For some people, a standard ear piercing is just not enough. Ear gauging or stretching takes piercing a step further, enlarging the hole over a matter of weeks or months, until it measures the shape and size desired. Gauging usually begins with the use of a 1.6 mm taper, inserted into the hole. The taper remains in the ear as the lobe expands; which usually takes three to four days. Jewelry replaces the taper after the three to four day waiting period. Care of gauged ears involves keeping them clean and free of debris.
Wash your gauged ear lobes each time you shower. Use an antibacterial soap and massage it into the pierced area. Rinse with warm water and pat your ear lobes dry with a soft towel.
Perform a sea salt bath twice a day. Wash your hands with antibacterial soap before applying the salt to your ears.
Pour 1 cup of water into a small bowl. Add 1 tsp. of sea salt to the water. Saturate a large cotton ball with the sea salt.
Lay the cotton ball over your gauged ears. Allow the sea salt to seep into the pierced area for 10 to 15 minutes. Repeat the process on your other gauged ear.
Allow your ear lobes to air-dry after applying the sea salt. Continue soaking your gauged ears with the sea salt bath twice a day until the skin heals completely.
- Remove your jewelry for two to three hours each day once the skin around the gauged area heals. This will allow the skin to breath and increase blood flow. Place the jewelry in a plastic baggie or jewelry box for safe keeping.
- Apply hot compresses to your ears for 5 to 10 minutes to make reinserting the jewelry easier.
- If your ear lobes become dry, massage your skin with olive oil.
- Keep in mind that healing times vary from person to person. While it may only take several weeks for one person's gauged ears to heal, it may take a few months for others.
- If your gauged ears begin to show signs of redness or swelling or if they ooze green pus, seek medical attention right away. This is often a sign of infection.
- Do not rush the ear stretching process. The first stage of gauging usually takes about two weeks. Wait at least one month before moving up to the next size gauge. Stretching too soon can lead to tearing and unsightly scarring.
Jonae Fredericks started writing in 2007. She also has a background as a licensed cosmetologist and certified skin-care specialist. Jonae Fredericks is a certified paraeducator, presently working in the public education system.