Ear gauging is in vogue these days and many people go for gauges instead of simple piercings. The gauge is also used to stretch the earlobe.
What is ear gauging?
Ear gauging is a gradual process of stretching your ear piercing. Though technically, the correct term used should be ‘stretching’, gauging is a commonly used phrase for this act.
Most people usually have ears pierced to a standard size, which makes it difficult to accommodate newer, fashionable earrings that happen to have thicker posts. So how do you stay hip? Well, you could go to a professional ear piercer and get a larger hole pierced, but that involves quite a bit of pain and suffering. Besides, what do you do if the piercing turns out to be too big and too much, and tomorrow you change your mind and don’t want to be walking around with two glaringly obvious tunnels in your ears? Gauging your ear piercings is a better option than losing a good bit of your ear. Later, if you’re not happy with the stretching, you can just leave off wearing the thicker earrings and after a while your piercing will return to a smaller size.
What is used to stretch the ear piercings?
There are different ear gauge sizes. Standard size ear piercings are usually done with an eighteen or twenty gauge needle. The larger the piercing, the lesser the gauge needle number. To stretch existing ear piercings, tapering rings and tapering inserts, usually made of metals such as gold, silver, or steel, are used.
As their name indicates, these devices taper along their lengths from small to big and can be used according to requirement. Other than that, the gauges are made of stone, bone, horn, bamboo, fossilized materials, wood, silicone, amber, and glass as well.
What are the things you should remember before you gauge your ear piercing?
First of all, don’t attempt anything on your own. It is always best to consult a professional in piercing and if possible, to gauge your piercing under his or her supervision. On your own, especially if you have little or no experience, there is a chance you might hurt yourself and end up with an infection or a scar. Then go easy and have patience with the whole process. Go from one gauge size to another gradually and allow as much time as needed for your earlobe to heal in between. This can take anything from two weeks to a month, or perhaps even more. It really varies from person to person.
How to gauge your ear piercing?
The process of gauging your ear piercing is slow and gradual, but that beats going about with your ears heavily bandaged. What you should do is select a gauge size that is next in size to your current one and buy metal earrings or insertion tapers in that next gauge size. Metal or surgical steel ones are a better pick than other materials as they are non-porous and chances of infection are considerably reduced.
Once you have the tapers in the correct size, wash your hands clean, sterilize the taper, grease the taper with a little oil. You can use jojoba oil or emu oil, but do not use petroleum jelly for greasing, it may get clogged and trap bacteria leading to an infection. Carefully insert the taper through your piercings, putting the small end first.
Do one ear at a time. Go very carefully as they are not going to slide through at once and you don’t want to tear your ears. A little pain and discomfort is acceptable, but if you feel intense pain, stop right there. If it takes time, let it, but do not push yourself too much. Place the ear plug at the base of the taper (make sure the size of the ear plug and the taper matches). Push the taper through the lobe in such a way that when the taper exits the piercing, the ear plug remains intact in the stretched area. Place the O ring at the back of the ear plug to ensure it remains at the same position. Repeat for the other ear.
What about aftercare?
It would be best not to remove the ear plugs for a few days, until the soreness and pain subsides. To reduce the swelling and pain, it would be best to take warm saltwater soaks. For this, take a mixture of non-iodized sea salt (½ teaspoon) and water (1 cup) that is comfortably warm enough. Soak the earlobes (without removing the plugs) twice a day for a good five minutes. Do not use the same solution for both the ears. After the ears begin to heal, massage them using vitamin E oil. You can use jojoba or emu oil, as well. The healing would take some time. A month is considered to be a safe time frame for total healing, and also to move on to the next size, if you want to.
This entire procedure requires utmost care, caution, patience, and time. Everything matters, from the kind of taper you choose, to the way you push it through your ear lobes. Many times, even if the gauging or stretching is done successfully, lack of effective aftercare causes an infection which needs immediate medical intervention. Therefore, it is always best to undergo this process under the supervision of a professional expert.
This ThoughtfulTattoos article is meant for informative purposes only and should not be considered as a replacement for expert advice. Kindly get this procedure done from a professional to minimize the risks involved.