide on stretching youll then increase to a size 12 gauge taper.
If youve had pierced ears for some time you may find that youve already stretched your ears slightly. Particularly if youve worn dangles or heavy jewellery and then you may find the first jump doesnt take as long to heal.
However, the opposite is also true. For those who have had their ears pierced using a needle, sometimes the thinnest studs are 20 gauge and youll only be able to start stretching with an 18 gauge if thats the case.
Your ear piercer will be able to tell you how to gauge ears to the right size so you know your starting point. You can also read more about ear stretching sizes here.
Surgical Stainless Steel Is Safe If Youre Sensitive To Other Materials
Some people are sensitive to certain kinds of material, and cant wear them without getting a reaction. This most often happens with acrylic jewelry, but you could also be sensitive to certain types of wood jewelry or other materials.
If your ears are irritated and youre not sure why and havent stretched up lately, it could be because of the jewelry youre wearing. Try switching to surgical stainless steel for a while to see if it takes care of the problem.
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What To Expect From Ear Stretching
When you stretch your ears, youâll use tapers, or spikes, made of body-safe materials to slowly start widening your piercings. You insert these tapers into your piercing, and they will sit in your piercing and slowly stretch it over time. Some people will also use an oil or lubricant to help the taper slide through the piercing more easily.
Stretching your ears can take months or years, depending on how large you want them to be. During this time, your ear will be sensitive. However, they should never be painful or stressed. A good rule of thumb is to go up one gauge size every four to six weeks. This gives your ears time to fully adjust before you expand them more.
Impact Of Ear Stretching On Your Health
If you choose to stretch your ears, you need to make sure you do it slowly and carefully. Your skin doesnât stretch like this on its own, after all. If you irritate your ear or stretch it too quickly, you can suffer whatâs known as a âblowout.â
Blowouts are formed when you stretch the ear too quickly. The inner ring of skin around the piercing will become red and irritated, and potentially even lumpy. It will most likely be itchy or painful, and you may also experience an infection.
These blowouts are the result of your skin being stretched too far and failing to heal properly. Instead of slowly forming new skin cells in the stretched area, the stress caused microtears that became irritated. If you only slightly overstretch your ear, a minor blowout may develop, which can be reversed with the proper care. However, the blowout could become permanent if it gets infected.
You should also know that, after a certain point, your earlobes will not return to their original size on their own. If you stretch your ears above 2 gauge size, you will likely need surgical assistance to return them to their original condition.
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Can An Old Ear Piercing Still Get Infected
An old ear piercing can get infected. It is important to keep the area clean. The following situations can lead to an infection of an old piercing:
- Touching earrings with dirty hands
- Putting the posts of earrings in at the wrong angle
- Not cleaning posts and earrings daily
- Wearing heavy earrings that could cause a scratch or tear in the ear channel
- If the post or back of an earring has nickel, this can cause an allergic reaction.
How Long Does It Take For Stretched Ears To Close
Everyone always asks, how long does it take for stretched ears to close and the problem is, it depends entirely on the individual, because every ear is different. However, there are some factors that will affect how long it will take, including:
- How elastic your skin is
- The size of your stretched earlobes
- How long it took to stretch the earlobes
- Whether you had any issues in the process of stretching your ears
- How well you care for your earlobes
That said, youll be looking at a few months, usually around 4 months for smaller gauges, all the way up to a year or two for larger gauges.
Note: Whilst there is a common point of no return size for ear stretching, every ear is different and some may not close at all after a certain size.
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Sign: Scratching Her Ears
Given how itchy a dog ear infection can be, it wont come as a surprise that scratching is another common symptom. In an effort to get at the source of the itch, your dog may scratch at their ears, head, and other parts of their body. This can lead to another symptomopen sores caused by too-long or too-sharp doggy nails. The itching from ear infections may be intense enough to lead to wounds in and around the ears, explains Jennifer Coates, DVM, who serves on the advisory board of Pet Life Today.