Stretching the Limits
Some of you reading probably have stretched lobes.
Ear stretching have been popular in Western countries during the recent decade, owing its further spread to musicians and artists. It's only in the later years that ear stretching is slowly spreading in some parts of urban Asia.
A few years back, I would have squirmed at the sight of a stretched ear over the size of 3g. I won't even bat an eye these days to someone with a 1 1/2". But body modifications has a way of temporarily traumatising people in its own way. It's been a few years since I found out that stretching facial piercings is actually a thing and I still get squeamish at the sight of a largely stretched lip.
Recent from Body Modifications
But yes, almost all piercings (as long as it's not dermal) can be stretched to an extent.
With all the pain and potential bloodshed, it all does sound metal as fuck. In fact, metal is literally just a part of it. Stretching originated from indigenous people (like many other body modifications). It's been practiced for a long time by tribes all over the world. Aboriginal people still practice it, as well as the people trying to look original. Even the King Tut had stretched lobes. So did Buddha.
There are many ways of stretching, but the most used is dead stretching and tapering. Some do both, whichever benefits them. Dead stretching is basically just jamming whatever you can find that's small enough to fit in your piercing (and hopefully, clean enough also) and just holding it there for as long as you have to. It's not a very safe way, but you can get through it as long as you know what you're doing. While tapering involves the use of a conical rod called a taper to be pushed through the fistula. Between the two, tapering is still the safer way to go. But really, there are many other ways of stretching. Not sure if it's totally safe.
There are those who recommend the taping method better than tapering.
It's not uncommon for the people who stretch to skip a couple sizes when stretching. It's not recommended but it's possible for the fistula to gradually loosen, making the transition easier. It's always better to wait before you move on to a new size. That's what I always tell my mates, wait at least 4-6 weeks before they start stretching again. Besides, unless you really can't wait to get sick 25.0mm's, it's overall a wonderful process. This isn't one of those things you gotta rush.
Right now, a Hawaiian body modification artist by the name of Kala Kaiwi holds the Guinness World Record for the largest non-surgically made stretch earlobes. His record holder lobes were measured at 109mm (4.3 inches) in diameter, big enough for a hand to comfortably go through.
It's not always true that past 10g is the point of no return. That, however, is the standard size which most ears apply to. Everyone's ears are different and how your ear would respond to pressure may be entirely different from mine. Rest assured, more likely than not, as long as your lobes aren't stretched to an extent as, say Kala Kaiwi, they would shrink back considerably but never to the way it was before. This will be evident when you try putting on hooked earrings, the fistula would appear as a slanted hole.
But if your lobes really do need more than just letting it be, you can go find a specialist who can stitch back your ears (or nostrils, etc) to its original size for a measly sum of I don't know, at least a thousand dollars or so (if you went to a good surgeon, of course but body modification artists would charge you for a couple hundred dollars or less). Stretching, like any body modification, requires commitment. We're not asking you to keep it and live your whole life with floppy ears but at least, you really gotta think about these kinds of things. It's not all for fashion and what's trendy. We all gotta learn to know where to drop the line. You don't get a tattoo of an owl on your chest merely because it looks good and it's the cool thing now. Each to their own, but it's nice to have something for your own.
Now this isn't really a post to teach you how to stretch your lobes or your other piercings, it's not a guide or an everything-you-need-to-know post so let's just chill and you can go calm your tats. We're trying to see this body modification in a laid-back view and not really something we should all argue about. Personal view, I do appreciate all sizes. I respect all these, unlike what people may say about body mods as disrespect to the body. Look at it this way, you might like Mexican food but you're not into anything Chinese food but why the f*ck should you care, it's food. You don't tell people to stop eating them just because you, personally, does not eat the kind.
Body modifications is something that's been around, most likely, since the beginning of time. It's not something everyone understands but in one way or another, whether they're aware of it or not, take part in this. Getting your ear pierced is body modification, so is putting on make up. The ones which creep the hell out of you are just the more extreme ones. If most corporations prohibit them, they're probably in the extreme category.
Back to stretching. I'm not going to keep rambling about how body modifications are so g*ddamn beautiful. You get the point. But just how beautiful can stretching be exactly?
The materials used to create this gorgeous ivory hanger were ethically obtained, no animal blood spilt in the process as they were mostly from fossilized tusks.
These wooden stretchers are gorgeous.
Paint those starry skies of yours, carrying around this gorgeous Van Gogh repro on a plug,
Look out for more gorgeous stretched piercings in future posts!
I think everyone with stretched lobes needs a pair of these plugs, will be handy in many occasions. Happy stretching!
[Photos featured here belong to their own respective owners. Thank you.]